NEWS   THURSDAY, APRIL  27, 2017   NEWS

Donald Trump Has Spent 97 Days In Constant Motion. But What Has He Actually Done?
President Donald Trump seems to have spent his first 97 days in near-constant motion. If he's not tweeting about something or hosting members of Congress at the White House, he's huddled with a foreign leader at Mar-a-Lago or putting his John Hancock on some executive action or order. Or boasting about how much he's gotten done. "No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days," Trump said earlier this month.The truth is more nuanced and less favorable to Trump. Yes, Trump has been moving almost non-stop for his first 97 days as president. But, movement is not accomplishment. And, any analysis of Trump's first 97 days makes clear there has been much more of the former and much less of the latter. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN is out of reality - Trump has done much in 97 days.

Trump Calls For Dramatic Tax Cuts For Individuals And Businesses
The Trump administration has finally outlined its new tax proposal, which leans heavily on tax cuts. So far, President Trump wants to slash individual tax rates -- cutting the top rate from 39.6% to 35% -- and reduce the number of total rates from seven to three. He also wants to cut the top tax rate for all businesses to 15%, far below the current top rates. The administration's tax outline still leaves many questions unanswered and will be met with a lot of skepticism among lawmakers, even though Republicans control Congress. In fact, some GOP aides suggest that the White House -- with its emphasis on tax cuts and too few details on how they'd be paid for -- is not constructively contributing to a serious discussion of tax reform. CNN
VOA VIEW: Republicans are their worst enemy.

Ryan Touts ‘National Defense’ As a ‘Core’ Priority
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the Republican-dominated Congress is off to “solid start” as it tackles the nation’s “entrenched problems.” “Right now, we are working on a government funding bill that addresses some of the country’s core priorities, including strengthening our national defense,” Ryan said. He noted that he was in Europe last week, visiting key NATO allies, “and across the board, allies are ready to see America step up and lead again. A big part of that is rebuilding our military, which is something that we’re in the middle of doing right now.” CNS New

Drug Use Tops Booze For First Time In Fatal U.S. Crashes
U.S. data has shown for the first time that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk, with marijuana involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015, a study released on Wednesday showed. Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes around the country in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, topping the 37 percent who showed alcohol levels above a legal limit, according to the report by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by distillers. Reuters

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Pope Warns The Powerful In Surprise TED Talk
In a surprise videotaped talk to a TED conference in Vancouver, Pope Francis on Wednesday warned those with power to act in a humble fashion or risk potential loss. he talk, delivered via videotape and focused on “The Future You,” was the first one ever by a pope. “Please allow me to say it loud and clear: The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more you are called to be humble,” Francis stated. “If you don't, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin others.” Francis said that as he’s gotten older he’s become more and more convinced that “none of us is an island.” Accordingly, he argued for increased unity in the scientific, economic and political arenas. Fox

A New York Hotel Deal Shows How Some Public Pension Funds Help To Enrich Trump
Public pension funds in at least seven U.S. states have invested millions of dollars in an investment fund that owns a New York hotel and pays one of President Donald Trump's companies to run it, according to a Reuters review of public records. That arrangement could put Trump at risk of violating an obscure constitutional clause, some legal experts say. The Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in Manhattan is an upscale 46-story property owned by a Los Angeles investment group, the CIM Group, through one of its real estate funds. Reuters
VOA VIEW: The liberal media do not wish to believe that there are a few people that want to prove this is a great nation.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Unveils Plan To Kill Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules
The plan to kill Obama-era net neutrality rules is officially here. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said on Wednesday that he's beginning to roll back net neutrality rules, a process he says will promote competition, create jobs, and give more Americans access to high-speed internet. "Nothing about the internet was broken in 2015," he said, speaking of when the FCC moved to regulate the internet as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. "It was all about politics." MSNBC

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Trump Orders Review Of National Monument Designations
President Trump on Wednesday ordered the Interior Department to review national monument designations dating back 20 years for millions of acres of land, arguing former presidents have “abused” the system and vowing to return such authority to citizens and state lawmakers. “Today, we are giving power back to the states and people where it belongs,” Trump said in signing the executive order at the Interior Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. “This massive federal land grab; it’s gotten worse and worse.” Fox

