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Democrats pen letter to Trump on working together for health care reform. What can they achieve?As Republicans led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gear up for a second swing at health care reform, Democratic senators say they’re willing to work with the president – if he stops attacking their party’s landmark health care law. In a letter signed by 44 of the Senate’s 48 Democrats, the bulk of the party calls on President Trump to rescind his efforts to completely abolish the Affordable Care Act, the legislation, known as Obamacare, passed in 2010.


'True heroes': Melania Trump honors 13 women of courageThe award, given annually by the State Department since 2007, acknowledges the recipients’ work advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at their own personal risk. "These honorees, who have fought on the front lines against injustice, are true heroes,” Mrs. Trump said at the ceremony, according to Associated Press. This year’s honorees include Malebogo Molefhe of Botswana, who became an advocate for female victims of gender-based violence after being attacked and shot eight times by an ex-boyfriend in 2009.


A neighborly rebuke to a wayward VenezuelaIf there is the equivalent of a “neighborhood watch” on a global level, it is the various groupings of countries by region – the European Union being the most well known. A majority of the OAS’s 34 active members, including heavyweights Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina, called for talks to end a political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. “We cannot remain indifferent,” said Costa Rica’s representative, Rogelio Sotela.


It may not be the White House, but Clinton declares she is 'out of the woods'Several months after losing the 2016 presidential election in a surprise result, Hillary Clinton may be ready to return to the political arena. On Tuesday, the former Democratic presidential candidate spoke to a packed house of 6,000 for the Professional BusinessWomen of California conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Secretary Clinton also criticized the Republican administration and weighed in on recent events.


US-Turkey deal on ISIS assault? Why that's a tough sell for Tillerson.On paper, the United States and Turkey are on the same side in the fight against the Islamic State jihadists. Frustration is mounting on both sides, with the US and Turkey backing competing Syrian proxies as the primary attacking force in the Raqqa offensive. Recommended: How well do you understand the conflict in Syria?


Why California prosecutors charged anti-abortion activists who secretly filmed Planned ParenthoodTwo anti-abortion activists who secretly filmed conversations with Planned Parenthood staff now face felony charges. On Tuesday, California prosecutors charged David Daleiden of Davis, Calif., and Sandra Merritt of San Jose, Calif., with 15 felonies. At issue is California’s “two party consent” law, which requires both sides of a conversation to know that they are being recorded for it to be legal, as CNN reported.


Scottish Parliament backs new independence voteWhen Scotland voted to remain part of Great Britain back in 2014, it was seen as a resolution to the independence debate – at least for a while. On Tuesday, the Edinburgh-based legislature voted 69 to 59 in favor of asking Westminster for another independence vote. The referendum would take place in late 2018 or early 2019, said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, after the details of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union are clearer.


To address opioid crisis, Trump to give Chris Christie the helmNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be taking on an advisory role within the White House as chair of a special commission to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. The commission will also consist of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and another five members from state governments, law enforcement, and other groups. The panel will assist the Trump administration in identifying federal funding streams that could help address the epidemic, including treatment for those affected, according to STAT.


In Debbie's wake, Australia begins to pick up the piecesCyclone Debbie made landfall on Australia’s northeast coast Tuesday, with rains, storm surges, and winds as fast as 160 miles per hour scouring the state of Queensland. Local residents – especially those in Bowen, Proserpine, and Mackay – had been warned to brace for this scenario, The Christian Science Monitor reported on Monday, with authorities urging 30,000 locals to evacuate. Recommended: Think you know Australia?


Former ‘Apprentice’ contestant sues Trump. Will presidential immunity shield him?President Trump’s lawyer said the president is immune while in office from the defamation claims brought by a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused him of sexual harassment. 


Brexit has officially been triggered. What comes next?After 44 years, Britain is officially leaving the European Union. Its relationship with the bloc is set to change, but the road map still remains to be laid out. On Wednesday, Britain’s EU envoy, Tim Barrow, hand-delivered a letter from Prime Minister Theresa May to European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels.


