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Rep. Nunes' charge of Trump team surveillance – why it's key
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Readers write: Immigration path, talent at home, science knowledge
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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?
How Washington, D.C., is using social media to bring back missing children
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Trump says Keystone XL will bring thousands of jobs. Promise or pipe dream?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Tillerson's week: How top US diplomat’s ‘big reveal’ offered little clarity
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Can judiciary recover from political battles over Supreme Court seat?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Samantha Ponder to host 'Sunday NFL Countdown,' despite backlash from internet trolls
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
'Snooki' inspired bill could cap N.J. college speaker fees: How much is too much?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Hopeful combo: World economy grows, carbon emissions stay flat
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Hawaii’s Beth Fukumoto is quitting the GOP. Whose defection is it?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
For US visa hopefuls, screening hurdles grow. Shades of 'extreme vetting'?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
What does ‘multispeed’ Europe really mean?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Estonia's lessons for fighting Russian disinformation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
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.
Russia set to unveil the world's newest print encyclopedia – and its last?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Initiated by a decree of Vladimir Putin in 2003, the massive 36-volume Great Russian Encyclopedia (GRE) was intended – as encyclopedias tend to be – as a compendium of all fundamental knowledge, a benchmark of truth, and, more subtly, a repudiation of the ideologically-tinged world view of its famous predecessor, The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia? "Russia needed a new encyclopedia that reflects modern society and consciousness, so this one is not a continuation of its Soviet predecessor," Mr. Kravets says.
Who's the greatest leader in the world? Chicago Cubs's Theo Epstein
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
For readers who don’t follow the Sox or the Cubs – which both recently claimed their first World Series wins in living memory under Mr. Epstein’s watch – Fortune’s decision will likely come as a surprise.
Responsible fatherhood: He’s been a key voice in the national conversation
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
While the certificate represents the end of a 17-year drug addiction marked by countless court appearances and several stints behind bars, it is also emblematic of the type of progress and improvement that he works to bring out in others who live in Baltimore. Jones is founder and president of the Center for Urban Families (CFUF), established in 1999 with the objective of empowering low-income families through programs designed to help wage earners contribute to their families and to help men fulfill their roles as fathers. There are dozens of outstanding warrants, high rates of reentry among those released from correctional facilities, and a tally of more than $26 million in collective child-support arrears, he notes.
Delay on GOP health care vote: Bill 'too conservative' and 'not conservative enough'
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
House Speaker Paul Ryan thought he had found the “sweet spot” in the Republican health care plan – a bill that would appeal to both GOP conservatives and moderates. Despite intense coordination with the White House and the president’s personal involvement on the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the speaker was forced to delay the bill for lack of Republican votes. If Speaker Ryan is unable to forge a compromise that will bring him to victory, it will be a huge blow to the Republican agenda, to his speakership, and to President Trump.
Help North Koreans ‘live in the truth’
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
North Korea tested its first nuclear device in 2006 and may soon test a missile capable of reaching an American city with such a weapon. The US and its allies remain frustrated that their main option, a tightening of economic sanctions, has not curbed the North’s nuclear threat. The regime may be worried that the North Korean people, despite living under tight censorship, are learning that the world is standing up for their human rights.
15 under 15: Rising stars in cybersecurity
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Everything in their lives is captured in silicon chips and chronicled on Facebook. Turns out, CyFi had unearthed a new class of previously undisclosed security weaknesses, otherwise known as zero days, spanning across all mobile devices.
From caricature to man of character: How time and art change image of Bush
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Last July, when former President George W. Bush began to smile and sway to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” holding hands with both his wife and former first lady Michelle Obama during the closing moments of a memorial service for five Dallas police officers, many of his long-time detractors could only look and mock. On traditional and social media, Mr. Bush, making a rare public appearance at the time, was once again the president of the malaprop, seemingly lacking in seriousness and curiosity, the smirking architect of a disastrous and unnecessary war.
Rick Perry questions win of first openly gay student president at Texas A&M
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Earlier this month, Texas A&M student Bobby Brooks was elected student body president, making him the first openly gay student to hold the position. At a school that has historically been one of the most LGBT-unfriendly schools in the nation, Mr. Brooks’s election gave some a reason to celebrate. One of Brooks's rivals, Robert McIntosh, had the lead when the votes were first counted.
In Exxon climate change probe, how will the ‘lost emails’ be recovered?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
A New York state judge has ordered ExxonMobil to work with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to recover lost emails, part of an ongoing climate change probe of the company. According to the attorney general, the account was actually an email alias for Rex Tillerson, then the chief executive of the corporation (Mr. Tillerson's middle name is Wayne). Currently, Tillerson is the US secretary of State, a fact which has raised the stakes of the investigation considerably.
London attack: how Europe has overcome terror campaigns before
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The attack outside the Houses of Parliament, which left four people dead and dozens injured, was the latest in a string of low-tech, high-profile terrorist incidents in Europe. Good police and intelligence work can head off such incidents and save lives, as Europe’s recent history has shown. The graver threat – that terrorist attacks undermine Western societies by spurring anti-Muslim hatred and divisions – is harder, though not impossible, to confront.
