World News [External Sources]
Colorado's state legislature is considering an unusual plan to defend the state's marijuana industry from a federal crackdown under the Trump administration. The bill would allow growers and sellers to reclassify their recreational marijuana as medical “based on a business need due to a change in local, state, or federal law or enforcement policy.” The strategy is meant to keep marijuana businesses afloat if the federal government comes after them, even if it means the state losing hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. The bill represents a shift in how states might respond to what marijuana advocates say are an over-simplification of cannabis policy by the Trump administration.
Infowars owner and long-time conspiracy theorist Alex Jones admitted that his site falsely reported and commented on the debunked “Pizzagate” controversy, a theory that alleged that Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, had played a role in a child-sex-trafficking ring that also involved Hillary Clinton. Apologizing to the restaurant’s owner, James Alefantis, Mr. Jones issued a statement Friday. “I want our viewers and listeners to know that we regret any negative impact our commentaries may have had on Mr. Alefantis, Comet Ping Pong, or its employees,” he said.
The twin bills, not-so-subtly titled the “Making Access Records Available to Lead Government Openness Act”, or the acronym “Mar-a-Lago” are named after the President’s beachside resort that he has nicknamed the “Winter White House” due to his frequent visits in the first several months of his presidency. Mar-a-Lago, the palatial 128-room house in Palm Beach, Fla., was initially constructed by heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post with the express intention of becoming a winter presidential retreat. Following her death, Ms. Post’s estate bequeathed the property to the US government, however less than a decade later the government returned Mar-a-Lago to the post foundation, citing enormous maintenance and operating costs.
Fethullah Gülen leads a reclusive existence in his Pennsylvania compound. An extradition request for the cleric, filed by Turkey’s government in September, remains under review, as Turkish impatience grows over the fate of a man that some call a Turkish Osama bin Laden — but whom skeptics describe as little more than a scapegoat for Turkey's power-hungry president. This weekend, Mr. Gülen is emerging at the center of US controversy, after ex-CIA director James Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal he had been present at a September meeting between top Turkish officials and President Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, in which the two sides discussed ways to deliver Gülen into Turkish custody.
When Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, passed away in 2015, 16-year-old Amos Yee made an obscenity-filled YouTube video denouncing the late leader as a “tyrant.” That and other postings earned him a four-week jail sentence for “wounding religious feelings and obscenity.” Not long after, he earned another six-week sentence for derogatory comments on Islam and Christianity. On Friday, US Immigration Judge Samuel B. Cole granted asylum to Mr. Yee, now 18, who flew to Chicago in December. “His prosecution, detention, and general maltreatment at the hands of the Singapore authorities constitute persecution,” Judge Cole ruled.
Residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul say a series of airstrikes carried out there in recent weeks by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State could have killed as many as 200 civilians, in what would be the highest civilian death toll in a US-led air campaign since the peak of the Iraq war. Iraqi rescue workers Saturday were combing through the rubble of a building where residents say as many as 137 civilians were killed in a single airstrike last week, in a part of the city now under coalition control, reported the Washington Post. Iraqi Brig. Gen. Mohammed Mahmoud, Mosul’s civil defense chief, told the Washington Post that the building was clearly hit by an airstrike.
Erdogan's tussle with Europe, The shame of the world, Regional support for Venezuela is vital, Scotland's place in the United Kingdom, US reengagement in the Middle East
“It is a matter of grave concern that, according to a UN estimate, twenty million people are facing starvation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria...," states an editorial. "It is indeed disturbing to note that man-made disasters like war and famine continue to bleed nations while international politics fails to come to a consensus on how to reach a stasis in parts of the Middle East, Northeast Nigeria and vast swathes of Somalia.... We urge the international community to infuse immediate aid to these four war-torn and famine ravaged countries.... It is indeed appalling that in this era of globalisation and scientific breakthroughs, fellow human beings should die of hunger.... The shame is on us all.
Regarding the Feb. 22 editorial, “Trump’s mixed message on immigration: An opening for a deal?” (CSMonitor.com): Three cheers for the Monitor editorial staff. Immigration was not my priority issue. Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?
