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NEWS   WEDNESDAY, JUNE  28, 2017   NEWS

VA Whistleblower Doc Faces Ax Unless Trump Steps In
A well-respected pain management doctor who blew the whistle on patient safety concerns at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility in Missouri -- and was subsequently threatened twice by his superiors with termination -- will have just hours more on the job if President Trump doesn’t sign a bill pending on his desk for several days. The bill that would help Dr. Dale Klein, a double-board-certified physician and Yale University fellow, who was hired to open and run a pain management clinic at a Missouri VA hospital, will reform somewhat Byzantine rules that exist to protect federal employees who are whistleblowers from retaliation. Fox
VOA VIEW: Trump will step up - if the complaint is true.

Obamas Under Fire From The Left For Never Ending, Sizzling Ultra-Luxury Vacations
Ex-presidents, understandably and un-controversially, go on vacations immediately after leaving office. But the level of luxury the Obamas enjoy on their vacations is unprecedented for a modern-day president, say travel experts. Since leaving office in late January, Obama has visited late actor Marlon Brando’s private island; the Four Seasons in Bali -- where rooms cost upward of $2,000 per night; a Palm Springs estate; Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island; the exclusive Mid Pacific Country Club in Oahu; the 13th-century Borgo Finocchieto in Tuscany; and the Rising Sun, Hollywood studio mogul David Geffen’s private yacht. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama made his deal thinking that Hillary would be president.

Pro-Trump Group Makes Good On Threats, Launches TV Ads Against Fellow GOP Senator
The pro-Trump group America First Policies is making good on its threats to air television ads against a fellow Republican, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, over his public opposition to the GOP leadership's health care bill -- even though Senate Republicans now plan to vote after a July 4 recess. The 30-second narrated television ad depicts President Donald Trump and Heller -- and does not mince words: "Call Senator Heller. Tell him America needs him to keep his promise: Vote 'yes' to repeal and replace Obamacare." The group expressed no regrets on running the ad, despite Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's announcement midday Tuesday that the Senate vote on the health care bill would be delayed until after the July 4 recess while leadership makes changes to the proposal in hopes in gaining more senators' support. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN loves negative press.

House Russia Investigators Interview John Podesta
Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta, traveled to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with House investigators digging into Russia's efforts to alter the 2016 elections. The Russian hack of Podesta's emails played a pivotal role in the election, as WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of his emails one day at a time during last year's presidential campaign. Podesta told reporters after the meeting he was "happy to cooperate" with the committee's investigation. Asked if President Barack Obama was aggressive enough in combating Russia's interference, as some have argued he wasn't, Podesta said the administration was "dealing with an unprecedented incidence of the weaponization of the fruits of Russian cyber activity, and I think they were trying to make the best judgments they could on behalf of the American people." CNN
VOA VIEW:  CNN is back on Russia and Trump.

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WH: Trump Administration Disagrees With All Stories That Claim Trump Colluded With Russia In Any Way
The White House said Tuesday that it disagrees with all stories that claim President Donald Trump colluded with Russia "in any capacity." "Given the news about CNN's erroneous story about Anthony Scaramucci, does the White House believe there are other Russia-related stories from major outlets that have not been retracted and are just as false, including the February 14th story in The New York Times about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which James Comey called into question, which many believe the CNN story was based upon?" a reporter asked White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at an on-camera briefing Tuesday.

Sen. Graham Can’t Get An Answer: Did Intel Community Monitor His Conversations With Foreign Leaders?
He didn't quite bang the table, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday offered the verbal equivalent, repeatedly asking intelligence officials a simple question multiple times, to which he received no clear answer: "Is it possible to find out, if I, Lindsey Graham, was incidentally collected talking to a foreign leader abroad?" Graham asked. “Is that possible? Am I entitled to that information? Am I entitled, as a United States senator, to know whether or not the intelligence community monitored a conversation I had with a foreign leader abroad? "Am I entitled, as a United States senator, to know if my conversations with a foreign person overseas was collected and if somebody made a request to unmask me?" Graham asked intelligence officials at a Judiciary Committee hearing on FISA reauthorization. CNS
VOA VIEW: The liberals can't answer real questions.