On display at Arab Summit: division and declining influenceAt times both politics and pageantry, the annual gathering of leaders at the Arab Summit has been a guiding force in Arab politics and a source of drama for Arab citizens, who have rarely seen anyone challenge their autocratic rulers over the past half-century. This year’s Arab Summit in Jordan consequently is serving a different function, officials and analysts say: as a showcase of the lack of Arab leadership and the waning influence of the Arab League. With several states reeling in uncertainty and strife after both the ouster of dictators and weakening of remaining autocrats, the League – like the Arab world itself – is divided, looking inward, and dominated by the Saudi rivalry with Iran.


As House GOP tries to revive health-care reform, Democrats emboldened to stop itAfter the spectacular collapse of the repeal-and-replace effort last Friday, some Republicans contemplated reaching out to Democrats to fix Obamacare, which is still the law of the land. The White House emitted a few bipartisan signals from the press secretary about working on health-care reform. Rep. Peter King (R) of New York urged President Trump to broker a political peace with fellow New Yorker Senate minority leader Charles Schumer.


In tricky US-Russia climate, citizen diplomats and scholars do the talkingWashington was swarming with Russians last week. It is, after all, a relationship that affects the entire planet, regardless of what emerges from an FBI investigation into connections between President Trump’s associates and Russia. Recommended: Sochi, Soviets, and czars: How much do you know about Russia?


Why Trump rollback of Obama climate policies could be a long slogWith a flourish of his pen Tuesday, President Trump promised a full-scale assault on the Obama administration’s signature climate-change initiative. Mr. Trump's executive order starts the process of scrapping Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which calls on states to reduce electric-utility emissions that scientists say are changing Earth’s climate. Instead, Trump wants to go all-in on expanding US energy jobs, notably in coal mining and fossil fuels. Recommended: Climate change: Is your opinion informed by science?


The view of Brexit from a city that voted to ‘Leave’It’s the UK City of Culture 2017, derelict buildings and dry docks are being refurbished, and a major wind turbine factory is on the rise. “The planets have never been more aligned,” says David Keel, chair of C4DI, a new incubator and co-working space in the waterside Fruit Market district. Going against the dominant narrative that “Brexit” towns are depressed and in deep regret, Hull has turned toward a hopeful future – for some because of Brexit, for others despite it.


A good defense against terrorist hateAs Islamic State loses its base in Iraq and Syria, its followers are taking territory elsewhere. One place is Egypt, which could provide the militant group with greater access to Africa. Since December, an ISIS-affiliated group in Egypt has adopted a tactic aimed at rallying Egypt’s Muslims to its side: It is killing Christians, which make up 10 percent of the population.


Britain's Royal Mint introduces 12-edged pound coinCounterfeiting the British pound just got a whole lot harder. The change, which marks the first new coin out of the UK in three decades, comes as officials grapple with threats of fraud and counterfeiting, and the impact such activities can have on businesses and taxpayers. “This is a giant step forward to help stamp out counterfeit coins and save businesses and the taxpayer millions of pounds every year,” Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Baroness Neville-Rolfe said in a statement.


Podcast: Life as a teenage hackerPaul Vann is a chief executive officer and security researcher. The young leader of new cybersecurity company VannTechCyber, who was originally featured in Passcode's 15 under 15 rising stars of cybersecurity project, says other professionals often don't initially think his work is "as accurate or as credible" because he hasn't gone to college or even finished high school – and while that does intimidate him sometimes, he relies on the strength of his research to win them over.


US and other nuclear-armed states boycott UN meeting to discuss banning nukesNegotiations for a treaty to rid the world of nuclear weapons began in the United Nations on Monday. Most member states of the United Nations have said they wish for a world without nuclear weapons. Recommended: How much do you know about nuclear weapons?


