NEWS   FRIDAY, OCTOBER  20, 2017   NEWS

John Kelly ‘stunned’ over criticism of Trump’s ‘sacred’ call to Army widow
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Thursday admonished a Democratic congresswoman for defiling something sacred by politicizing President Trump’s condolence call to the widow of a Green Beret killed in action in Niger. He said he was “heartbroken” by attacks Wednesday on the President by Rep. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who was with the widow and listening on speakerphone to the call. She described Mr. Trump as disrespectful and insensitive. “It stuns me that a member of Congress would listen in on that conversation,” said Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general whose son was killed in 2010 while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. Mr. Kelly lamented that few things are held sacred in America the way they were when he was growing up, including respect for women, religion and Gold Star families. “Let’s try to somehow keep that sacred,” he said of the call to families of fallen service members. “But it eroded a great deal yesterday by the selfish behavior of a member of Congress.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Very well placed words.

Trump: ‘The real Russia story’ is Clinton-Obama uranium deal
President Trump said Thursday that “the real Russia story” involves reports that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama allowing Moscow to gain control of much of the U.S. supply of uranium. “That’s your real Russia story, not a story where they talk about collusion, and there was none,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Your real Russia story is uranium, and how they got all that uranium, a vast percentage of what we have.” The Hill reported Wednesday that the FBI investigated Russian nuclear industry officials engaging in bribery and kickbacks before a 2010 deal that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama approved, giving Russia control of more uranium. Washington Times

'Go home, racist!' Richard Spencer shouted down at University of Florida speech
Loud chants of “Say it loud! Say it clear! Nazis are not welcome here!” greeted white nationalist Richard Spencer when he took the stage Thursday for a controversial University of Florida speaking appearance. Spencer spoke and – eventually -- fielded questions from a boisterous audience packed with opponents at Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida. “I feel sorry for you. Do you know how this is going to be read? Do you think this is going to be read as, ‘Great victory for U of F?’ No,” Spencer told the heckling crowd. USA Today

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Trump's treatment of families of the fallen 'sickens' Chuck Hagel
President Trump’s treatment of families of fallen troops “sickens” former Defense secretary Chuck Hagel, who labeled his recent calls and other statements “beneath the dignity of the presidency.” Hagel, in an interview with USA TODAY, reacted to Trump’s call to a widow of a soldier killed in Niger, his promise to the father of another fallen solider to write a $25,000 check and his reference to John Kelly, his chief of staff, and his son who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Trump also swiped at former President Barack Obama, suggesting, inaccurately, that he hadn’t placed calls to the kin of troops killed in action. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Hagel, like USA Today is an idiot.

South Korea developing missiles to destroy North Korea nuclear facilities
South Korea is preparing for full-scale war with North Korea by developing missiles that could destroy North Korea nuclear and missile facilities in the event of a conflict. Gen. Kim Yong-woo, chief of staff of the South Korean army, said a plan to reduce to ashes North Korea's weapons facilities, has been created, local newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Thursday. Kim, who submitted his report for an annual parliamentary audit by the National Assembly's defense committee, said the objective of the plan is to decimate Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction while minimizing casualties. UPI
VOA VIEW: Great plan.

Rosselló seeks 'equal treatment,' Trump gives recovery efforts a '10'
Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, in Washington to meet with lawmakers Thursday, said the island needs "equal treatment" in hurricane recovery efforts. He met Thursday morning with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one month after the Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.  "What we're searching for is the best resources for our people so that we can get out of the emergency so that we can stabilize and rebuild again," Rosselló said while standing next to Rubio on Capitol Hill. Maria devastated Puerto Rico weeks after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma did damage to Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The federal government faced criticism -- including a fiery speech by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz leveled directly at President Donald Trump -- that its response in Puerto Rico was slower after Hurricane Maria than it had been in the wake of the other storms. Trump blamed the slow recovery on the logistics of sending aid to Puerto Rico, an island, and on the territory's existing infrastructure and financial problems. UPI

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'Seinfeld's' John O'Hurley on supporting Trump in Hollywood: 'I was embarrassed for my profession'
The actor, best known as Elaine Benes' eccentric boss J. Peterman on "Seinfeld," is part of a small group of Hollywood stars who supported President Trump in the 2016 presidential election. "Every time I have mentioned that I supported Trump in this election, people get vicariously angry at me, and they don't believe that it's possible that someone might think differently than they do," O'Hurley told Fox & Friends Thursday. "There is a band of conservatism in Hollywood but it leans so much to one side that it doesn't allow for free discussion," he said. "Never in the history of entertainment were actors considered moral barometers," he said. "Now all of a sudden we feel as though we have the mantle of moral behavior from Hollywood?" "I was embarrassed for my profession because I don't think we should be pontificating from the stage," said the seasoned Broadway actor. "I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't allow it with my cast." Fox

Pressure on NBC exec to resign after revelation he dined with sex creep Harvey Weinstein before spiking expose
NBC News is coming under increasing criticism for its failure to investigate why its embattled president, Noah Oppenheim, spiked a bombshell story that would have been the first to expose Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator. An NBC spokesperson says the network is not investigating the matter, despite new revelations that Oppenheim sat at small table with Weinstein at an exclusive New York gala in April, when Oppenheim reportedly already knew that his reporter, celebrity scion Ronan Farrow, had obtained damning audio recordings in which Weinstein admitted groping the breasts of an Italian model. Fox

George W Bush condemns bigotry and lies in coded attack on Trump
George W Bush sharply condemned bigotry, conspiracy theories and lies in American politics on Thursday, in what seemed to be a coded attack on the presidency of Donald Trump. Without mentioning Trump by name, the former US president urged Americans to reject white supremacy and embrace globalization in a speech organized by the institute that bears his name in New York. “Bigotry seems emboldened,” said Bush, who has seen controversy over his 2001-09 presidency among liberals and abroad eclipsed by the outrage surrounding Trump. “Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” He added: “Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. We need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools.” Guardian
VOA VIEW: Bush should have stayed in hibernation.

