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NEWS   TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2015   NEWS

We're Not Seeing More Police Shootings, Just More News Coverage
It feels like every week, a name is added to the list: another man, often black and unarmed, has died at the hands of police. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Jason Harrison, Walter Scott, Eric Harris, Freddie Gray, to name a few. The headlines make it feel as if the country is experiencing an unprecedented wave of police violence, but experts say that isn't the case. We're just seeing more mainstream media coverage, and for a variety of reasons. Let's be clear: That's just each expert's sense of things. We rely on hunches because real numbers don't exist, likely because no one thought it important to keep a tally until recently. CNN
VOA VIEW: Exploding the facts is a liberal media ploy.

Seeking Obamacare Alternative, Republicans Eye Tax Credits
If the U.S. Supreme Court blows up the tax subsidies at the heart of Obamacare in June, Republicans hope to deliver on their promise to offer an alternative healthcare plan. But key parts of it may resemble the one President Barack Obama delivered five years ago in the Affordable Care Act, partly reflecting Republican concerns that they could pay a political price if insurance subsidies are yanked from millions of Americans later this year. Two front-running Republican options at an early stage in Congress include a refundable tax credit that experts say is virtually the same thing as the Obamacare tax subsidy being challenged before the Supreme Court. Republicans deny that that their ideas are tantamount to "Obamacare Lite" but acknowledge they will need bipartisan support for their plans to stand any chance of avoiding an Obama veto. Reuters

Book On ‘Clinton Cash’ Reportedly Claims Foreign Donors Got State Dept. Favors
Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign is just one week out of the gate, but already a supposedly bombshell book threatens to rock her candidacy. The New York Times reported Monday that the book, set for release on May 5, will make new claims about donations to the Clinton Foundation by foreign donors. Specifically, the book reportedly claims foreign entities that donated to the foundation -- and that gave former President Bill Clinton high-dollar speaking fees -- in turn received favors from the Clinton State Department. Author Peter Schweizer reportedly claims to have found a "pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds." Fox News
VOA VIEW: The Clintons with the help of Obama created a major bribery scam

Drug Harnesses Immune System To Fight Lung Cancer
A new type of drug that launches the body's own immune system to fight tumors not only helps defeat melanoma, but lung cancer, too, researchers say. The drug, called Keytruda, is new to the market. Two studies released over the weekend show it can work better than an older drug against melanoma and also shows it can stall lung cancer in certain patients. "For many patients, this is going to be a very substantial change from the way we've treated cancer in the past," Dr. Edward Garon of UCLA, who worked on the study, told NBC News. The drug works on the principle that it's not where cancer starts that matters, but the genetic mutation that causes the cancer. So a lung tumor in one patient may look like the melanoma in another. MSNBC

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U.S. Navy Warships Deployed To Yemeni Waters
A U.S. carrier battlegroup is repositioning to the Arabian sea in response to a deteriorating security situation in Yemen, but Pentagon officials denied reports that the move is designed to intercept Iranian ships. “Ships are repositioning to conduct maritime security operations, they are not going to intercept Iranian ships,” Col. Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman, said. The Associated Press sent a breaking news alert reporting the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen. Washington Times

Martin O’Malley Calls Republican Views ‘Bull****,’ Hillary Clinton’s Based On Polls
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Monday called the Republican Party’s economic agenda “bull****” and suggested that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sets her agenda based on polls. Mr. O’Malley, who is considering a Democratic run for president, said he could not find “any truth” in Republican arguments that excessive federal regulations were holding back poor and middle-class families from economic advancement. “It is not true that regulation holds poor people down or regulation keeps middle class from advancing. That’s kind of patently bull****,” he said on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Mr. O'Malley has tried to position himself to the left of Mrs. Clinton and offered up a liberal remedy for the country’s economic malaise. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: O'Malley is a typical major liberal fool.

