US States Weighed Variety of Voting Changes This Year

Posted: June 1, 2019, 4:18 pm

US States Weighed Variety of Voting Changes This Year FILE – An election worker enters a polling station in Charlotte, N.C., April 24, 2019, as the station prepares for early voting. The vast majority of U.S. state voting legislation introduced this year was intended to expand voting access rather than impose restrictions.
Lawmakers in 45 states have been debating at least 647 bills that would expand voting access, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law. That's compared with lawmakers in 28 states that have considered at least 82 bills to restrict access.
Voting-related topics under consideration in legislatures this year:
Early voting
Most states and the District of Columbia allow registered voters to cast ballots in person before Election Day. This year, lawmakers in New York and Delaware approved early voting in those states. An effort to allow voters in Connecticut to decide whether that state should have early voting did not r..

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2020 Hopeful Gillibrand Unveils Plan to Protect LGBTQ Rights

Posted: June 1, 2019, 12:25 pm

2020 Hopeful Gillibrand Unveils Plan to Protect LGBTQ Rights Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to local residents at a coffee shop, May 25, 2019, in Mason City, Iowa. WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand has unveiled a comprehensive plan to protect the rights of LGBTQ people to mark the start of Pride Month.
If elected, the New York senator says she'd direct the Justice Department to consider gender identity and sexual orientation a protected class. She would also ban discrimination against transgender members of the military and federally recognize a third gender in identification documents, denoted by an “X” on ID cards.
In a platform announced Saturday, Gillibrand said she'd prohibit gay conversion therapy nationwide and direct public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their identity.
Her proposal would further require health insurance plans to cover hormone therapy fo..

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Acting US Defense Chief Criticizes China’s Bad Behavior

Posted: June 1, 2019, 7:55 am

Acting US Defense Chief Criticizes China's Bad Behavior Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, center, and Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, right, attend a ministerial luncheon on the sidelines of the 18th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue VOA Mandarin service's Libo Lui contributed to this report
SINGAPORE – Since the first week acting U.S. Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan took the reins at the Pentagon, he’s said his top concern is “China, China, China.”
On Saturday, Shanahan told an audience at the annual Shangri-La defense forum that the U.S. would not ignore Chinese behavior, which he says has threatened prosperity in the region.
“It's not about conflict. It's not about building walls. This is about security,” Shanahan said.
China is infamous for its theft of other nations’ military and civilian technology, and the U.S. secretary said he took issue with Beijing's cyber attacks and st..

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Pompeo Seeks Common Ground on Iran, Huawei in Europe

Posted: June 1, 2019, 1:40 am

On a trip to Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seeking common ground with European allies, despite fundamental differences over the United States' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and doing business with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. VOA's Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine has more from Washington, as talks between Pompeo and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrapped Friday.

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Cochran Funeral Set for Mississippi Capitol 

Posted: May 31, 2019, 10:22 pm

Cochran Funeral Set for Mississippi Capitol FILE – Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., responds to the crowd's applause following a campaign speech at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss., Oct. 29, 2014. The longtime senator died May 30, 2019. He was 81. JACKSON, MISS. — A funeral will be held next week in the Mississippi Capitol for former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican who represented the state for 45 years.
Cochran died Thursday at a veterans nursing home in Oxford, Miss. He was 81.
Coleman Funeral Home said visitation would be from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the University of Mississippi Robert C. Khayat Law Center in Oxford.
One funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday in the Capitol in Jackson. Another service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson.
Cochran was elected to the U.S. House in 1972 and to the Senate in 1978. As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, he steered billions of dollars to Mississippi for universities, agriculture and Hurri..

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A Look at Mexican Efforts to Stem Tide of Migrants 

Posted: May 31, 2019, 8:28 pm

A Look at Mexican Efforts to Stem Tide of Migrants FILE – An immigration agent checks the identity card of a woman at a temporary checkpoint in the outskirts of Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, April 29, 2019. MEXICO CITY — President Donald Trump says he's imposing tariffs on all goods from Mexico until the country stops the flow of undocumented migrants from Central America who cross its territory and enter the United States. Trump tweeted Friday that Mexico “can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done!'' Here's a look at what Mexico has done so far:
The problem
In the first three months of 2019, as many as 300,000 migrants — mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — crossed through Mexico to reach the United States. Many were families with children, who cannot be detained for long in the United States.
FILE – President Donald Trump participates in a round-table on immigration and border security at the U.S. Border Patrol..

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What’s an Immigration ‘Czar’?

Posted: May 31, 2019, 5:23 pm

What's an Immigration 'Czar'? FILE – Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 20, 2016, before a Senate subcommittee hearing on gun control proposals. The Trump administration is creating a new position aimed at overhauling America's immigration system amid an accelerating surge of Central American migrants and asylum-seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The person most likely to hold the job: former Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli, a conservative lawmaker known for hawkish immigration views.
Why a 'czar'?
“Usually, when the president creates a czar, it's because he feels that there's not enough interagency coordination going on. And it is true that in the area of dealing with people at the southwest border, while the Department of Homeland Security has the lead, there are other important actors at the border,” said Elaine Kamarck, senior fellow at Washington-based think ..

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Mexican President: Coercive Measures from US Won’t Fix Migration Problems

Posted: May 31, 2019, 2:06 pm

Mexican President: Coercive Measures from US Won't Fix Migration Problems FILE – A Central American migrant is detained by Mexican immigration agents on the highway to Pijijiapan, Mexico, April 22, 2019. Mexico's president responded to U.S. tariff threats with caution again Friday, urging “dialogue” over “coercive measures” in the latest conflict over the two countries' migration policies.
“I want to reiterate that we are not going to fall into any provocation; but we are going to be prudent, and we are going to respect the authorities of the United States and President Donald Trump,” said Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“We think that any conflict and bilateral relations should be solved with dialogue, with communication. The use of coercive measures does not lead to anything good,” he added.
FILE – Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, May 31, 2019. His statement F..

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Court OKs Expedited Appeal in NY Trump Bank Records Case

Posted: May 31, 2019, 12:08 pm

Court OKs Expedited Appeal in NY Trump Bank Records Case FILE – The headquarters of Deutsche Bank is seen through green leaves in Frankfurt, Germany, April 30, 2019. NEW YORK — An appeals court says it will speedily consider President Donald Trump's challenge to congressional subpoenas seeking financial records from two banks he did business with.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued a brief order Friday setting a schedule for written arguments to be submitted by July 18, with oral arguments to soon follow.
Lawyers on both sides in the dispute had recommended the expedited schedule after U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos (RAY-mohs) ruled nine days ago that Trump, his family and his companies were unlikely to succeed in their lawsuit.
Trump sued to stop the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees from getting documents from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. The Lawsuit said the requests were unlawful and unconstitutional.

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US Secretary of State Discusses Iran with German Officials

Posted: May 31, 2019, 8:20 am

US Secretary of State Discusses Iran with German Officials U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, address the media during a joint statement prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 31, 2019. In his first visit to Germany as the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo is meeting Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Earlier, speaking to reporters at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas after their meeting, Pompeo said that Washington would not stand in the way of INSTEX, a system Europeans are developing to protect companies from American sanctions if they deal with Iran.
The system is intended to process payment regarding legal businesses, from medicines to aid services and other goods, which are permitted under sanctions regimen.
INSTEX is not yet up and running, but Europeans hope to have it functioning by this summer.
Maas said that even though the U.S. had withdrawn f..

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