Fight Features Rumblings Of Boehner Coup
House Speaker John Boehner faces a looming threat from conservatives to oust him as speaker, and it's tying his hands on funding the Department of Homeland Security.
Congress passed a one-week extension of funding just hours before the deadline on Friday night. It was that fear fueling Boehner's resistance to a longer-term bill, as it might prompt backlash from conservatives. President Barack Obama signed the bill, which funds the Department of Homeland Security through Friday. Two senior House Republican sources tell CNN there's a serious concern among those close to the Speaker that if he allowed a vote on a clean DHS funding bill, conservatives would make a motion to vacate the chair, a direct challenge to his job. CNN
VOA VIEW: It's time to vacate Boehner.
Averts Security Agency Shutdown With One-Week Spending Fix
The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Friday to a one-week stopgap spending bill for the domestic security agency, averting a partial shutdown with just hours to spare before a midnight deadline. After a chaotic day that featured an embarrassing rebuke to Republican House Speaker John Boehner from angry conservatives, the House voted 357-60 to keep the lights on at the Department of Homeland Security for at least one more week. The Senate had already passed the one-week extension a few hours earlier. President Barack Obama was expected to quickly sign it. Reuters
Lectures GOP On ‘Legislative Process’ Over DHS Bill
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor on Friday to lecture Republicans for refusing to accept Senate language in the Department of Homeland Security funding bill. “Do you not understand the legislative process?” Ms. Pelosi asked in a C-SPAN video posted by Mediaite Friday. The California Democrat blasted Republicans for letting “negative attitudes” towards the president impact DHS funding. “Negative attitudes towards President Obama have so overwhelmed you that you are willing to jeopardize the national security of our country, the homeland security of our country,” the California Democrat said. “You are standing in the way, and using immigration as the excuse,” Ms. Pelosi said. “For some of you it may be a reason, maybe it is or some of you. But for some of you it is an excuse and for all of you it is a shame.” Washington Times
Presidential Chances Threatened By Her Own Blundering
A popular theme on Planet Clinton is that poor Hillary is always in mortal danger of being undone by her charming cad of a hubby. “She can’t control him” is how insiders express their fear that Bubba will have a bimbo eruption and crash the coronation. On a long list of possibilities, that scenario must be included. But my reading of the Clinton Chronicles points to a much bigger threat to the restoration of the family monarchy. That would be the stumbling performance of the lady herself.
On top of the tactical blunders, there was an overarching reason why sure victory eluded Hillary Clinton in 2008. She simply was not a very appealing candidate, offering neither charisma nor a compelling message. She ran with a sense of entitlement that the Oval Office was owed to her. NY Post
VOA VIEW: The US cannot take a Hillary after the 8 devasting years of Obama.
Pot-Tour Startups See Wine-Industry Future
Jill Lane, master grower at Sky High Gardens on Seattle’s Harbor Island, uncaps jar after jar of golf-ball-size marijuana buds and allows her guests sniffs of Bubblicious, Super Silver Goo and Green Crack. “What kind of high is that?” asks Louise Avery, gesturing to one of the jars. “This is for daytime: taking a hike. Beach volleyball,” explains Lane to the group of visitors with Kush Tourism, a Seattle-based cannabis company. Lane continues describing strains as if the visitors surrounding the table were middle-age women in a Yankee Candle store. Chocolate heaven, she tells the group, is “earthy and dank.” Seattle Haze is subtle: “If you have a joint in your purse or pocket, you’re not going to announce it to the world.” Dutch Treat “almost smells like B.O. … like somebody forgot to shower.” Seattle Times
Plane, Many Discoveries In Yearlong Search For Flight 370
The yearlong search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has turned up no sign of the plane, but that doesn't mean it's been unproductive. It has yielded lessons and discoveries that could benefit millions, including coastal Australians, air and sea travelers and scientists trying to understand ancient changes to the earth's crust. The knowledge gained so far is of little comfort to family and friends of the 239 people still missing from the plane, which vanished last March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. While finding the plane remains the top priority for searchers and investigators, what they're learning along the way may prove valuable long after the search ends. Tampa Tribune
