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NEWS   SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER  23, 2017   NEWS

McCain Comes Out Against ObamaCare Overhaul, Dealing Blow To GOP’s Repeal Hopes
Sen. John McCain announced his opposition Friday to Republican colleagues’ last-ditch ObamaCare overhaul bill, dealing a major blow to GOP leaders’ push to pass repeal legislation under President Trump. “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” the Arizona Republican senator said in a statement, using the bill’s nickname. McCain – who helped kill the so-called “skinny repeal” back in July – once again was considered a key vote on the current bill, as one of just three wavering GOP senators. His opposition could effectively doom the bill, which Senate leaders were hoping to bring to the floor next week ahead of a looming deadline.  Fox
VOA VIEW: Obamacare can implode in its own and the no voting Republicans and Democrats can be at fault.

Kimberley Strassel: The Fate Of The GOP's Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill Is In Sen. Lisa Murkowski's Hands
It’s accurate to say that the fate of the GOP’s new health-care bill, Graham-Cassidy, is in the hands of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The question is whether Ms. Murkowski, when she considers her vote, will use the right calculator. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is agonizingly close to having the votes to pass the plan sponsored by South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy. It would replace ObamaCare by repealing its worst mandates and sending money to the states as block grants. Fox

Puerto Rico Dam: Evacuations Begin Along Guajataca River
All people living near the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico should evacuate immediately because of an "imminent dam break," the National Weather Service in San Juan said Friday afternoon. "All Areas surrounding the Guajataca River should evacuate NOW. Their lives are in DANGER! Please SHARE!" an earlier tweet said. About 70,000 people in the area of the Guajataca Dam have been told to evacuate, National Guard spokeswoman Yennifer Alvarez told CNN's Leyla Santiago. The NWS issued a flash-flood notice for the towns of Isabela and Quebradillas, which are about 6 miles apart. CNN
VOA VIEW: Sad!

Trump Administration To Replace Travel Ban With Country-Specific Restrictions
The Trump administration will unveil more tailored restrictions on travelers from certain countries as a replacement to the controversial travel ban over the weekend, according to senior administration officials. The new restrictions will vary by country and could include a ban on travel to the United States, or new restrictions on obtaining a visa for citizens of particular countries, the official said. They would replace the ban on entry by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations, which President Donald Trump announced early in his term and later modified. CNN

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Fed Officials Ponder Slow Inflation With December Hike On Table
Federal Reserve officials said there’s room to be patient in the run-up to their December policy meeting, even as they aired varying degrees of concern over this year’s inflation slowdown. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said he expects “gradual rate increases” over the next couple of years, with one possibly as early as December, and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he’s keeping an open mind toward an increase that month. Bloomberg

White House Says It Didn’t Sign Off on Health Secretary’s Private Jet Use
The White House says it didn’t sign off on what are reportedly at least two dozen private-jet trips taken by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price that are now under review by the department’s inspector general. Price took at least 24 flights on private airplanes since he became a cabinet secretary in February, Politico reported this week. The trips have cost taxpayers more than $300,000 and were a sharp departure from Price’s predecessors, who typically used commercial flights in the continental U.S., according to Politico. Bloomberg

'No Magic Fix' On North Korea, Expert Says
A North Korea expert said it's clear we need more sanctions against North Korea, but fears that President Donald Trump's earlier threat to "totally destroy" the rogue nation if it attacks the U.S. or its allies will backfire. "We clearly need more sanctions. It's good to have more sanctions. But we've been sanctioning Korea for years now. There's no magic fix here," Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation based in Washington D.C., told ABC News. ABC
VOA VIEW: Kin Jong Un and his regime must go.

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Former FBI Chief James Comey Has Speech Interrupted By Protesters
Former FBI Director James Comey was repeatedly interrupted by protesters before his convocation address at Howard University in Washington, D.C., today. Students in the upper level of the university’s auditorium chanted slogans as Comey stood at the lectern. Some of the slogans included "We shall not be moved," "I love being black" and "No justice, no peace, no racist police." Comey told the protesters, “I hope you’ll stay and listen to what I have to say. I’ve listened to you for five minutes.” The protesting continued, and at one point Comey said, "Can we give this another shot?" ABC News
VOA VIEW: Comey is not welcomed by anyone.

