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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014     NEWS

Gallup: 60% Of Americans Don't Trust News Media
The latest Gallup survey on Americans’ trust in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” shows that a combined 60% said they had “not very much” trust and “none at all.” Only 40% of Americans said they had, combined, a “fair amount” and “great deal” of trust and confidence in newspapers, TV, and radio to report the news accurately and fairly. In addition, 44% said the news media are “too liberal” while only 19% said it was “too conservative.”  Only 34% said it was “just about right.” CNS News
VOA VIEW: The liberal media has shot itself in the foot.

U.S. Launches Task Force To Tackle Antibiotic-Resistant Bugs
The U.S. government will set up a task force and presidential advisory council to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance to national security, setting a Feb. 15 deadline for the outlining of specific steps to be taken, White House advisers said at a press conference on Thursday. The White House announced the moves in an executive order charging the secretaries of Defense, Agriculture and Health and Human Services to establish the task force, which will advise on steps to preserve the effectiveness of the remaining medically important antibiotics available to treat humans. Reuters

Kerry: Obama Administration Listening To 'Good Lawyers' Rather Than Congress
Instead of asking Congress for new authority to go after terrorists in Syria and Iraq, the Obama administration is turning to "good lawyers within the White House, within the State Department," Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday. How is it that the Obama administration thinks it can rely on a 2001 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) to go into Syria and Iraq 13 years later, Sen. Robert Mendendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, asked Kerry at a hearing on Wednesday. CNS News
VOA VIEW: Obama holds himself above the law.

U.S. Says 7.3 Million With Obamacare Health Plans Have Paid Premiums
The Obama administration on Thursday said 7.3 million people were up to date on their monthly premiums for private health plans under President Barack Obama's healthcare law as of Aug. 15. Republicans have long sought the number of Obamacare enrollees who have paid premiums as potential evidence that the administration's initial enrollment figures were exaggerated. The figure, which administration officials stressed was not an estimate of actual enrollment, could show that lower-income Obamacare enrollees are proving better than initially expected at retaining private health coverage acquired through new insurance marketplaces set up in all 50 states. Reuters

56 Million Cards Affected In Home Depot Breach
Payment information for about 56 million cards may have been put at risk in a Home Depot security breach that took place between April and September of this year, the company said on Thursday. "Criminals used unique, custom-built malware to evade detection," the company said in a statement summarizing its probe into the breach. "The malware had not been seen previously in other attacks, according to Home Depot's security partners." The company said that it has eliminated the malware involved in the breach from its systems in the United States and Canada, and also wrapped up a "major payment security project" affecting all of its U.S. stores. "To protect customer data until the malware was eliminated, any terminals identified with malware were taken out of service, and the company quickly put in place other security enhancements," Home Depot said on Thursday. MSNBC

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Ebola Patients Buying Survivors' Blood From Black Market, WHO Warns
As hospitals in nations hardest hit by Ebola struggle to keep up, desperate patients are turning to the black market to buy blood from survivors of the virus, the World Health Organization warned. The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has killed at least 2,400 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the countries most affected by the virus. Thousands more are infected, and new cases have emerged in Nigeria and Senegal. Blood from survivors, referred to as convalescent serum, is said to have antibodies that can fight the deadly virus. Though unproven, it has provided some promise in fighting a disease with no approved drug to treat it. CNN

State Of Emergency Declared For Northern California Counties Hit By Fires
California's governor has declared a state of emergency in two counties in the north of the state where wildfires have torched tens of thousands of acres, destroying some homes and threatening others. Thousands of firefighters have been deployed to try to tame the blazes in El Dorado and Siskiyou counties. The King Fire is raging in the El Dorado National Forest east of Sacramento. It has so far burned 70,994 acres and is only 5% contained, Cal Fire said Thursday. Evacuations were in effect for more than 2,100 people due to that blaze, authorities said. CNN

Right Or Wrong, Obama Owns ISIS Strategy
Yesterday we told you to watch President Obama’s words after Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey opened the door to the possibility of U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Syria. Well, Obama closed that door, and he did so in a speech at CENTCOM, of all places. “I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,” he said. “As your commander-in-chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.” Bottom line: He’s taking massive ownership of the strategy against ISIS. If anything goes wrong, people won’t blame the generals or the military. This is the president, right or wrong, 100% ruling out U.S. combat troops. MSNBC