GM Ignition Switch Death Toll Rises To 87
Families of at least 87 people killed in crashes caused by defective General Motors ignition switches will get compensation from the company. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the total Monday. It was 84 last week. An additional 157 injured people also are eligible for compensation. Feinberg says 113 compensation offers have been accepted so far, and five have been rejected. The amounts haven't been disclosed. The fund received 4,342 claims by the January 31 deadline. Twenty-five percent of those are still under review. Feinberg says more than half were ineligible or deficient. ABC

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'Accountant Of Auschwitz' Oskar Groening Set To Stand Trial
Dozens of Holocaust survivors and their relatives from around the world are expected to converge on a German courtroom Tuesday as the so-called "accountant of Auschwitz" is due to go on trial. Former concentration camp bookkeeper and guard Oskar Groening, 93, is accused of being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews. "Many of the survivors, who are co-plaintiffs in the trial, are stepping on German soil for the first time since the end of Nazi regime," Christoph Heubner, the executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, told NBC News from Berlin. MSNBC

NY Gov. Cuomo Meets With Top Officials In Havana
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has met with Cuba's top officials for U.S. affairs at the start of a trip that makes him the first American governor to visit Cuba since the recent thaw in relations with the communist nation. Cuomo arrived in Havana Monday and traveled to the Hotel Nacional, where he met with Josefina Vidal, Cuba's top negotiator in meetings over re-establishing diplomatic ties. He had meetings planned with officials from the Cuban government and Catholic Church. The formal state visit on Monday and Tuesday is meant to foster greater ties between New York and Cuba. Cuomo is traveling with lawmakers and business leaders for what he's called "a tremendous stepping stone" that will "help open the door to a new market for New York businesses." ABC

Support For Legal Marijuana Use Reaches All-Time High
Fifty-three percent of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be legal, an all-time high in CBS News polling; 43 percent think it should not be legal. Public opinion on legalizing pot has shifted over the last few years, and has changed dramatically since 1979 when CBS News first asked about it. Back then, just 27 percent said marijuana use should be legal. As recently as 2011, a majority of Americans opposed legalized pot use. A majority of men favor marijuana legalization, while women are split. Younger Americans are especially likely to support legal marijuana use. There are partisan differences too: most Democrats think marijuana use should be legal, while most Republicans do not. The percentage of Americans who say they have personally tried marijuana has grown since 1997, when CBS News last asked the question. Back then, just a third (34 percent) of Americans said they tried marijuana, but that percentage has risen to 43 percent today. CBS

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Sen. Cruz Calls For Recognition Of Armenian Genocide
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called for recognition of the Armenian genocide in an address to the Armenian Church of Austin on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on Saturday. Cruz’s statement marks the approaching April 24th centennial of the slaughter of an estimated 1.2 million Armenians from 1915-1918 by the Ottoman Turks.
“100 years ago, the world was too silent as the Armenian people suffered a horrific genocide,” said Cruz.  “Today, we commemorate more than a million souls who were extinguished by the Ottoman Government.” “Let the terrors of those events awaken in us the courage to always stand for freedom against evil forces,” said the senator. “As Pope Francis rightly said, ‘Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.’" CNS News

U.S. Tightens Screening Of Airport Workers After Gun Arrest
U.S. airport workers will be subject to extra security screening under new rules prompted by the arrest of a baggage handler in Atlanta on gun smuggling charges, federal authorities said Monday. Airport and airline employees will now have to be screened before flying by the Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said. They also face increased random screening throughout the workday. Fingerprint-based criminal history checks will be required every two years for airport employees allowed in specially designated security areas until TSA establishes a system for real time criminal history checks, Johnson said in a statement. Access points to the secure areas will also be reduced. Reuters

Elite FBI Forensic Unit Gave Flawed Testimony
The FBI is notifying hundreds of defendants in 46 states that their convictions involved flawed expert testimony. It now admits that nearly every examiner in an elite forensic unit overstated hair matches that favored prosecutors. This is one of the country's largest-ever forensic scandals and includes dozens of death row convictions, reports CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman. Cleveland Wright spent 28 years -- almost half his life behind bars -- serving time for a 1978 murder. His conviction, it now turns out, was based on a false FBI hair analysis. "I didn't know anything about forensics. I didn't know too much about law when I got arrested and locked up, but I just knew I was innocent," Wright said. CBS

Apple, IBM Lead Tech Gain Before Earnings As U.S. Stocks Rebound
The Nasdaq 100 Index surged, paced by gains in Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp., before results from the biggest technology companies provide a clearer picture of quarterly earnings. Computer and Internet shares in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index surged 1.8 percent, led by gains in Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. Technology companies, among the worst performers during a market selloff Friday, are being watched closely amid a reporting season that may see the first quarterly decline since 2009 for companies in the S&P 500. Bloomberg

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Democratic FEC Head Raising Questions With Forum Promoting Women In Politics
Ann Ravel, the Democratic chair of the Federal Election Commission, wants to find out why relatively few women hold political office, and has announced that she will hold a public forum next month to get to the bottom of it. But the event, scheduled for May 12, is raising eyebrows because it goes beyond the FEC’s stated mission of enforcing federal campaign finance laws and because it is seen, as one conservative election attorney told The Daily Caller, as a ploy to “pick winners and losers.”
“The purpose of the forum is to begin an open discussion with scholars, social scientists, political practitioners and the public to consider why, despite recordbreaking numbers of women in the 114th Congress, women remain significantly under-represented in politics at all levels of government,” reads Ravel’s formal invitation to the event, which is open to the press and the public. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Democrats are stacking all the decks in their favor.

