Biphoo http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews Sat, 22 Apr 2017 09:50:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 Elon Musk on mission to link human brains with computers in four yearshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-extends-sexual-harassment-probe-expects-report-by-end-may.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-extends-sexual-harassment-probe-expects-report-by-end-may.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 09:50:56 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27339 Elon Musk on mission to link human brains with computers in four years Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said his latest company Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices. Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps […]

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Elon Musk on mission to link human brains with computers in four years

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said his latest company Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices.

Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion etc, in about four years, Musk said in an interview with website Wait But Why.

"If I were to communicate a concept to you, you would essentially engage in consensual telepathy," Musk said in the interview published on Thursday. bit.ly/2oWJcMw

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant "neural laces" in their brains to keep up, Musk said in a tech conference last year.

"There are a bunch of concepts in your head that then your brain has to try to compress into this incredibly low data rate called speech or typing," Musk said in the latest interview.

"If you have two brain interfaces, you could actually do an uncompressed direct conceptual communication with another person."

The technology could take about eight to 10 years to become usable by people with no disability, which would depend heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well the devices work on people with disabilities, Musk was quoted as saying.

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk had launched a company through which computers could merge with human brains. Neuralink was registered in California as a "medical research" company last July, and he plans on funding the company mostly by himself.

source:-http://www.reuters.com/article/us-musk-neuralink-idUSKBN17N0CU

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U.S. Homeland Security probes possible abuse in Twitter summons casehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/u-s-homeland-security-probes-possible-abuse-in-twitter-summons-case.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/u-s-homeland-security-probes-possible-abuse-in-twitter-summons-case.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 07:49:04 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27335 U.S. Homeland Security probes possible abuse in Twitter summons case The U.S. Homeland Security Department's inspector general said on Friday he was investigating possible abuse of authority in a case that triggered a lawsuit against the department by Twitter Inc (TWTR.N). Inspector General John Roth described the probe in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, […]

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U.S. Homeland Security probes possible abuse in Twitter summons case

The U.S. Homeland Security Department's inspector general said on Friday he was investigating possible abuse of authority in a case that triggered a lawsuit against the department by Twitter Inc (TWTR.N).

Inspector General John Roth described the probe in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who had asked for an investigation due to concerns about free speech protections.

In a lawsuit on April 6, Twitter disclosed that it received a summons in March from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, an agency within Homeland Security, demanding records about an account on the social media platform identified by the handle @ALT_uscis.

The account has featured posts critical of President Donald Trump's immigration policies, leading Twitter to complain in its lawsuit that the summons was an unlawful attempt to suppress dissent.

The agency dropped its demand of Twitter the day after the suit was filed.

Customs bureau spokesman Mike Friel said on Friday that the bureau requested the inspector general's review and will fully support it.

The people behind the Twitter account have not disclosed their identities, but the use of "ALT" with a government agency acronym has led many to assume government employees were behind the tweets critical of Trump.

The lawsuit said the account "claims to be" the work of at least one federal immigration employee. USCIS is the acronym of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a component of Homeland Security.

Roth's office is charged with investigating waste, fraud and abuse within Homeland Security. He wrote in his letter that he was looking at whether the summons to Twitter "was improper in any way, including whether CBP abused its authority."

"DHS OIG is also reviewing potential broader misuse of summons authority at the department," he added.

Wyden's office posted the letter online. A representative for Roth could not immediately be reached for comment. A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment.

source:-http://www.reuters.com/article/us-twitter-privacy-idUSKBN17N2IY

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GE shares fall on cash, business worries though profit beatshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/ge-shares-fall-on-cash-business-worries-though-profit-beats.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/ge-shares-fall-on-cash-business-worries-though-profit-beats.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 07:41:23 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27332 GE shares fall on cash, business worries though profit beats General Electric Co reported quarterly sales and adjusted earnings results that beat analysts estimates on Friday, but its shares fell on concerns about some of its industrial businesses and its cash outflow. The maker of jet engines, power plants and other industrial equipment also reported […]

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GE shares fall on cash, business worries though profit beats

General Electric Co reported quarterly sales and adjusted earnings results that beat analysts estimates on Friday, but its shares fell on concerns about some of its industrial businesses and its cash outflow.

The maker of jet engines, power plants and other industrial equipment also reported a negative $1.6 billion in cash flow from industrial operating activities compared with a negative $600 million it expected for the quarter due to a $1.3 billion increase in working capital and the timing of bills to customers.

Investors have been watching cash flow as an indicator of GE's operating performance, and GE said it still expects to hit its cash target of $12 billion to $14 billion for the full year.

Shares were down 2.3 percent at $29.57 in afternoon trading, making it the second-biggest decliner on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

"There was immediate disappointment that cash came in low," said Deane Dray, analyst at RBC Capital markets. Analysts asked numerous questions about it on the conference call and "it gave investors a reason not to feel good about the quarter."

The company also raised concern by giving itself wiggle room to deliver fewer LEAP aircraft engines this year, a key risk for the company. It said the range for the year was 450 to 500 engines, instead of nearly 500 it stated earlier.

"It is notable that GE is taking a more cautious slant by backing away from a firm target of "500," Vertical Research Partners analyst Rob Stallard said.

But GE Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein said in an interview there was no change in the LEAP forecast.

"We're not changing our view on our ability to deliver the LEAP engine this year for Boeing and Airbus," Bornstein said.

GE shipped 81 engines in the first quarter and expects to ship 100 in the second quarter, he said, adding: "There's no delays to customers whatsoever."

GE beat analysts estimates for adjusted earnings and revenue, even though revenue fell 1 percent to $27.66 billion, due to lower sales in its oil-and-gas and lighting businesses. Analysts expected $26.26 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Adjusted earnings of 21 cents a share were unchanged from a year ago and beat analyst estimates of 17 cents.

GE said industrial organic revenue, which is from continuing businesses, grew 7 percent in the quarter, a strong showing according to analysts. Industrial operating profit margins rose by 1.3 percent points, also more than analysts expected, and ahead of the 1 percentage point forecast for the year.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt noted a 10 percent rise in quarterly orders and said the world economy was "an attractive environment for GE."

"We see global growth accelerating, while the U.S. continues to improve," Immelt said on the conference call, adding that growth in China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa this year were all "stronger than last year."

Separately, European engineering groups ABB Ltd and Schneider Electric SE are competing for GE's solutions division, which could fetch as much as $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

source:-http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ge-results-idUSKBN17N181

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U.S., global financial leaders skirt trade frictions, tout collaborationhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/u-s-global-financial-leaders-skirt-trade-frictions-tout-collaboration.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/u-s-global-financial-leaders-skirt-trade-frictions-tout-collaboration.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 07:17:15 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27330 U.S., global financial leaders skirt trade frictions, tout collaboration Global economic leaders on Friday continued downplaying possible friction with the Trump administration over currencies, trade and other potentially contentious issues, even while acknowledging that much about the U.S. president's plans remains unclear. On a day when Donald Trump himself seemed focused on domestic matters - […]

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U.S., global financial leaders skirt trade frictions, tout collaboration

Global economic leaders on Friday continued downplaying possible friction with the Trump administration over currencies, trade and other potentially contentious issues, even while acknowledging that much about the U.S. president's plans remains unclear.

On a day when Donald Trump himself seemed focused on domestic matters - promising a new U.S. tax plan next week and announcing reviews of financial regulations - world officials gathered just blocks from the White House said there was "broad consensus" with the new president's advisers over the need to keep economic borders open and coordinate on global financial regulation.

"Almost everybody underscored the importance of open markets and free market access," German central bank governor Jens Weidmann said following meetings among finance ministers from the world's top 20 economic powers, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "That was the consensus."

His remarks come as finance and economic officials attending meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank took heart in an improving world economy, but also spoke of the sudden raft of political issues that could put that progress at risk.

Trump's tough talk on trade and seeming suspicion of "globalist" groups like the IMF cast a shadow over the start of this week's session. Similarly, the French elections on Sunday have been frequently cited as the sort of event that could reverse the euro zone's tentative economic progress.

A WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH WASHINGTON

The Trump risk, at least for now, seems to have diminished.

Germany currently chairs the Group of 20, an organization that under the administration of President Barack Obama had become a central forum for working out economic issues among the world's largest economies.

Officials here this week have said Mnuchin and other administration officials seemed ready to continue work on issues like financial regulation, while avoiding overt clashes on issues like the value of China's currency or Germany's large trade surplus with the United States.

The Trump administration had previously threatened to impose measures to restrict imports, and verbally attacked Germany for running a large surplus by exploiting a weak euro.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said earlier on Friday neither topic was discussed in Washington and that he had seen a relaxation in the dispute with the United States over trade.

Steel, of which Germany is a large producer, has become a point of contention.

Speaking at a separate G20 event in Germany, the country's economy minister, Brigitte Zypries, said a Trump-announced U.S. probe into whether imports of foreign-made steel were hurting national security pointed toward "unwelcome protectionist tendencies." She said she would discuss the global steel market with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross by telephone next week.

But Schaeuble overall said he believed a "non-confrontational solution" to economic issues would be reached when financial leaders of the world's 20 top economies meet again in Hamburg in July.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond said he thought the U.S. and U.K. could go further, and strike a bilateral trade deal, while Japanese and other officials said they did not expect any sharp or disruptive moves from Trump.

Officials also said Trump's intention to roll back some of the financial rules put into place since the 2008 financial crisis won't damage the world financial system. Trump's talk of deregulation has unnerved European regulators, but Weidmann said he was confident there would be no "regulatory race to the bottom."

source:-http://www.reuters.com/article/us-imf-g-idUSKBN17N24I

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Two big California pension systems oppose nine Wells Fargo directorshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/two-big-california-pension-systems-oppose-nine-wells-fargo-directors.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/two-big-california-pension-systems-oppose-nine-wells-fargo-directors.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 06:51:49 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27324 Two big California pension systems oppose nine Wells Fargo directors Officials of two large California public retirement systems said Friday they are voting against nine of 15 Wells Fargo & Co directors up for election at the bank's annual meeting next week, citing the bank's phony-account scandal. Leaders of the largest U.S. state pension system, […]

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Two big California pension systems oppose nine Wells Fargo directors

Officials of two large California public retirement systems said Friday they are voting against nine of 15 Wells Fargo & Co directors up for election at the bank's annual meeting next week, citing the bank's phony-account scandal.

Leaders of the largest U.S. state pension system, known as CalPERS, said in an email it is voting about 13.9 million shares against the bank nominees, including its chairman, Stephen Sanger, ahead of the bank's April 25 meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Wells Fargo is based in San Francisco.

"We believe these directors failed in their oversight responsibilities during the retail banking controversy at the company," CalPERS said in a statement posted on its website.

In addition, CalPERS said some Wells Fargo (WFC.N) director nominees have tenures of 12 years or more, "which we believe could compromise director independence."

Separately, in a statement sent by a spokesman, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, or CalSTRS, said on Friday it voted its 11.6 million Wells Fargo shares against the same group of nine directors.

According to the statement, "These board members bear responsibility for the failure of oversight of sales practices at Wells Fargo."

The comments underscore the challenge facing the country's third-largest bank, which has struggled to move past revelations that thousands of employees created as many as 2 million accounts in customers' names without permission in order to hit lofty sales targets.

Wells Fargo's board and management have said steps already taken to fix problems and punish employees responsible for sales abuses show there is now strong oversight and that directors nominated deserve to be elected.

While the board has gained support from its largest investor, Berkshire Hathaway Inc, it also faces a recommendation to vote against 12 directors by leading proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services.

CalPERS is the 52nd largest shareholder of Wells Fargo and CalSTRS is the 62nd largest, according to Thomson Reuters data. While they do not command much voting clout, their public comments often can set the tone since larger mutual fund companies rarely make public their votes ahead of corporate annual meetings.

Among its other votes, CalPERS said it is voting "against" the ratification of bank auditor KPMG. Calpers said it has "concerns over a potential lapse of internal controls during the extended period of abusive sales tactics at the company."

CalPERS also said the company should explore auditor rotation to ensure a fresh perspective.

CalSTRS said that with six directors scheduled to retire in the next four years, "Wells Fargo should expedite the board refreshment process and reach out to their shareholder base for feedback during this process. The board would also benefit from adding directors with greater banking and financial institution experience."

source:-http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wellsfargo-accounts-calpers-idUSKBN17N2MQ

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United CEO Munoz will not chair board in 2018 following passenger furorhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/united-ceo-munoz-will-not-chair-board-in-2018-following-passenger-furor.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/united-ceo-munoz-will-not-chair-board-in-2018-following-passenger-furor.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 06:45:50 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27321 United CEO Munoz will not chair board in 2018 following passenger furor United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) said on Friday Chief Executive Oscar Munoz will not become chairman in 2018, under an amendment to his employment agreement approved after an uproar over the treatment of a passenger. In a reversal of his earlier employment agreement, […]

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United CEO Munoz will not chair board in 2018 following passenger furor

United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) said on Friday Chief Executive Oscar Munoz will not become chairman in 2018, under an amendment to his employment agreement approved after an uproar over the treatment of a passenger.

In a reversal of his earlier employment agreement, Munoz has opted to leave "future determinations related to the Chairman position to the discretion of the Board," United said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The company also said it would revise its 2017 executive compensation to more directly tie incentives to improvements in customer satisfaction. In 2016, Munoz made $18.72 million.

"United's management and the Board take recent events extremely seriously, and are in the process of developing targeted compensation program design adjustments to ensure that employees' incentive opportunities for 2017 are directly and meaningfully tied to progress in improving the customer experience," the filing said.

Earlier this month, a United passenger, Dr. David Dao, was dragged from his seat off a parked plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport bound for Louisville, Kentucky, to make room for crew members.

The scene was captured on video by fellow passengers and showed Dao bloodied and disheveled in the incident.

Dao's attorney said his 69-year-old client had incurred a significant concussion, broken his nose and lost two front teeth in the altercation with airport security, and said Dao would likely sue the airline.

Munoz, a former railroad executive who took over United in 2015, had already been pressured by activist investors to improve the airline's performance, including in customer relations. In April 2016, United agreed with a group of investors to install airline industry veteran Robert Milton as non-executive chairman.

In initial statements following the incident, Munoz and United did not apologize to Dao for the way he had been treated, instead describing him as "disruptive and belligerent."