Dick Morris: ‘Benghazi Problem’ Due To Hit Hillary Clinton Hard
Dick Morris, former White House strategist during the heyday of Bill Clinton, said Wednesday’s Capitol Hill hearings on Benghazi are only the tip of the iceberg — the issue is about to get really heated for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “She hasn’t hit that bump in the road yet really,” Mr. Morris said during an interview on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. “She’s about to hit big time the Benghazi problem.” He explained the process of investigation and said it wouldn’t be pretty for the Democratic Party presidential forerunner. “First of all, you have the hearings,” he said, Newsmax reported. “You have the report that there was a document dump going on before the hearings in the basement of the State Department overseen by her chief counsel, Cheryl Mills.” Washington Times

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Gas Prices Sinking, Airline Tickets Next?
Well here’s some good news for consumers, the price you pay at the pump is on a rapid decline, and the price of your airline ticket might be next. Crude recently fell to a 16-month low, as concerns about abundant supplies and weakening demand have outweighed the risk of continued violence in the Middle East. Growth in global oil demand this year will be the weakest since 2011, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil tumbled to nearly $90 a barrel last week, and this is hurting the energy sector. Energy stocks are set to close out the third quarter as the biggest losers in the S&P 500, after crude prices plunged more than 15% from a high of $107.26 back in June before rebounding in recent trading. Fox News

State Department Downplayed Islamic State Threat, Privately Ramped Up Security
Weeks before the State Department assured Americans that things were operating “normally” at its consulate in the Kurdish capital of Erbil in August, concerned procurement officials were quietly saying the advance of militants of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, meant the government needed to shell out tens of millions of dollars to counter a “rapidly deteriorating” security situation. On a no-bid basis, the State Department nearly doubled the size of a task order to defense contractor Triple Canopy, which had been hired to train Iraqi security forces but was asked to now perform diplomatic security and guard services. Washington Times

FDA May Tighten Restrictions On Testosterone-Boosting Drugs
Federal health experts said Wednesday there is little evidence that testosterone-boosting drugs are effective for treating common signs of aging in men and that their use should be narrowed to exclude millions of Americans currently taking them. The panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers voted 20-1 that prescribing language on blockbuster testosterone treatments should be revised to make clear they have not been shown to reverse common aging issues like low libido, fatigue and muscle loss. The labeling change would drastically limit the drugs' FDA-approved indication to men who have abnormally low hormone levels due to disease or injury, instead of aging. CBS

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Obama Will Not Micromanage Syria strikes
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel disputed a report that President Obama will personally sign off on every airstrike against Islamic militants conducted inside Syria, saying military leaders will make those decisions. "I was sitting next to the president yesterday when this entire issue was being discussed and he was very clear with General [Lloyd] Austin, once he makes decisions, he gives General Austin and our military leaders the authority to carry out those policies," Hagel told members of the House Armed Services Committee Thursday, where he was testifying. CBS

Hillary Clinton Blames Republicans For ‘Egregious’ Policies Toward Women
During a panel at the Center for American Progress today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s message was clear: Equal pay for women, access to affordable, quality childcare, paid sick leave, and the full participation by women in the U.S. labor force will lead to a stronger economy (even a 10% increase in the GDP, she argued). But Clinton also made clear she believes politicians on “the other side of the aisle” are preventing any such policy changes from passing through. “Congress increasingly, despite the best efforts of my friends and others, is living in an evidence-free zone where what the reality is in the lives of Americans is so far from the minds of too many who don’t place the highest priority on … family-centered economics,” Clinton said. ABC
VOA VIEW: Socialists back to back would be disastrous for the nation.

Customs And Border Protection To Investigate Officer Misconduct
Responding to complaints of excessive force, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske has announced the agency will now have the authority to conduct criminal investigations into misconduct within its ranks and will introduce the use of body cameras. “This is something that has not existed in a pretty good number of years,” Kerlikowske said of Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s decision to give this authority to CBP. “This is in conjunction with the office of inspector general. We now have the primary authority to conduct these independent internal criminal investigations. That authority translates to a more timely and a more transparent process to investigate misconduct,” Kerlikowske added. ABC

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New Boss Named At Division Of Welfare And Supportive Services
Steve Fisher, who guided the state’s health exchange through some troubled times, has been named head of the state Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Fisher was deputy in the welfare division when he was selected as interim director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, which was suffering myriad problems. Fisher will earn $117,030 in his new position. He replaces Michael McMahon, who resigned, The appointment was announced this week by Romaine Gilliland, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Las Vegas Sun