Where US Sees Terror Prevention, Some Muslims See Profiling
An Obama administration effort to fight violent extremism is alarming some Muslim leaders and community groups. The Countering Violent Extremism program was detailed at a White House summit in February but is largely a repackaging of work being done already in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston. It's officially being tested in those three cities and will roll out more broadly if success is seen. It is led by federal law enforcement officials and uses outreach to try to prevent extremism from taking root. The program is creating suspicion among some American Muslims and others who fear it is profiling disguised as prevention and worry it could compromise civil liberties and religious freedoms. Las Vegas Sun

Ex-Military Officials: Patchwork Of Same-Sex Marriage Laws Threaten Security
A brief by former military officers, suggesting the piecemeal approach to same-sex marriage laws is injurious to national security, was submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The amicus, or "friend of the court brief," was filed by the Sidley Austin law firm, based in Chicago, prior to arguments in the Supreme Court scheduled to begin April 28. The court will decide if the Constitution requires all states to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages. The brief, on behalf of a group of retired military officers, argues that military families and national security are threatened by the fragmentary nature of laws regarding same-sex marriages. UPI

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Graham: I'm '91% Sure' I'll Run For President
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he's "91% sure" he'll run for president — the only question that remains is whether he can raise the money he needs. "I think I got a good message, I think I've been more right than wrong on foreign policy ... I've been a problem-solver in Washington. And I think I've got something to offer the party and the nation," he said on "Fox News Sunday" this weekend. "I'll make that decision in May. If I can raise the money I'll do it." Graham has been working to do just that, traveling the nation to meet with supporters and gauge interest in a bid. Supporters of his have set up a super PAC to back his bid, and he's shown fundraising strength before, raising $11.1 million for his reelection fight in 2014. CNN

Two Republicans Advocate Entitlement Reform
Both Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are speaking bluntly about entitlement reform, advocating means-testing for Social Security retirement benefits as a way to save the system for those who need it. "These are real ideas," Christie said in New Hampshire on Friday. "And, you know, I've had a lot of people say, 'Well, why would you possibly want to suggest those things?' Because we have to. We have to. And if you want to start a national conversation, let's start one that matters." "We're $18 trillion in debt," Graham told "Fox News Sunday." "Eighty million baby boomers are going to retire in the next 20 to 30 years. We're going to wipe out Social Security and Medicare. CNS News

Hedge Funds Turn Most Bullish On Oil In 8 Months As Output Slows
Hedge funds increased bets on rising oil prices to an eight-month high amid signs U.S. production is slowing. Speculators boosted their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 9 percent in the seven days ended April 14 to the highest since August, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Shorts, or bets on falling prices, tumbled to the lowest since February. WTI has rebounded by about 30 percent from a six-year low in March, boosting speculation that crude hit bottom. U.S. drillers are using the fewest rigs since 2010 after companies cut back on exploration amid the biggest plunge in prices since 2008. The government projects that shale oil output will decline in May and total production will start to drop in June. Bloomberg

Low-Level Drug Offenders In Chicago To Be Treated Not Jailed
Cook County State's Attorney says her office won't prosecute most misdemeanor marijuana cases and will steer many facing felony drug charges into treatment rather than locking them up — a policy shift she says will save the county that includes Chicago the money it costs to keep offenders in jail. Anita Alvarez said Monday she is launching the new policy because locking people up on low-level drug charges "simply isn't working." Alvarez says offenders facing low level drug charges will be routed to treatment programs almost immediately after they are arrested. And she says that by reducing the number of days people spend in jail, those arrested may be able to keep their jobs and homes that they could otherwise lose if they're locked up. Las Vegas Sun

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Venezuela Receives $5 Billion 'Development' Financing From China
Venezuela has received $5 billion of new "development" financing from China as the South American country faces an economic crisis. "With the alliance with China, we just received $5 billion of financing for development," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on state television on Sunday. "We are working on other tranches, I will be informing you when they arrive." Maduro visited Beijing in January and announced China would invest more than $20 billion in Venezuela. The country has a $5.2 billion principal and interest payment due in October and November. UPI News