Before being hauled from the flight, Dao, who emigrated from Vietnam in the 1970s, repeatedly accused the airline of discriminating against him for being ethnic Chinese, according to fellow passenger Tyler Bridges who was traveling back home from Japan.

The incident, and the company's response, sparked global outrage. Social media users across the United States, Vietnam and China called for a boycott of the carrier.

United said on Friday it had asked a U.S. Senate panel for an extra week to answer detailed questions about the incident. Munoz wrote that he was "personally committed to putting proof behind our promise" in United's commitment to reforms.

Committee leaders said in a joint statement that getting answers about what happened and how to prevent a recurrence was a "priority" and any further delay was "unacceptable."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ual-passenger-idUSKBN17N2H4

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Wall Street gears up for busiest earnings week in yearshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/wall-street-gears-up-for-busiest-earnings-week-in-years.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/wall-street-gears-up-for-busiest-earnings-week-in-years.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 06:31:51 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27318 Wall Street gears up for busiest earnings week in years Forget about French elections or the flagging Trump trade. Corporate America is set to unleash its biggest profit-reporting fest in at least a decade next week, with more than 190 members of the S&P 500 index .SPX delivering quarterly scorecards, according to S&P Dow Jones […]

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Wall Street gears up for busiest earnings week in years

Forget about French elections or the flagging Trump trade.

Corporate America is set to unleash its biggest profit-reporting fest in at least a decade next week, with more than 190 members of the S&P 500 index .SPX delivering quarterly scorecards, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices data.

The lineup accounts for around 40 percent of the benchmark index's value, or more than $7.7 trillion, and includes big names like Google's parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N).

The onslaught could keep U.S. stock investors' focus largely on earnings next week even as the world's attention is likely to be drawn elsewhere.

"That would be our hope," said Joe Zidle, portfolio strategist at Richard Bernstein Advisors in New York.

"A lot of people looked at this market and said it was the result of the Trump bump or the Hillary relief rally," while earnings have been rebounding, he said. "The faster earnings growth is underappreciated by investors."

Many strategists have attributed the 10 percent rally in the S&P 500 .INX since Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election to optimism Trump would boost the domestic economy through tax cuts and an infrastructure spending binge.

The gains drove market valuations recently to their highest since 2004, even with little progress in Washington on the fiscal policy front. Meanwhile, other anxiety-provoking events have grabbed headlines, including unsettling relations with North Korea and this weekend's election in France, which has a bearing on the country's membership in the European Union and its currency, the euro.

Upbeat earnings from Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and other banks so far this reporting period cushioned those geopolitical worries, helping push the S&P 500 .SPX up 0.9 percent this week, its best such performance in two months. Shares of smaller companies did even better, with S&P's benchmark indexes for small .SPCY and mid-cap .IDX stocks notching their best weeks of 2017, with gains of between 2 percent and 3 percent.

Expectations for the quarter's profit growth have risen as well, and the first three months of the year now appear set to mark the strongest quarterly earnings growth in more than five years. In the last week alone, expected S&P 500 first-quarter earnings per share growth rose to 11.2 percent from 10.4 percent, a more than 7 percent jump, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"This week definitely has proven that the Street likes earnings - it's controllable, it's U.S.," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The reason for the slew of reports next week is anyone's guess, Silverblatt said, although recent holidays possibly played a role. Passover, Good Friday and Easter all fell in the previous weeks, which may have prompted some companies that typically report earlier to delay a week.

Just 76 companies reported this week compared with 134 in the comparable week a year ago, Silverblatt said.

Next week's rush will represent a 15 percent increase from the 166 S&P constituents that reported in the comparable week last year.

Thursday will be the busiest day with nearly 70 reports due, including updates after the closing bell from Alphabet, Amazon, Intel Corp (INTC.O), Microsoft and Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O).

That could make for a bang in the market on Friday, Silverblatt said, which is also the final trading day of April.

source:-http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-results-idUSKBN17N2HM

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Hillary Clinton slams Trump administration on LGBTQ rightshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/hillary-clinton-slams-trump-administration-lgbtq-rights.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/hillary-clinton-slams-trump-administration-lgbtq-rights.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 05:06:55 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27315 Hillary Clinton slams Trump administration on LGBTQ rights Hillary Clinton slams Trump administration on LGBTQ rights:- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has slammed Donald Trump for his attitude towards LGBTQ people. Speaking at a fundraising dinner for The Center, an LGBTQ community group, in New York City, Clinton reiterated a phrase she first used […]

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Hillary Clinton slams Trump administration on LGBTQ rights

Hillary Clinton slams Trump administration on LGBTQ rights:- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has slammed Donald Trump for his attitude towards LGBTQ people.

Speaking at a fundraising dinner for The Center, an LGBTQ community group, in New York City, Clinton reiterated a phrase she first used at the UN’s Palace of Nations in 2011: “Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

Focusing on Trump’s administration, which is stocked with anti-LGBTQ figures, Clinton told the audience that “clouds [are] gathering on the horizon.”

“The progress that we fought for, that many of you were on the front lines of, and that we’ve celebrated and maybe even taken for granted, may not be as secure as we once expected,” she said.

She added: “I think we have to face the fact that we may not ever be able to count on this administration to lead on LGBT issues.”

Clinton reminded of the importance of the midterm elections in 2018 and spoke of her own struggle to reengage with politics after her loss to Donald Trump in November.

“I know that the election hit a lot of us hard,” Clinton said to laughter. “But I can tell you this: Even when it feels tempting to pull the covers over your heads, please keep going.”

Clinton also spoke about the horrifying situation in Chechnya, where gay men are being abducted, tortured and murdered.

“In recent weeks, we’ve heard terrifying accounts from Chechnya of gay and bisexual men being taken from their homes and families, tortured, even killed,” she said. “And when government authorities were confronted with these reports, their response was chilling. They said that you cannot arrest or repress people – who do not exist.”

She called on Trump to help put an end to the atrocities.

“The United States government — yes, this government — should demand an end to the persecution of innocent people,” Clinton said.

Source:- https://www.metroweekly.com/2017/04/hillary-clinton-slams-trump-administration-lgbtq-rights/

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ObamaCare repeal: Where the GOP-Trump plan stands right nowhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/obamacare-repeal-gop-trump-plan-stands-right-now.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/obamacare-repeal-gop-trump-plan-stands-right-now.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 04:57:31 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27312 ObamaCare repeal: Where the GOP-Trump plan stands right now A White House effort to win House approval next week for an ObamaCare repeal bill is running head-on into a divided GOP conference struggling to reconcile its differences. While centrist Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and conservative Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) say they are close to a […]

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ObamaCare repeal: Where the GOP-Trump plan stands right now

A White House effort to win House approval next week for an ObamaCare repeal bill is running head-on into a divided GOP conference struggling to reconcile its differences.

While centrist Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and conservative Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) say they are close to a deal, other Republicans say they are not a part of the agreement and that MacArthur is not bringing other centrists along with him.

Republican lawmakers will hold a conference call on Saturday to discuss the issue.

They’re also likely to confer on another problem: keeping the government open.

Even as the conference seeks to revive ObamaCare repeal legislation, it faces an April 28 deadline to pass legislation that prevents a government shutdown.

And hanging over everything is pressure from a Trump administration that wants to put more points on the board before its 100th day in office, April 29.

Here’s where things stand on ObamaCare ahead of what could be a very busy week.

New activity, old problem

Despite the burst of activity, Republicans are running into the same fundamental problem on ObamaCare. Their conference is divided over how much of the law to keep in place.

The conservative Freedom Caucus, led by Meadows, is pushing to give states the option to opt out of several ObamaCare requirements, including one meant to keep prices down for people with pre-existing conditions. But much of the rest of the conference wants to preserve those popular provisions. 

After chatter from the White House about a vote as soon as next week, President Trump on Friday seemed more downbeat, saying at an executive order signing that there is “no particular rush.” 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s next week,” Trump said.

Community rating controversy

One of the biggest controversies splitting conservatives from centrists has to do an insurance practice called community rating.

The Affordable Care Act uses it to prevent insurers from charging customers different premiums based on their health conditions.

MacArthur’s proposal would allow states to opt out of that requirement, as long as they also have a high-risk pool that sick people priced out of the market could potentially use to purchase insurance.  

Many other Republicans are leery of granting states waivers for community rating.

It is the main factor that keeps people with pre-existing conditions from being priced out of coverage, and without it, the number of people insured could drop.

There are also political concerns.

Democrats are prepared to attack the GOP for undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions, a popular part of ObamaCare.

While a summary of the MacArthur-Meadows proposal states that the law would still prevent insurers from dropping people with pre-existing conditions, those protections would be meaningless, critics say, if the community rating provision is gutted.

Essential health benefits

The MacArthur proposal would also allow states to opt out of "essential health benefits," which require that insurers cover a minimum set of services like mental healthcare and certain prescription drugs. 

Conservatives argue allowing states to choose to opt out those provisions would bring down premiums for young, healthy people. 

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), a member of centrist Tuesday Group, said Friday he was unaware of any deal. 

“I wish I knew what was in this so-called deal,” Davis told CNN's “New Day.” “I think we're still negotiating. I think we’re still talking about what plan is going to work to get the votes to pass the House.” 

The Energy and Commerce Committee, which drafted the original reform legislation, is providing technical drafting guidance with the amendment, a committee aide told The Hill. 

Freedom Caucus is positive

The Freedom Caucus has taken a more positive view of the changes and expressed hope its members can get on board with the bill. 

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a member of the caucus, suggested that the proposed changes would go a long way toward getting conservatives to support the bill. 

“It just allows states to opt out of some of the [regulations] to bring down price. And so those are two of the big pieces,” Brat said on CNN Friday.  “A couple little pieces on the regulatory framework, and then I think we can all get to yes. It's not really a new bill — it's the same fundamental bill, but a few pretty significant amendments to it.”

The changes being discussed are similar to what Vice President Pence offered to the Freedom Caucus earlier this month, before Congress's spring recess. 

That offer led to an earlier round of renewed hope, but ended up falling apart. 

Illustrating the effect of doing away with community rating, a study from the liberal Center for American Progress this week predicted that allowing states to opt out of the provision would lead to sharp premium increases for sick people, such as roughly $4,000 for those with asthma or as much as $71,000 for those with severe cancer. 

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chief deputy whip, said earlier this month that the Freedom Caucus's demands on that front were a “bridge too far for our members.”

A GOP aide said Thursday that the situation had not changed since then. “I don’t know that the state of play has really changed over the recess,” the aide said.

Source:- http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/330009-obamacare-repeal-where-the-gop-trump-plan-stands-right-now

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions refuses to retract widely rebuked remark criticizing Hawaii judgehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-refuses-retract-widely-rebuked-remark-criticizing-hawaii-judge.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-refuses-retract-widely-rebuked-remark-criticizing-hawaii-judge.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 04:51:56 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27308 Attorney General Jeff Sessions refuses to retract widely rebuked remark criticizing Hawaii judge Jeff Sessions claims he has no beef with Hawaii. The attorney general argued on Friday that he meant no disrespect by saying he was "amazed" that a federal judge from Hawaii — or, as he calls it, "an island in the Pacific" […]

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions refuses to retract widely rebuked remark criticizing Hawaii judge

Jeff Sessions claims he has no beef with Hawaii.

The attorney general argued on Friday that he meant no disrespect by saying he was "amazed" that a federal judge from Hawaii — or, as he calls it, "an island in the Pacific" — was able to block President Trump's contentious executive order attempting to ban immigration from a number of Muslim-majority nations.

"I wasn't criticizing the judge or the island," Sessions told CNN on Friday night. "I think it's a fabulous place and had a granddaughter born there."

However, Sessions said he finds it somewhat peculiar district judges have the legislative power that federal law entitles them.

"I got to tell you — it's a point worth making that a single sitting judge out of 600, 700 district judges can issue an order stopping a presidential executive order that I believe is fully constitutional, designed to protect the United States of America from terrorist attacks," Sessions said.

The Constitution affords federal judges the power to block laws, regulations or executive orders that they consider unconstitutional or unlawful.

Last month, Derrick Watson, of Hawaii, became the latest federal judge to block President Trump's executive order on immigration on the argument that it violates the Constitution.

Source:- http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ag-jeff-sessions-refuses-retract-widely-rebuked-hawaii-remark-article-1.3087775

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Justice Dept. warns sanctuary cities in immigration fighthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/justice-dept-warns-sanctuary-cities-immigration-fight.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/justice-dept-warns-sanctuary-cities-immigration-fight.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 04:42:55 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27307 Justice Dept. warns sanctuary cities in immigration fight Justice Dept. warns sanctuary cities in immigration fight:- The Trump administration intensified its threats to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities, warning nine jurisdictions Friday that they may lose coveted law enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation. It […]

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Justice Dept. warns sanctuary cities in immigration fight

Justice Dept. warns sanctuary cities in immigration fight:- The Trump administration intensified its threats to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities, warning nine jurisdictions Friday that they may lose coveted law enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation.

It sent letters to officials in California and major cities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, all places the Justice Department’s inspector general has identified as limiting the information local law enforcement can provide to federal immigration authorities about those in their custody.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has warned that the administration will punish communities that refuse to cooperate with efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally. But some of the localities remained defiant, despite risking the loss of funds that police agencies use to pay for everything from body cameras to bulletproof vests.

“We’re not going to cave to these threats,” Milwaukee County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic said, promising a legal fight if the money is pulled.

Playing off Sessions’ recent comments that sanctuary cities undermine the fight against gangs, the Justice Department said the communities under financial threat are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime.”

After a raid led to the arrests of 11 MS-13 gang members in California’s Bay Area “city officials seemed more concerned with reassuring illegal immigrants that the raid was unrelated to immigration than with warning other MS-13 members that they were next,” the department said in a statement.

The federal law in question says state and local governments may not prohibit police or sheriffs from sharing information about a person’s immigration status with federal authorities.

The money could be withheld in the future, or terminated, if local officials fail to prove they are following the law, wrote Alan R. Hanson, acting head of the Office of Justice Programs. The grant program is the leading source of federal justice funding to states and local communities.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly threatened additional consequences for local police that don’t deliver people in custody, saying the alternative is immigration agents searching neighborhoods.

