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Some Risk, More Reward For CEOs Embracing Trump's Sit-Down Meetings
American CEOs were back at the White House Thursday, and this time it was manufacturing chiefs making the trip, as business leaders continue to embrace the chance for a seat at the table in D.C. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and cabinet members were on hand for talks covering deregulation, tax reform, trade, infrastructure, job training and the workforce of the future, according to the White House. The meeting included the CEOs from Dow Chemical (DOW), United Technologies (UTX), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Caterpillar (CAT) and a host of others. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Business is what makes and pays America.

Dakota Pipeline Camp Raided After Protesters Defy Deadline, Refuse To Leave
Police in riot gear began arresting the last remaining protesters at a makeshift camp in North Dakota on Thursday after they defied several orders to leave the area. It’s unclear if any protesters remained at the camp after the police officers raided it. The raids came after the eviction orders were unenforced for at least a day. Hundreds left peacefully on Wednesday after the 2 p.m. deadline, and 10 were arrested hours later after they taunted cops. But out of the tens of thousands that once called this prairie home, Gov. Doug Burgum said late Wednesday that 50 remained. Fox News

Hill GOP Asks Governors To Help Save Obamacare Repeal
Congressional Republicans struggling over how to repeal Obamacare are stuck on a key problem: what to do with the millions of people in 31 states covered under the dramatic expansion of Medicaid the law enabled. So they have privately turned to a handful of governors to help resolve the issue -- including Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich, according to several sources involved in the talks. The hope, according to congressional sources, is to let the governors cut a deal on an issue that directly impacts their states and let the White House and Republican leaders endorse the plan that eventually emerges. CNN
VOA VIEW: Time will tell.

Trump On Deportations: 'It's A Military Operation'
President Donald Trump, meeting with business leaders at the White House on Thursday, described his administration's moves to deport undocumented immigrants as a "military operation," a label that runs counter to what his administration has previously said. Trump has used a series of executive orders to chip away at the barriers to deportations and hire new law enforcement officials to spearhead the effort, using the Department of Homeland Security to live up to the President's tough talk on undocumented immigration during the 2016 campaign. "We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before," Trump said Thursday. "And they're the bad ones. And it's a military operation." He added: "You see what's happening at the border. All of a sudden for the first time, we're getting gang members out. We're getting drug lords out." CNN
VOA VIEW: Military operation style - CNN exploits all and constantly loses.


Ted Cruz At CPAC: Thank You, Harry Reid, For The ‘Most Conservative Cabinet In Decades’
Holding a “Conversation about the Constitution” with talk-radio host Mark Levin at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), thanked former Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for curbing the ability of the Senate to filibuster the confirmation of presidential appointments. “It is a direct result of Harry Reid,” Sen. Cruz said, “that we now have the most conservative cabinet in decades.” CNS News

Trump's Reversal Of Bathroom/Shower Mandate Is A Victory For Parents, Kids
Action taken by the Trump administration to reverse an Obama administration mandate that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and showers that coincide with their "gender identity," not their biological sex, is a "victory for parents, children and privacy," said the Family Research Council (FRC) on Feb. 22.
The FRC also said their step, made specifically by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, "fulfills President Trump's campaign promise to get the federal government out of the business of dictating school shower and bathroom policies." CNS News

Trump Wants To Expand U.S. Nuclear Arsenal, Make It 'Top Of The Pack'
President Donald Trump said on Thursday he wants to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the "top of the pack," saying the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity. In a Reuters interview, Trump also said China could solve the national security challenge posed by North Korea "very easily if they want to," ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to exert more influence to rein in Pyongyang's increasingly bellicose actions. In his first comments about the U.S. nuclear arsenal since taking office on Jan. 20, Trump said the United States has "fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity." Reuters
VOA VIEW: America First.