Fear Puts Sierra Leone Vice President In Quarantine
Sierra Leone's vice president has put himself in quarantine following the death from Ebola of one of his security guards. Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana voluntarily decided to quarantine himself for 21 days following the death from Ebola last Tuesday of one of his security personnel, according to a report issued late Saturday by the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation. Sam-Sumana called on all those who have been in contact with the dead man to also put themselves in quarantine, said the report. Sun Sentinel
Injury To Suspect As Child Could Be Used By Defense
A 19-year-old man charged with murder in the killing of a Las Vegas mother in a neighborhood gunbattle suffered a fractured skull as an infant — an injury that lawyers said could become a factor in the case. Erich Milton Nowsch Jr.'s father pleaded guilty in 1996 to child abuse for the injury, according to archived Clark County District Court documents reviewed by The Associated Press. The father killed himself in 2010 at 39 when his son was 14. Attorney Augustus Claus said he wants to investigate the extent and effect of the injury on Nowsch before deciding whether to use it in his client's murder defense. "Obviously, an injury like that has potential for long-term consequences," Claus said. Las Vegas Sun
Call GOP Homeland Security Strategy A Political Blunder
Democrats are losing some skirmishes over the Department of Homeland Security, but many feel they are winning a political war that will haunt Republicans in 2016 and beyond. Democrats lacked the votes Friday to force Republicans to fund the department for a year with no strings. Still, even some Republicans say party leaders are on a perilous path with a very public ideological struggle only highlighting the GOP's inability to pass contested legislation and possibly worsening its weak relationship with Hispanic voters. Worst of all, numerous lawmakers said, Republican leaders have offered no plausible scenario for a successful ending, so they simply are delaying an almost certain and embarrassing defeat. Las Vegas Sun
Finds Evidence Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is A Biological Illness
Researchers from Columbia University and elsewhere have found evidence Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, officially known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), is a biological illness. The researchers used data from two studies comprised of a total of 298 ME/CFS patients and 348 healthy controls to find 51 immune biomarkers in blood plasma samples that identify biological patterns related to the illness. Symptoms for the illness include extreme fatigue and reoccurring headaches. Over two million Americans are said to suffer from it. "We now have evidence confirming what millions of people with this disease already know, that ME/CFS isn't psychological," states lead author Mady Hornig, MD, director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity and associate professor of Epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School. UPI
Rift Widens Over Netanyahu Visit, Concerns Mount
American Jewish leaders and activists are worried about widening political divisions between Israel and the White House sparked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial address to Congress on Tuesday despite strident objections by President Obama. Many are concerned about the threat to Israel from Iran's nuclear program and the prospect of a weak deal with the United States to curb it, an issue on which Netanyahu has been an outspoken Obama critic. Even so, they believe Netanyahu's unrestrained attacks on the White House and in-your-face visit jeopardizes the close ties Israel has long enjoyed with the United States. "People are upset about it,'' said Rob Eshman, publisher and editor in chief of the Jewish Journal, a Los Angeles-based publication and website. "They're obviously concerned about Iran and want a good deal and think it's really unfortunate that Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing this — creating a conflict outside the existing conflict." USA Today
VOA VIEW: Eshman is a quack alleged journalist.
