Trump is Wall Street’s favorite in 2020, but his reelection prospects look bad in state polls

But a look at state-by-state data clarifies the scale of Trump's challenge. As the president tries to rally supporters at a 2020 kickoff rally in Orlando on Tuesday, he is fighting from behind.
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Ivanka and Melania Trump Channel Disney Villains and Bond Girls in State Visit Game of Dress-Up

Chris Jackson

On her second day in London, Ivanka Trump treated the UK’s government headquarters as if it were an Infinity Room, taking time to meticulously document her entire visit on Instagram.

Ivanka has emerged the most egregious clout chaser in a family that seemingly feeds off attention. On Tuesday, she posted ten pictures taken inside 10 Downing Street, in what is becoming the worst “What I Did This Summer” photo essay ever written.

While ignoring boos from protesters this afternoon, Ivanka entered “a business roundtable for industry leaders” in a $ 3098 Dalmatian-print ensemble by Burberry.

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This Failed Trump Golf Course Is Now a Dilapidated New York State Park

When Donald Trump bought 436 acres in upstate New York two decades ago, he envisioned adding two new championship golf courses to his collection.He bought the wet, overgrown, tree-tangled parcels that sit miles off a state parkway beginning in 1998 for less than the current price of a two-bedroom condo in Trump Tower.

But local leaders nixed the golf-course plans and his subsequent efforts to sell it to a homebuilding company faltered. So he gave it away.

“This is my way of trying to give back,” he said at the time.

Like most deals involving Trump, there was more to it than goodwill. He was unloading what experts say was useless land, but not before working local officials to see if they could reappraise it at more than five times the assessed value, according to documents seen by Bloomberg and interviews with people involved — and using a grossly inflated figure on later presidential campaign documents to show, falsely, the depth of his philanthropy.

Despite the purchase price of $ 2.75 million, and a county assessment of $ 5.5 million at the time of the donation, Trump’s 2016 campaign said in a list of charitable donations published by The Washington Post that the land was worth $ 26.1 million.

IRS Audits

It’s impossible to tell if Trump did anything improper, since he has never released his tax returns. And there’s no law against inflating the value of property on campaign press releases. But the law does require taxpayers to accurately report the value of all charitable donations for deduction purposes and Trump could face a penalty or fine from the IRS if he exaggerated the value of the land on his tax returns. The IRS routinely audits all modern U.S presidents and vice presidents annually, including Trump.

The donation took shape around the same time that Trump was struggling, ultimately in vain, to turn around his three struggling casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In March 2006, one month before his gift was announced, his casino empire — Trump Entertainment Resorts — lost $ 22.1 million in its fourth quarter.

An hour’s drive north of Manhattan, Donald J. Trump State Park is what New York euphemistically calls a “passive park,” meaning it has no trails, picnic tables or other amenities. The state stopped maintaining it in 2010, and the land lies covered in brambles, mud and rocks. A bill pending before the state legislature would change the name of the park to honor the folk singer Pete Seeger instead of the current president.

County Rejects Golf Courses

Trump bought the first parcel, 282 acres known as Indian Hill that straddle Westchester and Putnam counties, from an estate sale for $ 1.75 million in 1998. He also bought 154 acres in Westchester County known as French Hill, also part of an estate sale, for $ 750,000. In 2000, he bought 58 acres of a nearby “surplus” stretch of the Taconic State Parkway from the New York State Department of Transportation for $ 250,000.

But by 2002, local authorities had rejected his plans for two 18-hole championship golf courses on Indian Hill and French Hill on the grounds that the courses would drain the area’s water supply as well as affect the water supply of New York City downstream.

So in 2003, Trump tried to sell U.S. Home Corp. an option to build houses on the tracts. But the giant home-builder got cold feet about the costs of environmental and engineering challenges, according to a person familiar with the deal. The option agreement was terminated in April 2005, according to a memorandum filed in Putnam County.

Aaron Curtiss, a spokesman for Lennar Corp., which bought U.S. Home Corp. in 2000, declined to comment on the company’s dealing with Trump.

Tim Miller, an environmental consultant who worked on the plans, said Trump made no improvements to the land, so the value likely stayed the same. “What he paid was its value, that’s what I would expect,” he said.

Miller added that he billed the Trump Organization a seven-figure sum for his work on the land as well as his work on Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Trump’s company paid him all but $ 140,000, and after fighting for several months to get the balance, Miller said he finally accepted Trump’s personal offer of a discounted membership at the Briarcliff Manor club in lieu of payment.

“It was either accept it or go to court,” Miller said.

