NEWS - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2019 - NEWS
In a bombshell development, R&B superstar R. Kelly was indicted Friday on charges he sexually abused four victims, three of them underage, over a span of a dozen years. Kelly was charged with allegedly abusing the one adult victim in February 2003 — at the same time he was already fighting other charges. Baltimore Sun
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveled to Laredo Friday to open her push to block President Trump's national emergency declaration, which Democrats say could re-direct nearly $520 million in military construction funds from Texas. Houston Chronicle
It's the fourth straight year the number of hate groups rose across the U.S., the report said. The Southern Poverty Law Center defines a hate group as an organization that "has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics." The report, published Wednesday, says the number of hate groups rose from 784 in 2014 to 1,020 in 2018 — a 30 percent increase. The number of hate groups in Texas also rose in that time from from 30 in 2014 to 55 in 2018, according to an interactive map on the group's website. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: Dems are pushing hate group rise.
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Whoever gets the Democratic nomination, she or he will run in part on proposals to increase government spending. And you know what that will mean: There will be demands that the candidate explain how all this will be paid for. Many of those demands will be made in bad faith, from people who never ask the same questions about tax cuts. But there are some real questions about the fiscal side of a progressive agenda. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: There is no means to pay for the agenda.
Over nearly two years, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has operated like a prosecutorial submarine, abruptly surfacing without warning to release indictments or announce guilty pleas and then plunging back down to continue the Russia investigation. LA Times
VOA VIEW: Seeing is believing.
As U.S. and Chinese officials extended trade talks into the weekend, President Trump said Friday that the two sides have a “good chance” of reaching a deal, though he repeated that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping might well have to work out the final issues. LA Times
VOA VIEW: Time will tell.
The five heavily armed Americans arrested in Haiti earlier this week are back on their home soil and won’t be facing any criminal charges in the United States. Miami Herald
The Trump administration is threatening to deport the family members of Venezuelan military officials — including some who live in the Miami area — who don’t disobey the Maduro government. Miami Herald
This is how Hoda Muthana became an ISIS fanatic on Twitter. The 24-year-old “ISIS bride” — who is currently in Syria begging to be allowed back into the US — ran off to join the terror group in November 2014 after being radicalized through the social media service, and posts on the site. New York Post
VOA VIEW: There is always will power.
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Days before a second U.S.-North Korea summit, much rests on the shoulders of a former auto executive trying to find common ground between an American president seeking a big foreign policy win and a North Korean leader who seems unlikely to hand him one. Rueters
A Catholic nun told bishops on Saturday to acknowledge the church's hypocrisy in its handling of the sexual abuse crisis, and a cardinal admitted case files had been destroyed. Rueters
VOA VIEW: Ending celibacy is one solution.
Four Democrats from Congress on Friday pushed back on President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration for a border wall after touring the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Local Representatives Scott Peters, Juan Vargas and Mike Levin were joined by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland. San Diego Tribune
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein is receiving praise from conservatives after video of a confrontation between her and some young environmentalists went viral. San Francisco Gate
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The National Enquirer has been one of President Donald Trump's most controversial allies, delivering scathing coverage of his opponents to supermarket check-out lines and funneling $150,000 to one of his alleged mistresses to buy her silence. So it will probably come as a surprise to California state employees and taxpayers to learn they were helping fund those efforts. San Francisco Gate
The Trump administration took aim at Planned Parenthood, issuing a rule barring groups that provide abortions or abortion referrals from participating in the $286 million federal family planning program — a move expected to redirect money instead to faith-based groups. Washington Post
Pope Francis is hosting a four-day summit on preventing clergy sexual abuse, a high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops around the world that the problem is global and that there are consequences if they cover it up. The meeting opened Thursday. Washington Times
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House Democrats launched a measure Friday to terminate President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to get more money for his proposed border wall. ABC
VOA VIEW: Dem foolishness and waste of time.
Democrat Dan McCready, who narrowly lost a congressional election in North Carolina's 9th district last year, announced Friday he will run for the seat again. ABC
During World War II, an American B-17 bomber crashed in northern England. On Friday, the 10 U.S. airmen who died were honored with a flyover. CBS
Actor Jussie Smollett has been written out of the final two episodes of "Empire" this season. It comes after he was charged with filing a false police report, and allegations he staged an attack on himself. CBS
VOA VIEW: The only thing to do - Smollett is finished.