To Shrink U.S. Embassy Staff, Require Tourist Visas
Venezuela will shrink the size of the U.S. Embassy staff, limit the activities of U.S. diplomats and require American citizens to apply for visas if they want to come bask on the beach. Speaking before a crowd that rallied to protest imperialism, President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday that “gringo” meddling had forced him to adopt the series of restrictive measures, which include requiring U.S. diplomats to seek approval from the Foreign Ministry for meetings they conduct here. Maduro said he was imposing the new tourist visa requirement for national security reasons, saying that in recent days authorities had detained several U.S. citizens who he alleged were involved in espionage, including an American pilot. The president and other officials gave no specific information on any Americans in custody, and the U.S. Embassy did not respond to a request for comment. Earlier in the day, Venezuela released four missionaries from North Dakota who had been detained several days ago for unknown reasons. They were banned from coming back for two years. Washington Post
Paul Wins CPAC Straw poll, with Scott Walker A Close Second
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took the top spot for the third year in a row at Saturday’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, edging out Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) as the favorite in the last CPAC presidential preference contest before primary voting begins. Paul had been the prohibitive favorite heading into this year’s balloting, which featured 17 candidates. More than 3,000 attendees voted, a 20 percent increase over 2014's turnout. Hundreds of Paul fans had streamed in from across the country for the multi-day event in National Harbor, Md -- but his percentage of the vote actually dropped, to 25.7 percent, from 31 percent in 2014. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) had made a major effort, sponsoring buses that brought supporters in from Washington, D.C. to Maryland and paying entry fees for some supporters – a push that brought him a fifth-place showing. Wawshington Post
Sets Stage for Massive Buyback, Dividends After Decade
Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is sitting on about $63 billion in cash, told shareholders to expect a dividend or stock buybacks, as long as they’re prepared to hold the shares for a decade or more. “Eventually -- probably between 10 and 20 years from now - - Berkshire’s earnings and capital resources will reach a level that will not allow management to intelligently reinvest all of the company’s earnings,” Buffett wrote in his annual letter to shareholders Saturday. “Our directors will need to determine whether the best method to distribute the excess earnings is through dividends, share repurchases or both.” Bloomberg
Steps Up Easing With Second Rate Cut In Three Months
China’s central bank cut benchmark interest rates for the second time in three months as disinflation gives room to step up support for the nation’s slowing economy.
The one-year deposit rate will be lowered by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent and the one-year lending rate will also drop by a quarter percentage point to 5.35 percent on March 1, the Beijing-based People’s Bank of China said on its website late Saturday. The move reflects deepening concern over an economy squeezed by a property slump, tighter controls over local government debt and rising capital outflows. Bloomberg
Airlines Warns Pilots After 'Major Safety Events And Near-Misses'
United Airlines officials sent a scathing safety warning to pilots, chastising them for "major safety events and near-misses" and demanding they pay closer attention while operating the aircraft. The memo, sent by Howard Attarian, senior vice president of flight operations, and Mike Quiello, vice president of corporate safety, said there have been a series of serious incidents that raise concerns. That includes one in which a pilot had to do an emergency pull-up maneuver when the plane got too close to the ground and another where the aircraft left in an "undesirable aircraft state" and arrived with low fuel. UPI
Martin's Father: 'Change Laws'
Attention and protests have flared anew with the U.S. Justice Department's decision last week not to prosecute the former town-watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. "It's good to protest," said Tracy Martin, the victim's father, who spoke at an event Saturday night at Arcadia University in Glenside, "but at some point, the protests have to do more. We have to change laws." He was participating in a public discussion about his son's legacy at the event, called "Letters to Trayvon: A Celebration of Black Men and Boys," which about 100 people attended. Attention and protests have flared anew with the U.S. Justice Department's decision last week not to prosecute the former town-watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed African American teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. Philadelphia Inquirer
VOA VIEW: Trayvon was not a victim - he was a law breaker.
