Mon, 20 Feb 2017 22:58:07 UTNEW YORK (AP) — Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, a veteran diplomat known as a potent, savvy yet personable voice for his country's interests who could both spar and get along with his Western counterparts, fell ill and died suddenly Monday in his office at Russia's U.N. mission. Russian President Vladimir Putin esteemed Churkin's "professionalism and diplomatic talents," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the state news agency TASS. Diplomatic colleagues from around the world mourned Churkin as a master in their field: a passionate and effective advocate for his country; an intellectual with a doctorate in history who was also a onetime child actor with an acute wit; a formidable adversary who could remain a friend. [...] the United States, Britain and France have been pressing the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on the Syrian government for using chemical weapons, while Russia, Syria's closest ally, has repeatedly questioned investigators' conclusions linking chemical attacks to Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, which has denied them. In fluent English, Churkin provided little new information about Chernobyl but engaged in a friendly, sometimes humorous, exchange with lawmakers who weren't accustomed to such a tone — or to a representative in a fashionably well-fitting suit and a stylish haircut — from the U.S.S.R.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 21:14:45 UT(AP) — For the past three weekends, President Donald Trump has flown on Air Force One to his private Florida club, where in addition to work, he has dined with family and friends, attended parties — and played plenty of golf. The next day a photo emerged on social media that showed Trump with professional golfer Rory McIlroy. Obama was an avid golfer, though he did not play during his first few months in office, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who tracked his golf outings.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 21:09:00 UTTrump taps military strategist as national security adviser (AP) — President Donald Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn. The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation. Trump pushed out Flynn a week ago after revelations that the adviser had misled Pence about discussing sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential transition.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:46:51 UTLONDON (AP) — Thousands of protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump rallied outside Britain's Parliament on Monday, while lawmakers inside urged the government to rescind its offer to the president of a state visit stamped with pomp, pageantry and royal approval. In a passionate debate that's unlikely to change the British government's position, Trump was labeled a misogynist, a bigot and a "petulant child" by opposition legislators. Monday's debate was called after more than 1.8 million people signed an online petition calling for the state visit to be downgraded. No formal vote was held at the end of the three-hour debate, which took place in a side-room of Parliament rather than the House of Commons chamber. Most stay at Buckingham Palace as guests of the monarch, and Flynn said a state visit would make it appear as if the queen were "approving the acts of Donald J. Trump" — a man Flynn said had behaved "like a petulant child." A 2015 state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping drew protests from Tibetan groups and human rights activists.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:42:57 UTCHICAGO (AP) — Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found. Laws that have the greatest impact on gay adults may make gay kids feel "more hopeful for the future," said lead author Julia Raifman, a researcher at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers analyzed data on more than 700,000 public high school students who participated in government surveys on risky youth behavior from 1999 through 2015, the year the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The new work makes an important contribution to identifying how laws limiting gay rights may affect psychological and physical health, said Columbia University public health researcher Mark Hatzenbuehler.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:36:55 UTTrump's benevolence toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and campaign rhetoric that included branding NATO obsolete and vowing to undo a series of multinational trade deals has sparked anxiety in Europe. After talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Pence reiterated the administration's strong support for the alliance, but warned that Trump wants to see "real progress" by the end of the year on boosting defense spending. Asked what the administration would do if allies failed to meet the defense spending target, Pence said, "I don't know what the answer is to 'or else,' but I know that the patience of the American people will not endure forever." The vice president also noted the "heartbreaking" suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and subway system in March 2016, and said the U.S. would continue to collaborate with EU partners to address safety and combat terrorism.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:57:33 UT"While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor's identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool's application," lawyers for the news organizations wrote in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington. The news organizations sought to learn more about the mysterious transaction that cut short a legal dispute in which the government won a court order to force Apple Inc. to unlock the work phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in the December 2015 San Bernardino attack. "Release of this information goes to the very heart of FOIA's purpose, allowing the public to assess government activity — here, the decision to pay public funds to an outside entity in possession of a tool that can compromise the digital security of millions of Americans," the lawyers wrote.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:53:56 UTWASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press. Doctors, nurses or pharmacy staff at federal hospitals — the vast majority within the VA system — siphoned away controlled substances for their own use or street sales, or drugs intended for patients simply disappeared. Investigators said that signals problems for VA's entire network of more than 160 medical centers and 1,000 clinics, coming after auditor warnings about lax oversight dating back to at least 2009. Both the inspector general's office and the Drug Enforcement Administration said they have increased scrutiny of drug thefts from the VA, with the DEA reporting more criminal investigations. The inspector general's office says a pharmacy technician used his VA access to a medical supplier's web portal to order and divert 4,000 oxycodone pills, 3,300 hydrocodone pills and other drugs at a cost to the VA of $77,700 and a street value of $160,000. Dr. Dale Klein, a VA pain management specialist, said some of his patients suspected they weren't getting the drugs they needed, including one patient with an amputated leg who had to do without morphine because a VA pharmacy said it did not have enough in supply. Klein, who is part of a whistleblowers network called VA Truth Tellers, ran a VA pain clinic from 2015 to 2016 and has filed a retaliation claim against VA, saying the VA restricted his work after he voiced complaints.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:33:47 UTPFAFSTAETTEN, Austria (AP) — So many people want to be Donald Trump this Carnival season in Austria that some costume shops have run out of wigs mimicking the U.S. president's memorable hairstyle. Plank says that 25 of her Trump wigs are now in circulation within her community of just 3,500 people. Since Carnival extends into early March this year, she is making more.
Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:14:49 UTA background picture of the American flag that went up alongside the European Union flag as Pence and EU leader Donald Tusk spoke on Monday had 51 stars instead of the usual 50, one for each state. American flags typically feature a total of nine alternating rows of five or six stars