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Supreme Court says Alabama can proceed with execution
Torrey Twane McNabb, 40, will be put to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. unless another court intervenes. Only Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor indicated they would keep the execution on hold. McNabb's defenders filed a renewed motion for a stay with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals immediately following the high court's decision. McNabb was convicted in the 1997 shooting death of Montgomery police Officer Anderson Gordon. Prosecutors say McNabb was fleeing a bail bondsman when he walked up and shot Gordon five times while the officer was sitting in his parked patrol car. Houston Chronicle

Trump’s border wall models take shape in San Diego
The last two of eight prototypes for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall are taking shape at a construction site in San Diego. The prototypes form a tightly packed row of imposing concrete and metal panels, including one with sharp metal edges on top. Another has a surface resembling an expensive brick driveway. Companies have until Oct. 26 to finish the models but Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said Thursday the last two came into profile, as crews installed a corrugated metal surface on one model on a dirt lot just a few steps from homes in Tijuana, Mexico. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Let's move on.

Foreign Affairs’ Wilson calls on State to probe Cuba attacks
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson is calling on the U.S. State Department to investigate a bizarre string of attacks on diplomats in Cuba. The South Carolina Republican and House Foreign Affairs Committee member made that request Thursday in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. At least 22 American diplomats, intelligence agents and their spouses in Havana have been harmed in unexplained, invisible attacks over the last year. President Donald Trump has blamed the island nation for the attacks, even though Cuba's government has repeatedly denied both involvement in and knowledge of the incidents. Earlier this month, the U.S. expelled 15 of Cuba's diplomats to protest its failure to protect Americans from the unexplained attacks, plunging diplomatic ties between the countries to levels unseen in years. Las Vegas Sun

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CIA chief remains coy about of Kim Jong-un 'vanishing'
The US Central Intelligence Agency thinks that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is a rational actor who is focused on staying in power and "waking up in his own bed" each day. But if Mr Kim should suddenly not show up for work, well, don’t ask US spy chief Mike Pompeo about it. "With respect to, if Kim Jong-un should vanish, given the history of the CIA, I’m just not going to talk about it," the CIA director said on Thursday, when asked what would happen if Kim suddenly died. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: It would be great news for the world.

In the Keys, Irma ‘knocked out’ the tourism industry. Now, the race to recovery is on
Some residents call it the Irmanator: The roughly 97-mile stretch between Key Largo and Key West that traces the devastating path of Hurricane Irma, as she blasted through the Lower Keys and then seemed to grow bored with destruction further north. Get past it and you’ll reach Key West, the tourism heartbeat of the Florida Keys, where damage is minimal, cruise ships are docking and tourists are trickling back in. But the drive down the Overseas Highway is no Key West. It’s a testament to Irma’s wrath, the breadth of her impact and the challenges that lie ahead for an island chain whose livelihood depends on cooperative weather. Miami Herald

Judge: Guards’ seizure of Sept. 11 terror trial laptops could snag trial preparation
A secret prison decision to seize un-networked, government laptops issued to the alleged 9/11 plotters threatened to stall progress toward trial Thursday as a prosecutor said something troubling occurred with the computers, whose hard drives are crammed with trial evidence and attorney-client communications. The trial judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, ordered the prison not to open or let anyone read the contents of the laptops. He ordered the devices taped shut and then sealed again in a container after prosecutor Ed Ryan announced that off-island security officials would be deciding what to do with the devices. The surprising development, mostly unexplained in court, stirred the latest complaints by defense attorneys that the government was interfering with privileged attorney-client communications.Miami Herald

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Despite drop in under-five mortality rate, 7,000 newborns die every day – UN report
More must be done to stop babies from dying the day they are born, United Nations agencies said in a new report issued Thursday, which argued that life-saving know-how and technologies must be made readily available – particularly in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa – where they are most needed. Although the number of children dying before age five is at a new low – 5.6 million in 2016 compared with nearly 9.9 million in 2000 – the proportion of newborn deaths during that period has jumped from 41 to 46 per cent – or 7,000 babies. UN

Angela Merkel points to December Brexit breakthrough - but other leaders demand divorce money first
Angela Merkel has said there are "encouraging" signs that there will be a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations in December. The German Chancellor, arriving at a meeting of the European Council, said that there has not yet been sufficient progress to begin the next stage of Brexit talks. She added that there had been enough positive signs to encourage her to think that it will be possible to "take the work forward and then reach the start of the second phase in December". However Stefan Lofven, the Swedish Prime Minister, said that the UK needs to be more forthcoming on the Brexit divorce bill before talks can continue. His position was echoed by Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, who said that UK must be more forthcoming about which financial commitments it was prepared to meet. Telegraph

Oxford accused of 'social apartheid' as colleges admit no black students
Nearly one in three Oxford colleges failed to admit a single black British A-level student in 2015, with the university accused of “social apartheid” over its admissions policies by the former education minister David Lammy. The data shows that 10 out of 32 Oxford colleges did not award a place to a black British pupil with A-levels in 2015, the first time the university has released such figures since 2010. Oriel College only offered one place to a black British A-level student in six years. Similar data released by Cambridge revealed that six colleges there failed to admit any black British A-level students in the same year. Guardian
VOA VIEW: Opposite in US.

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