A number of former top National Security Agency (NSA) officials were standing around Friday, chatting prior to an academic conference in Washington. Talk turned to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R) of California, whose panel has been investigating Russian interference in the US election, and his charge this week that President Trump’s transition team had been subject to surveillance by US intelligence. The charge, and the fact that Representative Nunes conveyed that information to Mr. Trump before making it available to his panel, caused a sensation after a drumbeat of testimony that there was no evidence to support Trump’s explosive accusation that he had been subjected to wiretapping at the direction of his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) Louisiana, who is the Congressional Black Caucus chairman, and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) of the District of Columbia sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey. While the number of missing youths in the District hasn’t dramatically increased, local police Commander Chanel Dickerson has become more vocal about the cases when they occur, increasingly using social media to spread the word when kids go missing – an important first step toward getting them back.
The event was billed as a counter-ISIS conference, but for Rex Tillerson it was more like a coming-out party – with him starring as the diplomatic debutante. With all eyes on the new secretary of state with no formal diplomatic experience, the former ExxonMobil CEO offered the high-level representatives of the 68 countries in the US-led counter-ISIS coalition a bit of insight into his global philosophy and his approach to his new gig.
Recommended: Climate change: Is your opinion informed by science? No sooner had the IEA trumpeted its latest findings on CO2 emissions last week than it came up with a new study warning that meeting the 2 degree target will take “an energy transition of exceptional depth, scope and speed” unlike anything we have ever seen. Flattening energy-related emissions (which make up two-thirds of all human-generated greenhouse gases) is “very, very good news,” says Laura Cozzi, an IEA official, because they have leveled out even as the world economy grew by 3.1 percent.
The reality show “Jersey Shore” hasn’t been on the air in nearly five years. A bill capping payments for guest speakers at the state's universities to $10,000 passed 74-0 in the Democrat-controlled Assembly on Thursday, after the state Senate also gave it a unanimous green light.
President Trump formally revived the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, signing the presidential permit that granted TransCanada Corp. the right to cross-border construction on a project with symbolic weight for the future of US climate policy. At a White House event attended by TransCanada chief executive officer Russell Girling and Sean McGarvey, president of North America's Building Trades Unions, Mr. Trump heralded what he called “a new era of American energy policy” that he said would lower costs for US consumers, reduce reliance on foreign oil sources, and create thousands of jobs.
TV networks bringing on female sports reporters seems a natural progression considering the large numbers of women who are fans of various professional male sports leagues, with women making up 45 percent of National Football League fans, according to a recent statement by the league.
Since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia over a year ago, the empty seat on the US Supreme Court has been one of the most contentious political footballs in Washington. The debate has only gained greater intensity and gravity as the months have worn on, featuring two nominees, record-breaking congressional obstruction by Republicans, talks of an unprecedented filibuster by Democrats, tens of millions of dollars from outside groups on both sides of the political spectrum, and a president casually attacking federal judges. The filibuster is looming, but most expect that Judge Neil Gorsuch – who was subject to 20 hours of questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee this week – will eventually fill the vacancy and end the conflict.
This fall, a few weeks after Donald Trump won the election, news surfaced on Russian websites that the newly elected president lashed out at the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, telling them to "shut up" and slammed down the telephone in outrage. An online Russian news portal 4esnok that initially published the story cited a CNN interview about the phone call with President Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway, but links within the article to the original source revealed nothing about the irate exchange.
The Treaty of Rome, which gave rise to the European Union, is marking its 60th anniversary. One idea to boost the postwar project is the notion of a “multispeed” Europe.Q: What is a multispeed Europe? This idea, which is not new, got new life ahead of an EU summit in Rome March 25, where leaders were expected to sign a declaration on the future of Europe post-“Brexit.” In a white paper ahead of the summit, multispeed Europe was one of five scenarios proposed by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued four cables to US diplomatic posts abroad over the past two weeks that recommend additional steps consular officers should take when vetting visa applicants, in the first glimpse of the “extreme vetting” promised by President Trump on the campaign trail. "What this language effectively does is give the consular posts permission to step away from the focused factors they have spent years developing and revising, and instead broaden the search to large groups based on gross factors such as nationality and religion," he added.
A few years ago, a rattled Republican party was convinced it had to remake itself in the image of younger, ethnically diverse voters, and Beth Fukumoto, a representative in Hawaii’s House, emerged as a rising star in the party. The state’s youngest-ever House minority leader – having ascended to the position before she’d hit 30 – the Republican National Committee tapped Representative Fukumoto to help recruit female candidates. National media hailed her as a centrist, new-American antidote to the GOP’s diversity problem.