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NEWS   MONDAY, OCTOBER  23, 2017   NEWS

Mueller’s top gun in Trump-Russia case is known for hardball tactics and overturned outcomes
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray was an assistant attorney general in 2004 when he heaped praise on an ambitious Mafia-tested prosecutor while promoting him to the top of the Justice Department’s high-profile Enron task force. Mr. Wray specifically lauded Andrew Weissmann for obtaining convictions against two Enron clients: accounting giant Arthur Andersen and executives at banking dynamo Merrill Lynch. Andersen was finished as a company; four Merrill executives went to prison. Today, Mr. Weissmann stands as special counsel Robert Mueller’s top gun in a squadron of nearly 20 prosecutors and scores of FBI agents delving into Trump-Russia. Mr. Weissmann is leading the probe into the biggest target to date, Paul Manafort, President Trump’s onetime campaign manager. Washtington Times
VOA VIEW: Mueller is costing the US and is not as clean as being reported.

Afghan troops go AWOL in U.S.
More than 150 Afghan troops brought to the U.S. for military training have gone AWOL since 2005, with 13 of them still unaccounted for and perhaps living here as illegal immigrants now, an inspector general said in a new report Friday. Part of the problem is that the U.S. never puts the trainees through an in-person interview and exempts them from registering as aliens when they arrive — both steps that other visitors would normally have to go through. In-person interviews and requiring the troops to register beforehand would help the government gauge whether someone is likely to go absent without leave, and would give immigration officers information about relatives in the U.S. as starting points when someone does go AWOL, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: It shows the way friendship is repaid..

38 women have accused director James Toback of sexual harassment
Add another Hollywood figure to the list of men in power accused of sexually harassing women. Writer/director James Toback, 72, has been called out by 38 women, many giving graphic details of their alleged encounters in a story published early Sunday by the Los Angeles Times. The allegations arrive as the Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to roil Hollywood. Weinstein, co-founder of Oscar-winning movie production company The Weinstein Company, is in treatment after accusations that he sexually harassed and assaulted women in Hollywood, including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong'o and dozens more. USA Today

Trump sees 'great spirit' for tax reform plan
 President Trump and aides expressed confidence Sunday they have the votes for a major overhaul of the tax system, despite a few warnings from lawmakers about certain aspects of the plan. In an interview broadcast Sunday on Fox News, Trump said the legislative setbacks suffered by him and Republicans during their efforts to pass a new health care plan won't affect the prospects of a tax cut. "I want to get it by the end of the year, but I’d be very disappointed if it took that long," Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Republicans future depends on tax reform.

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All five living ex-presidents reunite at Texas A&M for benefit concert, plus Lady Gaga
"Hello, Mr. President. Hello, Mr. President. Hello, Mr. President. Hello, Mr. President. Hello, Mr. President." Lady Gaga ribbed the reunion of all five living ex-presidents at Saturday night's hurricane relief concert by addressing each one with a different inflection. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama visited Texas A&M University Saturday to attend "Deep From the Heart," a benefit concert organized by One America Appeal. The ex-presidents launched the One America Appeal campaign in September to raise money for people impacted by hurricanes in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. Dallas News

Rep. Maxine Waters says she wants to 'take out' Trump
Leftist hero Rep. Maxine Waters lumped HUD Secretary Ben Carson in with white nationalists in her latest attack on the Trump administration #Tucker Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, a leader in the resist-Trump movement, recently told a New York audience that she will “take out” the president, a video posted online last week shows. “Wow, what a moving evening this is,” Waters is heard saying in the video of an Oct. 13 event at the Ali Forney Center in New York City. “I’m sitting here listening, watching, absorbing, thinking about Ali even though I never met him. And with this kind of inspiration, I will go and take Trump out tonight,” the California lawmaker said as the crowd cheered. Waters has suggested several times in past months that Trump should be impeached, most recently over his argument that NFL players should stop kneeling for the national anthem, a movement started in protest of police mistreatment of African-Americans. Fox
VOA VIEW: Waters is out of her mind.