Trump Says Republican Border Tax Could Boost U.S. Jobs
President Donald Trump on Thursday spoke favorably about an export-boosting border adjustment tax proposal being pushed by Republicans in the U.S. Congress, but did not specifically endorse it. Trump had previously sent mixed signals on the proposal at the heart of a Republican plan to overhaul the U.S. tax code for the first time in more than 30 years. "It could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States," Trump told Reuters in an interview, using his most positive language to date on the proposal. Trump sent conflicting signals about his position on the border adjustability tax in separate media interviews in January, saying in one interview that it was "too complicated" and in another that it was still on the table. Reuters


Sec. Tillerson Pledges ‘No Mass Deportations’ During Convos With Mexico’s Leaders
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continued talks with Mexican officials on Thursday ahead of a planned meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto — a trek that President Donald Trump himself acknowledged was "going to be a tough trip." Tillerson, the new head of the State Department, is working to smooth over tensions sparked by brash rhetoric, plans to build a border wall, and most recently the Department of Homeland Security's new immigration guidelines. The plans unveiled Tuesday would consider almost all undocumented immigrants subject to deportation, and includes sending those who enter the U.S. illegally via the southern border back to Mexico, even if they aren't from there. On Thursday, Tillerson sought to assuage concerns. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: The definition of mass deportations is still up for interpretation.

Many Of Public Documents Still Missing From White House Website
Public documents scrubbed from the White House's website shortly after President Donald Trump was inaugurated — including White House visitors' logs, waivers of ethics regulations and a host of other records — still haven't been replaced, fueling advocates' concerns about the new administration's transparency. During the first week of February, 31 databases — reporting legally mandated White House payroll reports to Congress, budget documents, White House visitor records and public response documents — were removed from the White House Open Data portal, the platform created to disclose information about 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and its operations. MSNBC
VOA VIEW: MSNBC is liberal.

Hundreds Of Scientists Urge Trump To Withdraw From U.N. Climate-Change Agency
In a Thursday letter to the president, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide. “Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm—with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen. Signers of the attached petition include U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change. Washington Times

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Kellyanne Conway At CPAC: Donald Trump ‘Went Right To The Grass Roots And Brought You Along’
Helping kick off the Conservative Political Action Conference, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told grass-roots activists gathered in suburban Maryland on Thursday that they were part and parcel to President Trump’s historic campaign and victory. “In the case of candidate Trump, and president-elect and nominee Trump, he went right to the grass roots and brought you along,” Ms. Conway said. “He made people feel from the beginning they were part of this movement.” Washington Times
VOA VIEW: One America - America first.

Why Most Americans May Face An Ugly Retirement
America’s retirement crisis is looking especially dire. More than 66 percent of workers with access to 401(k)s and other defined-contribution retirement saving plans aren’t using them. That’s according to recent research from the Census Bureau, which analyzed tax records to estimate how workers are actually participating in these plans. On top of that, only 14 percent of companies offer these types of retirement plans, far lower than previous estimates, the analysis found. The findings underscore the size of the looming retirement crisis, partially exacerbated by a decades-long shift away from traditional pensions to 401(k)s, which are cheaper for employers to manage because they shift more costs onto workers. CBS

McCain Makes Secret Trip To Syria To Meet US Military, Kurds
Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) made a secret trip to northern Syria last week to meet with U.S. troops and Kurdish fighters amid their longstanding battle to defeat ISIS, his office said Wednesday. “Senator McCain traveled to northern Syria last week to visit U.S. forces deployed there and to discuss the counter-ISIL [another acronym for ISIS] campaign and ongoing operations to retake Raqqa,” a McCain spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Wednesday, referring to ISIS' Syrian capital. “Senator McCain’s visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq.“ ABC


Steve Bannon Says Media 'Always Wrong' About Trump, President 'Maniacally Focused' On Agenda
Donald Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, pounced on the media during the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, repeating his attack that the press is the "opposition party" that is "always wrong" about the administration. "I think if you look at, you know, the opposition party," said Bannon, referring to the media, during his appearance at the conference with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. "How they portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition and how they're portraying the administration -- it's always wrong." ABC
VOA VIEW: Bannon supports Trump.