The Trump Organization didn’t respond to emails and phone calls seeking comments about any aspect of the park deal.

Maximizing Value

Once Trump decided to donate the lands, his aides worked hard to maximize their value. Apparently, Trump wanted a bigger write-off than what the county said the land was worth.

Henry DeCotis, then the assistant state attorney general, said Trump fixer Michael Cohen called him in 2005 to inquire about donating lands to the state. DeCotis said the official fair market value of $ 5.5 million “might be in the ballpark.”

A spokeswoman for Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis declined to comment, and declined to arrange an interview with Cohen, who is serving time in Otisville prison in New York for lying to Congress about Trump’s business and campaign dealings.

By early 2006, Hal Goldman, who until 2011 was a Trump Organization vice president for development, said that he was in talks with the New York state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation about donating the land — and branding it Trump.

‘Opinion’ Sought

The person familiar with the donation said he received a call from a Trump Organization employee — whose name he couldn’t remember — asking for a “zoning opinion” that would justify a $ 27.5 million value for the land. The person said he told the Trump Organization that that figure could not be justified.

Trump’s donation nevertheless was finalized and in April 2006, Republican Governor George Pataki held a ceremony at the park to announce the gift and naming, with Trump saying in an official statement issued by the governor’s office that “this is my way of trying to give back” and that he hoped the lands “will turn into one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in the world.”

The Internal Revenue Service requires filers claiming a charitable deduction worth more than $ 5,000 to attach to their returns a “qualified appraisal” of the contribution.

Goldman said he was “unaware” of Trump having conducted any independent appraisal of the parcels of land.

“Let me put it this way,” Goldman said. “Would you go out and get an appraisal, or would you declare what you wanted it to be worth” and then have someone justify it. “I think that’s your answer,” he said.

Michael Grace, a former town attorney for Yorktown, New York, where some of the land sits, said the tracts might not have been worth even the $ 2.75 million Trump paid for it.

“There’s a reason they remained undeveloped,” Grace said, noting the land’s hills, mud and rocks.

In 2016, the Trump campaign released to The Associated Press and the Post a 93-page list of his charitable contributions, listing “Land Donated to NY Office of Parks – Yorktown, N.Y. – 436 acres” at “$ 26,100,000.00.”

Appraisal Process

The only way to know if Trump actually claimed a deduction of $ 26.1 million would be if congressional committees get his federal tax returns they have subpoenaed from the Treasury Department.

Bernadette Castro, the former Parks commissioner who oversaw the donation and attended the ceremony, said through a spokesman, John Rice, that she “does not recall the exact appraisal process.” Castro appeared on Trump’s television show “The Apprentice” in 2005 and was “fired” by the future president.

Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the state Parks department, said the donation “happened a long time ago” and declined to state whether the agency had done its own appraisal. Former Putnam County clerk Dennis Sant referred Bloomberg to the documents involved in the sale and subsequent donation. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley declined repeated requests for comment.

Fred Koelsch, the director of realty investments at Camarda Realty Investments, said that if Trump took a $ 26.1 million deduction for the donation, “that’s an awfully large number.” Koelsch, who did some work for the Trump Organization while at his former law firm, Shamberg Marwell Hollis Andreycak & Laidlaw PC, explained that because both Trump and U.S. Home had failed to develop the lands, they had neither increased in value nor held much extra value on top of their purchase price. “This is back-of-the-napkin math, but the deduction should have been low.”

Still, Koelsch said it’s very difficult to put value on undeveloped land. As such, said, “we have the seller tell us what they think it’s worth.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Democrats hold out on USMCA as Trump walks back Mexico tariffs

–The story behind the Baby Trump balloon

–FCC takes major steps toward limiting robocalls and scammers

Michael Bloomberg pledges $ 500 million to combat climate change

–Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily

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Canada Clinches Its First NBA Title as Toronto Raptors Defeat the Golden State Warriors

Canadians descended upon Oracle Arena in Oakland on Thursday night, hoping to see the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA title, and the first “big four” (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL) North American pro sports championship for Canada since the Toronto Blue Jays secured their second straight World Series title way back in 1993 (the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup that same year; incredibly, no Canadian NHL team has won the Cup since). The Raptors’ supporters arrived from every province, it seemed, in Northern California, many wearing the garish purple jerseys — featuring an oversized red dribbling dinosaur — that the franchise sported in its inaugural years, when Toronto lost lots of basketball games.

When Game 6 was over and Toronto pulled out a 114-110 victory to win a third straight Finals game on the road — and clinch the series — Canadian fans refused to leave Oracle.