“Ideally the best place for us to pick up these illegal criminals is in jails and prisons,” Kelly said at a news conference with Sessions in San Diego, next to a border fence topped with razor wire. “If they don’t do that, then we have to go into neighborhoods. We have to go into courthouses. We have to go wherever we can find them and apprehend them.”

Kevin de Leon, leader of California’s state Senate, rejected the administration’s demand, saying its policies are based on “principles of white supremacy” and not American values.

“Their constant and systematic targeting of diverse cities and states goes beyond constitutional norms and will be challenged at every level,” he said.

Leaders in Chicago and Cook County, which shared a grant of more than $2.3 million in 2016, dismissed the threat. So did the mayor’s office in New York City, which received $4.3 million. The Justice Department singled out Chicago’s rise in homicides and said New York’s gang killings were the “predictable consequence of the city’s soft-on-crime stance.”

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the “soft on crime” statement made his blood boil.

“To say we’re soft on crime is absolutely ludicrous,” O’Neill said.

He said his police department, by far the nation’s largest, locked up more than 1,000 people in 100 gang takedowns last year. “Maybe we should ask them if we’re soft on crime,” he said.

The jurisdictions also include Clark County, Nevada; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

They were singled out in a May 2016 report by the Justice Department’s inspector general that found local policies or rules could interfere with providing information to immigration agents. Following the report, the Obama administration warned cities that they could miss out on grant money if they did not comply with the law, but it never actually withheld funds.

The report pointed to a Milwaukee County rule that immigration detention requests be honored only if the person has been convicted of one felony or two misdemeanors, has been charged with domestic violence or drunken driving, is a gang member, or is on a terrorist watch list, among other constraints.

It also took issue with a New Orleans Police Department policy that it said might hinder communication with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That city received nearly $266,000 in grant money through the program in fiscal year 2016. New Orleans has used Justice Department funding to pay for testing DNA kits, police body cameras, attorneys for domestic violence victims and other expenses.

Zach Butterworth, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s executive counsel and director of federal relations, said the city drafted its policies in consultation with federal immigration and Homeland Security officials. It was reviewing the Justice Department’s letter.

“We don’t think there’s a problem,” he said.

Butterworth said the New Orleans Police Department has seen a 28 percent drop in calls for service from people with limited English since November.

“People are scared, and because of that, they’re less willing to report crime,” Butterworth added.

Other places also insisted they were in compliance. Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the city and county were wrongly labeled sanctuary cities.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said that community is hardly succumbing to violence.

“Milwaukee County has its challenges but they are not caused by illegal immigration,” he said in a statement. “My far greater concern is the proactive dissemination of misinformation, fear, and intolerance.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Ivan Moreno in Milwaukee; Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Karen Matthews in New York; Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, California; Elliot Spagat in San Diego; and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/whitehouse/justice-dept-warns-sanctuary-cities-in-immigration-fight/2017/04/21/20a725de-26fc-11e7-928e-3624539060e8_story.html?utm_term=.04b6a4e4db21

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Ivanka Trump LGBT activism contradicts her Jewish faithhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/ivanka-trump-lgbt-activism-contradicts-jewish-faith.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/ivanka-trump-lgbt-activism-contradicts-jewish-faith.html#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 04:39:03 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27304 Ivanka Trump LGBT activism contradicts her Jewish faith Ivanka Trump LGBT activism contradicts her Jewish faith:- Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are flouting their professed orthodox Jewish religion by advocating for the sins of homosexual behavior and “same-sex marriage,” several orthodox rabbis and traditional practitioners of Judaism told LifeSiteNews.   With […]

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Ivanka Trump LGBT activism contradicts her Jewish faith

Ivanka Trump LGBT activism contradicts her Jewish faith:- Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are flouting their professed orthodox Jewish religion by advocating for the sins of homosexual behavior and “same-sex marriage,” several orthodox rabbis and traditional practitioners of Judaism told LifeSiteNews.  

With the Kushners’ White House clout reportedly growing, many conservatives are wary of their liberalism. In particularly, pro-family advocates cannot understand how a couple who publicly practice a religion as biblically tradition-bound as orthodox Judaism can at the same time champion the revolutionary notion of creating “rights” — including “marriage” — based on homosexuality.

Orthodox Jewish teaching, rooted in the Torah, the divine revelation to Moses in the first five books of the Old Testament, regards homosexual acts as an “abomination” (“detestable”) before a holy God. Homosexual unions, including the genderless redefinition of “marriage,” are believed to be sufficiently evil to warrant God’s destruction of whole societies that allow them.

“To countenance homosexual ‘marriage’ is totally beyond the pale,” Rabbi Yehuda Levin told LifeSiteNews. Levin is a pro-life and pro-family advocate and former representative of both the Jewish Union of Orthodox Rabbis and the Rabbinical Alliance of America.

“You can’t be serious as an Orthodox Jew and support the ‘gay’ agenda,” said Brian Camenker, a pro-family advocate who attends an Orthodox synagogue in Newton, Massachusetts. Camenker, the president of the national pro-family group Mass Resistance, said the Kushners “are not like any orthodox I’ve ever seen.”

Another Rabbi and veteran teacher in a northeastern Jewish high school, who asked to remain anonymous, said that apparently to Kushner, “social acceptability is more important than truth.”

Most of Kushner’s fellow Orthodox Jewish critics described him to LifeSiteNews as a “modern Orthodox,” noting that (especially younger) moderns tend to be less observant of Jewish law requirements than other orthodox. In contrast, the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism are blatantly pro-LGBTQ and veer to the Left on sin and other issues.

Ivanka Trump, who converted to orthodox Judaism from Presbyterian Christianity before her 2009 marriage to Jared, is also under fire for secretly meeting with Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups. Ivanka, like her husband, is now officially a senior adviser to the president, her father. She claims to be an advocate for “women’s issues” but will not comment on whether she is pro-life or pro-abortion “rights.”

Although Orthodox Jewish teaching on abortion is more nuanced than in Catholic and evangelical approaches, most abortions are condemned by most Rabbinic authorities.

Squelching religious liberty, celebrating homosexual “marriage”

Ivanka and Kushner have received widespread “credit” in various news reports for persuading President Trump to extend a pro-LGBT executive order on federal contractors started by Obama in 2014, as LifeSiteNews reported.

The power couple is also widely cited as having killed a prospective White House pro-religious-liberty executive order that conservatives had hoped for as protection against pro-homosexual government coercion.

Both Kushner and Ivanka served as “Honorary Hosts” at a 2011 fundraiser for legalizing homosexual “marriage” in their home state of New York. The fundraiser was sponsored by Freedom to Marry (FTM), a group founded by homosexual “marriage” activist Evan Wolfson. FTM closed down a few months after the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, having achieved its goal of the court-imposed nationalization of homosexual “marriage.”

Said Wolfson regarding his same-sex “marriage” activism: “I’m not in this just to change the law. It’s about changing society.”

Indeed, court-imposed same-sex “marriage,” like legalized abortion-on-demand before it, has already changed American society enormously. Even though the “zero-sum game” battle between “gay rights” and religious freedom has been going on for the last two decades, the advent of legalized homosexual “marriage” has accelerated the negation of religious liberties.

For example, the ACLU is backing a lawsuit against a Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina, brought by a homosexual teacher who was fired after he announced on Facebook that he was “marrying” a man, LifeSiteNnew reported in January.

Orthodox Judaism and sodomy

While there are ample press references to Mr. and Mrs. Kushner keeping the Sabbath and Jewish dietary laws, the media rarely cover the obvious conflict between the influential couple’s open social liberalism — especially their support of homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” — and their professed adherence to orthodox Judaism.

So what beliefs about sexual morality are typical for orthodox Jews and why are they important for civilizations?

Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter, founder of Torah Jews for Decency, describes the religion as follows: "Orthodox Judaism is totally subservient to The Divine Will, as revealed in the eternal, immutable Written and Oral Torah, given on Mt. Sinai, without any mysterious, paradoxical opt-out loopholes — escape clauses that allow changes to accommodate to ‘shifting moral paradigms.’” 

“This is not a smorgasbord. Orthodox Judaism is not a ‘pick and choose’ religion,” said Rabbi Levin, sounding a lot like traditionalists Catholics who criticize “cafeteria Catholics” who reject politically incorrect Church doctrines they don’t like.

Popular Jewish talk show host Dennis Prager writes that Judaism “changed the world” by demanding “that all sexual activity be channeled into marriage.”

“The Torah's prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the creation of Western civilization possible,” Prager writes. “Societies that did not place boundaries around sexuality were stymied in their development. The subsequent dominance of the Western world can largely be attributed to the sexual revolution initiated by Judaism and later carried forward by Christianity.”

Jewish pro-family advocate Arthur Goldberg, in his book, ‘Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change,” writes that sexual purity is part of God’s call to be holy. He quotes Rabbi Samuel Dresner, who states that, “the first lesson of holiness is to remain sexually pure.”

In the same book, Goldberg quotes Rabbi Dr. Joseph Hertz, author of “Pentateuch and Haftorahs,” as saying, “The Rabbis deem sexual immorality the strongest of defilements, cutting man off from God.”

“Indeed,” writes Goldberg, “the Torah expressly implicates the sexual immorality of the Canaanites as one of the main reasons G-d took the land away from them and transferred it to the Israelites.”

How great an apostasy?

According to some orthodox rabbis and adherents to orthodox Judaism citing ancient Hebrew texts, Jared Kushner’s public advocacy for homosexuality-based “marriage” is a greater violation of his religion than if he were to practice sodomy himself. That is because he is leading others astray, said Rabbi Levin.

“On their spiritual resume they will have to give an account [to God] for the effect their pro-homosexual machinations will have on many tens of millions of American families and children—and their ability to lead biblically-based lives,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Note the parallel in the decline of orthodoxy and morality among Orthodox Jews with the same caused by apostate Christians.

“It’s exactly like Christianity,” Goldberg told LifeSiteNews. “The gay activists keep banging away, and people who should know better capitulate and compromise on truth.”

Levin said homosexual behavior — like other serious sins, such as adultery — rises to the level of a “death penalty offense” in the Old Testament (Leviticus 20:13), to show “how severe of a sin God sees this as.” He said the strong penalty in Scripture was intended to have a “deterrent effect” on the people of Israel, and others. (Only an insignificant, tiny fraction of a fraction of Jews and Christians support actual capital punishment for homosexuals or adulterers today; nearly all religious people with traditional, biblical perspectives on homosexuality instead favor helping men and women overcome their unwanted same-sex attractions.)

Stopping religious liberty executive order

The Kushners’ liberal “New York values,” to quote the campaign line used against Donald Trump by Sen. Ted Cruz, are well-established.

The U.K. Daily Telegraph reported in February that the Kushers are “keen supporters of gay rights,” glowingly portraying them as a “calming influence” on Donald Trump against “far right” and “ultra-conservative” forces, epitomized by Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as “moderates” inside the Trump administration, are under heavy pressure from fellow social liberals to restrain conservative policies in the White House — policies that many on the Left often mislabel as “extreme.”

This theme of rational, stabilizing “moderates” in the Trump administration countering conservative “extremists” is seen in a tweet by SpaceX entrepreneur and Trump adviser Elon Musk, who describes himself as “half Democrat, half Republican: “Activists should be pushing for more moderates to advise President, not fewer. How could having only extremists advise him possibly be good?”

On the other hand, concern from the opposite political spectrum about the Kushners’ anti-conservative sway in the Trump presidency extends far beyond social issues. Anti-radical-Islam activist Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative told Breitbart News Daily on April 7 that Kushner is a smart “Manhattan liberal” with “undue influence” in the Trump White House.

Defending religious liberty is not “extreme”

The ascendancy of the LGBTQ movement with its immense power in society, especially in the media and corporate worlds, has led many “gay” and “trans” activists to decry any attempts to pass laws protecting people’s right to oppose homosexuality as radical, bigoted, and hateful. Media routinely cast pro-religious liberty legislation as “anti-LGBT.”

But an essay by Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress written about 14 years ago, before and after the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v Texas ruling decriminalizing Texas’ sodomy law, shows how far the debate over homosexuality has shifted in such a short time.

Noting that, “The Torah bans male homosexual intercourse,” Stern nevertheless takes a pessimistic view of the likelihood that social conservatives, including his fellow moral-minded Jews, can ever succeed in returning America to embrace God’s biblical view of morality. So he argues instead for mutual “moral agnosticism” in the law and culture whereby “not only must religious people not impose ‘traditional’ morality on those with more ‘modern’ [pro-homosexual] views, but ‘modernists’ [pro-LGBT advocates] have a reciprocal obligation not to impose their view on traditionalists.”

That was then. This is now. Many today would look at Stern’s thesis as quaint if not naïve. As they have all across the country, homosexual activists and allied liberals will fight intensely against any Trump or Republican plans to federally protect religious people’s freedom not to support homosexual “marriages” and “transgender rights.”

The question is: Will Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner — despite claiming allegiance to God’s moral and spiritual laws — be the “trump card” for the LGBTQ lobby in shutting down even today’s minimal efforts to preserve citizen’s right to disagree with homosexuality?

Camenker of MassResistance says that even if Kushner and Trump try to appease their liberal friends by resisting pro-family measures from inside the White House, “It’s never going to work because they’re part of the Trump presidency now, and the liberals will never forgive them for that.”

Source:- https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ivanka-trumps-lgbt-activism-contradicts-her-jewish-faith

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Uber extends sexual harassment probe; expects report by end-Mayhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-extends-sexual-harassment-probe-expects-report-end-may.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-extends-sexual-harassment-probe-expects-report-end-may.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:02:57 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27298 Uber extends sexual harassment probe; expects report by end-May Uber Technologies Inc said it has extended its internal investigation into sexual harassment claims in its own organization, and a report is expected by the end of May. In February, Susan Fowler, a female former engineer at Uber, said in a widely read blog post that […]

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Uber extends sexual harassment probe; expects report by end-May

Uber Technologies Inc said it has extended its internal investigation into sexual harassment claims in its own organization, and a report is expected by the end of May.

In February, Susan Fowler, a female former engineer at Uber, said in a widely read blog post that managers and human resources officers at the company had not punished her manager after she reported his unwanted sexual advances, and even threatened her with a poor performance review.

Board director Arianna Huffington, in a memo to employees on Thursday, said the board subcomittee has granted a request for more time to complete the assessment and the investigation is being extended to "ensure that no stone is left unturned".