Supreme Court's Recent Unity Faces Looming Test
As the U.S. Supreme Court navigated a difficult period in which it was short one member for more than a year, justices from across the ideological spectrum often managed to find common ground. That sense of unity promises to be soon put to the test. The nine-justice court ended its 2016-2017 term on Monday with a flurry of rulings. When it resumes work in October, its recently restored conservative majority could become more assertive as the justices tackle big cases on whether the U.S. Constitution lets businesses refuse to serve gay couples for religious reasons, presidential powers and manipulating electoral district boundaries for partisan gain. Reuters

Sarah Palin Sues Paper For Tying Her PAC Ad To Mass Shooting
Former vice presidential nominee and Alaska governor Sarah Palin is accusing The New York Times of defamation over an editorial that linked one of her political action committee ads to the mass shooting that severely wounded then-Arizona Congressman Gabby Giffords. In the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court Tuesday, Palin's lawyers say the Times "violated the law and its own policies" when it accused her of inciting the 2011 attack that killed six people. The lawsuit refers to a June editorial in the Times on the recent shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise. The editorial was later corrected. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Good!

US Envoy: China Should Allow Nobel Laureate Treatment Abroad
The new U.S. ambassador to Beijing said Wednesday that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo should be allowed to receive treatment outside China after being diagnosed with cancer while in prison for advocating democratic reforms. China should allow 61-year-old Liu to seek treatment elsewhere "if it would be of help," Ambassador Terry Branstad told reporters in his first public appearance since arriving in Beijing this week. The former six-term Iowa governor appointed as envoy to China by President Donald Trump did not say if he'd spoken directly with Chinese authorities about the matter, emphasizing cooperation instead. Philadelphia Inquirer

Bernie Sanders Rips FBI’s ‘Pathetic’ Probe Into His Wife
Sen. Bernie Sanders didn’t mince words on Tuesday when asked about the FBI’s investigation into his wife — calling it a “pathetic” and politically motivated attack, spurred by President Trump. “My wife is about the most honest person I know,” the Vermont lawmaker told CNN.  “All that I will tell you now is it’s a sad state of affairs in America when not only we have politicians being destroyed… but when you go after people’s wives. That’s pretty pathetic,” he said. Sander’s wife, Jane, is currently in the midst of a federal probe involving a $10 million loan that led to the bankruptcy of the now-defunct Burlington College, which she was the president of.
She reportedly brokered the deal, herself — and promised that the school had raised enough money to pay off the debt. NY Post
VOA VIEW:  Socialistic stupidity.

Cosby Says Has No Plans For 'Sexual Assault Tour'
Bill Cosby said on Tuesday he has no plans to hold town hall events to discuss sexual assault, days after his spokesman suggested the comedian planned a series of public talks to educate men about how to avoid false accusations. Cosby's spokesman, Andrew Wyatt, first put forward the idea for the town hall talks in an interview with a Birmingham, Alabama, TV station last week, five days after Cosby's sex assault trial ended in a hung jury. Reuters

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Paul Ryan Explains Why 22 Million Will Be Uninsured And He’s Got A Point
Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday defended the Republican health care plan that would mean over 22 million more people would be uninsured, arguing the uninsured would only be exercising their new freedom to do so. “What they’re basically saying at the Congressional Budget Office is if you’re not going to force people to buy Obamacare, if you’re not going to force people to buy something that they don’t want, then they won’t buy it,” Ryan said on Fox News of the CBO analysis that cited the 22 million uninsured. “So, it’s not that people are getting pushed off a plan, it’s that people will choose not to buy something they don’t like or want.” MSNBC

Feds Hope To Build Border Wall Prototypes By Late Summer
Prototypes of what new sections of a wall on the Mexican border might look like should be completed by late summer, a Department of Homeland Security official said Tuesday. Ronald Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said up to eight prototypes will be up by September so that DHS can decide which design is best for building hundreds of miles of new barrier along the border, as called for by President Trump. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Liberals want to deny the idea of a wall.