This was the last game in Oakland for the Warriors, winners of three of the past five NBA titles, before they move across the bay to San Francisco next season. But the Raptors’ fans had taken over the arena. Delirious, they filled dozens of rows in the aftermath of Toronto’s win, serenading NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, underappreciated All-Star Kyle Lowry, emerging superstar Pascal Siakam — who finished Game 6 with 26 points, on 10-17 shooting — and reserve guard Fred VanVleet, the overlooked, undrafted, none-too-athletic 6-footer who ripped the hearts out of the Warriors faithful with a dozen fourth quarter points. VanFleet outplayed Stephen Curry down the stretch.

Even as the team chugged from champagne bottles in the locker room, leaving them strewn all over the floor, fans lingered outside. “It feels so good to shut this place down,” says Ankura Tayal, 36, a chiropractor from Victoria, British Columbia. “Respectfully.”

Entering these NBA playoffs, Toronto hadn’t earned too much respect from many hoops pundits, despite finishing regular season with the second-best record in the league. Five straight playoff exits will earn you plenty of doubters. Milwaukee, with MVP candidate Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, Philadelphia, and even Boston — a talented team that could never quite rally around Kyrie Irving — were trendier picks to win the Eastern conference. But Toronto? Sure, the Raptors had Leonard, the league’s most unassuming, keep-to-himself superstar. But Toronto didn’t feature any flashy lottery picks. VanFleet, for one, was undrafted out of Wichita State. “It’s not the glam stars,” says Van Fleet. “None of our guys probably, other than Kawhi, are in that big boy fan club or the fan boy club of the NBA.”

Sure, the Raptors benefitted from Golden State’s surreal rash of injuries. Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles after playing just 12 minutes in Game 5, his only appearance of the Finals. Klay Thompson was torching Toronto in Game 6 — he had 30 points in third quarter when Toronto’s Danny Green fouled him on a dunk attempt. Thompson landed awkwardly on his knee, but told his coach, Steve Kerr, that he’d need just a two minute rest. Thompson tore his ACL. Both Durant and Thompson are free agents coming up this summer, but could both miss significant portions of next season recovering from their ailments, muddling the plans of both Golden State and the teams that planned on pursuing Durant. (Thompson will almost certainly re-sign with the Warriors.)

Even though Golden State lost a lot of firepower these finals, the Raptors earned the title. Toronto withstood inspired performances from Golden State veterans like Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green: Iguodala finshed with 22 points on 3-6 shooting from three-point range, while Green recorded a triple double: 11 points, 19 rebounds, 13 assists. Curry had a chance to put Golden State up a point in the final seconds, but his three-pointer under pressure bounced off the rim.

Lowry, for one, came out firing in Game 6, scoring ten points in just over two minutes to become the fastest double-digit scorer in the NBA Finals in at least 43 years: He finished with 26. Toronto’s path to the title started last summer, when the team traded popular All-Star DeMar DeRozan — Lowry’s closest friend on the team — to San Antonio for Leonard, another free agent this summer who had expressed no interest in playing in Toronto. So the Raptors took a calculated risk. Rent Leonard for a year, perhaps, but give themselves a better chance at a championship. Lowry felt betrayed. Leonard reached out to him. “I texted Kyle probably a day later — or the day I got traded and told him let’s go out and do something special,” says Leonard. “I know your best friend left. I know you’re mad. But let’s make this thing work out. And here we are today.”

Raising the championship trophy, Canada’s NBA first.

Sports – TIME

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CNN Iowa Poll: Biden leads a tighter top tier in first caucus state

Joe Biden leads as the top choice of likely participants in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucuses, but his advantage there is smaller than the one he has held in recent national polling, even as just five candidates out of a field of 23 crack 5% support.


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The other ‘special relationship’? Xi heads to Russia for three-day state visit

Russia and China appear to be intent on strengthening their alliance and fostering deeper cooperation in the face of increased political and economic hostility from the U.S.
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Nearly every US state is now suing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma

California, Hawaii and Maine bring the total number of states suing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to at least 48.
Health and Science

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Trump gets a banquet with the queen and the good china on state visit to U.K.

He spent much of the day with Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.
Politics

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President Trump heads to the UK for official state visit

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IL may become 11th state to legalize marijuana

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NY state barely cracks top 20 for jobs, NYC is even worse

As if you needed another reason to leave New York City. The US has seen notable job growth recently, with over 263,000 new jobs in April alone and the lowest unemployment rate since December 1969. However, not every city and state is enjoying a booming job market, which is why the finance nerds over at…
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Fox host, Chinese state TV anchor face off over trade war

A Chinese state TV anchor and a
host from Fox Business, whose sparring over the U.S.-China
trade war has been avidly followed on Chinese social media,
brought their duel to the American cable network for what turned
out to be a respectful encounter.