The memo states that the internal report is anticipated by the end of May.

The ride-hailing firm hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, who are partners at the law firm Covington & Burling, to conduct a review of the claims as well as general questions about diversity and inclusion.

According to Recode, Holder has not had the opportunity to interview several key figures in the investigation, including top human resources executives. He plans to do so in the coming weeks. 

Uber has come under more pressure over the results of its sexual harassment review, particularly after the scandal at Fox News leading to the ouster of its anchor Bill O'Reilly.

Chief Executive Travis Kalanick called the allegations by Fowler "abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in".

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-tech-sexual-harassment-idUSKBN17N0D0

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Spotify ensures independent artists are on board with fresh dealhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/spotify-ensures-independent-artists-board-fresh-deal.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/spotify-ensures-independent-artists-board-fresh-deal.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:02:45 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27300 Spotify ensures independent artists are on board with fresh deal Spotify ensures independent artists are on board with fresh deal:- Music streaming service Spotify said on Thursday it has renewed a nine-year-old licensing deal with independent digital agency Merlin that has proven essential to its enduring appeal to dedicated music fans even as it has […]

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Spotify ensures independent artists are on board with fresh deal

Spotify ensures independent artists are on board with fresh deal:- Music streaming service Spotify said on Thursday it has renewed a nine-year-old licensing deal with independent digital agency Merlin that has proven essential to its enduring appeal to dedicated music fans even as it has become more mainstream.

Merlin represents 20,000 independent record labels in 51 countries - around 12 percent of the digital recorded music market - making it Spotify's fourth largest partner after major labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, the company said.

The agreement come weeks after Spotify reached a licensing deal with Universal that could make the streaming platform more attractive to its top-selling artists, including Taylor Swift, Adele, Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Kanye West - by letting them release albums exclusively to paying premium users.

Spotify is the world's top music streaming site, having doubled the number of its paying subscribers over the past two years to 50 million as of last month. Rival Apple Music counted 20 million paying subscribers as of last December.

Its stable includes classic British indie labels such as Beggars Group and Sub Pop through to German electronic music label !K7, Kobalt Music, which licenses the music of Prince, and Mad Decent, a U.S. label which has distributed everything from African and Brazilian funk to artists like Outkast.

Spotify, which has yet to show a profit as it expands in markets worldwide and builds new offices in New York, is exploring a market listing in the United States this year, banking sources say, confirming reports over the past year.

But the music platform has resisted a traditional initial public offering (IPO) in favor of a direct share listing, a source with knowledge of the plan said, confirming an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal.

This means existing Spotify investors and employees with stock options would have their shares registered, enabling them to be traded freely, while the company would not be able to raise extra money or work with underwriters to place new shares.

The company raised $526 million in its last funding round in 2015, giving it a valuation of around $8.5 billion at that time.

Spotify lost 173 million euros in 2015 according to the latest figures disclosed by its Luxembourg holding company, but recent deals with labels and the prospect of a stock market listing may mean its cash needs are less urgent.

Merlin, based in Amsterdam and London, also licenses digital rights to Spotify rivals including SoundCloud, Google Play and YouTube Red, Pandora and Deezer.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-spotify-merlin-idUSKBN17M1QU

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Trump to order U.S. Treasury to delve into taxes, post-crisis reformschttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/trump-order-u-s-treasury-delve-taxes-post-crisis-reformsc.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/politics/trump-order-u-s-treasury-delve-taxes-post-crisis-reformsc.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:13:32 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27294 Trump to order U.S. Treasury to delve into taxes, post-crisis reformsc U.S. President Donald Trump will order the Treasury on Friday to find and reduce tax burdens and review post-financial crisis reforms that banks and insurance companies have said hinder their ability to do business. A White House official said on Thursday that Trump will […]

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Trump to order U.S. Treasury to delve into taxes, post-crisis reformsc

U.S. President Donald Trump will order the Treasury on Friday to find and reduce tax burdens and review post-financial crisis reforms that banks and insurance companies have said hinder their ability to do business.

A White House official said on Thursday that Trump will issue an executive order directing the Treasury on the tax issues. He will also issue two memoranda asking for reviews of two parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law - the Orderly Liquidation Authority that sets out how big banks can wind down during a crisis and the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), which is made up of the country's top regulators.

The orders, which Trump will sign at the Treasury Department, next door to the White House, comes as the president works toward making good on a major campaign promise to lower taxes.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will review significant tax regulations issued in 2016 to determine if any impose an undue financial burden on American taxpayers, add undue complexity or exceed statutory authority, the official's statement said.

Mnuchin said earlier on Thursday that Treasury is working on tax reform "day and night" and will soon create a sweeping overhaul.

Congress recently failed in efforts to make good another Trump campaign promise to reform healthcare.

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said this week that the country's first tax overhaul in decades may not be done until well into 2017. The review that Trump is ordering gives the administration a way to approach the issue independent of Congress.

The liquidation authority and the FSOC were both created as part of the Dodd-Frank law intended to prevent a repeat of the 2007-09 financial crisis, when the U.S. government injected billions of dollars in aid into failing banks to keep them from destroying the country's economy.

In February Trump ordered a review of the law, saying he wanted to cut out much of it, and Mnuchin has said he would like to look into how the council, which he chairs, works.

House Republicans are also working to loosen Dodd-Frank regulations. Banks say the regulations have hurt their liquidity and created burdensome processes.

Trump will order an assessment of how the FSOC designates a financial institution as "systemically important," which triggers requirements to hold more capital in case it comes into crisis.

Republican lawmakers say the FSOC uses a flawed process lacking transparency to designate non-bank institutions. Only two insurers, American International Group Inc and Prudential Financial Inc, currently carry the label, and a judge last year struck down the council's designation of MetLife Inc.

Mnuchin will have 180 days to report to Trump on the liquidation authority, a tool for federal banking regulators to use if they need to step in during a financial emergency and help a failing bank unwind. The report will offer views on using bankruptcy as an alternative, the impact of failing companies on financial stability, and whether the authority could drive up taxpayer costs or encourage excessive risk-taking.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-financial-idUSKBN17M2XJ

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U.S. and Indonesia seek to cut trade and investment barriershttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/u-s-indonesia-seek-cut-trade-investment-barriers.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/u-s-indonesia-seek-cut-trade-investment-barriers.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:09:31 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27291 U.S. and Indonesia seek to cut trade and investment barriers U.S. and Indonesia seek to cut trade and investment barriers:- Indonesia and the United States agreed on Friday to find ways to reduce barriers to U.S. companies operating in Southeast Asia's largest economy, visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Jakarta's investment chief said. The Trump […]

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U.S. and Indonesia seek to cut trade and investment barriers

U.S. and Indonesia seek to cut trade and investment barriers:- Indonesia and the United States agreed on Friday to find ways to reduce barriers to U.S. companies operating in Southeast Asia's largest economy, visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Jakarta's investment chief said.

The Trump administration has put Indonesia on a list of 16 countries whose trade surpluses with the United States will be put under review. A series of disputes between Indonesia and American firms has also ruffled ties.

"We will work with President Jokowi to reduce barriers to trade and investments and to create a truly level playing field where all our businesses have equal opportunity and market access," Pence said. Jokowi is the nickname of Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.

"The president and I spoke about that very candidly and very respectfully," Pence told a roundtable discussion with business executives in Jakarta before flying to Australia on the last leg of his 10-day Asia-Pacific tour.

Indonesia's investments barriers include a lack of intellectual property protection, insufficient transparency with regulations and requiring local content for manufactured goods sold in the Indonesian market, Pence said.

Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board chief Tom Lembong said Widodo agreed "we still have too many regulations, too many barriers to trade, and these are bad for local and international industries".

"I'm optimistic because President Jokowi and President Trump are both lifelong business people, and I think they are very focused on the practical issues that hinder business and investment," Lembong told Reuters. "I feel that the Trump administration and the Jokowi administration are on the same wavelength."

Lembong said Indonesia needs both investment and imports from the United States, "especially productivity-enhancing products and services. You need imports to boost exports."

$10 BILLION AGREEMENTS

Neither side disclosed any discussions about the disputes Indonesia has had with American companies of late.

Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining giant Freeport McMoRan (FCX.N), demanding the company divest 51 percent of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, and has demanded that Google Inc. settle unpaid taxes and fines of more than $400 million. Jakarta also scrubbed JP Morgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report.

Pence did, however, witness the signing of more than $10 billion in memoranda of understanding with U.S. companies in Indonesia on Friday.

Among the 11 agreements were ones by Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) to sell liquefied natural gas to Pertamina, Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) to provide upgrades to the Indonesian Air Force's F-16s, and General Electric (GE.N) to develop electrical infrastructure in Indonesia.

"We think there are opportunities to clear open the way for American companies to participate more greatly in Indonesia," Pence said, adding the agreements would "draw our nations closer together and benefit both our people."

COUNTER-TERRORISM COOPERATION

Pence said in opening remarks to the roundtable that an attack in central Paris is the latest reminder terrorism can strike anywhere at anytime, and the United States would not relent in its efforts to end terrorism.

"The people of Indonesia can be confident in the wake of this latest attack: We will not relent in our effort to end terrorism and the threat it presents to both of our peoples," Pence said.

A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on Thursday night in an attack carried out days before presidential elections and quickly claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, has itself been hit by a series of deadly attacks over the past 15 years, led by militants affiliated with al Qaeda and more recently by Islamic State.

Pence said Washington would continue working with Indonesia to combat terrorism. On Thursday, Pence toured the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Southeast Asia's largest, and said Indonesia's moderate form of Islam should serve as an example to other nations.

Indonesia has expressed concern about the Trump administration's proposal to bar entry to citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations. That plan, however, remains stalled in courts.

Pence on Thursday announced Trump would visit Southeast Asia in November for an annual series of regional summits. They include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in the Philippines.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pence-asia-indonesia-idUSKBN17N09A

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High-stakes vote on Wells Fargo board also tests proxy adviser ISShttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/high-stakes-vote-wells-fargo-board-also-tests-proxy-adviser-iss.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/high-stakes-vote-wells-fargo-board-also-tests-proxy-adviser-iss.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:07:03 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27282 High-stakes vote on Wells Fargo board also tests proxy adviser ISS A high-stakes shareholder vote at Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) next week will determine whether the bank has done enough to retain investor confidence after its phony-account scandal, and whether a leading proxy adviser wields enough clout to help oust most of its board. […]

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High-stakes vote on Wells Fargo board also tests proxy adviser ISS

A high-stakes shareholder vote at Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) next week will determine whether the bank has done enough to retain investor confidence after its phony-account scandal, and whether a leading proxy adviser wields enough clout to help oust most of its board.

In one of its toughest shareholder notes, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended earlier this month that investors vote against 12 of the 15 directors on Wells Fargo's ballot at the company's annual meeting on April 25, including independent chairman Stephen Sanger. ISS argued they had all failed in their oversight duties.

The recommendation was another blow to the country's third-largest bank, which has been struggling for months to move past revelations that thousands of employees created as many as 2 million accounts in customers' names without permission to hit lofty sales targets. ISS's recommendation followed one by Glass Lewis, its closest competitor, which recommended votes against six directors for similar reasons. The ball is now in the shareholders' court. A sampling of investors who spoke to Reuters were split on how to vote.

It would be extremely unusual for most directors at a company the size of Wells Fargo to turn over suddenly, without pressure from an activist investor, but ISS's scathing review was also rare.

According to Proxy Insight, among the 2,780 meetings held by S&P 500 companies since 2012, ISS has recommended votes against 80 percent or more of directors in just seven cases besides Wells Fargo. Each involved a special circumstance, like only a few directors being up for re-election.

ISS's Wells Fargo recommendation was "among the harshest that I can recall," said Bruce Goldfarb, president of proxy solicitation firm Okapi Partners.

An ISS spokesman declined to comment. Wells Fargo representatives cited an April 7 statement calling the ISS recommendation "extreme and unprecedented."

ISS is the largest proxy adviser, with about 1,700 clients versus Glass Lewis's 1,200, and has faced concerns it wields undue influence over corporate elections. On average, directors who ISS recommends "against" receive 17 percent to 18 percent less support, according to consulting firm Semler Brossy.

Activists have criticized big fund managers for blindly following ISS. Institutional investors have built up large corporate governance departments in recent years and say they make their own judgments.

But breaking with ISS and supporting the whole Wells Fargo board could be difficult for fund firms, said Michael Goldstein, a Babson College finance professor.

"This may be one of those cases where you don't want to have to answer a lot of questions about why did you support these people," Goldstein said.

DONE ENOUGH?

If shareholders do vote against some of Wells Fargo's directors, it does not mean they will immediately leave. The bank's guidelines require directors offer to resign if they fail to receive a majority of votes cast, but leaves the board wiggle room in deciding whether to accept a resignation.

In other cases with fewer directors at risk, shareholder sentiment mattered. Some of JPMorgan Chase & Co's (JPM.N) directors resigned in 2013 when they won only narrow majorities after the "London Whale" trading scandal.

Directors who fail to win majorities are in an even weaker position buy may not leave right away. For instance, two Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) directors received less than 30 percent support at its annual meeting in mid-2012 and offered to resign. The board accepted the resignation of one director two weeks later and did not accept the resignation of the other until the following March.

Wells Fargo's board and management have said the steps taken to fix problems and punish employees responsible for sales abuses show there is now strong oversight, and that directors nominated deserve to be elected. In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Wednesday, Wells Fargo Chief Executive Tim Sloan said ousting most of the board would be "crazy."

The San Francisco-based bank paid $190 million in a September regulatory settlement for the unauthorized accounts, igniting a public firestorm that hammered its shares and led to the resignation of then-Chairman and CEO John Stumpf.

Since then, Sloan replaced Stumpf, and Sanger became the independent chairman. The board took steps like eliminating sales goals, revamping its compensation structure and withholding or clawing back tens of millions of dollars of bonuses.

Shareholders interviewed in recent days voiced a range of views about whether Wells Fargo's board needs an overhaul. Top investor Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) has already voted in favor of the board. Other big shareholders, including State Street Corp (STT.N) and Vanguard Group declined to comment or did not respond to questions.

Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who oversees funds that own Wells Fargo shares, said they will vote against directors flagged by ISS.

"Directors are meant to be agents for the shareholders, and watchdogs for the investors," he said. "Clearly that level of oversight was lacking at Wells Fargo."