End Of Bacon Boom Sends Pork Prices Tumbling The Most In Three Years
The bacon boom seems to be ending. Wholesale prices for pork bellies, the cut used for making bacon, plunged 14 percent on Wednesday, the biggest slump since August. The drop sent wholesale pork down the most in more than three years. Costs are tumbling as demand is easing for bacon after soaring this winter, a counter-seasonal move. The most important market news of the day. Normally, bacon demand heats up in summer, when Americans eat more BLT -- bacon, lettuce and tomato -- sandwiches. This year, consumers devoured the meat year-round as retailers pushed the product with deals and restaurants upped their use of rashers, adding it to everything from burgers to salads. At the same, McDonald’s Corp. made it a mainstay with its rollout of all-day breakfast. The increased demand more than doubled prices since August. It’s finally gotten so expensive that the high costs are stemming the tide of bacon indulgence, according to David Maloni, president at the American Restaurant Association. Bloomberg

Investors Flock To Supercharged Gold Bet That's Returned 180%
Gold doesn’t offer yield. Junior miners may, and a leveraged exchange-traded fund tracking them has investors flocking to it. As the Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3x Shares almost tripled in the past two months, the number of shares changing hands has surged nearly fourfold this year. That’s even as trading has dropped for an ETF tracking larger mining peers and for the SPDR Gold Shares, the largest bullion-backed fund. The boost in volume has also led to a jump in bullish options on the leveraged security, with more than two calls for each put. Bloomberg

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US To Continue Use Of Privately Run Prisons
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled his support for the federal government's use of private prisons, rescinding a memo meant to phase out their use. Sessions issued a new memo Thursday replacing one issued last August by Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general at the time. That memo told the Bureau of Prisons to begin reducing and ultimately end its use of privately run prisons. She said the facilities were less well run than those managed by the Bureau of Prisons, and were less necessary given declines in the overall prison population. But Sessions says in his memo Thursday that Yates' directive contradicted longstanding Justice Department policy and "impaired the Bureau's ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system." Las Vegas Sun

Giffords Urges Lawmakers: ‘Have Some Courage,’ Meet Voters
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — who survived an assassination attempt — is urging members of Congress to "have some courage" and face their constituents. Her comments Thursday are in response to a Texas congressman — Republican Louie Gohmert — who this week invoked Giffords' 2011 shooting in explaining why he's currently only holding telephone town halls. Gohmert says there are groups "from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology" who are attending town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety. Giffords says town halls were a hallmark of her time in Congress, and she continues to meet with the public today in campaigning for stricter gun laws. Gohmert says that when the threat of violence recedes, he'll go back "to the civil town hall meetings" he's had before. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: The liberals lost America.

Pope: 'Better To Be An Atheist' Than A Christian Living A 'Double Life'
Pope Francis criticized members of his own Catholic Church on Thursday, suggesting it is better to be an atheist than a Christian living a double life. Francis made the comments in his homily during the private morning Mass in his residence in the Vatican. "How many times have we heard -- all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere -- 'But to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist.' It is that, scandal," he said, according to a transcript from Vatican Radio. UPI

Study Links Psychiatric Disorders To Stroke Risk
Getting care at a hospital for a psychiatric disorder may be linked to a higher risk of stroke in the following weeks and months, new research suggests. People who sought care at a hospital for serious mental health conditions -- such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder -- faced a tripled risk of stroke following their visit, the study authors contended. The risk started to decrease after 30 days, but remained twice as high for at least a year after the ER visit or hospital stay, the researchers said. "We have known for some time that people who have a stroke seem to be at an increased risk for later on developing some sort of psychiatric illness, depression or post-stroke psychosis," said study lead author Jonah Zuflacht. He's a fourth-year medical student at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. UPI

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The Israel Air Force took down a UAV which infiltrated Israeli aerial territory on Thursday afternoon. The drone appears to belong to Hamas and came from the direction of the Gaza Strip. An Israel Air Force F-16 downed an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to Hamas on Thursday afternoon, intercepting it after it left the Gaza Strip and bringing it down into the sea before it managed to enter Israeli airspace. “The IDF will not allow any airspace violation and will work with determination against any such attempt,” the military said. Since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Hamas has invested in its drone capabilities. In recent years its UAVs have on occasion come near, and sometimes breached Israeli airspace, leading the IAF to scramble jets or fire missiles. Jerusalem Post