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Trump wraps up state visit in Japan

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The Best Flea Markets in Every State

For pennywise shoppers, perhaps nothing comes closer to paradise on earth than a flea market stocked with the secondhand wares you always wanted or never knew you needed. But where are the best of these bargain-priced bazaars? Scroll through to discover some of the finest flea markets in America, then drive to the one nearest to you to get your hands on some truly special keepsakes.
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3 dead, state capital battered as storms rake Missouri

An outbreak of nasty storms spawned tornadoes that razed homes, flattened trees and tossed cars across a dealership lot, injuring about two dozen people in Missouri’s capital city and killing least three others elsewhere in the state
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Hundreds rally at U.S. Supreme Court, calling state abortion bans as step backward

Abortion-rights campaigners, including Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, rallied at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to protest new restrictions on abortion passed by Republican-dominated legislatures in eight states.


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Frenchman in vegetative state kept alive after appeal to UN

A last-ditch appeal to the United Nations has forced French doctors to resume life support for a man who has been in a vegetative state for years and whose case has drawn attention across Europe
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Ohio State Team Doctor Abused At Least 177 Men, and Over 20 Officials Knew, Report Says

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students from the 1970s through the 1990s, and numerous university officials got wind of what was going on over the years but did little or nothing to stop him, according to a report released by the school Friday.

Dr. Richard Strauss groped or ogled young men while treating athletes from at least 16 sports and working at the student health center and his off-campus clinic, investigators from a law firm hired by the university found.

“We are so sorry that this happened,” Ohio State President Michael Drake said at a news conference, using words like “shocking,” ”horrifying” and “heartbreaking” to describe the findings.

He said there was a “consistent institutional failure” that spanned years, adding that Ohio State — the nation’s third-largest university, with almost 65,000 students and nearly a half-million living alumni — “fell short of its responsibility to its students, and that’s regrettable and inexcusable.”

At the same time, Drake, who has led the institution since 2014, sought to distance Ohio State from what happened more than two decades ago: “This is not the university of today.”

The report on Strauss, who killed himself in 2005 nearly a decade after he was quietly pushed out, could cost Ohio State dearly by corroborating lawsuits brought against it by a multitude of victims.

The findings put Strauss in a league with gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, who was accused of molesting at least 250 women and girls and is serving what amounts to a life sentence. Michigan State ultimately settled with his victims for $ 500 million.

Similarly, the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal that brought down legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in 2011 has cost the university more than a quarter-billion dollars in settlements, fines, legal costs and other expenses.

Many of Strauss’ accusers who have spoken publicly said they were masturbated or otherwise touched inappropriately during physical exams or leered at in the locker rooms. Many told investigators that they thought his behavior was an “open secret” and that they believed their coaches, trainers and other team doctors knew was going on.

The students described the examinations as being “hazed” or going through a “rite of passage.” Athletes joked about Strauss’ behavior, referring to him with nicknames like “Dr. Jelly Paws.”

The abuse went on from 1979 to 1997, nearly Strauss’ entire time at Ohio State, and took place ace at various locations across campus, including medical examining rooms, locker rooms, showers and saunas, according to investigators. Strauss, among other things, forced student patients to strip naked, purportedly to “assess” their conditions, or lured them into intimate situations by setting up bogus “medical studies.”

The report concluded that scores of Ohio State personnel knew of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed for years to investigate or take meaningful action.

Ohio State Provost Bruce McPheron said the report does not address whether anyone went to law enforcement at the time or was required to do so under the law back then.

In the wake of the report, some of Strauss’ victims called on the university to take responsibility for its inaction and the harm inflicted by the doctor.

“Dreams were broken, relationships with loved ones were damaged, and the harm now carries over to our children as many of us have become so overprotective that it strains the relationship with our kids,” Kent Kilgore said in a statement.

Steve Estey, an attorney for some of the former students who are suing, said: “If OSU refuses to take responsibility we will continue with civil litigation and put this in front of a jury for 12 people to judge their actions.”

No one has publicly defended Strauss, though family members have said they were shocked by the allegations.

At least 50 members of the athletic department staff, including many coaches, corroborated victims’ accounts of Strauss’ abuse, the report said. But students’ allegations never left the department or the health center until 1996.