Facebook has evolved from a fun social media diversion to an integral part of many user’s lives. Now, the company announced Wednesday a new feature update that aims to aid suicide prevention. The tool allows users to anonymously flag posts by friends that they believe indicate the potential for self-harm. After Facebook reviews the report, your friend will be encouraged to connect with an expert in addition to offering options to contact you, another friend or a suicide helpline. Boston Globe
Gets Snow; California Also Getting Rain
Parts of the Southwest dealt with a second day of snow Saturday, while a storm moved across areas of California and brought much-needed precipitation. Sections of central and northern New Mexico received a record-breaking snowfall Friday and Saturday with more expected throughout the weekend, weather officials said. More snow and rain is expected in the state's north-central and northwest areas, with the impact hitting the northern mountains, meteorologist Todd Shoemake said. lbuquerque, however, was getting a lighter snowfall Saturday, though residents might not be able to tell. "Most of Albuquerque has had anywhere from 4 to 10 inches of snow. It's really kind of crippled the city," Shoemake said. Houston Chronicle
Stream Changes Linked To Rising Sea Level
The Gulf Stream is a large ocean current that runs along the East Coast and makes up part of the larger current system that extends from the Caribbean to the North Atlantic. The Gulf Stream transports warm, equatorial waters to the colder, northern regions and acts as a habitat for many open-ocean fish. North Carolina provides the easiest access to the current – at approximately 15 miles from Cape Hatteras, where sport fishermen frequently catch king mackerel, mahimahi and blue marlin. Additionally, beachgoers can enjoy swimming in the warm ocean waters that the Gulf Stream brings to our coast. Last summer, I had the opportunity to conduct independent research at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility in Miami. This research involved looking at 16 years of ocean-monitoring data to determine how the Gulf Stream is changing in connection to sea level rise along the East Coast. Charlotte Observer
Writer Hacked To Death In Bangladesh Spoke Out Against Extremists
In his writings, author Avijit Roy yearned for reason and humanism guided by science. He had no place for religious dogma, including from Islam, the main religion of his native Bangladesh. Extremists resented him for openly and regularly criticizing religion in his blog. They threatened to kill him if he came home from the United States to visit. On Thursday, someone did. As usual, Roy defied the threats and departed his home in suburban Atlanta for Dhaka, where he appeared at a speaking engagement about his latest books -- one of them titled "The Virus of Faith." He has written seven books in all. As he walked back from the book fair, assailants plunged machetes and knives into Roy and his wife, killing him and leaving her bloodied and missing a finger. Afterward, an Islamist group "Ansar Bangla-7" reportedly tweeted, "Target Down here in Bangladesh." CNN
Republicans, A Shift To National Security Ahead Of 2016
If this week was any indication, Republicans could spend much of the 2016 presidential election attacking Democrats as weak on national security, rather than focusing on the economic concerns that have preoccupied voters in recent years. The shift reflects a changing political landscape as the U.S. economy has steadily added jobs while gruesome beheading videos by Islamic State and increasing conflict in countries such as Syria and Libya have revived Americans' concerns about security threats. Such a focus also provides plenty of opportunities to attack Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic front-runner who as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 was the public face of President Barack Obama's effort to emphasize diplomacy over armed confrontation. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Obama is a loser on all counts.
Netanyahu On Collision Course 6 Years In The Making
For six years, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been on a collision course over how to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions, a high-stakes endeavor both men see as a centerpiece of their legacies. The coming weeks will put the relationship between their countries, which otherwise remain stalwart allies, to one of its toughest tests. Netanyahu is bound for Washington for an address to Congress on Tuesday aimed squarely at derailing Obama's cherished bid for a diplomatic deal with Tehran. At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry and other international negotiators will be in Switzerland for talks with the Iranians, trying for a framework agreement before a late March deadline. ABC
PM Denies Greek Counterpart's "Overthrow" Claim
Spain's prime minister has responded angrily to his Greek counterpart's claim that Spain and Portugal have formed "an axis of forces" trying to overthrow Greece's government. Speaking Sunday in Andalusia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said neither Spain nor Portugal were "responsible for the frustration" that Greece's new government led by the Syriza party had generated. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had singled out the Iberian countries as "aggressive European conservative forces" whose plan was "the wear and tear of our government" and its overthrow. San Diego Union
The Smoke Around Teen E-Cigarette Use