Police Respond To Hostage Situation At Tennessee Bank
Police are responding to a hostage situation at a bank in Tennessee on Friday, CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF reports. Nine people were taken hostage inside a bank in Columbia by a male suspect armed with a machete, police said. Three of the hostages were eventually released, but six people remain trapped inside the Community First Bank and Trust.  CBS News

Guajataca Dam Fails In Puerto Rico, Prompting "Extremely Dangerous" Situation
The National Weather Service in San Juan said Friday that the northwestern municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas, home to some 70,000 people, were being evacuated with buses because the nearby Guajataca Dam was failing after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory. Maria poured more than 15 inches of rain on the mountains surrounding the dam, swelling the reservoir behind it. Details remained slim about the evacuation with communications hampered after the storm, but operators of the dam reported that the failure was causing flash-flooding downstream. The 345-yard dam holds back a man-made lake covering about 2 square miles and was built decades ago, U.S. government records show. CBS News

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21 Million More Uninsured Under Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill
If the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare passes, 21 million fewer people will have insurance by 2026, according to a new analysis Friday. The bill, known as Graham-Cassidy, would eliminate Obamacare’s requirement that individuals buy insurance, end its expansion of Medicaid, and require every state to build their own health care system using a new federal block grant. It would also put new caps on Medicaid spending, which are expected to grow at a slower rate than under current law. Graham-Cassidy’s block grants expire in 2027.  NBC News

Scaramucci Takes Revenge On White House Staffers On ‘The View’
Anthony Scaramucci came on "The View" Friday with a plan to take the high road. But, like his time as White House Communications Director, that didn't last very long. The man known as "The Mooch" called out several of his former White House colleagues, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, one time chief strategist Steve Bannon, and departed Press Secretary Sean Spicer — the same people he profanely ranted about in a shocking summertime interview with The New Yorker that led to his ouster. NBC News
VOA VIEW: Scaramucci is a fool.

Trump’s NAFTA Withdrawal Threats, Deportations Blamed For Increase In Mexicans’ Negative Views Of US
A recent survey of Mexicans’ opinions found a significant jump in the percentage holding a “very unfavorable” opinion of the United States – from six percent in 2015 to 42 percent this year – and also a decline in Mexicans’ willingness to move illegally to the U.S. to look for work. Immigration advocates and experts attribute a shift to President Trump’s rhetoric, his threat to pull out of NAFTA, and an increase in immigrant deportations. The Pew Research Center’s survey, conducted last spring, found 65 percent of Mexicans have a negative view of the U.S., more than double what it was two years ago when 29 percent expressed a negative view.  CNS

Piscopo's Plan To End Threat Of Kim Jong-Un: 'Send Two Italian Guys From Jersey In A Buick'
On Thursday, comedian Joe Piscopo suggested a way to deal with threats made to the U.S. by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Appearing at the Media Research Center’s 30th anniversary gala in Washington, DC, Piscopo said it’d only take “two Italian guys from Jersey in a Buick” two days to deal with the threat of North Korea: “Yeah, now Kim Jong-un, oh, please, please. Send two Italian guys from Jersey in a Buick - it’ll be over in two days, alright. “I’m just saying: ‘Hey, Kim, get in the truck. Hey, Johnny, put him in the trunk,’ you know. CNS

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Alabama Senate Race Tests Trump’s Ability To Deliver His Voters
U.S. President Donald Trump will test his ability to persuade his staunchly anti-establishment political base to get behind Republican incumbents when he wades into a bitter U.S. Senate fight in Alabama on Friday. Trump is scheduled to campaign in Huntsville, Alabama, for Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to his seat after Jeff Sessions was named Trump’s attorney general. Strange is trying to ward off a challenge from Roy Moore, a conservative former state Supreme Court justice, in a runoff election next week. “Will be in Alabama tonight. Luther Strange has gained mightily since my endorsement, but will be very close. He loves Alabama, and so do I!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter early Friday. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Republicans are failing the people.