Trump Charges ‘Fake News’ After CNN Producer Admits ‘Bulls–’ Russia Story Is About ‘Ratings’
President Trump tangled Tuesday with CNN over “fake news” after Project Veritas released an undercover video featuring a producer who said the network is pushing the Russia narrative to improve ratings. Taking to Twitter, Mr. Trump said that the video “caught Fake News CNN cold” and that the network “was “looking at big management changes now that they got caught pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: The war between liberal CNN and Trump has no ending in sight.

Rick Perry Calls For ‘Intellectual Conversation’ On Climate Change
During an hourlong press conference at the White House Tuesday, Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for an “intellectual conversation” on climate change, arguing that the issue has become far too political and divisive. Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor and two-time presidential candidate, acknowledged man’s impact on the climate but also rejected the idea that the science is completely settled on the matter. “The climate is changing. Man is having an impact on it. I’ve said that time after time — the idea that we can’t have an intellectual conversation about just what are the actual impacts?” he said. “Why not have a conversation about that? What is the other side, the people who say the science is settled, it’s done? If you don’t believe that, you’re a skeptic … I don’t buy that. Washington Times

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Globally, Opinions Of Trump Leadership, U.S. Image Drop, According To New Survey
Since taking office in January, President Trump's actions and policies have had an impact on opinions of the United States around the world. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center among 37 countries, a median of just 22 percent are confident that Mr. Trump will do the right thing regarding international affairs. The international community had greater trust in his predecessor -- 64 percent expressed confidence in former President Barack Obama's global diplomacy capabilities. CBS
VOA VIEW: The so-called poll is suspect and like those in the US, are meant to deceive.

John Podesta Meets With House Intel About Russia's Efforts To Influence 2016 Election
John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign chairman, met behind closed doors Tuesday with members of the House Intelligence Committee as part of the panel's investigation into Russia's efforts to meddle in the presidential election. "They asked me to come forward to give to the best of my knowledge what I knew about that, and I was happy to cooperate with the committee in their investigation of Russia interference with the democratic process in the United States," Podesta said on camera after the meeting. Podesta said that the panel's chairman asked him to not publicly disclose specific questions and answers discussed during the meeting. CBS

Trump Hails 'Energy Revolution' As Exports Surge
President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed an energy revolution marked by surging U.S. exports of oil and natural gas. Trump cited a series of steps the administration has taken to boost energy production and remove government regulations that he argues prevent the United States from achieving "energy dominance" in the global market. "Together, we are going to start a new energy revolution — one that celebrates American production on American soil," Trump said in a statement, adding that the U.S. is on the brink of becoming a net exporter of oil, gas and other energy resources. ABC
VOA VIEW: Trump is moving forward.

Rising Beef Prices Are Eating Into Steakhouses’ Bottom Lines
These are lean times for America’s steakhouses. Prime cuts of beef have skyrocketed in price since May, with some meat sellers blaming a new trade deal with China — and that’s eating into the bottom line at high-dollar chophouses. Steak mongers are seeing red over price hikes of as much as 30 percent during the past month alone from meat distributors. They’re already feeling more pressure to absorb the costs as the steak season enters its annual summer slowdown. “We’re absorbing it right now,” said Bobby Van’s Steakhouse owner Rick Passarelli. “It’s hard to pass along.” NY Post

German Parliament Set To Vote Friday On Gay Marriage
The German Parliament plans to vote Friday on whether to legalize same-sex marriage — only days after Chancellor Angela Merkel backed off her conservative party's long-standing refusal to budge on the issue. The German news agency dpa reported Wednesday the Parliament's legal committee had given its OK for the vote to take place Friday. Merkel surprisingly said Monday she could see lawmakers making the issue a "decision of conscience," voting according to individual preferences rather than along party lines. Tampa Tribune

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Over 80 Percent Of Parents Have Made At Least 1 Dosing Error When Giving Medicine To Children
More than 80 percent of parents have made at least one dosing error when administering medicine to their young children, according to a study released today by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study, called Pictograms, Units and Dosing Tools, and Parent Medication Errors: A Randomized Study, looked at 491 parents of children 8 years old or younger and found that 83.5 percent of parents made at least one dosing error and that 12.1 percent of those errors were overdosing errors. ABC