This City Is Counting On Trump To Spend Big On Infrastructure
President Donald Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure investment over ten years that he said would rebuild American cities and create millions of new jobs. Here in Arkansas' second-largest city, where Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016, residents eagerly await details of a bill and see it as key to turning their fortunes around. The federal judge who blocked Trump's crackdown on sanctuary cities, William Orrick III, is based in San Francisco and part of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Any ruling he makes is appealed to the 9th Circuit, which had no part in Orrick's decision as Trump suggested. Orrick doesn't sit on the 9th Circuit. MSNBC

Trump Will Continue Obamacare Payments, Clearing Major Hurdle On Spending Bill
The White House told congressional leaders Wednesday that the administration will continue making Obamacare cost-sharing payments, eliminating the biggest sticking point as lawmakers rush to pass a final 2017 spending bill and avert a government shutdown looming at the end of the week. Democrats had wanted to include the funds in the spending bill but Republicans had balked, saying they’d never been included before — though President Obama had doled out the money anyway, in what a judge has ruled an illegal expense. Washington Times

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Trump To Pull Feds Out Of K-12 Education
President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to start pulling the federal government out of K-12 education, following through on a campaign promise to return school control to state and local officials. The order, dubbed the “Education Federalism Executive Order,” will launch a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to modify or repeal measures she deems a overreach by the federal government. “For too long the government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less,” Mr. Trump said. “My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities [and] states — give power back to localities.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: The federal government should be out of the education business.

Trump Administration Considering Removing U.S. From NAFTA
Amid a bubbling trade dispute over softwood lumber and dairy with Canada, the Trump administration is now considering an Executive Order on withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement, two White House officials confirmed to CBS News. This executive order is one of several ideas being considered by President Donald Trump as the administration readies to move forward on Mr. Trump’s campaign trail pledge to renegotiate or withdraw from the three-nation trade deal, a White House official says. The executive order could be unveiled in short order. A White House official says the administration is waiting until attorney Robert Lighthizer, a noted protectionist, is confirmed as Mr. Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative before going to Congress for fast track authority to renegotiate the treaty, resulting in a formal 90 day notice to Mexico and Canada. CBS
VOA VIEW: The US should be out of NAFTA.

Autism Linked To Many Other Health Issues
Autism spectrum disorder affects 1 in 68 children in the U.S.  Challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communications are some of the issues people with autism may experience. But what many don’t know is that those with autism often struggle with an array of other health problems, too. A new report from the advocacy group Autism Speaks looks at how and why the neurodevelopmental disorder may be linked to other health problems, including difficulty sleeping, digestive distress, epilepsy, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating challenges, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. CBS

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US Navy Fires Warning Flare At Iranian Vessel In Persian Gulf
A U.S. guided-missile destroyer fired a flare in the direction of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard ship this week during an encounter in the Persian Gulf, a Navy official has confirmed to ABC News. The "guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) had an unprofessional interaction with an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessel while transiting the international waters of the Arabian Gulf, April 24," the Naval Forces Central Command spokesman said of the Monday encounter. ABC

US Commander Suggests Missile Defense In Hawaii Amid N. Korea Threat
North Korea's ballistic missile threats towards the United States may one day match its rhetoric, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific told a Congressional panel, and to ensure defenses are at their best, he suggested placing ground-based missile interceptors in Hawaii. Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), also told the House Armed Services Committee that he is "encouraged" by China's recent efforts to influence North Korean behavior and he believes that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has noticed a change is afoot with regard to China." Harris called defending the U.S. homeland his "top priority." ABC

Trump’s Tax Plan Could Be Painful For New York, New Jersey, And California
President Donald Trump's tax overhaul plan was short on specifics, but one proposal was clear enough to draw howls from residents of high-tax states. The plan would end deductions of state and local taxes from federal income taxes. Those are by far the biggest deductions for many taxpayers. "There is no doubt that if you are a New York or California resident, your largest deduction, by a factor that could be as high as 10, is the state and local income tax," said tax expert Robert Willens, of New York-based Robert Willens LLC. "Historically a high-state tax was mitigated by the fact that you were able to deduct it, so it was really costing you 60 percent or 65 percent of what you were paying to the state." Bloomberg