At that point, Strauss was investigated and let go as a team doctor and physician at the health center but was allowed to retain his tenured faculty position.

Investigators said Strauss set up an off-campus clinic within months, receiving assurances from the associate vice president of health sciences and academic affairs that “there would be no issue” with him engaging in part-time private practice while on the faculty. The abuse continued there.

He continued to plead for his job back as an on-campus doctor, finally going to then-President Gordon Gee with a letter in 1997. His pleas were rejected, at which point Strauss was allowed to retire with emeritus status, a mark of distinguished service — an honor the university is now taking steps to revoke.

Gee, now president of West Virginia University, said Friday he has no recollection of Strauss.

The lawsuits against Ohio State are headed for mediation. They seek unspecified damages. Drake said the investigation alone has cost the school $ 6.2 million.

Separately, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is examining whether Ohio State responded promptly and fairly to students’ complaints. The department could cut the university’s federal funding if it is found to have violated civil rights protections.

Before Friday’s release, the doctor’s accusers had alleged that Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan was one of the coaches back then who were aware of concerns about Strauss and didn’t stop him. Jordan, an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, was not mentioned by name in the report, and a spokesman said the document showed the congressman did not know about the abuse.

Sports – TIME

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Washington now 1st state with long-term care program

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill that makes his state the first to create an insurance benefit to help offset the costs of long-term care.
ABC News: Health

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Washington state limits vaccine exemptions

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Warriors vs. Rockets: Take Kevin Durant-less Golden State

“Avengers”? “Game of Thrones”? Millions of viewers are watching those movie and cable TV franchises, but I find the Warriors-Rockets series to be the best entertainment option of all. This is true reality TV. Golden State won the first two episodes in the best-of-seven series at home but then lost the next two in Houston….
Sports | New York Post

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5.8.19 New insane debt collection rules; Paypal & Venmo scams proliferate; One state is making it easier to work

The CFPB has proposed new debt collection rules that are really, really bad for consumers; Watch out when using Paypal and Venmo because scammers are finding more ways to get access to your money via those apps; Arizona is making it easier for folks that move there to find work without government overreach. 

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Highly qualified staff at state preschools overcome private sector staffing advantage

Staff who are better qualified and trained maintain the quality of state-funded preschools, to some extent making up for the larger number of children per staff member in comparison to private and voluntary settings. A comparison of data before and after substantial UK policy change between 1999 and 2014, aimed at increasing uptake and improving the quality of early years education and care, suggests such changes could have powerful effects in improving preschool settings.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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LGBT groups and tech companies warn that a Texas bill could cost the state billions

The LGBTQ community and major employers say a bill passed by the Texas Senate is a license to discriminate, giving professionals the right to turn away people based on religious beliefs. Amazon, Dell, Apple and Facebook urged Texas to drop the bill.
Small Business

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Washington set to become first state to allow ‘human composting’

Washington is on the verge of becoming the first state to allow the environmentally-friendly practice of “human composting” — which turns dead bodies into soil within weeks. The state legislature passed a bill that would legalize the burial alternative, also known as “natural organic reduction,” and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee will decide its fate. A…
Living | New York Post

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North Korea Test Fires ‘New-Type Tactical Guided Weapon,’ State Media Reports

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised and guided a test firing of a “new-type tactical guided weapon,” state media reported, in a move probably intended as a provocation after nuclear talks with U.S. President Donald Trump stalled.

The Korean Central News Agency’s report didn’t refer to the weapon as a ballistic missile or nuclear, so the test may not scuttle prospects for continuing negotiations with the Trump administration. Trump has long defended his decision to hold two high-profile summits with Kim by citing the North Korean’s decision to halt nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Kim’s move to undertake a new weapons test is likely to be interpreted as a bid for attention after the U.S. hardened its stance in negotiations with North Korea. Trump last week rejected a call for confidence-building joint economic projects between Seoul and Pyongyang, and his national security adviser said Wednesday that the U.S. would need to see more evidence that Kim was ready to give up nuclear weapons before scheduling a third summit.

“The president is fully prepared to have a third summit if he can get a real deal,” national security adviser John Bolton said in an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg News. The White House would need to see “a real indication from North Korea that they’ve made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons.”

The White House’s more skeptical tone comes after Trump walked out of a Feb. 28 summit with Kim, saying the North Korean leader was seeking significant sanctions relief without indicating a willingness to fully dismantle his nuclear program. Kim has escalated his rhetoric since the summit, asking top ruling party members to deal a “severe blow to hostile foreign forces” earlier this month.