Others were supportive. Gideon Bernstein, partner at wealth management firm Leisure Capital, said he plans to back the board. He was impressed with the bank's April 10 report describing what went wrong, and actions taken in response.

"The board has done a really good job drilling down," he said.

Thomas Russo, managing member at Gardner, Russo & Gardner, said he has not yet decided how to vote. He wants to see a smaller board with more banking experience.

"There's an elevated sense of urgency in a smaller board and a board that has more specific knowledge," he said.

Executives at American Century Investments also have not yet decided. Senior investment analyst Adam Krenn said the bank's oversight and initial response was lacking. But portfolio manager Michael Liss praised the eventual response.

"Even though they were late in reacting, they certainly came down strong," he said.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-wells-fargo-accounts-proxies-idUSKBN17N0DV

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Trump tax plan to rely on future U.S. growth to fund cutshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/trump-tax-plan-rely-future-u-s-growth-fund-cuts.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/trump-tax-plan-rely-future-u-s-growth-fund-cuts.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:06:15 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27289 Trump tax plan to rely on future U.S. growth to fund cuts Trump tax plan to rely on future U.S. growth to fund cuts:- U.S. President Donald Trump's tax reform plan will rely largely on future revenue gains from faster economic growth to justify major tax cuts, top Trump advisers said on Thursday. As Trump's […]

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Trump tax plan to rely on future U.S. growth to fund cuts

Trump tax plan to rely on future U.S. growth to fund cuts:- U.S. President Donald Trump's tax reform plan will rely largely on future revenue gains from faster economic growth to justify major tax cuts, top Trump advisers said on Thursday.

As Trump's first 100 days in office draw to a close, the disclosure is the latest sign that the White House could part ways with congressional Republicans who want to pay for tax cuts by taxing imports and eliminating a business tax deduction for debt interest payments.

"Some of the lowering in (tax) rates is going to be offset by less deductions and simpler taxes," Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said in a question-and-answer session on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

"But the majority of it will be made up by what we believe is fundamentally growth and dynamic scoring," he added.

Dynamic scoring is a little-known government forecasting method that uses economic modeling to predict changes in revenues resulting from economic growth spurred by new tax and economic policies.

Republicans believe major tax reform would drive annual U.S. economic growth above 3 percent. But if anticipated improvement fails to materialize, the strategy could rob the Treasury of tax revenue and saddle the economy with bigger deficits and higher debt burdens.

Mnuchin said dynamic scoring could give Trump and Congress a $2 trillion revenue cushion for the first major overhaul of the U.S. tax code since 1986.

Gary Cohn, director of Trump's National Economic Council, told the same gathering that dynamic scoring would help avoid deficit-funded tax cuts that could not be made permanent under Senate fiscal rules.

"Using dynamic scoring may allow us to get to a permanent solution," Cohn said. "We would like a permanent solution."

A congressional tax plan backed by House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan would raise over $2 trillion with a border adjustment proposal to tax imports while exempting exports from taxation, and by eliminating net interest deductions for businesses. But both measures have fierce opponents among businesses and Republican lawmakers.

Mnuchin said border adjustment could hurt U.S. exports by driving the dollar higher, or fuel consumer inflation if the dollar does not rise.

The administration's goal is to unveil a plan soon that can quickly pass the House and Senate.

"This won't take 'til the end of the year," Mnuchin said. "It will be sweeping, it will be significant and it will create a lot of economic growth."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tax-trump-idUSKBN17M2PQ

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Trump targets cheap Chinese steel in probe, rallying U.S. steel stockshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/trump-targets-cheap-chinese-steel-probe-rallying-u-s-steel-stocks.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/trump-targets-cheap-chinese-steel-probe-rallying-u-s-steel-stocks.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:49:28 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27281 Trump targets cheap Chinese steel in probe, rallying U.S. steel stocks President Donald Trump on Thursday launched a trade probe against China and other exporters of cheap steel into the U.S. market, raising the possibility of new tariffs and sending shares of some U.S. steel makers up over 8 percent. Citing concerns about national security, […]

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Trump targets cheap Chinese steel in probe, rallying U.S. steel stocks

President Donald Trump on Thursday launched a trade probe against China and other exporters of cheap steel into the U.S. market, raising the possibility of new tariffs and sending shares of some U.S. steel makers up over 8 percent.

Citing concerns about national security, Trump made the announcement at a White House ceremony with U.S. steel executives from Nucor Corp (NUE.N), United States Steel Corp (X.N) and TimkenSteel Corp (TMST.N) alongside Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a billionaire businessman who made part of his fortune investing in the steel business.

"Steel is critical to both our economy and our military," said Trump, a Republican. "This is not an area where we can afford to become dependent on foreign countries."

Trump won many votes in industrial states like Michigan and Pennsylvania with a pledge to boost manufacturing and crack down on Chinese trade practices.

China is the largest national producer and makes far more steel than it consumes, selling the excess output overseas, often undercutting domestic producers.

The unusual step of launching an investigation comes as Trump is pressuring China to do more to rein in an increasingly belligerent North Korea. When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Trump in Florida earlier this month, Trump raised the possibility of using trade as a lever to coax China to do more.

“Everything they export is dumping,” said Derek Scissors, Asia economist at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

Ross cast the decision to initiate the probe as a response to Chinese exports of steel into the United States reaching the point where they now account for 26 percent of the U.S. market.

Chinese exports have risen "despite repeated Chinese claims that they were going to reduce their steel capacity," said Ross, whom The Economist, a business magazine that champions free trade, in 2004 labeled "Mr. Protectionism" for his history of owning businesses protected from foreign competition.

Ross said that if the Commerce inquiry finds the U.S. steel industry is suffering from too much steel imports, he will recommend retaliatory steps that could include tariffs.

Diverging from the Obama administration's approach to the issue, which relied largely on filing complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Trump ordered a probe under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which lets the president impose restrictions on imports for reasons of national security.

In October 2001, a Commerce Department investigation found "no probative evidence" that imports of iron ore and semi-finished steel threaten to impair U.S. national security.

Steel shares had rallied after Trump won the November election amid promises for increased infrastructure spending. On Thursday shares of Steel Dynamics Inc (STLD.O), AK Steel Holding Corp (AKS.N), Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (CLF.N), Allegheny Technologies Inc (ATI.N) and other steel makers closed between 4 percent and 8.5 percent higher.

PROFITS CITED

The United States has nearly 100 plants that make millions of tons of steel annually. The U.S. government has attempted to shield them from cheap foreign steel chiefly through the WTO, but the Trump administration said this has had little impact.

"The artificially low prices caused by excess capacity and unfairly traded imports suppress profits in the American steel industry," the administration said in a statement.

Nucor Chairman John Ferriola said in a statement that the steelmaker welcomed the president's move. "We look forward to continuing to work with the president and Secretary Ross to ensure our trade laws are enforced so that U.S. manufacturers can compete on a level-playing field," he said.


Experts were skeptical about the administration's argument that cheap Chinese steel threatened U.S. national security.

The Defense Department's annual steel requirements comprise less than 0.3 percent of the industry’s output by weight.

“There is no doubt that steel plays a role in our national security and the manufacturing of U.S. weapons systems,” said Jeff Bialos, a partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, who has worked on steel trade cases in the past.

"But the Department of Defense only consumes a small portion of domestic steel output, and this has decreased over the past decade as composites technology has advanced,” Bialos said.

Some of the military’s largest consumers of steel are U.S. Navy shipbuilders Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc (HII.N) and Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N).

Scissors said the United States has other ways to take on China over steel trade issues, other than invoking national security.

“Talking about it as a national security issue - I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think it’s justified,” he said.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-steel-idUSKBN17M237

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Trump optimistic he can tackle health care bill and North Korea threathttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-optimistic-can-tackle-health-care-bill-north-korea-threat.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-optimistic-can-tackle-health-care-bill-north-korea-threat.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:58:44 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27273 Trump optimistic he can tackle health care bill and North Korea threat Facing an array of challenges in Congress and across the globe, President Trump said Thursday he is confident he can block North Korea's nuclear program, get a health care bill though the House, and avoid a government shutdown that could occur late next […]

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Trump optimistic he can tackle health care bill and North Korea threat

Facing an array of challenges in Congress and across the globe, President Trump said Thursday he is confident he can block North Korea's nuclear program, get a health care bill though the House, and avoid a government shutdown that could occur late next week.

"As far as keeping the government open, I think we want to keep the government open, don't you agree?" Trump told reporters in a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Trump, who plans to visit Italy next month for a Group of Seven industrial nations summit, said he also looks forward to meeting with Pope Francis during that trip. White House spokesman Sean Spicer later said planning for a Trump-Francis meeting is underway, but there is not yet a specific date.

While praising Italy for its "deep ties of history and friendship" with the United States, Trump said he wants to the make the relationship "even more productive" by forging fairer trade deals and having Italy contribute more to common national defense. "Italy is a spectacular place; I know it well," Trump said.

The Italian leader vowed to help the United States combat terrorist threats from the Islamic State – including through contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's "collective security" – and to seek a peaceful solution to the civil war in Syria.

"I also told President Trump that we have confidence, even though this is a difficult moment," Gentiloni said at one point.

The two leaders spoke with reporters after a meeting at the White House that focused on cooperation within NATO, counterterrorism, and an upcoming international economic summit to be held in Italy.

During the news conference, Trump also:

Said Iran is not "living up to the spirit" of its nuclear agreement with the United States, even though his State Department certified this week that Tehran is complying with the specific terms of the deal. Trump did not define what he mean by "spirit" and did not say whether or not the United States plans to pull out of the agreement. "We will see what happens," he said.

Offered condolences to France on the latest attack, saying there is "a very, very terrible thing that's going on in the world today... what can you say? It just never ends."

Expressed hope that China will help "do something" with the "menace" of nuclear-armed North Korea. Trump declined to say whether he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is mentally stable enough to be reasoned with, but added that "I hope the answer is a positive one, not a negative one" and "hopefully that will be something that gets taken care of."

Amid reports that White House aides are planning to push for a new health care vote next week, Trump said he is confident that House Republicans would eventually pass something: "I believe we will get it, and whether it's next week or shortly thereafter," he said.

While a group of GOP conservatives blocked a White House-backed plan just a month ago, Trump said his staff and party leaders continue to work together.

"There was never a give-up," Trump said.

Congress must also pass some kind of spending bill next week ahead of an April 28 deadline to keep the government operating. Trump predicted that "we'll get both" a health care bill and a spending bill.

Meanwhile, as for Italy, Trump has criticized European countries over immigration and refugees policies, trade deals, and what he calls inadequate contributions to NATO. He struck a more positive tone with Gentiloni, telling the Italian leader that "together, we can address many pressing challenges." But there were also traces of tension.

In calling for "reciprocal" trade deals, Trump said he loves that word "because we don't have too many reciprocal trading partnerships, I will tell you that, but we will very soon." At another point, the president said that "we must also reaffirm the requirement that everyone must pay their full and fair share for the cost of defense."

For his part, Gentiloni said "we are proud of our contribution" to mutual defense.

Before his trip to the White House, Gentiloni spoke to a Washington think tank and said that countries must work together promote security in the area around the Mediterranean Sea, a region that has seen overwhelming refugee flows from war-torn countries such as Syria, religious violence, and terrorist threats against Western targets.

"Italy is committed to tackle the root causes of these challenges, but we have to do it all together," Gentiloni told the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

Trump is scheduled to travel to Italy next month for the G-7 meeting, his first international summit. In addition to the U.S. and Italy, the G-7 includes Germany, France, Britain, Canada, and Japan.

"And I look very much forward to meeting the pope," the president said at the news conference.

In praising Italian culture, Trump cited contributions "from Venice to Florence, from Verdi to Pavarotti – a friend of mine, great friend of mine." The opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti died in 2007.

The Italy meeting took place two weeks after Trump ordered a missile strike on Syria after evidence that its government conducted a chemical weapons attack against rebels.

In his remarks at CSIS, Gentiloni expressed support of the missile strike, calling it "a clear message" to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. He added, "this doesn't mean, from our point of view, that we can imagine a military solution of the Syrian crisis."

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/20/donald-trump-paolo-gentiloni-italy-g-7/100692224/

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Ivanka Trump skips book tour and will donate proceeds to charityhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/ivanka-trump-skips-book-tour-will-donate-proceeds-charity.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/ivanka-trump-skips-book-tour-will-donate-proceeds-charity.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 05:43:32 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27276 Ivanka Trump skips book tour and will donate proceeds to charity Ivanka Trump skips book tour and will donate proceeds to charity:- First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump announced Thursday that she's skipping plans to promote her new self-help book, citing ethics concerns. Trump said she planned to forgo publicity for the book, Women […]

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Ivanka Trump skips book tour and will donate proceeds to charity

Ivanka Trump skips book tour and will donate proceeds to charity:- First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump announced Thursday that she's skipping plans to promote her new self-help book, citing ethics concerns.

Trump said she planned to forgo publicity for the book, Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success, including media interviews, to avoid any appearance she is misusing her government role.

"In light of government ethics rules, I want to be clear that this book is a personal project," Trump wrote on her Facebook page. "I wrote it at a different time in my life, from the perspective of an executive and an entrepreneur, and the manuscript was completed before the election last November."

"Out of an abundance of caution and to avoid the appearance of using my official role to promote the book, I will not publicize the book through a promotional tour or media appearances," she said.

Trump said she has established a charitable fund and plans to use the unpaid portion of her advance and future royalties to make grants to charitable organizations. To start, $100,000 each will go to the National Urban League and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.


Trump, who recently assumed an unpaid government post and a West Wing office, has faced questions in recent days about China's decision to grant Trump trademark rights for her handbag, jewelry line and spa services. The trademarks were approved April 6, the same day Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner joined Chinese President Xi Jinping for dinner at her father's private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.

Chinese officials this week defended their decision and said the trademark requests were granted fairly.