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Trump Administration Said To Open Trade Probe On Aluminum
The Trump administration plans to begin an investigation into whether a flood of aluminum imports is hindering national security, a White House official said. The investigation mirrors a probe the Commerce Department opened last week under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act targeting steel imports. A CNBC report on plans for the investigation sent aluminum stocks surging, with Century Aluminum Co. up 9.6 percent and Constellium NV up 2.1 percent at 2:16 pm New York time. Aluminum prices have gained about 16 percent this year, the best performance of the main metals traded in London. Last month, the U.S. Aluminum Association filed petitions alleging China dumped and subsidized certain aluminum foil imports and the government began an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation. Bloomberg

White House Briefs Senate Amid Scary Moment With North Korea
The Trump administration hosted senators for an extraordinary White House briefing Wednesday at a perilous moment with North Korea, marked by the unpredictable nation's nuclear threats and stern talk of military action, if necessary, from the United States. All 100 senators were invited and transported in buses for the unprecedented, classified briefing. President Donald Trump's secretary of state, defense secretary, top general and national intelligence director were to outline for them the North's escalating nuclear capabilities and U.S. response options, officials said. The briefing team was to meet later with House members in the Capitol. The unusual sessions don't necessarily presage the use of force along one of the world's most heavily militarized frontiers, and some lawmakers questioned whether the cross-Washington procession was largely show, with Trump expected to drop in on the Eisenhower Executive Office Building gathering of lawmakers. Las Vegas Sun

Paul Ryan: New Revisions Are Winning Support For GOP Health Bill
A proposal to revive the stalled Republican health care bill is gaining support, Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday, but he stopped short of saying the plan has garnered the votes the GOP would need to finally push the high-profile measure through the House. Ryan spoke to reporters after leaders briefed rank-and-file Republicans on details of changes to the legislation aimed at breathing life back into one of President Donald Trump's premier but most problematic priorities. While there are indications that the revisions appeal to conservatives, some of them were still balking and there was little evidence that it was winning backing from moderates, leaving the measure's fate uncertain. "We think it's very constructive" Ryan said of the proposed revisions. "I think it helps us get to consensus." The proposed changes would let states get federal waivers to some coverage requirements President Barack Obama's law imposed on insurers. Republicans want to repeal much of that statute. Las Vegas Sun

Proposed 'El Chapo Act' Would Pay For Border Wall With Drug Money
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced the "El Chapo Act," a bill that would use the estimated $14 billion in assets owned by Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán to build a border wall. "Today I introduced the El Chapo Act, which reserves billions in forfeited assets to pay for border security," Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. The Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act -- or the El Chapo Act -- makes reference to Guzmán, who was extradited from Mexico to the United States in January. Guzmán pleaded not guilty to 17 criminal charges related to his drug empire -- including corruption, murder, conspiracy, drug importation and money laundering. UPI News

Retired Gen. Randolph 'Tex' Alles To Lead Secret Service
President Donald Trump selected retired Marine Corps Gen. Randolph "Tex" Alles as director of the Secret Service, the White House announced. Alles was the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency's acting deputy commissioner before he was sworn in on Tuesday, hours after the announcement of his appointment. Joseph P. Clancy, the agency's most recent permanent director, resigned in March so that Trump could choose his own head of the agency. Alles retired from the military in 2011 after a 35-year career as a major general. He will be the first Secret Service director in a century to have not served in the agency beforehand. His appointment will likely placate those who say the agency is in need of changes only an outsider could affect, The New York Times reported Wednesday. UPI News