Fortune

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North Korea test-fires new tactical guided weapons, state media reports

The test would mark the country’s first public weapons test since its failed summit with President Donald Trump.
ABC News: Top Stories

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Artist Ai Weiwei takes aim at state violence in Mexico with Legos

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei unveiled a new installation in Mexico that tells the story of 43 students likely massacred five years ago in a case that exposed government stonewalling and complicity in abuses, a frequent theme for the dissident artist.


Reuters: Arts

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Second Chinese rocket startup fails to put satellite into orbit: state media

A rocket developed by OneSpace failed to reach orbit after lifting off from a state launch facility in northwestern China, state media reported on Thursday, the second failed orbital launch by a privately funded Chinese firm in five months.


Reuters: Science News

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Spire.io – Over 50 Million Minutes of Calm Discovered!

Stricter US state gun laws linked to safer high schools

Adopting stricter state gun laws is linked to a safer school experience for students, a new study has found. Strengthening gun laws at state level was associated with teens being less likely to report being threatened or injured with a weapon at school, miss at least one day of school due to feeling unsafe, or to carry a weapon at any location.
Teen Health News — ScienceDaily

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China clones ‘Sherlock Holmes’ police dog to cut training times: state media

Scientists in southwest China’s Yunnan province have cloned what they called the “Sherlock Holmes of police dogs” in a program they hope will help cut training times and costs for police dogs, state media reported on Wednesday.


Reuters: Science News

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Brett Kavanaugh: State laws blocking taxpayer-funded church repairs are ‘pure discrimination’

"At some point, this Court will need to decide whether governments that distribute historic preservation funds may deny funds to religious organizations simply because the organizations are religious," Kavanaugh wrote.
Politics

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Maduro Vows To Take Action Against US Sanctions On Venezuela State Oil Co.

In the latest effort by the Trump administration to ramp up pressure on the authoritarian regime led by President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil and natural gas company PDVSA.

The sanctions, pursuant to an Executive Order that President Donald Trump signed in November, bars Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) from selling oil to the United Stat
RTT – Political News

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15 Tips for Buying a Home Out of State

Successfully buying a home in a different state is doable—it happens all the time—but because you must take care of many details from afar, it’s a bit trickier than buying a home in your current town. Choosing a house, making an offer, and then closing, all while you’re living in another state, requires care and savvy. The following tips will help ensure that the deal goes smoothly and that you end up with a home you’re proud to own.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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2.8.19 State lemon laws vary widely; Clark Stinks

Lemon laws are different in every state. But new ratings are out detailing which states have the best ones; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here

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Utah Voters Approved Medicaid Expansion, But State Lawmakers Are Balking


[UPDATED at 4:30 p.m. ET]

Utah residents may have thought they were done fighting about Medicaid expansion last November. But when Utah lawmakers opened a new legislative session in late January, they began pushing through a bill to roll back the scope and impact of an expansion that voters approved in a ballot measure.

That scaled-back version of Medicaid expansion passed the Utah House on Friday by a 56-19 vote.

The activists who pushed the ballot measure are not pleased.

“We were very clear about what we wanted,” said Andrew Roberts, a spokesman for Utah Decides, the group that organized the Medicaid expansion referendum, known as Proposition 3. “We are frustrated, and I think Utahns are frustrated.”

That frustration led his group to hire a billboard truck to drive in circles around the Capitol building and through the snowy streets of Salt Lake City and its suburbs. Signs on the sides of the truck flash phrases in LED lights, including “Support democracy. Support Utah’s vote.” A looping video advertisement urges residents to call lawmakers “who don’t respect the will of the people.”

After six years of talking about Medicaid expansion, voters approved the ballot measure on Nov. 6, with 53 percent in favor. If implemented fully, 150,000 Utahns would gain coverage. The skinny expansion — which the state Senate and governor support — will also need federal approval.

Similar legislative efforts to curtail expansion are also happening in Idaho, where voters passed a Medicaid expansion initiative in November. Sixty-one percent of voters were in favor. Idaho lawmakers are considering ways to scale that program back.

In politically and fiscally conservative Utah, legislators argue the 0.15 percent non-food sales tax that voters approved won’t be enough to pay for Medicaid expansion. So they’ll pass an expansion, but only a very limited one.

Voters “wanted Medicaid expansion, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Republican state Sen. Allen Christensen. But, he added, the voters “didn’t fill in the proper blanks. We are filling in those blanks for them. They are not obligated to balance the budget. We are.”