House also probing Obama-era Uranium One deal, DeSantis says
The House Oversight committee has started looking into an Obama-era deal in which a Russian-backed company bought a uranium firm with mines in the U.S., Rep. Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Sunday, adding that he’s spoken with the federal government’s “confidential informant” on the matter. The uranium agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and some investors in the Russian-backed company, Uranium One, had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated to the Clinton Foundation. “I’ve spoken with the confidential informant that helped the FBI uncover this bribery scheme,” DeSantis, R-Fla., a member of the oversight committee, told “America’s News Headquarters.” Fox
VOA VIEW: Unfortunately, Hillary won't be punished for her illegal acts.

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Tech giants face Congress as showdown over Russia election meddling looms
A showdown is looming in Washington between Congress and the powerful social media companies that have helped define the current unsettled age in western democracies. The immediate issue before the Senate and the House intelligence committees, which have summoned representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google to appear on 1 November, is to determine the extent the companies were used in a multi-pronged Russian operation to influence the 2016 presidential election. All three companies have admitted that Russian entities bought ads on their sites in an effort to skew the vote. In Facebook’s case, ads pushing divisive messages were bought by fake American accounts and focused on swing states. On Twitter, vast armies of automated user accounts – “bots” – and fake users helped promote fake news stories, damaging to Hillary Clinton and favourable to Donald Trump. Russian-funded accounts spread bogus stories across the Google search engine and its subsidiary YouTube. Guardian

Jimmy Carter says he is willing to go to North Korea on peace mission
In an interview marked by conciliatory remarks regarding Donald Trump and his administration, Jimmy Carter said he was willing to travel to North Korea in an attempt to soften tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Speaking to the New York Times mostly about foreign policy, the 93-year-old former president also said Trump was not solely to blame for damage to America’s world image. “The media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” he said. “I think they feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.” Guardian
VOA VIEW: Carter is an idiot.

Kelly might not be like Trump, but he seems like many Trump voters
In the roughly three months since President Trump chose John F. Kelly as his second chief of staff, observers have puzzled over the retired Marine general’s occasional scowls and downcast gazes, wondering whether he and Trump, with such different styles and backgrounds, perhaps weren’t working well together. Kelly, the military man trained to respect sharp lines of authority and tradition, uses terms like “information flow” to describe the discipline he tries to bring to a chaotic White House. Trump, the impulsive businessman and reality-show veteran, delights in flouting authority and upending norms of the presidency. The moments in Kelly’s unexpected commentary that clarified that view came near the end, when he was criticizing Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat who had criticized Trump as insensitive in his call to a military widow, as an example of a larger problem with the state of American culture and politics. LA Times
VOA VIEW: The liberal media is twisting the facts.

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As Trump looms over the race, Virginia tests whether an establishment Republican can succeed
A decade before Donald Trump upended national politics, Ed Gillespie was among the establishment Republicans counseling his party’s candidates to tread gently on the issue of immigration or risk ruination by alienating Latinos. Now he is Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor, sounding remarkably like Trump as he speaks from a hay bale-laden stage at the Washington County fairgrounds in southwest Virginia. The president won 75% of the vote in this part of the state, and Gillespie is trying to prove that an establishment Republican still can succeed under the shadow of Trump. LA Times
VOA VIEW: A Republican is the best bet for the state and country.

EPA cancels appearance of scientists at Rhode Island event
The Environmental Protection Agency has canceled the appearance of three scientists at an event on Monday in Rhode Island about a report, which deals in part with climate change. The New York Times reports EPA spokesman John Konkus confirmed on Sunday that agency scientists would not be speaking at the event in Providence. Konkus did not provide an explanation. The event is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, which forms New England's largest estuary. A spokesman for Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island says the event will go on as planned and the report that EPA scientists helped work on will be released. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: What is being hiden?