Netanyahu: The IDF Is A Response To Regional Threats
Israel has a right to use its military to defend itself against regional threats, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday as he continues his diplomatic battle to stop Russian made arms from flowing into the hands of Israel’s neighboring enemies. "The meaning of independence in my view is, first of all, the ability to defend yourself,” Netanyahu said as he spoke of Israel’s military option for the third time in less then a week before he met with the IDF General Staff forum. “To the growing threats around us we have a response, which is found in this room. I rely on you, Chief-of-Staff, and I rely on the IDF. The people of Israel rely on you,” Netanyahu said. Jerusalem Post

US-Led Coalition Stages 36 Air Strikes Against Islamic State
The United States and its allies launched 36 air strikes targeting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria since early Sunday, the Combined Joint Task Force leading the operations said on Monday. Ten strikes in Syria hit targets near al Hasaka and Kobani. In Iraq, 26 strikes hit tactical units, vehicles and buildings near Ramadi, Mosul, Falluja and other locations, the joint task force said in a statement. Jerusalem Post

Greece Asks Public Agencies To Hand Over Reserve Cash
Greece has ordered its public sector bodies to hand over any reserve cash to help it meet a payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country is running out of cash and must repay the IMF nearly €1bn in May. It comes after the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said that Greece needed to do much more if it wanted access to bailout funds. Negotiators are trying to strike a deal ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday. There are mounting fears that Greece could default on its debts and exit the eurozone. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras urgently needs money to pay government salaries as well as the country's debt repayments. BBC

Six US Men Charged With Conspiring To Support Islamic State
US authorities have arrested and charged six men in the US state of Minnesota with conspiring to support the Islamic State (IS) militant group. The six men allegedly had plans to travel to Syria where they would join and fight with the group. Court documents say the men tried to fly from airports in San Diego and New York City, but were stopped before doing so. Officials say at least one person from Minnesota has died fighting with IS. Authorities say the six men met secretly to develop their travel plans, which included flying to countries near Syria from airports in the US cities of Minneapolis, San Diego or New York City. BBC

China President Arrives In Pakistan To Sign £30bn 'Land Corridor' Agreement
The president of China has flown into Islamabad to finalise a multi-billion dollar investment programme that Pakistan is banking on to fix crippling electricity shortages and transform global trade routes. President Xi Jinping’s two-day trip has been dubbed a “fate-changing visit”, given the importance of the series of agreements he is expected to sign that are intended to turn Pakistan into a crucial trade route for China. The huge sums being offered dwarf the billions spent over the last decade by the US in its attempts to stabilise a fragile nuclear power and enlist its support for the war against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan. Guardian

US Paratroopers Begin Training Ukraine National Guard Units
US paratroopers have started training national guard units in Ukraine, despite Moscow’s warnings that it could destabilise the peace process with Russia-backed rebels in the east of the country. The move came as 2,000 local and Nato soldiers began exercises in Estonia, which also borders Russia but unlike Ukraine is a Nato member. The exercises are a precursor to joint war games in May involving 13,000 troops. The US and Nato leaderships have promised to increase their military activities in eastern Europe to deter an ever more assertive Russia. Guardian

‘Callous’ EU Politics On Migrants Costing Lives, UN Rights Chief Warns
Following the loss of some 700 lives after a boat carrying migrants capsized and sank over the weekend, the UN human rights chief has urged European Union (EU) governments to take a “more sophisticated, more courageous and less callous approach” to coping with the flows of migrants towards Europe. “As we learn of yet more men, women and children who have lost their lives in their search for better and safer lives abroad, I am horrified but not surprised by this latest tragedy. These deaths and the hundreds of others that preceded them in recent months were sadly predictable,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement. “The [deaths] are the result of a continuing failure of governance accompanied by a monumental failure of compassion,” he added. UN News

UN Chief Deplores ‘Barbaric’ Killing Of Ethiopian Nationals In Libya
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned in the strongest terms the killing of a number of Ethiopian nationals in Libya by extremists affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to a United Nations spokesperson. In a statement released earlier today, Mr. Ban said he “utterly deplores” the targeting of people on the basis of their religious affiliation and expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the attack. The Secretary-General reaffirmed that the UN-backed political talks remained “the best chance” for Libyans to overcome their country’s crisis and encourage the parties to make all the necessary compromises to reach an agreement. UN News

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