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NEWS     SATURDAY, APRIL 19, 2014     NEWS


Sheriff Caught In Middle Of Nevada Rancher Feud
The family of the Nevada rancher in a simmering feud with the federal government over rangeland rights is refocusing attention on the local sheriff, claiming he could put the standoff to rest with a wave of his hand. "He could stop this right now, and he knows that," Bailey Logue, daughter of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, recently told Fox News' "On the Record." Logue claimed all the sheriff has to do is say "no" to federal authorities who for years have gone after Bundy for unpaid grazing fees. "He has more power than all those feds do in this county. This is his county, he runs it. He has got full control over this county. If he says no, they have to back down," Logue said. Other supporters have made similar comments, suggesting Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie can tell the federal Bureau of Land Management to high-tail out of Nevada. Fox News

Why The U.S. Government Is 'Trolling' Jihadists On Social Media
"We don't negotiate with terrorists," has long been the standard refrain of governments when it comes to violent extremists. But these days, in the realm of social media, at least, they are talking to them. In recent years, the U.S. State Department has launched social media efforts to engage jihadists and their sympathizers online, contesting their claims with the intention of dissuading potential converts to Islamic extremism. "We are actually giving al Qaeda the benefit of the doubt because we are answering their arguments," says Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), which runs the program. "The way I see it is we are participating in the marketplace of ideas." CNN

Obama: 'Political Spite' Motivating States To Refuse Medicaid Expansion
Republicans "still can't bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working," President Obama told a news conference on Thursday. He also took aim at states that have not expanded their Medicaid programs: "This does frustrate me -- states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid for no other reason than political spite. You got 5 million people who could be having health insurance right now at no cost to these states -- zero cost to these states -- other than ideological reasons they have chosen not to provide health insurance for their citizens." But some governors, pointing to President Obama's own broken promises, simply don't believe the government funding will be there. CNS News

Smuggled Cellphone Use A Growing Concern For U.S Prisons
Cellphones smuggled into prisons by corrupt guards, concealed in food containers or hurled over security fences are an increasing worry for law enforcement as prisoners use them to intimidate witnesses, direct drug deals and plan escapes. The concerns about these contraband devices came into the national spotlight this month when U.S. officials accused a member of the notorious Bloods gang serving a life sentence in North Carolina of using a mobile phone hidden in his prison cell to arrange the kidnapping of the father of a woman who prosecuted him. There are no widely available reliable figures on how many cellphones are in the hands of the 2.3 million inmates in local, state and federal prisons in the United States, but statistics point to a swift rise of the problem. Reuters


Own Party Asks 'Kissing' Congressman To Resign
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Thursday joined a growing number of Republicans calling for the resignation of Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., after he was caught on tape kissing a former aide. "Congressman McAllister's behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign,” the GOP governor said in a statement. “He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress." Jindal’s statement came just hours after the chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party said McAllister has “embarrassed” the party and needs to step down. "Mr. McAllister's extreme hypocrisy is an example of why ordinary people are fed up with politics. A breach of trust of this magnitude can only be rectified by an immediate resignation," Chairman Roger F. Villere, Jr. said in a statement. "He has embarrassed our party, our state and the institution of Congress…I call on Mr. McAllister to put the interests of his nation, state and party above his own and step aside." MSNBC

Hillary Swoons At Admitted Illegal Immigrant
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a young woman who admitted she was an illegal immigrant that she was “incredibly brave” for her admission while openly campaigning for amnesty-type reforms. The woman, a 19-year-old who gave her name as Nova, made the statement at a No Ceilings event with the Clinton Foundation and Microsoft, attended by Mrs. Clinton and daughter, Chelsea. The woman said, RealClearPolitics.com reported: “My name is Nova. I am 19 years old. … For the first time publicly I want to say that I’m an undocumented immigrant. I want to say that it’s been extremely difficult for me to empower myself in America because I came here illegally when I was five.” Washington Post

Obama Presents Navy Football With Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy
The Naval Academy ended their season 9-4, a solid feat for any team, but their bigger accomplishment: taking home the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. And today, President Obama presented the team with the trophy for the 2nd time in two years and 9th time in the past 11 years. “This is a team that also had a knack for getting the job done under some pretty tough circumstances,” Obama said. “And you kept on rolling through the games that really mattered.  In the snow, you beat Army for the 12th time in a row — they’re starting to feel bad about this,” he joked. “You went on to beat Middle Tennessee State to win your first bowl game since 2009.” ABC