Ivanka Trump's fashion and licensing brand, valued at more than $50 million, is controlled by a trust overseen by two relatives. She and her lawyer say she is not weighing in on business decisions and will recuse herself from issues that pose conflicts.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/04/20/ivanka-trump-skips-book-tour-over-ethics-concerns/100713832/

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Trump blasts New York Times over Patriots photo flaphttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-blasts-new-york-times-patriots-photo-flap.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-blasts-new-york-times-patriots-photo-flap.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 05:20:01 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27269 Trump blasts New York Times over Patriots photo flap Trump blasts New York Times over Patriots photo flap:- President Trump couldn't resist taking (another) shot at The New York Times over the great New England Patriots photograph flap. "Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning […]

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Trump blasts New York Times over Patriots photo flap

Trump blasts New York Times over Patriots photo flap:- President Trump couldn't resist taking (another) shot at The New York Times over the great New England Patriots photograph flap.

"Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H." Trump tweet.

It wasn't a lie — just a lack of perspective.

It began when the Times and other news organizations tweeted out photos comparing the Patriots' visit with Trump on Wednesday with the team's White House event with President Barack Obama in 2015 — there was a much bigger crowd around Obama, according to the photos.

The Patriots organization objected, tweeting back at the Times that "these photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn."

The New York Times responded by re-tweeting an update: "Patriots say # of players was smaller this year than 2015 (34 vs. 50) but total delegation was roughly the same."

Some players reportedly declined to attend the White House ceremony because they didn't want to be seen with Trump. Quarterback Tom Brady, whom Trump has called a friend, was among the missing, citing "personal family matters."

Other Patriots welcomed the visit, including owner Robert Kraft, a friend of Trump's who contributed $1 million to the president's inauguration committee.

Meanwhile, Trump opted to maintain his love/hate relationship with his hometown newspaper — while he loves to describe The New York Times as "failing," he also gives them a steady stream of interviews and scoops.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/04/20/donald-j-trump-new-england-patriots-new-york-times/100689224/

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Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflicthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-condos-worth-250-million-pose-potential-conflict.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-condos-worth-250-million-pose-potential-conflict.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 05:16:59 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27268 Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict:- President Trump’s companies own more than 400 condo units and home lots whose sale could steer millions of dollars to Trump, a USA TODAY investigation has found. USA TODAY spent four months cataloging every property Trump's companies own across […]

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Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict

Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict:- President Trump’s companies own more than 400 condo units and home lots whose sale could steer millions of dollars to Trump, a USA TODAY investigation has found.

USA TODAY spent four months cataloging every property Trump's companies own across the country. Reporters found that Trump’s companies are sitting on at least $250 million of individual properties in the USA alone. Property records show Trump’s trust and his companies own at least 422 luxury condos and penthouses from New York City to Las Vegas, 12 mansion lots on bluffs overlooking his golf course on the Pacific Ocean and dozens more smaller pieces of real estate. The properties range in value from about $200,000 to $35 million each.

Unlike developments where Trump licenses his name to a separate developer for a flat fee, profits from selling individual properties directly owned by his companies ultimately enrich him personally.

Trump has never disclosed a complete, unit-by-unit inventory of his companies' real estate holdings or sales, nor is he required to do so by federal law. Trump says he's separated himself from his businesses, but the trust set up in January is run by his sons. Trump is the only beneficiary and can withdraw funds at any time.

The volume of real estate creates an extraordinary and unprecedented potential for people, corporations or foreign interests to try to influence a president. Anyone who wanted to court favor with the president could snap up multiple properties or purposefully overpay. They could buy in the name of a shell company, making it impossible for the public to know who was behind the sales.

The potential for conflicts is exacerbated by Trump's refusal to release his tax returns or fully separate himself from his businesses, breaking with precedent set by presidents going back four decades. Since Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act in 1978, all six presidents from Carter to Obama established blind trusts or limited investments to assets like mutual funds. Trump has not.

The president is exempt from most conflict-of-interest laws that apply to others working in the federal government. He is not required to disclose when units sell or who bought them.

He is barred by the Constitution from receiving gifts from foreign governments or officials. Trump’s assessment that the ban doesn’t apply to market-rate transactions is debated in lawsuits and among ethics experts.

Regardless, it may be impossible for the public to even know who is behind purchase because the rules governing real estate transactions allow for shell companies to make purchases without disclosing who actually paid the money.

“Anyone seeking to influence the president could set up an anonymous company and purchase his property,” said Heather Lowe, director of government affairs at Global Financial Integrity, a D.C.-based group aimed at curbing illicit financial transactions. “It’s a big black box, and the system is failing as a check for conflicts of interest.”

Since Election Day, records show Trump companies have sold at least 14 luxury condos and home-building lots for about $23 million. Half were sold to limited liability companies. No names were listed in deeds, obscuring buyers’ identities.

Since launching his White House bid, Trump’s companies have sold at least 58 units nationwide for about $90 million. Almost half of those sold to LLCs.

That doesn’t count Trump's ownership of millions of square feet of some of America’s priciest office and retail rental space in Manhattan, Chicago and San Francisco.

Buyers and renters of Trump properties include companies or individuals tracing to addresses in at least a dozen countries.

The White House refers business inquiries to the Trump Organization, where four separate executives and spokesmen declined to answer specific questions.

Bobby Burchfield, an attorney hired as an independent ethics reviewer for Trump Organization business deals, wouldn’t answer specific questions about transactions.

Trump attorneys have argued that profits from individual real estate sales would route through a maze of Trump subsidiaries and eventually become mixed in a larger pool of undifferentiated money in the president’s trust. That, they say, makes a direct conflict from an individual sale more difficult to imagine. They do not consider sales of U.S. real estate to foreign investors as “foreign deals."

Those in the business of selling Trump-owned real estate say business is up.

“I get a lot more phone calls now that he’s the president,” said Shari Sanderson, a real estate agent that sells units in the Las Vegas hotel-condo tower.

A mysterious bulk buyer

A couple of weeks before the Republican National Convention, a Las Vegas financial firm filed paperwork to found Milan Investment Limited in Nevada.

Days later, the newly minted company went on a buying spree. Milan spent $3.1 million over four months to buy 11 luxury condos in a shimmering golden tower near the Strip that Trump owns with friend and casino mogul Phil Ruffin. Trump Ruffin LLC collected the last of the money weeks before Trump was elected.

Milan Investment tracks back to what appears to be an incorrect address, the strip mall office of a financial services firm.

The owner, Thomas Sullivan, said he never heard of Milan Investment but said a federal “regulatory” agency visited his office in person asking similar questions. He declined to identify the agency.

“We’re completely in the dark,” Sullivan said. “We don’t know if it was a mistake, or they used our address for some reason, but we aren’t associated with them.”

On the deeds from Milan’s purchases, Eric Trump signed for the sellers. An accountant signed for the buyers, and deeds do not identify any people behind Milan.

USA TODAY tracked corporate, loan and property records across Nevada, Texas and Canada to tie three names to Milan Investment.

In Nevada, where rules let anyone form companies without identifying the owners, Milan’s officers are listed as Jun Xu and Qi Huang with an address at an office suite on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

Additional documents underlying the sale give two more addresses, both million-dollar condos in Vancouver, for Xu and Huang. Canadian records indicate they own both and hold a license to rent one. The records list Xu as a “businessman” and Huang as a “housewife.”

USA TODAY contacted every phone number and address found for Xu and Huang in two countries. Reporters also contacted every business associate identified in Nevada public records as having worked with the company or assisted with the condo buys, trying to reach Xu and Huang or find out more about them. Xu and Huang have not responded.

One more name tied to Milan is Chen Huang of Sugar Land, Texas, who signed loan documents “on behalf of Jun Xu and Qi Huang” when they borrowed money using the Vegas condos as collateral. Phone numbers for Chen Huang in Texas were answered but disconnected after a reporter identified himself.

Most Nevada real estate and legal professionals who handled deals would not answer questions. A lawyer who reviewed paperwork for the lender, Michael Wixom, said only, “We file the UCC paperwork and represent the bank locally. It’s all consistent with Nevada state law, and it’s not unusual to not know the name of the owners.”

Reporters sent questions about the identity-obscuring real estate sales to a public relations firm representing Trump in New York, the Trump Organization’s marketing vice president, its vice president of sales in Las Vegas and Eric Trump. None of the inquiries was answered.

The deal in 2016 makes Milan Investment the third-biggest investor in the Vegas building, behind Trump’s own company and Hilton Hotels, which owns 311 of the condos.

Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert and professor at Washington University School of Law, said there’s a strong argument for requiring disclosure of anyone buying real estate from the president.

“They’re doing it through Trump companies, but nevertheless, if it’s going to benefit the president, I think the public has a right to know who’s paying the president,” Clark said. One solution: making the president subject to the same rules as other public officials.

Who's buying from Trump?

USA TODAY’s review of sales of Trump-owned real estate found dozens of transactions during and since the campaign involving buyers who have business in or connections with foreign countries, or are shielded by purchasing under the name of an LLC. None of the recorded sales prices appeared, on the surface, to be outside market value.

In February, businesswoman Xiao Yan Chen bought one of the president’s penthouses at Trump Park Avenue in Manhattan for $15.9 million, according to city records.

Chen is founder and managing director of Global Alliance Associates, a New York City firm described on its website as “a boutique business relationship consultancy for U.S. companies seeking to establish a presence in mainland China.” She could not be reached for comment.

A few days before Trump’s inauguration, a two-bedroom condo on the 55th floor of the Las Vegas tower sold for $639,000. The buyer of Condo No. 5507 is identified in deeds as Fashion Drive, a New York company named for the street below and formed days before the purchase.

The only real person named in company's corporate filings in New York is Ivan Antonevich, a Ukrainian-educated pain doctor who did not reply to interview requests. It’s unclear whether he owns the condo, represents the buyer, or something else happened.

As part of a federal crackdown on criminals using real estate to hide illicit cash, title insurance companies in a handful of U.S. cities must gather identity information and report all-cash deals above certain amounts to the government. Industry insiders said the opacity of most shell company real estate buys is for practical, legitimate reasons.

“Privacy is a big driver of the LLCs, whether it’s celebrities protecting their privacy or foreign dissidents hiding assets from an oppressive government or law enforcement officers worried about their safety from criminals,” said Steve Gottheim, senior counsel at the American Land Title Association.

Some investors in the Vegas building were easy to track down and willing to talk. One New York couple set up a company, SNJ Properties, to buy a unit in December. SNJ is owned by Susan and John Irwin of East Islip, N.Y., who bought a second condo in the building for vacation and as an investment. They said it didn’t have much to do with politics.

“I’m a big fan of his, but the fact that Trump is president didn’t influence our decision,” said John Irwin, who owns Irwin Construction. Irwin, who met Trump at the hotel once, said he doesn’t worry about other people’s blind purchases of Trump’s real estate. “It doesn’t bother me. He’s a businessman, and that’s who we elected.”

Trump’s leasable space in cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco bring in large sums as well. Commercial space at Trump Tower earned him almost $30 million in 2012, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission to back up a loan Trump took out against the space.

Among the revenue: multimillion-dollar lease payments from the communist government-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

The Chinese bank’s lease is one of several transactions flagged in a lawsuit against Trump by an ethics watchdog group, alleging Trump violates the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids government officials from taking gifts from foreign powers.

More deals ready to be made

The White House and Trump surrogates have broadly contended that the president is not involved in his business deals and scoff at the idea that a billionaire tycoon could be influenced by individual real estate transactions in the six- or seven-figure range.

The USA TODAY review of publicly available records — including figures provided by the president himself — shows that his individual real estate transactions add up and have substantially driven his income in recent years.

Consider the Vegas tower. In his federal financial disclosure in 2016, the income Trump said he received from the Vegas venture is more than the revenue he reported from all but one of his approximately 500 companies.

USA TODAY’s analysis of the 2016 report indicates Trump’s income includes at least $100 million a year from real estate sales and lease transactions. That number is probably higher because companies’ income is reported in ranges spanning millions of dollars.

Trump and his daughter Ivanka have reported drawing multimillion-dollar incomes from Trump International Realty in recent years. Trump’s financial disclosure reported about $4 million in commissions in 2016, and Jared Kushner’s disclosure reports his wife earns $1 million to $5 million a year in commissions and fees from the firm.

At Trump properties across the country, more deals are ready to be made.

“We’re selling quite a few of those now,” Ruffin said of the partners’ Vegas tower, where he and Trump own 388 condos and penthouses. “It’s picked up, our volume.” Ruffin owns an adjacent lot and is interested in building another tower and casino there, possibly partnering with the Trump Organization.

In total, records show Trump and his family own 32 residential condo units, plus 82 additional smaller units of real estate, including commercial property and storage spaces across New York City. That’s where the biggest money transactions are in the making.

Trump’s realty company lists one of his three-bedroom condos on the seventh floor of Trump Park Avenue for $7 million, touting solid oak floors, handcrafted Italian brass doorknobs, marble baths and “a sleek gourmet chef’s kitchen.” Also for sale: a Trump-owned seven-bedroom penthouse on the 32nd floor. The $75,000-a-month rent gets you “360-degree views of New York City’s stunning landscape.”

At 100 Central Park South, beneath the facade bearing the words “Trump Parc” in gold script, placards recently filled the windows advertising “RETAIL SPACE FOR LEASE.” The rent: $1.3 million a year.

Joanne Podell, the listing agent for Cushman & Wakefield, said that although there has been recent interest, the building’s powerful owner is far less important in attracting tenants as factors like foot traffic and size. “It’s a great location."

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/20/trump-owns-250m-condos-and-you-could-buy-one/100566302/

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David Freese, World Series hero, finds greater triumph in depression battlehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/mlb/david-freese-world-series-hero-finds-greater-triumph-depression-battle.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/mlb/david-freese-world-series-hero-finds-greater-triumph-depression-battle.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:52:44 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27264 David Freese, World Series hero, finds greater triumph in depression battle David Freese, World Series hero, finds greater triumph in depression battle:- The World Series ring sits just a couple of miles away, in a bank security deposit box, but David Freese hasn’t even seen it, let alone worn it, in five years. The World […]

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David Freese, World Series hero, finds greater triumph in depression battle

David Freese, World Series hero, finds greater triumph in depression battle:- The World Series ring sits just a couple of miles away, in a bank security deposit box, but David Freese hasn’t even seen it, let alone worn it, in five years.

The World Series MVP trophy is somewhere in his parents’ basement at their suburban St Louis home, still wrapped in a box, but he hasn’t bothered to look inside.

The shiny black Corvette, presented to him for his heroic performance in that 2011 Fall Classic, sits dusty with a dead battery in an Austin, Texas storage facility, with less than 1,000 miles on the odometer.