Wisconsin, 20 Other U.S. States Targeted By Russian Hackers In 2016 Election
Wisconsin, a key state in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, said on Friday it was one of the 21 states that the federal government notified were targeted by Russian government hackers but no votes were changed. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed it had notified the 21 states but declined to identify them Friday. Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas said Homeland Security told 21 states that “Russian government cyber actors” targeted their state voter registration systems in 2016.  Reuters

Trump’s Financial Strategy Persuades China To Put Screws To North Korea
President Trump persuaded China to freeze all financial transactions with North Korea and ordered a new round of U.S. sanctions Thursday, closing out his first U.N. General Assembly with a major diplomatic victory in his efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs short of war. In a carefully choreographed strategy deployed from the shadow of the United Nations headquarters in New York, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin called the head of China’s central bank very early Thursday to alert him that Mr.  Washington Times

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Dems Not Declaring Victory Yet On Obamacare
When John McCain cast the decisive vote against Obamacare repeal two months ago, Chuck Schumer waved an arm to quiet fellow Democrats as they burst into audible elation. Don’t gloat or cheer over the GOP’s failure, Schumer signaled — a move he made again on Friday in a statement, after McCain delivered what looks like a fatal blow to his party’s seven-year drive to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. POLITICO

Why McCain Screwed The GOP On Obamacare Repeal — Again
Not even 24 hours after John McCain dramatically tanked a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare in late July, his best friend Lindsey Graham started working feverishly in private to try again. Graham — who’s never shown much interest in health care policy — quietly trekked to the White House with Sen. Bill Cassidy to try and sell President Donald Trump on their latest proposal that would transform Obamacare into a block grant program for states. POLITICO
VOA VIEW: McCain has never been a true Republican.

North Korea: Trump And Kim Call Each Other Mad
Kim Jong-un has said remarks by "deranged" US President Donald Trump have convinced him he is right to develop weapons for North Korea. In an unprecedented personal statement, Mr Kim said Mr Trump would "pay dearly" for a UN speech where he threatened to "totally destroy" the North if the US was forced to defend itself. Mr Trump responded that the "madman... will be tested like never before". BBC

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Trump Administration Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance On Campus Sexual Assault
The Trump administration on Friday withdrew Obama-era guidance on how colleges and universities should respond to sexual violence, giving schools flexibility to use a higher standard of evidence in judging cases and formally shifting the federal stance on what has become an explosive campus issue. The action crystallized a pledge Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made on Sept. 7 to replace what she called a “failed system” of civil rights enforcement related to campus sexual assault. In her view, the government under President Barack Obama did not strike the right balance in protecting the rights of victims and the accused. Washington Post

Uber's Latest Setback: Loss Of Licence To Operate In London
Uber once wore its reputation for being a rule-breaker as a badge of pride. In London, that reputation became a liability when the British capital’s transport authority said Friday it will not renew the ride-hailing company’s license to operate, arguing that the San Francisco firm demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility that undermines public safety and security.  LA Times

CVS Will Limit Opioid Prescriptions To 7 Days
In a new effort to tackle the deadly opioid addiction crisis in the United States, pharmacy giant CVS announced Friday that it will limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for certain conditions. This restriction will apply to patients who are new to pain therapy. The new pharmacy program will also limit the daily dosage of pain pills based on their strength and will require use of immediate-release formulations before extended-release opioids -- intended for severe, long-term pain treatment -- are dispensed. The changes will roll out February 1 and cover all commercial, health plan, employer and Medicaid clients. CNN

Bill Clinton's First Novel To Become A Showtime TV Series In Major Deal
The former president and bestselling author James Patterson have selected Showtime to adapt their upcoming thriller, The President Is Missing. The novel, set to be published in 2018, tells the story of a sitting U.S. president’s mysterious disappearance with the level of detail that only someone who has held the highest office can know. Google News

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