Payrolls Rose In Most U.S. States In March
Payrolls climbed in 34 U.S. states in March and unemployment rates fell in 21, showing the job market was making progress across much of the world’s largest economy. Florida led the nation with a 22,900 increase in payrolls, followed by North Carolina with 19,400 more jobs, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Ohio registered among the biggest declines in joblessness. Gains in hiring will probably help lift consumer confidence and spur household spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy. The Federal Reserve, in its latest Beige Book review of regional conditions, said the labor market was “generally positive.” Bloomberg


Weight-Loss Surgery Alters Sense Of Taste And Smell, Study Finds
After weight-loss surgery, many patients report changes in appetite, taste and smell, a new study says. One positive aspect of these changes is that they may lead patients to lose even more weight, the researchers suggested. The study included 103 British patients who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, in which the stomach is made smaller and the small intestines is shortened. Of those, 97 percent said their appetite changed after the surgery, and 42 percent said their sense of smell changed. CBS

NJ Mumps Victims Were Vaccinated
An outbreak of mumps among New Jersey college students has highlighted the “weak sister” in the MMR vaccine. At least eight students at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken have contracted the contagious virus despite having received two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, according to the college.
“All Stevens’ students are required to have full vaccinations before attending the University,” the college said in a statement, adding that “outbreaks of mumps have occurred in vaccinated populations before.” ABC

Clinton Aides Kept Tabs On ‘Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy’
The Clinton White House kept a dossier on what Hillary Clinton once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The binder of opposition research on Republicans, part of today’s release of roughly 7,500 pages of documents from the Bill Clinton presidential library, was indexed with topics ranging from “Richard Mellon Scaife -- The Wizard of Oz Behind The Foster Conspiracy Industry” to “Communications on the Net Between Congressional Republicans and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory Proponents.” Its contents mirror the allegation that Hillary Clinton famously lobbed at Republicans in a January 1998 television interview. “The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he ran for president,” she said. Bloomberg

Some Countries Get Obama, But Want His Wife, Too
When President Barack Obama travels abroad, sometimes it's not enough for just the leader of the free world to show up. People in other countries want the first lady, too. But Michelle Obama won't join her husband when he heads to Asia next week, and her absence is likely to sting, especially in image-conscious Japan. It's the first of four countries on Obama's travel schedule and one of two that are welcoming him with official state visits.  Las Vegas Sun

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Obama Administration Extends Review Period For Keystone XL Oil Pipeline
The Obama administration has extended a key review period for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, Fox News has learned, potentially pushing off a decision until after the midterm elections. The administration is extending a 90-day review period for federal agencies assessing an environmental study from the State Department. One congressional source said the administration claims it is extending the process in order to see how a lawsuit in Nebraska would affect the pipeline route. The administration, despite appeals from Democrats and Republicans to wrap up the protracted process, is not giving a final deadline. Fox News

When Is The Price Of Gas Cheaper? Weekdays Or Weekends?
People tend to grouse about gas stations jacking up their prices on weekends, but in most states, gas prices are higher during the workweek. The crowdsourced gas-price aggregator GasBuddy.com took an exhaustive, four-year look at what days gas was cheapest in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. While gas prices obviously fluctuated during that time period, senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said the results showed that prices were lowest on Friday, Saturday or Sunday in about two-thirds of states. “I think that was the biggest surprise,” DeHaan said. “What I can surmise is that the markets aren’t open, so because oil and gas futures and spot prices aren’t trading on the weekend, stations are more likely to become competitive,” he said. MSNBC

Supreme Court Weighs Appeal To Concealed-Carry Gun Laws
The Supreme Court on Friday will consider whether to wade into the escalating legal brawl over whether people have a constitutional right to carry a firearm outside of the home, as gun rights advocates push the high court to settle how far the Second Amendment goes in protecting the right to bear arms. Justices will meet in private conference to weigh whether to hear a challenge to New Jersey’s mandate that citizens must show a “justifiable need” to carry a gun in public for protection. Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, which has filed an amicus brief in the case, want the high court to strike down the law and go a step further by clarifying how far the Second Amendment goes in establishing an individual’s right to carry a firearm outside the home. Washington Times