Trump's 15% Corporate Rate Debated During Tax Meetings
President Donald Trump’s call to slash the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent has faced resistance during private tax meetings, according to a senior White House official. While Trump has been clear that he thinks cutting the rate, which is currently 35 percent, is essential for job creation, others have said that it’s impossible to cut it as much as he wants without adding to the federal deficit, said the official, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. The official didn’t specify who had raised the objections, but said administration officials have met with over 200 members of Congress as part of the effort to craft the tax bill. Bloomberg

It Was Another Rough Day For Tech Stocks
Volatility erupted again in the biggest U.S. technology stocks, sending companies from Nvidia Corp. to Tesla Inc. and Netflix Inc. reeling in bursts of volume that mirrored the rout of two weeks ago. The Nasdaq 100 Index dropped 1.8 percent, closing at its lowest point of the session, and has fallen 2.3 percent in the last two days for the biggest decline since June 9 and 12. A key technical level, the gauge’s 50-day moving average, was breached at the close for the first time in seven months. Bloomberg

Campaigner-In-Chief: Trump's Politicking Raises Ethics Flags
President Donald Trump is attending his first re-election fundraiser Wednesday night, at his own hotel in Washington. He's already spent five evenings on the road at political rallies, always in states that supported him in November and always in front of an audience of thousands of fans who are screened and selected by his campaign aides. His historically early campaigning comes with clear fundraising benefits, but it has raised red flags. Government employees have inappropriately crossed over into campaign activities, tax dollars may be subsidizing some aspects of campaign events, and the president risks alienating Americans who did not vote for him. Tampa Tribune
VOA VIEW: It could be liberal rhetoric.

Fake 'Time' Magazine Trump Cover Hung In His Clubs
You know how at some fairs and amusement parks you can have your face put on a fake magazine cover? Well, a framed copy of a fake Time cover featuring Donald Trump hung from the walls of at least five of the president's clubs, including Mar-a-Lago, The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold reported Tuesday. The fake cover dated March 1, 2009 features a large portrait photograph of a stern Trump with the headline "Donald Trump: The 'Apprentice' is a television smash!" The cover "looks like an impressive memento from Trump’s pre-presidential career," Fahrenthold wrote. USA Today

Mom Says Baby Overheated As United Airlines Plane Sat On Tarmac For 2 Hours
A Colorado mother says United Airlines was unable to handle a medical emergency when her infant became overheated while stuck onboard a delayed flight at Denver International Airport. Passenger and mom Emily France said her baby became overheated recently on a delayed flight as the aircraft waited on the Denver International Airport (DIA) tarmac, reports the Denver Post. The 39-year-old said that passengers waited for more than two hours on the plane despite a heat wave in the area. France recalled “hot air coming from the vents.” “We just sat and sat and sat,” she said. “I hit my call button and said, ‘I think it’s getting dangerously hot back here.'”
France also said that despite requesting an ambulance, she had to wait for 30 minutes before she was allowed to leave the plane with her son, Owen. Atlanta Journal

How Warren Turned Into An Enthusiastic Supporter Of Single-Payer Health Care
Senator Elizabeth Warren now says Democrats should endorse a government-run, single-payer health insurance system for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections and beyond, after suggesting four years ago the proposal was “politically unacceptable.’’ How did Warren’s position evolve? How radical of a departure is this statement for the senator, who is known to pick her political battles wisely? And what does this say for the Democratic Party? Here’s what you need to know. Boston Globe
VOA VIEW: Liberals evolve - they don't change.

Donald Trump And His Team Hired An Army Of Lawyers For Russia Investigation. Who Made The List?
They are attack dogs and upper-crust white shoes. None of them shrink from a fight. And their ranks are growing by the day. Since Robert Mueller was named special counsel to head the Justice Department's widening Russia investigation, President Trump and his administration began a hiring blitz of personal lawyers to shield them from possible exposure – as witnesses or subjects. As the probe continues into links between Trump's campaign and Russians who sought to influence the election by hacking Democrats, the president himself has assembled at least four outside attorneys, led by his longtime counsel Marc Kasowitz, who has represented Trump for 15 years on a range of private business matters. Indy Star