Efforts abound to curb rising trend of e-cigarette use among teens, but questions remain about what actions with be most effective. No one says publicly that they want teens to start using e-cigarettes. Nor do most argue about statistics that show that youth have been flocking to this funky alternative to tobacco. The controversy in many state legislatures centers on what to do about it. Last year, for the first time, more U.S. teens used e-cigarettes than smoked, 17 percent vs. 14 percent, according to a University of Michigan study, making it clear that state-enforced age limits alone don't work. Thus far, the Food and Drug Administration has opted not to act. So some states, including Indiana, are trying piecemeal solutions to keep vaping out of young hands, from increasing taxes to closer regulation of the industry. Indy Star
Bush Exploits Non-Candidate Status To Rewrite Campaign Finance Playbook
As Jeb Bush continues a torrid fundraising schedule across the country, he is pushing new boundaries of campaign finance law, exploiting his status as a noncandidate to avoid contribution limits and amass a cash pile already in the tens of millions. The effort, which supporters call “shock and awe,” is designed to assert Bush’s dominance in the 2016 Republican presidential field, but it also represents a new chapter in the era of unlimited money in politics and raises numerous questions, beginning with the most basic: Miami Herald
SUVs, Pricey Sports Cars Dominate At Geneva Auto Show
Small SUVs for families and powerful sports cars for the rich are the big things this year at the Geneva International Motor Show this year. Environmentally correct electrics and hybrids, not so much — thanks to cheaper gas and limits on battery life. Here are the major themes for the March 5-15 show: Analysts say this show is more about the search for hit vehicles than new technology, since automakers are trying to boost sales as Europe slowly recovers from its debt crisis. Car registrations in the 28-country European Union increased 5.4 percent last year to 12.5 million, but remain woefully below their peak of around 16 million in 2007. High unemployment and weak growth are still holding back the industry, despite 17 straight months of increasing sales. SF Gate
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Won't Be Silenced Over Obama Administration's Proposed Ammo Ban
Lawmakers are firing back at a proposal by the Obama administration to ban one of the most common bullets used with the popular AR-15 rifle, with more than 100 members of Congress signing a letter opposing the move on ammo. Word of the proposal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ban .223 M855 “green tip” ammunition came out on Thursday and prompted an immediate backlash from sportsmen. House members from both parties and some law enforcement officials were not far behind. “[The ban] will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes,” reads the letter signed by lawmakers and addressed to ATF director Todd Jones. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama is anti America and the Constitution.
Drone Strike In Yemen Kills 3 Suspected Al-Qaida Fighters
A suspected U.S. drone strike Saturday in central Yemen killed three men believed to be al-Qaida militants, security officials said. The officials said the attack took place in the town of Bihan in Yemen's Shabwa province and that the nationalities of the men killed had not been established. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists. The U.S. has launched several strikes in recent weeks, reflecting Washington's resolve to keep fighting the militants despite Yemen's political paralysis. A Shiite rebel power grab forced the president to flee the capital and run the country from the southern city of Aden.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as its Yemeni affiliate is known, is considered by Washington as the network's most dangerous franchise. ABC
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At Western Wall: I Respect Obama, But It's My Duty To Ensure Israel's Security
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to the Western Wall Saturday night, just hours before flying to Washington on one of the the most contentious visits there by an Israeli prime minister in recent memory. With the Wall as his backdrop, Netanyahu said that he wanted to visit Judaism's holiest site before embarking on his trip Sunday morning to Washington where his scheduled speech before Congress on Tuesday has placed him at loggerheads with the White House. “I want to take this opportunity to say that I respect US President Barack Obama,” he stressed. “I believe in the strength of the relationship between Israel and the US and in their strength to overcome differences of opinion, those that have been and those that will yet be. Jeruslaem Post
Asks US For Extra Missile Defense Funds
Israel has asked the US Congress for an additional $317 million for missile defense systems, Bloomberg reported on Saturday. The funds were reportedly requested for the David's Sling and Arrow 3 systems. Israeli defense officials declined to comment on the report. According to Bloomberg, the request for funds is on top of the $158 million earmarked by President Barack Obama for Israeli air defense programs. "Israel’s latest lobbying on Capitol Hill, instead of through the White House and Pentagon, comes at a low point in political relations between the US and Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress on March 3 to derail what he calls an emerging 'bad deal' by the Obama administration to curb Iran’s nuclear program," the Bloomberg report said. Jerusalem Post
US Growth Revised
Down To 2.2%
The slowdown in the US economy at the end of last year was more pronounced than previously thought, official figures have shown. The world's largest economy grew at an annual pace of 2.2% between October and December, against a previous estimate of 2.6%, the Commerce Department said. The downward revision was due to a slower rise in business inventory investment than previously estimated. The US economy grew at an annual pace of 5% in the previous quarter. The slowdown in growth from the third quarter was caused by a rise in imports and a downturn in government spending. The second estimate of US growth is based on a more complete source of economic data. BBC
VOA VIEW: The numbers are less.