Christensen is leading the rollback effort in Utah. His alternative proposal, SB 96, would cap the number of individuals who would qualify for Medicaid, add work requirements and lower the annual income limit. Proposition 3 supporters had wanted the coverage available for people who made up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or nearly $ 17,000 a year. But Christensen’s bill would offer Medicaid coverage only to people who made less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $ 12,000 for an individual.

Making those changes would require the state of Utah to get approval for two federal waivers from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Proposition 3 supporters point out that similar requests from other states have been denied.

“From the perspective of voters, I think voters have a right to be furious right now,” said Matt Slonaker, executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project, another group that has supported Medicaid expansion.

Slonaker said changing the scope of Proposition 3 would mean fewer people getting health coverage, and the state would receive less money from the federal government. He also fears it could make voters feel disillusioned.

“Why would voters ever want to pursue ballot initiatives and direct democracy if the legislature’s just going to repeal it anyway?” Slonaker asked.

While some Utah lawmakers, such as Christensen, describe being “philosophically opposed” to Medicaid expansion, much of the political debate in Utah is about how much expansion will cost, and whether the new sales tax will pay for it. Supporters point to the fiscal experience of other states.

“You should think of Medicaid expansion as no different than if you said, ‘Oh, hey, somebody’s going to go open up a factory,’” said Bryce Ward, an economist at the University of Montana, in Missoula. “And that factory is going to bring, in the case of Montana, $ 600 million of outside money into the state that we’re going to pay to workers here.”

Ward recently published a report on the economic impacts of Medicaid expansion in Montana during the first two years of that program. He said it brought in about $ 600 million dollars in new funds to the state per year. That money supported about 6,000 jobs, he added, or about $ 350 million in additional income for residents.

Ward said states like his also can take advantage of savings, because Medicaid expansion makes providing health care to certain groups, like prisoners, more affordable. While states do have to pay 10 percent of the cost of expanded Medicaid (the federal government covers 90 percent — a more generous “match” than traditional Medicaid), the combination of savings and economic growth meant that, in the case of Montana, the program basically pays for itself, Ward said.

“The benefits that people in Utah have is that people like me in other states have done the work trying to figure this out,” he said. “Or at least get some ballpark estimates of it.”

So far, Utah lawmakers remain unconvinced by studies like Ward’s. The bill to restrict Medicaid expansion is moving fast, and could reach the governor’s desk as soon as next week.

This story is part of a partnership that includes KUERNPR and Kaiser Health News.

Kaiser Health News

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Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ A ‘Healthy’ State Of The Union

Health policy played a surprisingly robust role in President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address.

The president laid out an ambitious set of health goals in his speech Tuesday to Congress and the nation, including reining in drug prices, ending the transmission of HIV in the U.S. during the next decade and dedicating more resources to fighting childhood cancer.

Meanwhile, in Utah and Idaho, two of the states where voters last fall approved expansion of the Medicaid health program, Republican legislatures are trying to scale back those plans.

This week’s panelists for KHN’s “What the Health?” are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Alice Ollstein of Politico.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The Trump administration is proposing to change the drug rebates in Medicare so that consumers purchasing the medicines get more of the savings and the middlemen negotiating the deals get less. But that effort could lead to increased insurance premiums — a consequence that could have significant political repercussions.
  • Trump’s pledge to end HIV transmissions in 10 years was a bit of a surprise since the disease had not been much of a priority in earlier moves by the administration.
  • The efforts to restrict Medicaid expansion approved by voters in Utah and Idaho show the limitations of referendums and could impact a move to get a Medicaid expansion question on the Florida ballot.
  • An intriguing study this week showed that medications to treat cardiac problems saved Medicare money. The results were surprising because generally public health officials suggest that prevention is important to improve health but doesn’t necessarily save money.

Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN senior correspondent Phil Galewitz, who investigated and wrote the latest “Bill of the Month” feature for Kaiser Health News and NPR. It’s about a man with a minor problem — fainting after a flu shot — and a major bill. You can read the story here.

If you have a medical bill you would like NPR and KHN to investigate, you can submit it here.

Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too:

Julie Rovner: NPR’s “Texans Can Appeal Surprise Medical Bills, But the Process Can Be Draining,” by Ashley Lopez

Margot Sanger-Katz: The Los Angeles Times’ “In Rush to Revamp Medicaid, Trump Officials Bend Rules That Protect Patients,” by Noam N. Levey

Anna Edney: Bloomberg News’ “Ketamine Could Be the Key to Reversing America’s Rising Suicide Rate,” by Cynthia Koons and Robert Langreth

Alice Ollstein: The Washington Post’s “’It Will Take Off Like a Wildfire’: The Unique Dangers of the Washington State Measles Outbreak,” by Lena H. Sun and Maureen O’Hagan

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunesStitcher or Google Play.