California Cities Land On The 'Worst' Places To Live List
If you thought your city had its issues with crime, employment and more, now you can find out if it truly ranks among the worst places to live. Financial news and opinion site 24/7 Wall St. announced its list of the 50 Worst American Cities to Live In this month — a few of which are from California. Stockton, San Bernardino and Merced all ranked within the top 20 of the list, citing issues such as crime rates, financial issues and poverty levels. SF Gate

Trump Administration Moves To Withdraw Clean-Water Rule
The 2015 regulation sought to settle a debate over which waterways are covered under the Clean Water Act, which has dragged on for years and remained murky despite two Supreme Court rulings. President Trump issued an executive order in February instructing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind or revise the Obama rule, which environmentalists say is essential to protecting water for human consumption and wildlife. n a statement, the agencies announced plans to begin the withdrawal process, describing it as an interim step. When it is completed, the agencies said, they will undergo a broader review of which waters should fall under federal jurisdiction. “We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. SF Gate

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White House Warns Syria’s Assad Against Chemical Attack
The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday night as it claimed "potential" evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack. In an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. had "identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children." He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before an April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children, and warned that if "Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price." Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Syria better listen and obey.

Supreme Court Term Ended Much Different Than It Began
The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years. Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. The court's final actions were declarations that this is a conservative-leaning court and might only move more to the right in the years to come. The justices gave President Donald Trump the go-ahead to start enforcing at least part of his travel ban, showed that the wall between church and state is perhaps not as high as it once was and invigorated a baker's religion-based refusal to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Las Vegas Sun

Making Ivanka Trump Shoes: Long Hours, Low Pay And Abuse
A worker with blood dripping from his head marked a low point in the tense, grinding life at a southeastern China factory used by Ivanka Trump and other fashion brands. An angry manager had hit him with the sharp end of a high-heeled shoe. Workers from the factory, including one current and two former employees who spoke to The Associated Press, reported overtime that stretched past midnight, steep production quotas and crude verbal abuse at Ganzhou Huajian International Shoe City Co. They said beatings were not unheard of, but the shoe attack, which all three say they witnessed last year, was violent enough to stand out. "He was bleeding right from the middle of the head," the current worker said. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Liberal media rhetoric.

Ransomware Attack Targets 2,000 Gov't, Private Servers Worldwide
Another ransomware cyberattack, similar to one launched a month ago, targeted thousands of government and private corporate servers on Tuesday, European authorities said. Officials said the attack impacted government, bank, energy and infrastructure providers in Ukraine, Russia, Britain and elsewhere. Some U.S. companies, including food producer Mondel?z International and drug-maker Merck, were also affected. "We confirm our company's computer network was compromised today as part of global hack," Merck tweeted. Ukrainian energy companies Ukrenergo and Kyivenergo were among other companies hit. The National Bank said an "unknown virus" had spread through its computers, and Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko said his computer, like others in the Ukrainian government, became inaccessible. UPI

IMF Reduces U.S. Outlook Because Of Policy Uncertainties
The International Monetary Fund reduced its growth forecasts for the U.S. economy because of the uncertain effectiveness of White House policies. The Washington-based fund released a report Tuesday that expects growth of 2.1 percent this year and in 2018 after previously estimating 2.3 percent in 2017 and 2.5 percent next year. It had increased expectations with the arrival of Donald Trump as president. The White House had targeted 3 percent growth by 2020. The U.S. economy achieved that pace in the early 1980s, when it was recovering from a deep recession. UPI

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'ISRAEL ONE OF TWO NATIONS THAT PREFER TRUMP TO OBAMA'
Israel is one of only two countries - the other being Russia - that rates US President Donald Trump’s performance in office higher than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, according to a Pew Research survey released Sunday. Fifty-six percent of Israelis have confidence that Trump will make good choices in regards to international affairs; the confidence rating in Obama was 49% at the end of his presidency. But the worldwide data, based on research of 40,447 respondents from 37 countries, gives Trump a median confidence rating of only 22%, while Obama enjoyed a 64% median confidence rating in the final years of his term. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Great!