Americans Are Working More, Getting Paid Less Than Other Countries
Americans are now working more and getting paid the same, creating more productivity but less personal time than people in other countries. France recently signed a contract with one of the largest workers unions to stop employees from engaging in work related communication from 6 p.m. to 9.am. They are not the only ones attempting to help create a work-life balance in the age of technology. Sweden is experimenting with shortening the work week to 35 hours. They are starting the experiment in the town of Gothenburg, where they are splitting into two groups -- one will work 8 hour days and the other 6 hour days at the same pay rate.
In Australia, the minimum wage is about US$15.15 which is about double the $7.25 minimum wage in the U.S. Other countries are giving up to 50 days of time for parents to spend with children under the age of 8 or for mandatory vacation time. UPI


General Mills Adds Legal Fine Print That Raises Questions
Food giant General Mills (GIS) instituted a program that restricts legal action some of its most loyal customers can take should they have a problem with the company's products. Consumers who accept any of a list of online benefits agree to binding arbitration and cannot join class action suits in disputes, including those over products purchased at a store. General Mills owns such brands as Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Wheaties, and Cheerios. The list of online benefits includes entering contests, joining the company's online communities, and receiving electronic newsletters. An update to its legal terms, prominently placed at the top of the website, directs consumers to the information. People who participate in such so-called loyalty programs are generally considered among a company's best customers. The actions do not affect the many consumers who casually buy General Mills products. CBS

Obama Signs Bill Aimed At Blocking Iran’s UN Envoy
President Barack Obama has signed legislation aimed at blocking Iran's chosen ambassador to the United Nations but says he's only treating it as guidance. The unusual legislation bars anyone from entering the U.S. as a U.N. representative if they've engaged in espionage or terrorist activity and still pose a threat to U.S. security. It's aimed at blocking Hamid Aboutalebi (ah-boo-TAH'-lah-bee). He's linked to the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Obama says he shares lawmakers' concern that terrorists could use diplomatic cover to enter the U.S. But he says he will treat the legislation as advisory out of concern it could interfere with his discretion to receive ambassadors. The White House has said Aboutalebi was an unacceptable choice. The administration has refused to grant him a visa. Las Vegas Sun

Justices Say Supreme Court Will Likely Rule On NSA Programs
Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg said at an event last night that the high court will likely have to rule on NSA surveillance. Ginsburg, a liberal justice, and Scalia, a conservative, were at a joint event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., when they admitted the court will likely have to rule on the constitutionality of the collection of American's metadata in response to a reporter's question. Scalia said the court was not the best place to decide on national security issues due to their lack of expertise. Scalia and Ginsburg said while this is a concern, it will be their task to rule if the NSA mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden last year are in violation of the fourth amendment. UPI

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Why Are Some Democrats Running From Obamacare?
The Obamacare enrollment is 8 million strong and growing. Polls have shown that voters love popular provisions calling for mandatory coverage for maternity care and extending coverage for young people up to age 26 to stay on their parents' health insurance policies. And recent figures from the Congressional Budget Office show that Obamacare will cost about $5 billion less to implement in 2014 than originally estimated. Still, some Democrats have run from the President's signature health care reform law so fast, they've practically left skid marks. The question is: Will they run back? "I don't think we should apologize for it. I don't think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell," President Barack Obama said in a rare appearance Thursday at the daily White House news briefing. CNN

14% Of Americans Couldn't Last A Week Financially If They Lost Job
If you lost your job, how long would it be before you couldn't pay your bills? A new Gallup poll finds that 14 percent of Americans would experience "significant financial hardship" within a week, while another 14 percent said they could make it for more than a year. In the middle, 29 percent said they could last one month; 26 percent said up to four months; and 17 percent said up to one year. Gallup also asked working adults if they're likely to lose their jobs in the next 12 months. CNS News

GM Could Benefit, Too, From An Ignition-Switch Victims Fund
If General Motors Co creates a fund to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switches, an option that a top legal adviser suggested it is exploring, the company could give up strong defenses to a wave of lawsuits. But it could stand to gain even more. By setting up a fund, GM could avert years of civil litigation and limit its financial and reputational harm. GM has retained Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of high-profile catastrophes like the BP Plc oil spill and the September 11, 2001, attacks. Reuters

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Liberman Slams EU's Ashton For Remarks On Israeli Measures Against Palestinians
Foreign Minister Avigodor Liberman chided EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday for finding the "real dangers to world peace" after she issued a statement calling on Israel to backtrack on measures taken against the Palestinians. Liberman criticized the top EU diplomat for calling on Israel to reverse recent decisions made in regard to the West Bank and east Jerusalem, insinuating that she should concentrate on what he indicated were a multitude of more pressing issues.
He denounced the timing of Ashton's statement at a time when he said "there are many other instances around the globe of charged confrontations and conflicts that claim human life," citing the crisis in Ukraine, the Syrian civil war and violence in Iraq. Jerusalem Post