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In dissonant State of the Union speech, Trump seeks unity while depicting ruin

President calls on Congress to approve border wall funds, blasts ‘ridiculous’ probes.
Politics

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Pompeo reassures allies of U.S. commitment to defeat Islamic State

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday reassured coalition partners that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was not “the end of America’s fight” and called on them to help permanently defeat Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.


Reuters: Politics

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State of the Union 2019: Uncancelled — LIVE | The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

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Who Are the Democrats Inviting to Trump’s State of the Union Speech? Victims of the Shutdown, Transgender Service Members, and More

Inviting guests to a big event can be a delicate matter–nobody wants to be left off the list–and it’s even tricker for an evening that involves the storied history of the State of the Union address. Invitations to the annual event often take on the tone of a political statement.

President Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday night. Trump will address a Congress that is deeply divided in part because of a 35-day government shutdown that followed Trump’s insistence that Congress fund a wall he wants to build along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have invited select victims of violence, including a sixth-grader from Wilmington, Del., who was bullied at school because his last name was Trump and family members of an elderly couple from Reno, allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant.

Members of Congress are also able to invite one guest to the State of the Union address, whether that be a family member or an individual representative of the lawmaker’s platform. Axios published a guest list of people invited by Democrats. Some of those elected officials have already cast their hats into the 2020 Presidential-election ring.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California invited Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, a California air-traffic controller who lost her home during the devastating Thomas Fire in 2017, only to be furloughed during the recent government shutdown.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts invited Sajid Shahriar, a Massachusetts labor leader who, as an employee of the federal housing department, was also furloughed during the record-long government shutdown during late December and most of January.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey invited Edward Douglas, who was recently released under the First Step Act after receiving a life sentence in 2003 for selling 140 grams of cocaine.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York invited Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, whom she described on Twitter as “the first openly transgender servicemember to be promoted in our military’s history.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also of New York, invited Ana Maria Archila, who confronted former Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator ahead of the confirmation vote on now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Ed Markey of Masssachusetts, invited Varshini Prakash, the executive director and co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, an organization in support of the Green New Deal.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will sit just behind Trump during his address, invited multiple guests, including Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime died during the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a year ago; active-duty transgender service members, and Jos? Andr?s, the celebrity chef who has aided causes ranging from hurricane relief in Puerto Rico to the guy who couldn’t pronounce “flamenco” on Wheel of Fortune.

Fortune

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State of the Union promises epic political drama

President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address is poised to deliver the kind of irresistible prime-time drama that its sporting equivalent, a snoozer Super Bowl, lacked.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Trump ignites new immigration furor ahead of State of the Union

President Donald Trump is carving new divides on immigration ahead of his State of the Union address that likely offer a more reliable guide to the year ahead than the ritual calls for national unity he is expected to issue on Tuesday night.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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In Mosul exhibition, Iraqi artists process brutal rule of Islamic State

A raven perched on the shoulder of a woman with flaming hair is Iraqi artist Marwan Fathi’s symbol for the terrible events he and his home city Mosul have had to endure.


Reuters: Arts

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Trump’s State of the Union will offer ‘bipartisan way forward on immigration,’ White House official says

In a preview of Tuesday's speech, a White House official said Trump would adopt a "unifying, bipartisan, and optimistic tone." The official declined to say whether the president would declare a national emergency to build a border wall.
Economy

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Stacey Abrams to give Democratic response of the State of the Union, Schumer says

Former Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams has accepted an invitation to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union address, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Pelosi claims win over Trump in State of the Union showdown

Nancy Pelosi isn’t giving an inch.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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Iran State TV broadcaster Marzieh Hashemi to protest in Washington Friday after being released by FBI

The American-born Iran state TV broadcaster captured by the FBI for unknown reasons has been released after ten days in custody and will protest her “illegal detention” Friday in Washington, D.C., her family says.
FOX News

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Nurse accused of impregnating woman in vegetative state who gave birth

A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of impregnating woman in a vegetative state who gave birth last month at a Phoenix health care facility, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Wednesday.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Health

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Pelosi: No State of the Union in the House until shutdown ends

President Donald Trump insisted in a letter Wednesday he would deliver his annual State of the Union address from the chamber of the US House next week as planned, telling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi her concerns about security during a partial government shutdown were unfounded.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!