OBAMA CYBER CHIEF IN ISRAEL: 'US MUST STOP RUSSIA CAUSING ELECTION CHAOS'
US cyber efforts need to focus on blocking “Russia and other adversaries from causing chaos” in elections, Obama administration cyber chief Michael Daniel told The Jerusalem Post. Daniel, now president of the Cyber Threat Alliance, spoke to the Post on Monday, on the sidelines of the Tel Aviv University cyber conference, both about future threats and how he and the Obama team handled past cyber issues. Jerusalem Post

Qatar Facing Indefinite Isolation, UAE Says
With less than a week remaining for Qatar to comply with a tough set of 13 demands from its Gulf Arab neighbours, it is looking increasingly likely that this month's economic and political sanctions imposed on Qatar will become permanent. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have demanded, inter alia, that Qatar stop funding terrorism - which it denies - downgrade ties with Iran and close down its Al Jazeera broadcaster, or face permanent isolation. "Qatar is not responding positively to what we've sent," says UAE government spokesman Omar Ghobash, who, as well as being the country's ambassador to Moscow, is also the author of a counter-extremism book, Letters to a Young Muslim. BBC

Laquan McDonald Death: Officers 'Lied About US Teenager's Shooting'
Three former or current Chicago police officers have been charged with allegedly conspiring to cover up the fatal police shooting of a black teen. Detective David March and officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney face charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct. Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a white officer in 2014, sparking widespread protests across the city. Prosecutors accuse the three men of lying in the shooting's aftermath. "The indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial 'code of silence,' rather it alleges that they lied about what occurred to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth," Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown said in a statement on Tuesday. BBC

Trump Lawyer's Firm Steered Millions In Donations To Family Members
More than 15,000 Americans were losing their jobs each day in June 2009, as the US struggled to climb out of a painful recession following its worst financial crisis in decades. But Jay Sekulow, who is now an attorney to Donald Trump, had a private jet to finance. His law firm was expecting a $3m payday. And six-figure contracts for members of his family needed to be taken care of. Documents obtained by the Guardian show Sekulow that month approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses. Guardian

Angela Merkel Signals Change In Stance On Gay Narriage In Germany
Angela Merkel has signalled a change in her party’s opposition to gay marriage after stating MPs should be allowed a free vote in the German parliament. Speaking at an event organised by the magazine Brigitte, the German chancellor said she felt aggrieved that debate was mainly carried out along party lines and that she hoped it would be “headed towards a conscience vote”. It is widely believed the Bundestag would legalise gay marriage in a free vote on the issue. Guardian

Bashar Al-Assad Visits Russian Air Base In Syria After US Warning
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited a Russian air base at Hmeymim in western Syria on Tuesday, his first visit to the base from which Russian jets have played a crucial role in support of his war effort. Photos circulated showed the Syrian leader in the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi SU-35 warplane. He inspected weapons, personnel and armoured vehicles at the base near Latakia. He was accompanied by Russian chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov, state news agency SANA reported. Telegraph

Swift Repeat Of Banking Crisis Unlikely, Says Yellen
Major reforms in the wake of the global financial crisis have made another banking meltdown unlikely "in our lifetimes", according to the chairman of the US Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen said rules that forced banks to strengthen their capital buffers had ensured the financial system was "much safer" today than a decade ago. Speaking at the British Academy in London, Ms Yellen also said it was in the UK and European Union's interest to reach a Brexit deal that put the economy first. Telegraph

Upcoming Cyprus Conference 'A Unique Opportunity,' Says UN Negotiator
A fresh round of talks on Cyprus will last “as long as it takes,” but there are no guarantees of success, the United Nations negotiator facilitating the process said today.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Espen Barth Eide, the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus, said that the reconvening of the Conference is “not the last chance” but the “the best chance” of reaching an agreement between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. “It is a unique opportunity, and it would be extremely sad if it was wasted […] and I think frankly that's recognized by all participants.” He highlighted however that sticking points remain between the delegations as they prepared to meet tomorrow in Mont Pèlerin, Switzerland. UN News

UN Welcomes Major Partnership Initiative With Tech Giants To Counter Terrorism Online
A senior United Nations official has called for sustained joint efforts to combat terrorism and welcomed a partnership initiative with tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube to counter terrorism and violent extremism online. “I welcome this major initiative, which elevates our existing private-public partnership with these and other companies,” said Jean-Paul Laborde, UN Assistant Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate. UN News

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