State: Iraq Minorities 'Threatened With Eradication'
A report details summary executions, forced conversions, rape and other abuses suffered by minorities. Such acts are tantamount to war crimes, and in some cases, genocide, it argues. Iraqi minorities face a "threat to their existence", said the Institute of International Law and Human Rights (IILHR), one of the groups involved.
Focusing on Iraq's Christian, Kaka'i, Shabak, Turkmen and Yazidi populations, the report looks at their plight after the fall of Mosul to IS in June 2014, a key point in the rise of a group that now controls swathes of the country. Minorities were soon targeted, the report details. Christians were told to leave Mosul or face execution. BBC
Task Force Launches 20 Air Strikes In Continued Attacks On Isis
US-led coalition forces have launched 11 air strikes in Iraq and nine in Syria since early on Friday, the Combined Joint Task Force said on Saturday. The strikes targeted Islamic State (Isis) fighters and positions in both countries and were part of long-running air campaigns against the militants, who have conquered large areas of territory since last summer. Strikes began in Iraq on 8 August and in Syria, which is racked by civil war, on 23 September. Four of the strikes in Syria since Friday hit Isis positions near the border town of Kobani, the task force said in a statement. In Iraq, the coalition launched four strikes near the town of al-Asad and three near Mosul, an Isis occupied town which is the target of a reported impending offensive by Iraqi forces. Guardian
Shows Republican Must Stake Out New Territory To Win 2016 Election
Nearly 30 years after he left office, the ghost of Ronald Reagan was summoned to the CPAC stage on an almost hourly basis, as speaker after speaker lined up to bash Obama's America and lament the passing of Reagan's mythical "shining city on a hill". As Republicans consider how they will win the 2016 general election – after losing five of the last six popular votes – it was remarkable how little time potential candidates spent enunciating what a new American century might actually look like under Republican leadership. For two days a longlist of potential nominees to take on Hillary Clinton in 2016 pandered to an audience of pitchfork political activists that rejoice in defending what's left of old, white, God-fearing America rather than seizing territory that is new. Telegraph
Syria's Christians Stopped Turning The Other Cheek
Like many of Syria’s warriors, Kino Gabriel was a student four years ago, training to be a dentist. Like many other Syrians, he resisted the call to war, until he saw the threat to the towns and villages where he grew up and worshipped. Like countless thousands, he soon found himself, gun in hand, snow falling in the bitter Syrian winter, fighting for his life, claiming his first kills. Mr Gabriel, though, is a rarity in this remorseless conflict. He is a Christian, a member of a minority that in both Syrian and Iraqi wars has tried desperately to stay on the sidelines. No longer. Christian militias have existed for a number of years, sometimes patrolling neighbourhoods, sometimes venturing further afield. But now they are engaged in their first major battle. For the last week, they have been fighting the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across a major front in north-west Syria, in alliance with the YPG, the Kurdish defence forces. They have had mixed fortunes, but the battle has energised Middle East Christians worldwide - many of them exiles who fled the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq. Telegraph
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