Researchers at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have accomplished a “breakthrough” that could lead to the development of effective new types of antibiotics to fight bacterial disease. At present, due to overuse of existing antibiotics and the growing resistance of bacteria to them, highly pathogenic bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are causing deaths from hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections as few weapons against them remain. Jerusalem Post

Syria Peace Talks: Sides Fail To Meet On First Day In Geneva
The first day of Syrian peace talks at the United Nations have failed to bring the two sides together in direct negotiations. Expectations were low as government and opposition groups arrived in Geneva for the first time in almost a year. Staffan de Mistura, the UN's special Syria envoy, met separately with both delegations, but they did not speak with one another. If talks proceed, they are expected to last several rounds. The first day ended with a welcoming ceremony in the UN's grand assembly hall, which seated the opposing delegations together in the same room - but no discussion or negotiation took place. "Let's try to work together ... I know it is not easy," Mr de Mistura told the assembled delegates. BBC

Mosul Offensive: Iraqi Forces Recapture Airport In Bid To Retake City
The operation took four hours. IS continued to fire mortars at the airport from further inside the city after losing the ground to the army. The jihadists have also entered a nearby military base amid further clashes, a military spokesman said. Eastern Mosul was retaken last month. Thursday's advance brings the army within less than a mile (1.6km) of western Mosul, where the militants are expected to launch attacks from densely populated neighbourhoods. BBC

Tillerson Endures 'Tough Trip' To Mexico As Trump Stokes 'Bad Dudes' Rhetoric
Donald Trump issued a staunch defence of his expanded deportation policy on Thursday, claiming his administration was getting “bad dudes out of this country”, further souring an already tense visit to Mexico by his secretaries of state and homeland security. The president made his remarks at a business forum in Washington while Rex Tillerson, his secretary of state, was meeting his Mexican counterpart, Luis Videgaray. Tillerson emerged to concede that there were differences between the two countries. He said it was natural for “two strong, sovereign countries” to disagree at times, but added they would continue their dialogue. Guardian

Trump Attack On Press Is 'Biggest Threat To Democracy' Says Ex-Navy Seal Chief
A retired Navy Seal who was an architect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has warned that Donald Trump’s attack on the press as an enemy of the American people “may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime”. Retired admiral William McRaven, the former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command and later the US Special Operations Command, issued his defense of the media during a Tuesday late-afternoon lecture to journalism students at the University of Texas, where he serves as chancellor. Guardian
VOA VIEW: Even Navy seals can be liberal and have an agenda.

North Korea 'Tightens Security At Border To Stop News Of Kim Jong-Nam's Death Spreading'
North Korea is restricting citizens' access to its border with China, apparently in an effort to prevent news of the assassination of Kim Jong-un's half-brother from spreading. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Thursday that North Koreans attempting to meet relatives on the border are being turned back and that additional security detachments have been deployed on the frontier. Even people with travel permits for the border city of Sinuiju - the only place where North Koreans are permitted access to relatives living in China - were being turned away and permits were being cancelled. Guardian

UN Health Agency Reports Depression Now ‘Leading Cause Of Disability Worldwide’
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, the United Nations health agency today reported, estimating that it affects more than 300 million people worldwide – the majority of them women, young people and the elderly. An estimated 4.4 per cent of the global population suffers from depression, according to a report released today by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), which shows an 18 per cent increase in the number of people living with depression between 2005 and 2015. “Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life,” the WHO said. UN News

OSCE Seeks To Defuse Conflicts, Combat Radicalization And Build Trust, UN Security Council Told
Multilateral cooperation is the only way to achieve peace, security and stability, and there is no alternative to it, Austria’s Foreign Minister told the United Nations Security Council today, underscoring the work of his country in its role as the Chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). “As you can imagine, chairing OSCE is not an easy task,” said Sebastian Kurz, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, citing the difficulty in finding consensus among the regional body’s 57 States. UN News

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