UN urges Sri Lanka to investigate civil war atrocities
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, reported on the situation in Sri Lanka still dealing with the aftermath of a 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.
Martin McGuinness leaves behind a complicated legacy, uncertain future
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Martin McGuinness, a former Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader and politician, will be laid to rest on Thursday in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Among them were many dignitaries, including former US President Bill Clinton. Recommended: Forget Irish cliches: How much do you really know about Ireland?
Why has Jackson, Miss., been labeled 'the fattest city' in the US?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
According to personal finance website WalletHub, Jackson, Miss., is the fattest city in America. WalletHub released its ranking of the 2017 Fattest Cities in America list on Wednesday. The list was based on analysis of the 100 most populous cities in the United States with regard to various weight-related factors to create the rankings.
Former Russian lawmaker and Moscow critic gunned down in Ukraine
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
A former member of the Russian Duma who had moved to Ukraine was shot and killed in Kiev on Thursday, sparking allegations that the murder was politically motivated. Denis Voronenkov was shot dead outside the upscale Premier Palace hotel in the Ukrainian capital. Ukraine is currently investigating the incident.
Tim Allen, conservatives in Hollywood, and Nazi Germany
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Tim Allen feels it’s so tough to be a conservative in Hollywood, it’s like living in Nazi Germany. “Tim, have you lost your mind?” Steven Goldstein, the executive director of organization, said in a statement.
In swift response to London terror attack, eight suspects arrested as Parliament resumes
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
As Londoners seek to resume business as usual, a police investigation of Wednesday’s attack continues. In the attack, a man driving an SUV plowed into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring approximately 30, police indicated. The attacker then fatally stabbed a police officer on Parliament’s grounds before being shot by police.
Calif. class action suit alleges 'unfair competition' with Ivanka Trump brand
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
A small, San Francisco boutique almost 3,000 miles away from Ivanka Trump’s office in the White House might not seem like a business that would find itself entangled with the first daughter’s multi-million dollar fashion brand. In a class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court last week, the 40-year-old, family-owned Modern Appealing Clothing argues that unethical promotion of the Ivanka Trump brand by the current administration has violated the US Constitution and a California statute protecting businesses against unfair competition.
In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of two parents of an autistic son, finding that his Colorado school district had failed to provide him with a "free and appropriate public education."
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort received millions to promote Putin
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned in August, amid swirling rumors of his connections to foreign governments, including Russia. A new Associated Press investigation uncovered ties between Mr. Manafort and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska dating back to 2005. In a confidential strategy plan, Manafort told Mr. Deripaska that he could influence politics, business, and media across the United States, Europe, and former Soviet states for the benefit of Russia.
What we know about Trump team Russia links – and why that matters
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Paul Manafort was Donald Trump’s campaign manager for months in 2016. Mr. Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday at his daily briefing. Ditto longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and former foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
‘Dare to be tender’: One year after attack, Belgian king urges kindness
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Brussels on Wednesday marked the first anniversary of suicide bombings that killed 32 people at the airport and subway, with ceremonies timed with the blasts and the dedication of a new memorial. Recommended: How much do you know about Islam and violence? "Above all, let us dare to be tender," he said, at the unveiling of a new monument to all the victims near the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels’ European Quarter.
After ISIS: For Iraqis, reconciliation in Mosul will be challenging, and vital
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The colonel is a quintessential Iraqi military man: shaved head, bushy black mustache, and very proud of how the Iraqi Army has rebuilt and “proved it is professional” in the fight to oust the Islamic State from Mosul. Like many in Iraq, the colonel is wary that the challenges of reconciliation and winning the peace in Mosul and across the complex ethnic mosaic of Nineveh Province will be harder than winning the war. Recommended: How much do you know about the Islamic State?
Can you tally up world progress?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When the cold war ended a quarter century ago, and with it the division of the world into two “camps,” the United Nations decided to start measuring the progress of humanity as a whole. The hope behind such alternative indicators is that an attempt to measure something might help reveal what causes it or could push it along.
Gorsuch hearings: Should agencies – or courts – decide the law?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
There are several elephants in the room where senators are grilling Judge Neil Gorsuch this week. One of those proverbial pachyderms was present courtesy of the aspiring Supreme Court justice. “There’s an elephant in the room with us today,” Judge Gorsuch wrote in a 2016 concurrence that featured prominently in 11 hours of questioning Tuesday from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
US infant mortality rate declines, but disparities remain
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The rate of infant deaths in the United States has improved, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a study released on Tuesday. The infant mortality rate dropped 15 percent over the past decade, from a record high 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 5.82 in 2014, data show. While the new report indicates a promising development in the country’s public health, commentators say the United States has a long way to go to catch up peer nations. "I think there was a public health push in the past decade to figure out ways to lower this rate, and it has made an impact," report author T.J. Mathews, a demographer at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told CNN on Tuesday.