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Syrian Government Made Sarin Used In Khan Sheikhoun, France Says
France says it has evidence showing the Syrian air force "undoubtedly" dropped bombs containing the nerve agent Sarin on a rebel-held town last month. Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters that samples taken from the scene bore the "signature" of Sarin produced by Syria's government. At least 87 people were killed in the incident in Khan Sheikhoun, according to an opposition-run health authority. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has dismissed it as a "fabrication". He insists the government has never used chemical weapons and that it turned over all of its stocks in 2013, after it was blamed by Western powers for a Sarin attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus that left hundreds dead. BBC

US Parks May Lose Federal Protection
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order requiring a review of environmental protections given to lands owned by the federal government. The order aims to shrink the borders of national monuments created by previous presidents, which Mr Trump called an "egregious abuse of federal power". Unlike national parks, which require an act of Congress, national monuments can be created by a presidential directive. However, a president does not currently have the right to abolish a monument. The White House intends to shrink the borders of existing national monuments that have drawn controversy from Republican lawmakers and the mining industry. BBC

US Commander Not Confident North Korea Will Refrain From Nuclear Assault
The US admiral in charge of a potential conflict with North Korea has said his goal is to bring Kim Jong-un “to his senses, not to his knees”, as the Trump administration signaled it intends to use economic and diplomatic pressure to denuclearize the peninsula. Tensions between the US and North Korea are white-hot ahead of an anticipated sixth nuclear test from Pyongyang and its accelerating long-range missile development. Donald Trump invited the entire US Senate to the White House on Wednesday afternoon for an unusual classified briefing on the situation. But the Trump administration struggled to explain any new strategy to rein in Kim Jong-un – just a week after the vice-president, Mike Pence, said that the “era of strategic patience is over”. Guardian

Homeland Security Unveils Trump's Controversial Immigrant Crime Office
The Trump administration has unveiled a controversial new office set up to support the victims of crimes committed solely by undocumented migrants, which was quickly labelled a device for “scapegoating immigrants” by advocates who pointed to numerous studies showing immigrants are significantly less likely to commit crime. The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, or Voice, was commissioned by Donald Trump in January through an executive order that also contained a host of hardline changes to immigration enforcement in the United States. The president was later booed by Democrats when he mentioned the new office during a speech to Congress in February. At a launch event in Washington, homeland security secretary John Kelly told reporters that the intention behind Voice was to “acknowledge the exceptional damage caused by criminal illegal aliens and to support the victims of these preventable crimes”. Guardian

'They Are Driving Us Mad': Donald Trump's Visit To Taormina In Sicily For G7 Summit Creating 'Security Nightmare'
Donald Trump's visit to Sicily's Taormina for the G7 summit is a "security nightmare" and it's reportedly driving Italian authorities "mad". Taormina's roads are too narrow and bendy for the US president's car and his motorcade longer than the distances it would have to cover during the summit, Italian newspaper La Repubblica said on Tuesday. The American secret service has been inspecting the roads of the former Arab fortress ahead of the May 26-27 summit, and are finding danger wherever they look, according to Italian media. Telegraph

Syria: UN Aid Officials Urge An End To Airstrikes On Hospitals
Following reports of airstrikes that damaged hospitals in northern Syria, two senior United Nations humanitarian officials today called for an end to such attacks. In a joint statement, Kevin Kennedy, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, said that “it is completely unacceptable that facilities and people who are trying to save lives are being bombed.” “The persistent and unceasing attacks on hospitals and medical facilities are one of the most egregious features of this war and have taken the lives of hundreds of medical personnel and deprived people in need of their most fundamental human right- the right to life. It must stop,” he added. UN News

Six Months Into Battle For Mosul, Water And Trauma Care Are Key UN And Partner Priorities
Safe drinking water is a major concern in Mosul, where a battle has been underway for the past six months to retake the city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the United Nations humanitarian arm has said. Some 450,000 people are currently displaced and the number continues “to increase rapidly,” the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Iraq said. Humanitarian partners are trucking water to eastern Mosul at a rate of 2.3 million litres every day. Nearly 28 neighbourhoods now have access to clean drinking water in the east. However, “in newly retaken areas of western Mosul city, water trucking has already begun on a small scale, but significant increase in scale is required,” OCHA said. UN News

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