Iranians Carry 'Death To Israel' Signs As Rouhani Tells Crowd He Supports Dialogue
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic had the might to deter any attacks as its military displayed a range of drones and missiles at an annual parade in Tehran, state television reported on Friday. Chanting "God is Greatest", troops paraded missiles carriers, some bearing banners saying "Death to America" and "Death to Israel", armored personnel carriers and unmanned surveillance aircraft as well as small submarines with men wearing aqua-lungs alongside. Unlike hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani did not use his speech to lash out at the United States and Israel, which Tehran refuses to recognize. "We told the world during the (nuclear) talks and we repeat that we don't support any aggression ... We support dialogue," Rouhani said in the live broadcast. Jerusalem Post

Foreign Doctors Should Face Tougher Exams
Tests taken by foreign doctors who want to work in the NHS should be made harder to pass to bring them in line with UK standards, a study has said. Research by University College London found a "performance gap" between international and UK medical graduates. It said pass marks for entry exams sat by international doctors should therefore be set "considerably higher". But the British International Doctors Association disputed the findings and called for a standardised test for all. The research, commissioned by the General Medical Council (GMC), said 1,300 foreign doctors a year passed the competency exams, which assess clinical and language skills. But it warned their subsequent performance indicated that half of them should not have qualified. BBC

Syria Crisis: Homs Bomb Kills At Least 14 In Alawite Area
A car bomb has exploded outside a mosque in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 14 people. The explosion occurred as worshippers left the Bilal al-Habshi mosque in the neighbourhood of Akrama after attending Friday prayers, state TV reports. The area is largely populated by President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect. Homs has been a key battleground between government forces and rebels, with large parts of the city in ruins. Earlier this week, the army launched another major offensive to recapture opposition-held areas in Homs' Old Quarter. BBC

CIA Torture Architect Breaks Silence To Defend 'Enhanced Interrogation'
he psychologist regarded as the architect of the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” program has broken a seven-year silence to defend the use of torture techniques against al-Qaida terror suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In an uncompromising and wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, his first public remarks since he was linked to the program in 2007, James Mitchell was dismissive of a Senate intelligence committee report on CIA torture in which he features, and which is currently at the heart of an intense row between legislators and the agency. Guardian

SpaceX launches Nasa Cargo Bound For International Space Station
An unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday to deliver a cargo capsule to the International Space Station for Nasa. The 208ft (63m) tall rocket, built and operated by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, bolted off its seaside launch pad at 3.25pm, darting through overcast skies as it headed toward orbit. The Dragon cargo ship, which is loaded with about 5,000lb of equipment, science experiments and supplies, is due to reach the station on Sunday. The station, a $100bn research laboratory owned by 15 nations, flies about 260 miles above Earth. Guardian

Malaysia Airlines MH370: Bluefin-21 Submarine Reprogrammed To Reach Record Depth
An unmanned submarine seeking wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has plunged 604 feet beneath its limit of 14,800 feet, after authorities reprogrammed it to allow it to probe the deeper reaches of the search zone. Authorities decided to allow the Bluefin-21 submarine to dive beyond its limit after assessing that the risks of damage were "acceptable". The search area in the Indian Ocean largely has a depth of about 14,800 feet but some parts are deeper and it had earlier aborted a mission because it reached its maximum descent. "The [autonomous underwater vehicle] reached a record depth of 4,695 metres [15,404 feet] during mission four," the US Navy said. "This is the first time the Bluefin-21 has descended to this depth. Diving to such depths does carry with it some residual risk to the equipment and this is being carefully monitored." Telegraph

Kim Jong-Un Edits His Powerful Aunt Out Of History
The previously powerful aunt of Kim Jong-un has been edited out of a North Korean documentary, indicating that she has become the latest member of Pyongyang’s old guard to be deposed. Analysts do not believe, however, that Kim Kyong-hui has met the same fate as her late husband, Jang Song-taek, who was publicly denounced in December and executed for crimes against the state. Mrs Kim, 65, and Mr Jang were previously considered untouchable as they were senior members of the regime who were acting as mentors to the young and inexperienced dictator. Telegraph

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