Germany set to deport native
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
In a move without precedent in German history, the country will soon deport two German-born men accused of having discussed terrorist activity. On Tuesday, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig threw out a case saying that the men, one an Algerian national and the other a Nigerian citizen, should not be deported because there was no proof they had committed a serious offense. In so doing, it cleared the way for deportations that the state government of Lower Saxony ordered last month, when it described the pair as a threat to national security.
What is known so far about terrorist attack outside London's Parliament
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
At least 20 people were injured and at least four people killed in what officials are saying was a terrorist attack that took place near the British Parliament building in London Wednesday afternoon. Others reported that a vehicle was seen on the nearby Westminster Bridge running over several pedestrians. A woman was also reportedly taken out of the river near the Westminster bridge, injured but alive.
Supreme Court tightens restrictions on presidential appointments
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
When the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that SW General, Inc. had violated federal labor law, the Scottsdale, Ariz., ambulance firm questioned whether the NLRB’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, had authority to handle the case. On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court sided with SW General, ruling 6-2 that Mr. Solomon’s 2011 nomination by then-President Barack Obama violated the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, rendering Solomon’s actions against SW General null and void. Legal analysts agree that this ruling could narrow the president’s nominating authority.
Data didn't change tech's frat
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
An engineer at Lever – a recruitment software startup in San Francisco – her role includes reaching out to co-workers about life in the tech industry. Now, firms like Lever are turning to anecdotes and personal exchanges as bases for developing empathy – and building inclusive cultures from the ground up.
Climate change presents us with a choice, Seeking an end to the Ukrainian conflict, Balancing Beijing’s displeasure and missile defense, The people
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Climate change today constitutes a threat to the well-being of our country, and not to confront it would be to put at risk the future of our children...,” writes Marcelo Mena, Chile’s vice minister of the environment. “The challenge that remains for us [in Chile] is in transportation, which accounts for 28.9 percent of our emissions.... The green tax means that vehicles will become more efficient, but it’s clear that public transport is the way forward.... We have two choices.
Why the airline 'electronics ban' may not be discrimination
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
While policy's timing and targeted locations have raised eyebrows, the scholars who study terrorism aren't quite ready to equate the new policy – which bans any electronics larger than a cellphone from being carried on flights departing from 10 Middle Eastern airports – with discrimination. In their view, the "electronics ban" is consistent with how the US government has handled previous terrorist threats, and it may not stem from prejudice toward Muslims. “I think to immediately jump to the conclusion that this is connected with the travel ban is too far, too quick,” says Robert Pape, professor of political science at the University of Chicago who specializes in international security.
Passcode signs off
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
Dear Passcode readers:
How Washington evaluates software vulnerabilities
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
In August, the National Security Agency (NSA) found itself scrambling to figure out how a group dubbed the Shadow Brokers obtained the agency’s alleged hacking tools, some of which they posted online and others they offered to the highest bidder. The startling breach not only revealed that the NSA seemed to rely on previously unknown security vulnerabilities – called zero-days – in Cisco and Fortinet commercial software to carry out digital espionage campaigns, it also exposed NSA tactics to foreign adversaries. It remains unclear whether the NSA used these tools for surveillance operations, but it appears the agency kept the flaws from the software vendors, depriving them of a chance to patch their systems.
North Korea missile launch toward S. Korea failed. How often does that happen?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The missile, launched from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan, “[appeared] to have exploded within seconds of launch,” the US Pacific Command said in a statement. American officials had been aware of the planned launch for several days, as they observed a rocket being moved and VIP seating being assembled in Wonsan, they told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The launch failure comes as the United States and South Korea engage in their annual “Foal Eagle” joint military exercises, which typically provoke a strong response from the North.
What is Facebook's responsibility when people broadcast crimes?
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
The apparent sexual assault of a Chicago teenager, broadcast on Facebook Live, has reignited debate about the feature and Facebook’s responsibility to address crimes. It was not until Monday, however, that her family learned that an apparent sexual assault on the girl had been broadcast on Facebook Live. None of the 40 viewers had reported the incident through Facebook’s content-review system, but a teenager mentioned the video to Reginald King, one of the girl’s relatives.
Climate change presents us with a choice, Seeking an end to the Ukrainian conflict, Balancing Beijing’s displeasure and missile defense, The people
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Climate change today constitutes a threat to the well-being of our country, and not to confront it would be to put at risk the future of our children...,” writes Marcelo Mena, Chile’s vice minister of the environment. “The challenge that remains for us [in Chile] is in transportation, which accounts for 28.9 percent of our emissions.... The green tax means that vehicles will become more efficient, but it’s clear that public transport is the way forward.... We have two choices.
Climate change presents us with a choice, Seeking an end to the Ukrainian conflict, Balancing Beijing’s displeasure and missile defense, The people
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, world
“Climate change today constitutes a threat to the well-being of our country, and not to confront it would be to put at risk the future of our children...,” writes Marcelo Mena, Chile’s vice minister of the environment. “The challenge that remains for us [in Chile] is in transportation, which accounts for 28.9 percent of our emissions.... The green tax means that vehicles will become more efficient, but it’s clear that public transport is the way forward.... We have two choices.