White racist accused of fatal NYC stabbing charged with terrorismA white Army veteran accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old bottle collector and recycler on a Manhattan street last week simply because he was black was indicted on Monday on rare state charges of murder as terrorism. James Harris Jackson told the New York Daily News he attacked Timothy Caughman from behind, plunging a sword into his chest, as part of an effort to deter interracial relationships. In an interview from behind bars at Rikers Island, a New York City prison complex, Mr. Jackson told the newspaper he intended to kill numerous black men in order to send a message to white women.


Why the 'Fearless Girl' statue will stay put on Wall StreetThe 50-inch bronze "Fearless Girl" statue, which currently stands in front of Wall Street's famed "Charging Bull" sculpture, will be allowed to stay – at least until February 2018. The statue was installed on the eve of International Women's Day earlier this month as a commentary on the lack of gender diversity in the workplace. Initially, the statue was supposed to stay facing down the bull for a week, but in light of the popularity of the figure, the permit allowing the temporary art installation to stay was extended until April 2.


Attorney General Sessions escalates threats against sanctuary citiesAttorney General Jeff Sessions ramped up threats to so-called sanctuary cities Monday, saying the government would take "all lawful steps to claw-back" federal funding awarded to cities that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement. President Trump signed an executive order that intends to deny funding to cities that refuse to share immigration status information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and to detain undocumented immigrants who commit nonviolent crimes.


Why is someone trying to shutter one of Russia's top private universities?Generally, prestigious private universities with hundreds of students don't get shut down over fairly minor, six-month-old technical issues that have since been resolved. What appears to be on full display is a hallmark of the Vladimir Putin-era: a new brand of domestic "lawfare," in which state-run courts enforce political conformity through legal pretexts. One illustrative recent example is a local court's upholding of an embezzlement conviction against opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which has the collateral effect of barring him from running in presidential elections that are about a year away.


Pelosi, Schiff call for Nunes recusal from Russia probeThe top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says Chairman Devin Nunes (R) of California should step down from an investigation of alleged ties between President Trump's associates and Russian officials after it was revealed that Nunes met secretly with a source last week on the White House grounds. The committee is conducting an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and ties between Mr. Trump’s campaign staffers and Russian officials, similar to an investigation launched by the Senate intelligence committee.


More than 1,000 arrested in Belarus protests against 'parasite law'A human rights group said more than 1,000 people were arrested across Belarus over the weekend, as another wave of unsanctioned protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko reached the streets of Minsk and other cities. Vesna told the Associated Press that about 150 of those arrested have been sentenced to jail terms of up 25 days. The demonstrations against a leader who has been described as Europe's last dictator started last month when frustration over a tax against the unemployed boiled over and 2,000 protesters gathered in opposition to the $250 annual tax locally known as the “law against social parasites.” At the start of 2017, the average monthly salary was $380.


A model for anti-corruption RussiansOf all the former states in the Soviet Union, according to a global ranking, Russia remains one of the most corrupt. What stirred the thinking of so many Russians to envision an honest and accountable government? While President Vladimir Putin remains popular, the focus of the protests was his prime minister and protégé, Dmitry Medvedev.


'Sundown towns': Midwest confronts its complicated racial legacyAfter all, there aren’t many people around town who look like Mr. Cooper, who is African-American. According to the 2010 United States Census, 97 percent of Utica, Ohio, identifies as white. Recommended: Uffda! How well do you know the Midwest?


Humongous gold coin stolen from Berlin museumThe “Big Maple Leaf,” a 221-pound gold coin estimated to be worth $4 million, was stolen from a Berlin museum in the early hours of Monday morning. Thieves are suspected to have broken into the Bode Museum in the German capitol at 3:30 a.m. and made off with the oversized Canadian coin, which measures about 21-inches wide and is more than an inch thick. It is disputed whether that title should go to the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa or the 1990 robbery of 13 masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.


Russian protest leader Alexei Navalny sentenced to 15 days in jailVocal Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny is facing a 15-day jail sentence after organizing protests in Russia on Sunday that decried government corruption and led to some 1,000 arrests. Mr. Navalny was found guilty of disobeying a police officer at a Moscow protest, and fined for organizing the demonstrations, which Russian authorities say were illegal. One of the most vocal critics of the current government and corruption, Navalny organized the demonstrations to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who he claims used government funds for personal expenses.