Freese, 33, now the Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman, simply shrugs, almost embarrassed he still is considered a hero in his hometown of St. Louis.

Freese walks into an empty office in the visiting clubhouse at Busch Stadium, where he became a baseball legend the night of Oct. 27, 2011, pulls out a chair, plops down, and looks into your eyes.

This may be the happiest time of his life, a newlywed of seven months, but to fully understand his bliss, he needs to lead you into the depths of his soul.

He may forever be a hero in these parts, but during a time he should have been basking in glory, he instead was a tormented man who battled just to get out of bed.

He would wake up mornings, slam his eye lids shut, wishing he were dead.

“I was depressed. I was always depressed,’’ Freese tells USA TODAY Sports. “I never tried to do anything to myself, but I didn’t care about my life. I didn’t care what would happen to me. It was almost to a point that if this is my time, so be it?

“And there was definitely a lack of care about my well-being at certain times, for sure.’’

Freese says he has battled depression his entire life, a factor in his decision to relinquish a college scholarship after high school to Missouri. He instead just wanted to be like any other student, giving him plenty of time for partying and alcohol. There were three public drunken-driving incidents, including a December 2009 arrest in which his blood alcohol content was measured at .23, nearly three times the legal limit.

Those episodes barely scratch the surface. There was the Thanksgiving Day afternoon in 2012 when he crashed his Range Rover into a tree. The countless mornings he awoke and had no recollection of even getting into bed. The blackouts. The constant feeling of lethargy and fatigue.

“I’ve had moments like that since high school, to be honest,’’ Freese says. “It’s been 15-plus years of, 'I can’t believe I’m still here.’ ’’

And during all of those days and nights, too often he wished to be anybody else.

“You win the World Series in your hometown, and you become this guy in a city that loves Cardinal baseball,’’ Freese says, “and sometimes it’s the last guy you want to be.

“So you start building this façade, trying to be something I was not.

“And the whole time, I was scared to death what was going to happen to me after baseball.’’

Freese became iconic in this baseball-crazed city the night of Oct. 27, 2011. It was the night he rescued the Cardinals from defeat with a two-out, two-strike, two-run triple in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers, before delivering a walk-off home run in the 11th. One night later, they were World Series champions.

But while he certainly looked the part of a World Series hero, he was troubled.

“People had no idea what I was going through,’’ says Freese, who has undergone counseling most of his life to deal with depression and anxiety. “I don’t want to say, “Woe is me.’ I’m so grateful for being a part of that World Series team, but it does get lonely.

“You’re a single guy. You really don’t know who you are. And you have issues that are tough, and you don’t really know how to deal with it.

“I always wanted to change, to get over all of my issues, but it was so hard. You get stuck in the mud. You just don’t know where to go.’’

The Cardinals watched Freese’s life spiral, and tried to help. They talked to him. They provided counseling, concerned not only for his playing career, which was in decline, but his life.

“You could tell something was not right,’’ Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said. “I don’t know the bloody details what was going on, but I knew the path he was on was going to make life difficult for him to manage.

“I felt he was suffocating here.’’

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny got together with Freese one morning and informed that for his own well-being, as well as the club’s, he needed to leave. They cried together, hugged one another, and a week later on Nov. 22, 2013 - nearly a year to the day he crashed into that tree - he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels.

“I think it was the best thing that could have happened to him,’’ says Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter, one of Freese’s closest friends. “Being the hometown hero may seem great, but it’s usually not a fun thing. Someone is always asking for something. You constantly have people hanging around. That can be stressful, and really challenging.’’

Says Freese: “Who knows where I was headed, but as long as I was here, I had so many friends here, I wasn’t good at just saying no. I wanted to please people, make everyone happy, and that became impossible.

“It just worsened with my depression. There were days it was so bad I just didn’t want to get out of bed.’’

The timeline of Freese’s lifestyle change can be traced to the trade, but much more important, it was the meeting of an intern the previous week at his friend’s downtown media production studio. Her name was Mairin O’Leary.

She now is Mairin Freese, his wife.

They were married last September at a Pittsburgh coffee shop. There was no ceremony. Just a document to sign. They celebrated by having crepes for breakfast. The real celebration was in January in front of 250 friends and family at a St. Louis restaurant.

“I always wanted to change,’’ Freese says, “but it was so hard, right up until I met Mairin. I don’t know if we met at the right time or not, but it was a blessing. She’s just tough. I need that. And I want that.

“She challenges the hell out of me, and I love it.’’

Mairin Freese, who graduated from Missouri with a biology degree, was having her own issues, too, dealing with the recent death of her father. On their first dinner date in downtown St. Louis, just two blocks from where Freese lived, Mairin told him what she wanted out of life. She wasn’t in the party scene. She wanted to start a career as an artist. And she was interested only in a genuine, candid, honest relationship that could lead to a potential future together.

Oh, and as far as baseball, she wasn’t a fan. She had only attended three Cardinals games in her life. And no, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series wasn’t one of them.

“I won’t lie,’’ Freese says, “that was important to me. I think one of the first questions I asked her was, “How many Cardinals games have you been to.’ You’re definitely guarded as an athlete.

“I mean, she’s just the coolest chick I ever met.’’

Together, they met Fleet Rand, a licensed clinical social worker in Chesterfield, Mo., whose specialty is working with those with depression and anxiety issues, as well as drug and alcohol struggles.

“I’ve walked through some doors in my life,’’ Freese says, “but with him, we clicked from Day 1. He was a guy who’s been through a lot of rough times as well, and have done thing I’ve done. He wasn’t like the other counselors. It wasn’t a guy telling me who I needed to be, or what I needed to do, but a guy getting to know me.’’

It was OK to go home after a lousy game, and not sulk about it over some booze.

He flushed alcohol out of his system. He found a counselor that soothed his pain. He found the love of his life.

“I can say I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life,’’ says Freese, who did not enter a formal alcohol rehabilitation program. “Before, I used to let baseball define me. Being the World Series MVP, that’s just part of my story. It’s not who I am.

“Now that I have Mairin in my life, things have changed. I have perspective in my life. It’s not to say that baseball becomes less important, but it just doesn’t flood your brain as much.

“I know I had the alcohol issues in the past, but you come to realize it’s a lot deeper than that. It's depression and anxiety issues. I had to attack the way I was thinking. I re-trained my brain by being around Mairin and getting help. The foggy feeling I always had is now lifted.

“It’s brought more energy to my life, to my career, everything.’’

Freese picked up hobbies he would have never dared try. They traveled to New Zealand one year and Thailand another. He started collecting records. He learned to play the piano.

He even sings, although Mairin concedes it can still be a little rough on the ears.

“He’s definitely more clear-minded about his own emotions,’’ Mairin says. “He processes those, and gets ready for those task ahead. He just has a deeper knowledge of himself, with the understanding what motivates him.

“The more that he has explained to me, the setting he’s working in, and the amount of pressure he deals with, you can certainly understand why this happened.’’

Freese spent two years with the Angels, hitting .258 and averaging 12 homers and 55 RBI a season, when he became a free agent after the 2015 season. He sat around for six months until mid-March waiting for a job. Yet, instead of panicking, he was thrilled.

For the first time in his life, he realized just how much he loved the game.

The Pirates signed him to a one-year contract, and after Freese impressed everyone in the organization with his performance and leadership skills, converted it into a two-year, $11 million extension. Manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington now call Freese one of their team leaders, who uses his own experience to counsel young players.

Freese may have a body about to turn 34, but he’s playing with a rejuvenated heart. He enters the Pirates’ game Friday against the New York Yankees hitting .326 with a .453 on-base percentage and .575 slugging percentage.

“When you see him now, he’s got a total different perspective,’’ Carpenter says. “You can see it in his mindset. It looks like he has a clear focus when he plays.

“Really, he’s as good now as I’ve ever seen him.’’

Freese truly believes the best is yet to come. He’s talking about life, not baseball.

“I used to be so afraid what would happen to me after baseball,’’ Freese says. “I was getting older, watching other people, and it was like, “Man, all of these people have their lives together. People were passing me by.’

“That’s all changed. I’m confident that when I retire I’m going to be a loving, great husband. Hopefully a kick-ass father. And a guy who doesn’t booze.

“‘Things are just so different now.’’

From the very moment he awakes.

“Now, it’s so different,’’ Freese says, “I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. You wake up, and you’re ready to face the world.

“To be honest, I never knew I could be so happy.’’

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/04/20/david-freese-world-series-mvp-depression-alcohol-pirates/100703658/

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4 Hours at the White House With Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Kid Rockhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/4-hours-white-house-ted-nugent-sarah-palin-kid-rock.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/4-hours-white-house-ted-nugent-sarah-palin-kid-rock.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:47:44 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27261 4 Hours at the White House With Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Kid Rock Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin had a fete to remember at the White House for several hours Wednesday night, as President Trump treated the high-profile supporters to a white-china private dinner, a room-by-room tour and free-range policy chat. Mr. […]

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4 Hours at the White House With Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Kid Rock

Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin had a fete to remember at the White House for several hours Wednesday night, as President Trump treated the high-profile supporters to a white-china private dinner, a room-by-room tour and free-range policy chat.

Mr. Nugent — a guitar demigod, knife-between-the-teeth hunter and conservative provocateur — offered an inside glimpse of a gracious, relaxed and house-proud president with ample time to offer his thoughts on a wide array of topics, from entertainment to existential geopolitical perils.

“We were there for four hours, man!” Mr. Nugent, a 68-year-old Detroit native, said in a telephone interview on Thursday, using a four-letter expletive to signal his amazement at Mr. Trump’s willingness to spend so much time with his three casually dressed visitors.

“He gave us a wonderful personal tour of every room and talked about the origins of every carpet and every painting — there was a Monet — and then we had dinner,” said Mr. Nugent, who has referred to former President Barack Obama as a “mongrel” and to Hillary Clinton with an array of unflattering epithets.

The encounter included a tour of the executive residence, a grip-and-grin session with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office and an impromptu snapshot — featuring a sneering Ms. Palin — in front of Mrs. Clinton’s official portrait as the three guests and their families left through the East Wing.

Mr. Nugent said one member of the group — he wouldn’t say who — asked the three to extend their middle fingers beneath the portrait. “I politely declined,” he said. “Let the juxtaposition speak for itself.”

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, described the meeting as “a long-planned” token of the president’s appreciation for Ms. Palin’s support in the 2016 campaign. But Mr. Nugent said it was much more than that.

“It was like a family reunion,” he said. “None of us expected this. He showed us the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom and explained how that was where the president’s son died. He knew the designer of the chairs. He showed us the bulletproof glass.”

During dinner, which ended with flaming baked alaska in honor of Ms. Palin — who stepped away from her job as governor of that state in 2009, after serving as Senator John McCain’s running mate the year before — the president and his guests engaged in a wide-ranging conversation that Mr. Nugent said included the following topics: “health, fitness, food, rock ’n’ roll, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, secure borders, the history of the United States, guns, bullets, bows and arrows, North Korea, Russia” and a half-dozen other issues.

It was not clear if the president expected quite as much company. The invitation was initially extended to Ms. Palin, who promptly invited the two aging, gun-loving, stringy-haired musical bad boys — Mr. Nugent, a radio icon of the 1970s, and Kid Rock, who rode the short-lived country-rap-rock trend to fame, which included a brief marriage to the actress Pamela Anderson.

Ms. Palin, whose slashing, populist-in-pumps political style prefigured Mr. Trump’s economic nationalist message, bonded with the president, another former reality TV star. She posted a raft of pictures on her website the morning after the visit, which had not been listed on the president’s public schedule.

“President Trump’s invitation for dinner included bringing a couple of friends,” Ms. Palin wrote on her web page, which displayed behind-the-scenes snapshots with a grinning Mr. Trump.


“Asked why I invited Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, I joked, ‘Because Jesus was booked,’” she wrote.

Mr. Nugent, who posed, capped in a camouflage cowboy hat, with a seated Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, was the subject of a 2012 Secret Service investigation after suggesting violence toward Mr. Obama during that year’s re-election campaign.

Not everyone was pleased with the visit.

“Ted Nugent, vile racist who called Obama a subhuman mongrel, feted by Donald Trump. Disgusting, disgraceful,” Norman Ornstein, a progressive political scientist, wrote in a Twitter message.

Kid Rock, whose legal name is Robert Ritchie, wore his signature backward fedora and easygoing expression. “I played Barack Obama’s inauguration even though I didn’t vote for him,” he told The Guardian in 2015. “I didn’t agree with his policies, but there was an exciting sense of change in the air.” However, he said, “that promise hasn’t been fulfilled. The country is more divided than ever.”

Mr. Trump had extended an invitation to Ms. Palin during the campaign, but his staff was surprised when she brought along the musical accompaniment.

One aide read the manifest of visitors and asked colleagues, “Who is Theodore Nugent?” according to a former Trump campaign official in close contact with the White House.

Mr. Nugent chortled when asked if he regretted his comments about Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton.

Source:- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/politics/sarah-palin-kid-rock-ted-nugent-white-house.html

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US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks Julian Assangehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/us-prepares-charges-seek-arrest-wikileaks-julian-assange.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/us-prepares-charges-seek-arrest-wikileaks-julian-assange.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:43:03 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27257 US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks Julian Assange US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks Julian Assange:- US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN. The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the […]

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US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks Julian Assange

US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks Julian Assange:- US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.

During President Barack Obama's administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn't alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning. Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did as well. 

The investigation continued, but any possible charges were put on hold, according to US officials involved in the process then.

Going after Assange

The US view of WikiLeaks and Assange began to change after investigators found what they believe was proof that WikiLeaks played an active role in helping Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst, disclose a massive cache of classified documents.

Assange remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking to avoid an arrest warrant on rape allegations in Sweden. In recent months, US officials had focused on the possibility that a new government in Ecuador would expel Assange and he could be arrested. But the left-leaning presidential candidate who won the recent election in the South American nation has promised to continue to harbor Assange.

Last week in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in describing a role by WikiLeaks that went beyond First Amendment activity.

He said WikiLeaks "directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States."

"It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia," Pompeo said.

US intelligence agencies have also determined that Russian intelligence used WikiLeaks to publish emails aimed at undermining the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as part of a broader operation to meddle in the US 2016 presidential election. Hackers working for Russian intelligence agencies stole thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and officials in the Clinton campaign and used intermediaries to pass along the documents to WikiLeaks, according to a public assessment by US intelligence agencies.