NYC to test restricting deliveries to cut down on congestion
New York City will test a pilot program limiting curbside delivery in certain high-traffic commercial zones during peak commuting hours to ease congestion. Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the effort Sunday as part of initiatives the city is undertaking to help get traffic moving more easily. He says the pilot will run for six months starting in January in specific sections of midtown Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Curbside deliveries from parked and sometimes double-parked trucks and other vehicles won't be allowed during morning and evening rush hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Las Vegas Sun

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Boris Johnson: Donald Trump has an 'absolute duty' to prepare for military intervention in North Korea
Donald Trump has an "absolute duty" to prepare for military intervention against North Korea in the face of the mounting nuclear threat posed by the regime, Boris Johnson will say. The Foreign Secretary will warn that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is on the verge of acquiring that capability of "make good his threat" to reduce New York to "ashes". It comes after the US President yesterday said that the US is "totally prepared" for war with North Korea as he increased the US military presence in North Korea. He has previously threatened to unleash "fire and fury". Mr Johnson, speaking at the annual Chatham House conference in London, will say: "I am afraid that the US President – whoever he or she might be – will have an absolute duty to prepare any option to keep safe not only the American people but all those who have sheltered under the American nuclear umbrella." Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Trump is protecting the US, while Democrats are hurting us.

Pollution kills 9 million a year, costs $4.6 trillion
Environmental pollution — from filthy air to contaminated water — is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 — about 9 million — could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study released Thursday in the Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses — or about 6.2 percent of the global economy. The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined. Seattle Times

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Still Waiting for FEMA in Texas and Florida After Hurricanes
Outside Rachel Roberts’s house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads “Waiting on FEMA.” It is a Halloween reminder that, for many, getting help to recover from Hurricane Harvey remains a long, uncertain journey. Outside the White House this month, President Trump boasted about the federal relief efforts. “In Texas and in Florida, we get an A-plus,” he said. FEMA officials say that they are successfully dealing with enormous challenges posed by an onslaught of closely spaced disasters, unlike anything the agency has seen in years. But on the ground, flooded residents and local officials have a far more critical view. NY Times

U.S. Army deserter Bergdahl faces life in prison as sentencing hearing opens
A sentencing hearing begins on Monday to determine the fate of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who could face life in prison after pleading guilty to deserting his duties in Afghanistan in June 2009 and endangering the lives of fellow troops. During his absence, the Idaho native was captured by the Taliban and spent the next five years suffering torture, abuse and neglect in captivity. A Taliban prisoner swap won his release in 2014, a move that drew derision from within the military and the Republican Party. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Bergdahl should not ever be free.

 Security costs skyrocket at 'lightning rod' EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency is beefing up security measures surrounding Administrator Scott Pruitt to an unprecedented level, CNN has learned, as members of Congress are asking if the costs are a "potential waste or abuse of taxpayer dollars." Pruitt's security detail is in the process of expanding by hiring a dozen more agents, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, as the number of threats against the agency leader increase. The incoming agents will grow the team that works in shifts to provide him around-the-clock protection, something unheard of for Pruitt's predecessors.  Salaries alone for the full team will cost at least $2 million per year, according to figures compiled by CNN from public documents. The numbers do not include costs such as training, equipment, and travel. CNN

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Japanese Prime Minister Abe heads to impressive election win
Japan's ruling coalition appeared headed to an impressive win in national elections in what would represent an endorsement for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nearly five-year leadership. A victory would boost Abe's chances of winning another three-year term next September as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. That could extend his premiership to 2021, giving him more time to try to win a reluctant public over to his longtime goal of revising Japan's pacifist constitution. Hosuton Chronicle

WHO rescinds Robert Mugabe's goodwill ambassador status
The World Health Organization rescinded Zimbabwe's controversial longtime President Robert Mugabe's status as a goodwill ambassador on Sunday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a statement announcing the removal of Mugabe's goodwill ambassador status after he conferred with international health groups. UPI

Spain's foreign minister denies a 'coup' in Catalonia
Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis denied accusations that the government's plans to oust Catalonian leaders amounts to a "coup." Dastis told the BBC he strongly disagrees with Carme Forcadell, who said the plans announced Saturday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government were a "de facto coup d'etat." If anyone has attempted a coup, it is the Catalan regional government," Dastis said. Forcadell said Saturday Rajoy had "announced a de facto coup d'etat with which he aims to take over Catalan institutions. Rajoy announced Saturday that he plans to begin removing Catalonia's leaders from office, including President Carles Puigdemont, and take control of the region amid a drive for independence. UPI

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