Will GOP's tax reform prove easier than health care?The Republican Party couldn’t repeal and replace Obamacare like it promised. Still smarting from that setback, the GOP is turning to another daunting issue: tax reform.


Why Russian protests are making the Kremlin rethink 2018 presidential electionsBy staging significant protest actions in almost 100 Russian cities Sunday, Alexei Navalny has laid down a serious challenge to Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has the means to prevent him, by invoking a criminal conviction, recently upheld by a regional court, that could bar him from running for office. It has been standard procedure under Mr. Putin's brand of "managed democracy" to cull the ballot, using various pretexts, to ensure that independent challengers are kept out and results are tailored to match the authorities' expectations.


Under anti-EU pressures, Europe's advocates find their footingA rollicking celebration to revel in the European Union’s 60th birthday this weekend in Rome would have rung off-key. Populists are riding a wave of Euroskepticism almost everywhere, while even top leaders of the EU have wondered if the postwar project has a future. Recommended: How much do you know about the EU?


The hackers trying to build a hack-proof operating systemAs a teenage hacker in the early 1990s, David Mirza Ahmad quickly learned that even the savviest techies can be "owned," old-school computer slang for exposing someone's identity.


What keeps cybersecurity experts up at night?Passcode’s Influencers Poll regularly surveys 160 high-profile experts from across government, industry, and the advocacy community. “Whether one calls them embedded systems, or the 'Internet of Things,' the combination of these little computers, poor security design, and upcoming high-speed wireless networks are a perfect storm of sorts that holds the potential to make all of our current cybersecurity concerns worse, more persistent, and of much larger scale,” says Bob Stratton, a serial security entrepreneur, investor, and consultant.


Cyclone Debbie prompts thousands of evacuations in northeast AustraliaAuthorities are urging 30,000 people to evacuate Australia’s tropical northeast coast as the strongest cyclone to hit the Queensland province in six years bears down on the sparsely populated farming region. Cyclone Debbie is expected to intensify to a Category 4 storm before it makes landfall on Tuesday, bringing wind gusts up to 160 miles per hour, and a tidal surge of up to 13 feet to low-lying coastal regions. Recommended: Are you a weather nerd?


White House office led by Trump's son-in-law to bring business ideas to governmentEver since his campaign, President Trump has promised to bring the best ideas from the business world to Washington to change the federal bureaucracy. Now, he is entrusting Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and one of his closest confidantes, to make that happen. Mr. Trump is expected to announce on Monday the creation of the White House Office of American Innovation to overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector.


Life in a new land: a refugee's journeyMuhannad Qaiconie, one of the organizers of the gathering, mingles easily among the guests. Just two years ago, having fled the war in Syria, Mr. Qaiconie was preparing to embark on a perilous journey to Europe. Once in Germany, he faced more hardships – loneliness, lack of work, uncertainty over whether he would be able to get his mother and sister out of war-ravaged Aleppo.


Trump and the question of truthJust three months after Time magazine chose Donald Trump as 2016 Person of the Year, it has published a cover story – with the headline “Is Truth Dead?” – that charges the president is a “strategic misleader.” The article details many of Mr. Trump’s unproven accusations but then concludes his strategy will decline. News outlets now fact-check other media.


Why is Colorado risking hundreds of millions to protect its marijuana industry?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 apologizes for spreading 'Pizzagate' theory. What does that mean for fake news?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.


Seeking transparency, Congressional Democrats introduce 'Mar-a-Lago' actThe 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.


Could the Trump administration send Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey?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.


With asylum grant, did the US just reward hate speech?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.


Airstrikes in Mosul kill civilians: Are US rules of engagement getting slacker?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.


Readers write: Immigration path, talent at home, science knowledgeRegarding 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?


Rep. Nunes' charge of Trump team surveillance – why it's keyA 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.


How Washington, D.C., is using social media to bring back missing childrenOn 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.


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