Sierra Leone To Shut Down For 3 Days To Slow Ebola
In a desperate bid to slow West Africa's accelerating Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone ordered its 6 million people confined to their homes for three days starting Friday while volunteers conduct a house-to-house search for victims in hiding. At an emergency meeting, meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council unanimously called the crisis "a threat to international peace and security" and urged all countries to provide experts, field hospitals and medical supplies. It was only the second time the council addressed a health emergency, the first being the AIDS epidemic. Newsday

Ukraine's President Poroshenko Addresses Joint Session Of U.S. Congress
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Washington Thursday, where he delivered an address to a joint session of Congress. As he entered the House chamber and took the podium, Poroshenko was greeted by a standing ovation and minutes-long applause. "This is exactly what Ukraine now needs most: unity and solidarity ... with the whole world," he said of the visible show of support for Ukraine, and acknowledged his appearance at the joint session as "one of the highest political privileges." UPI

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Apple: We Can't, Won't Unlock Devices For Police
Even cops with a warrant to pull private user data off of someone's fancy new iPhone or iPad might be out of luck—Apple says that with the release of iOS 8, it's now not physically possible for even the company itself to access that info, reports the Washington Post. In an open letter posted yesterday on the Apple website, CEO Tim Cook explains the company's commitment to customer privacy, facilitated by a new encryption process that will hopefully keep at bay attacks like the recent celebrity nude-photo hack (which, incidentally, Apple says wasn't its fault). Fox News

U.S. Stock Indexes Rise To Records On Jobless Data
U.S. stocks rose for a third day, sending benchmark indexes to records, as data showed fewer Americans filed for jobless claims and investors speculated interest rates will remain low. ConAgra Foods Inc., owner of the Chef Boyardee and Healthy Choice food brands, gained 4.6 percent after reporting earnings that topped estimates. Kohl’s Corp. added 1.6 percent after analysts at Citigroup Inc. told clients to buy the shares. Rite Aid Corp. (RAD) tumbled 19 percent after saying lower reimbursement rates and higher costs for drugs hurt profit. AOL Inc. rallied on takeover speculation. Bloomberg

Clinton Urges Shift: From Glass Ceilings To Office Floors
Forget about the glass ceiling. For Democrats, it’s all about the concrete floor. Speaking at the Center for American Progress today, Hillary Clinton decried the lack of paid leave, affordable daycare and other policies that would make it easier for women to remain in the workforce. “The floor is collapsing. We talk about a glass ceiling? These women don’t even have a secure floor,” said Clinton. The focus marked a political shift from her 2008 campaign, which became famous for the desire to “break the highest glass ceiling.” For her part, Clinton was reluctant during her first presidential primary run to focus on women’s issues, waiting until the concession speech to fully embrace the historic nature of her candidacy. Bloomberg

First-Time Claims For Unemployment Down In August
Nevadans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped in August from the previous month, signaling a recovering economy, officials said. The state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported today that 13,063 jobless workers submitted initial claims. That compares with 15,441 in July. The number, however, was up 1.2 percent from August 2013. First-time claims have fallen in 53 of the last 57 months. The highest point for initial claims was December 2008, when 36,414 people applied for benefits. Las Vegas Sun

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India, China Sign Trade Deals
Leaders of the world's two most populous countries, China and India, have signed 14 agreements thus far in their summit meeting in New Delhi. The three-day meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has yielded a deal in which China will invest $20 billion in India in the next five years, a trade and economic development pact signed Thursday by the two countries' ministers of commerce. Modi was elected, earlier this year, on a platform of stimulating India's economy, and is eager to see Chinese investment in India's infrastructure and manufacturing base. Despite $66 billion in trade between the two countries, India maintains a large trade deficit with more imported from China than exported to it. UPI

After Mahmoud Abbas, Who Will Lead The Palestinians Authority?
Most Palestinians have known only two leaders: Yasser Arafat, the stubble-chinned firebrand fond of chequered scarves and olive fatigues, and Mahmoud Abbas, a smooth-shaven father figure who favours Western suits and ties. Arafat died in Paris in 2004, having led the Palestine Liberation Organization since 1969, and Abbas has been in the driving seat since, trying to forge a still-elusive peace deal with Israel. Abbas, 79, shows no signs of ill health and continues to travel widely, visiting France this week before heading to New York for the UN General Assembly next week, the annual jamboree that provides Palestine with a global stage. Jerusalem Post