The open letter comes days before Microsoft is expected to unveil HoloLens 2, an upgraded version of its augmented reality headset, at an event Sunday. CNBC
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President Trumps former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, spoke with federal prosecutors in January about potential irregularities within the Trump family business, people familiar with the matter told the New York Times on Friday. CNBC
VOA VIEW: Cohen is a known liar and fraud.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is not expected to deliver his report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election next week, a Justice Department official briefed on the plans told CNN. CNN
VOA VIEW: Mueller will turn in a report someday.
House Democrats are demanding that Attorney General William Barr release special counsel Robert Mueller's report to the public, a potential preview of the looming battle over Mueller's confidential report. CNN
VOA VIEW: Dems can demand all they want.
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The Pentagon will deploy 1,000 more troops to the southern border next week, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday afternoon. FOX News
Democrats controlling the House have teed up a vote next week to block President Donald Trump from using a national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, accelerating a showdown in Congress that could divide Republicans and lead to Trump's first-ever veto. FOX News
Senior Tories to make clear PM should give way to new leader for next phase of BrexitCabinet ministers will make it clear they believe Theresa May should step down after the local elections in May and allow a new leader to deliver the next phase of the Brexit negotiations, the Guardian understands.Senior figures in government have suggested they want the prime minister to leave shortly after the first phase of the Brexit negotiations finishes – or risk being defeated in a vote of no confidence at the end of the year. Continue reading... Guardian
Lord Falconer may deal with complaints as Labour faces impact of ninth MP resigningLabour is considering appointing an independent reviewer to oversee its handling of antisemitism complaints as the party battles to stem the flow of resignations after a ninth MP announced his departure on Friday.Lord Falconer said he was in advanced conversations with the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, about taking up a new position in which he would examine whether the party was handling antisemitism and other complaints fairly. Guardian
It was not immediately clear if Craft would hold a Cabinet-level position, as the previous ambassador Nikki Haley did. Jerusalem Post
The 77-year-old Jewish businessman was one of some 100 men charged in a human trafficking investigation in Martin County. Jerusalem Post
President Donald Trump said on Friday there was "a very good chance" the United States would strike a deal with China to end their trade war and that he was inclined to extend his March 1 tariff deadline and meet soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Reuters
VOA VIEW: If so, it should be a very small extension.
The U.S. government could announce new sanctions to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as early as next week unless his military defies orders to block convoys of humanitarian aid planned for this weekend, a senior administration official said on Friday. Reuters
VOA VIEW: As is should be.
While the Nicaraguan Government claims to want to resolve its political and social unrest, dissenters continue to be arrested and convicted, clearly hindering a conducive environment for “genuine and inclusive dialogue,” the United Nations rights chief said on Friday. UN News
As the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela continues to rise – hitting the 3.4 million mark this month – United Nations agencies sounded the alarm on Friday over the humanitarian needs these women, children and men face, and the strain this represents for communities hosting them. UN News
U.S. farmers plan to plant fewer soybeans this year, after the trade war with China crashed soy prices in 2018 and left millions of bushels unsold. UPI
VOA VIEW: A liberal view.
Three months after General Motors said it would indefinitely idly a plant in Michigan, the U.S. automaker said Friday it would keep the site open -- for now. UPI
In *The Threat*, the former FBI deputy director paints a familiar portrait of Trump, but deepens our understanding of a dark time for agency. Wired
New documents show that Boeing wants to use Space Shuttle engines on a secret military project, the latest move to reuse parts of the famous vehicle. Wired
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A federal judge appeared poised on Thursday to order the government to fully account for all migrant families that were separated before and after the Trump administration formally announced it's "zero-tolerance" policy. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the administration to end the family separation policy on June 26, 2018, and to reunite nearly 3,000 children who were being held in the Department of Health and Human Services at the time of his order. The alleged parents should not have crossed into the US illegally - they caused the problem and taxpayers are paying.
But the liberal nutty ACLU is now asking the judge to expand his order to include families that were separated during the previous year, following media reports and an inspector general report that revealed the administration had an unofficial family separation policy in place as far back as July 2017.
Department of Justice attorney Scott Stewart fought back against the ACLU request during a court hearing before Sabraw on Thursday,arguing that the government has gone "above and beyond" to facilitate the reunification of thousands of children with their parents rather than fight the judge's order "tooth and nail."