Still, the move could be viewed as political, since Assange is untouchable as long as he remains in the Ecuadorian embassy, and Ecuador has not changed its stance on Assange's extradition.

Stepping up efforts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference Thursday that Assange's arrest is a "priority."

"We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks," he said. "This is a matter that's gone beyond anything I'm aware of.

We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We've already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail."

"We've had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange," said Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack. "They've been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange's status is in any pending investigations. There's no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher."

Source:- http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/20/politics/julian-assange-wikileaks-us-charges/index.html

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Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as an Island in the Pacifichttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/jeff-sessions-dismisses-hawaii-island-pacific.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/jeff-sessions-dismisses-hawaii-island-pacific.html#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:38:25 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27256 Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as an Island in the Pacific Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as an Island in the Pacific:- Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the State of Hawaii while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of […]

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Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as an Island in the Pacific

Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as an Island in the Pacific:- Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the State of Hawaii while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Mr. Sessions said this week in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show,” a conservative talk radio program.

Mr. Sessions’s description of Hawaii, where the federal judge who issued the order, Derrick K. Watson, has his chambers, drew a rebuke from both of the United States senators who represent the state. Annexed as a territory of the United States in the late 19th century, Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.

“Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences — including my own,” Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, wrote on Twitter. “Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous.”

The other senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz, who is also a Democrat, expressed similar sentiments, writing on Twitter: “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect.”

Asked for a response from Mr. Sessions, Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in an email: “Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific — a beautiful one where the attorney general’s granddaughter was born. The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the president’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe.”

(The State of Hawaii is a chain of islands, one of which is also called Hawaii; the judge’s chambers, however, are in Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu.)

Judge Watson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, was confirmed in 2013 by a 94-to-0 vote; Mr. Sessions, then a United States senator from Alabama, was among those who cast an approving vote. A former federal prosecutor, Judge Watson earned his law degree from Harvard alongside Mr. Obama and Neil M. Gorsuch, the newly seated Supreme Court justice. He is the only judge of native Hawaiian descent on the federal bench.

Last month, Judge Watson issued a nationwide injunction blocking President Trump’s travel ban, ruling that the plaintiffs — the State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — had reasonable grounds to challenge the order as religious discrimination. He cited comments dating to Mr. Trump’s original call, during the 2016 campaign, for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

During the arguments, the government had contended that looking beyond the text of the order to infer religious animus would amount to investigating Mr. Trump’s “veiled psyche,” but Judge Watson wrote in his decision that there was “nothing ‘veiled’” about Mr. Trump’s public remarks. Still, Mr. Sessions reiterated that line of argument in the radio interview, saying he believed that the judge’s reasoning was improper and would be overturned.

“The judges don’t get to psychoanalyze the president to see if the order he issues is lawful,” Mr. Sessions said. “It’s either lawful or it’s not.”

Source:- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/politics/jeff-sessions-judge-hawaii-pacific-island.html?_r=0

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Warriors drub Blazers for 2-0 lead without Duranthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/warriors-drub-blazers-2-0-lead-without-durant.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/warriors-drub-blazers-2-0-lead-without-durant.html#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:19:49 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27250 Warriors drub Blazers for 2-0 lead without Durant JaVale McGee has made a name for himself catching lob passes and reliably slamming them home to the pure delight of his teammates, and oh did those matter for the short-handed Golden State Warriors as they moved one win closer to another NBA championship. The typically spot-on […]

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Warriors drub Blazers for 2-0 lead without Durant

JaVale McGee has made a name for himself catching lob passes and reliably slamming them home to the pure delight of his teammates, and oh did those matter for the short-handed Golden State Warriors as they moved one win closer to another NBA championship.

The typically spot-on Splash Brothers weren't hitting consistently. Kevin Durant wasn't on the court at all, nor Shaun Livingston.

McGee shined on a night none of the usual stars found their steady shooting strokes and sparked Golden State off the bench with 15 points, and the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-81 in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series Wednesday night as Durant sat out injured.

"That's my whole thing, I just try to be efficient out there," McGee said.

The backup big man made all seven of his field-goal attempts and delivered several more of his signature alley-oop dunks as Durant watched with a strained left calf he hurt in the playoff opener Sunday.

"Sometimes we get caught up in looking for him too much when he's not open because we feel he can do something spectacular above the rim," Stephen Curry said.

Draymond Green put together another fantastic all-around game, getting 12 rebounds, 10 assists, six points and three more blocked shots after swatting five in Sunday's win.

Curry shot 6-of-18 for 19 points and also had six assists and six rebounds. Klay Thompson was 6-of-17 with 16 points, while CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard were hardly were the dynamic scoring duo for Portland they'd been combining for 75 points only three days earlier.

Again, Golden State did it on defense — holding the Blazers to 12 points in the third.

"Our offense got scattered, we were rushing everything. We were just not poised offensively and that put our defense in a bad position," coach Steve Kerr said. "I thought in the third quarter we settled our offense down which helped our defense."

And now the Warriors own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as it shifts to Portland for Saturday's Game 3, just as Kerr's group did going ahead on the Blazers in last year's Western Conference semifinal won in five games.

"We've got to have this one," Lillard said.

Maurice Harkless scored all of his 15 points in the first half and the Blazers gave up seven straight points to start the third as the Warriors were off and running. Portland played again without center Jusuf Nurkic, and missed him. The 7-footer still isn't 100% from a nondisplaced fracture in his right leg that sidelined him for the final seven regular-season games.

McCollum, who shot 16-of-28 to score 41 in the 121-109 Game 1 loss, scored 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting. Lillard was 5-of-17 and held to 12 points.

"Coming in the first two games we just wanted to take one," Lillard said. "We didn't do that."

Coach Terry Stotts called on his team to be more balanced to have a chance against top-seeded Golden State, which finished with the NBA's best record for a third straight season.

Instead, the Warriors once more showed their remarkable balance despite Livingston being sidelined after he also got hurt in Sunday's win.

Ian Clark scored 13 points, Andre Iguodala contributed 10 rebounds, six assists and six points, and Zaza Pachulia scored 10 points. McGee did his thing with three alley-oops in the first and two on consecutive possessions late in the period.

TIP-INS: Trail Blazers — Portland's third-quarter scoring output was its lowest in any period this season — and tied for the fewest in a quarter by a Warriors playoff opponent in the shot clock era. ... Portland shot 7-of-34 on 3s and 30-of-90 overall. ... The Blazers have lost 11 out of the last 12 to the Warriors and 11 straight at Oracle Arena.

Warriors — Thompson matched Hall of Famer Rick Barry for second place on the franchise list for postseason games played with 66. ... Livingston sat out with a sprained right index finger and bruised hand, while F Matt Barnes didn't play as he is still working back from a sprained right ankle and foot. ... Rookie Patrick McCaw earned his first playoff start in place of Durant and had nine points and five rebounds. ... Curry joined Barry as the only Warriors with 100 steals in the playoffs.

UP NEXT: Kerr hopes to have a healthy lineup for Game 3, though might choose to hold out Durant again given the series lead.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2017/04/20/warriors-take-2-0-series-lead-on-blazers-win-without-durant/100684002/

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Kershaw fans season-high 10, Dodgers beat Rockies 4-2http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/kershaw-fans-season-high-10-dodgers-beat-rockies-4-2.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/kershaw-fans-season-high-10-dodgers-beat-rockies-4-2.html#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:18:24 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27247 Kershaw fans season-high 10, Dodgers beat Rockies 4-2 Clayton Kershaw was irritated before even throwing his first pitch. That's because Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Anderson left the bullpen late, and Kershaw, already on the mound, had to wait for him. Kershaw said that didn't cause his rocky first inning, but he got out of a […]

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Kershaw fans season-high 10, Dodgers beat Rockies 4-2

Clayton Kershaw was irritated before even throwing his first pitch. That's because Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Anderson left the bullpen late, and Kershaw, already on the mound, had to wait for him.

Kershaw said that didn't cause his rocky first inning, but he got out of a bases-loaded jam by allowing just one run and was his trusty Cy Young self afterward. He struck out a season-high 10 in seven innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

"That was one of the more disrespectful things I've been a part of in a game," Kershaw said. "Really didn't appreciate that. The game starts at 7:10. It's started at 7:10 here for a long time. Go around or finish earlier but that wasn't appreciated, for sure. I'm not going to say any more or I'll get in trouble."

According to Kershaw, his troubles in the first inning weren't a product of that.

"I threw a few extra pitches in the bullpen before the game," Anderson said. "I didn't mean any disrespect by it. I was surprised the umpire didn't let him pitch."

Kershaw (3-1) allowed two runs on five hits. He walked just one and was done after 97 pitches. It was the 52nd time in his career that Kershaw has struck out 10 or more, and the Dodgers are 41-11 in those games.

Kershaw struggled at the outset, walking the first batter he faced and giving up consecutive singles to load the bases. He struck out Carlos Gonzalez, but Marc Reynolds' sacrifice fly scored one run. Kershaw struck out Gerardo Parra to end the inning and retired the next 12 consecutive batters.

"I don't think it affected him. Actually, it kind of started a fire," Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said of Anderson's late trot out from the bullpen. "That's probably the best way to describe it. Him actually doing that was probably a bad thing for them. It's a learning process. He's young. Hasn't even had a year in the big leagues yet. He'll learn from that and get it right."

Kenley Jansen's fourth save of the season — his second four-out save of the homestand — was by design.

"We talked about it before the game," manager Dave Roberts said. "It was a game we really wanted to win with Clayton on the mound. Kenley, with his usage recently, talking him before the game, to get four outs seemed that was the way we were going to go."

The Dodgers have an off day Thursday.

Kershaw avenged an early season loss at Coors Field. The left-hander gave up three home runs in six innings on April 8.

Left-hander Anderson (1-3) went five innings, allowing four runs — two earned — while striking out five and walking one.

The Dodgers used a three-run fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie. Corey Seager drove in his 100th career run in that inning.

Gonzalez left the game with a bruised right hand while swinging at Kershaw's pitch in the fourth inning. Preliminary X-rays were negative. He was wearing a wrap on his pinkie finger.

"It hit me. They called it a swing but it was miscall by the umpire," Gonzalez said. "It's just a bruise.  It's nothing bad. I expect to be out there on Friday helping my team."

Scott Van Slyke hit his first home run of the season, a solo home run to left-center field in the second inning. Kike Hernandez had a double and a triple with an RBI and run scored.

SEAGER JOINING GOOD COMPANY

With his 100th career RBI on Wednesday, Seager became just the sixth National League player since 1920 to have at least 200 hits, 100 runs, 100 RBIs, 50 doubles and 30 home runs in his first 200 career games. Albert Pujols and David Wright are among those on that list.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

Rockies: Ian Desmond (fracture, left hand) is hitting off a tee and is nearing a return.

Dodgers: Logan Forsythe was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a hairline fracture of the toe on his right foot. He's likely to be out two weeks ... Rob Segedin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right toe strain ... Justin Turner, who was hit by a pitch on the left hand a day earlier, was available to pinch hit and play defense and run but was not in the starting lineup.

UP NEXT:

Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (1-2, 3.54 ERA) starts against the Giants, his fourth start of the season. He threw his first shutout April 15 at San Francisco and retired the first 17 batters he faced in the Rockies' 5-0 win.

Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (1-0, 1.00 ERA) is filling in for Rich Hill in the rotation again at Arizona. He threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in his last appearance April 15 against Arizona. Wood had a fine start against the Cubs, allowing just one run and worked his way out of jams with five walks.

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/04/20/kershaw-fans-season-high-10-dodgers-beat-rockies-4-2/100684036/

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Canadiens coach defends Pacioretty, shrugs off hit on Pricechttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/canadiens-coach-defends-pacioretty-shrugs-off-hit-pricec.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/canadiens-coach-defends-pacioretty-shrugs-off-hit-pricec.html#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 12:01:51 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=27245 Canadiens coach defends Pacioretty, shrugs off hit on Pricec Canadiens coach defends Pacioretty, shrugs off hit on Pricec:- Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien wanted to keep things in perspective heading into Game 5 of the playoff series with the New York Rangers. Regular season scoring leader Max Pacioretty has yet to score in the first […]

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Canadiens coach defends Pacioretty, shrugs off hit on Pricec

Canadiens coach defends Pacioretty, shrugs off hit on Pricec:- Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien wanted to keep things in perspective heading into Game 5 of the playoff series with the New York Rangers.

Regular season scoring leader Max Pacioretty has yet to score in the first four games does not mean he is an underachiever, Julien said. And the team's failure to start a battle when goalie Carey Price was run over by Rick Nash does not mean the Canadiens are timid or don't care.

"I know history makes it a little sensitive when you see that happen," Julien said Wednesday, a day after a 2-1 loss evened the series at 2-2. "There's a difference between running a goalie and going hard to the net. It's part of the game. You have to read the situation. If it was intentional, I think you'd see a different reaction."

Game 5 is Thursday night in Montreal.

Price was not injured when he was bowled over as Nash took the puck hard to the net in the first period, and it was immediately compared by some to an incident in the opening game of the 2014 conference final when New York's Chris Kreider took the all-star goalie out of the series in a skates-first crash. Nash took a goalie interference penalty and that was about it.

"Obviously, we're here to protect Carey," Canadiens center Steve Ott said. "We're here to protect each other as well. But you have to be smart in tough situations."

The Canadiens-Rangers matchup, featuring two teams known more for speed than muscle, has been surprisingly physical so far. The Rangers are 0-for-12 on the power play.

"You've got to do it verbally in the playoffs," said defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. "I know everyone wants us to go and fight and stuff, but in the playoffs that's how you turn it into a bad penalty that can cost you a series. You can't retaliate. Nash isn't a dirty player. He was going hard to the net. We have to take it upon ourselves not to let him drive to the net. That's all I can say."

Top New York scorers like Kreider and Derek Stepan have yet to score. Pacioretty, a 35-goal scorer in the regular season, has one assist in four playoff games and he leads the team with 19 shots.

"He's a good player and whether you guys don't think he's done enough, for me internally, I think he's done a lot and he's got an opportunity to be better," 

Source:- https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2017/04/20/canadiens-coach-defends-pacioretty-shrugs-off-hit-on-price/100684782/

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