West Warns Iran It Must Address Nuclear Bomb Fears
On Thursday it must step up cooperation with a UN watchdog's investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by the country if it wants to get a broader nuclear deal that would ease sanctions. The warning was issued at a board meeting of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, as chief negotiators from Iran and six world powers prepared to resume talks in New York after a two-month hiatus. Iran's envoy, Reza Najafi, dismissed accusations about his country's atomic activities as "mere allegations ... without any substantiation" but also said a new meeting with the IAEA to discuss the matter was expected to be held soon. Jerusalem Post

Alan Henning: Muslim Call For Release Of UK Hostage
British Muslim leaders have called for the immediate release of Alan Henning, the UK hostage threatened with death by Islamic State (IS) extremists in Syria. In a letter in the Independent, they described IS as un-Islamic fanatics and urged them to show mercy on Mr Henning. The 47-year-old was a volunteer on an aid convoy in December 2013 when he was seized just after crossing into Syria. The letter said anyone undertaking a humanitarian act should be held in the highest esteem. This was in contrast, they said, to the "senseless kidnapping, murder and now despicable threats to Mr Henning at the hands of so-called 'Muslims'". BBC

Alibaba Sets Its Initial Public Share Price At $68
Chinese online giant Alibaba has set the price of its shares at $68 (£42) a day before its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. That values the internet company, which accounts for 80% of all online retail sales in China, at $167.6bn, The company raised about $21.8bn, making it one of the biggest share offerings in US history.
The final amount could change, depending on how many shares the company's underwriters chose to buy. The largest US stock offering was the Agricultural Bank of China's $22.1bn listing in 2010. The company's shares will start trading under the symbol "BABA" and the bankers behind the offering have already said interest in Alibaba's stock was high. BBC

World Population To Hit 11bn In 2100 – With 70% Chance Of Continuous Rise
The world’s population is now odds-on to swell ever-higher for the rest of the century, posing grave challenges for food supplies, healthcare and social cohesion. A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100. The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and the stresses it brings, will peak by 2050 at about 9bn people. “The previous projections said this problem was going to go away so it took the focus off the population issue,” said Prof Adrian Raftery, at the University of Washington, who led the international research team. “There is now a strong argument that population should return to the top of the international agenda. Guardian

CIA Chief: 'If I've Done Something Wrong, I'll Stand Up And Admit It'
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency expressed frustration with his Senate overseers and the media on Thursday, even as he and his fellow heads of US intelligence agencies pledged to win back the trust of a skeptical American public. “I certainly believe having the public’s trust makes all of our jobs much easier and better,” Brennan said on a panel at an intelligence conference, where he was joined by his colleagues at the helms of the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Guardian

John Kerry Declares Syria Regime Has Broken Chemical Weapons Deal
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has declared Syria had breached its commitments to stop using chemical weapons in the civil war by using chlorine gas in attacks earlier this year. Following a Telegraph investigation established that chlorine gas was used in attacks on the villages of Kfar Zita and Talmenes in April, Mr Kerry confirmed that the attacks amounted to a breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention. “We believe there is evidence of [President Bashar al-] Assad’s use of chlorine, which when you use it - despite it not being on the list - it is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Mr Kerry told the US House of Representatives. “He’s in violation of the convention.” Telegraph

Putin 'Privately Threatened To Invade Poland, Romania And The Baltic States'
President Vladimir Putin privately threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states, according to a record of a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart.
"If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest," Mr Putin allegedly told President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reported Süddeustche Zeitung, a German newspaper. If true, this would be the first time that Mr Putin has threatened to invade Nato or EU members. Any threat to send Russian troops into the capitals of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Romania would cause grave alarm among Western leaders. Telegraph

UN Announces Mission To Combat Ebola, Declares Outbreak ‘Threat To Peace And Security’
The Security Council, in its first emergency meeting on a public health crisis, today declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to peace and security, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the United Nations will deploy a new emergency health mission to combat one of most horrific diseases on the planet that has shattered the lives of millions. “This international mission, to be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks,” Mr. Ban told the Security Council. UN News

‘No Losers, Only Partners’ With Afghan Unity Government, Security Council Told
There is “quite simply no better way forward” other than a unity government in Afghanistan, United Nations envoy Ján Kubiš, told the Security Council from Kabul in his final briefing in that capacity. Mr. Kubiš, who is the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told Security Council members via videoconference that the current political deadlock is deepening a crisis which has already taken a heavy political, security and economic toll in the country with “real risks for the future.” UN News

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