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2. NC considers legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana

Sen. Paul Lowe, the bill's main sponsor in the upper chamber, told the Winston-Salem Journal that he introduced the legislation with the intent "To decriminalize small amounts of marijuana." Senate Bill 791 and House Bill 994, as they are currently written, would legalize the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana for personal use, according to the Journal. The bills would raise the threshold for Class 1 felony possession charges from 1.5 ounces of marijuana to one pound.


3. South Africa’s economy contracts at sharpest rate in 9 years

South Africa's economy contracted at the sharpest rate in almost a decade in the first three months of the year, according to official statistics, underlining the challenge confronting President Cyril Ramaphosa's bid to revive growth. Overall last year the economy expanded by 1.3 per cent versus 0.6 per cent in 2016, the first time growth accelerated in four years. The contraction at the start of 2018, the sharpest slowdown in nine years, underscores the fragility of the economy after years of stagnation during the corruption-plagued presidency of Jacob Zuma, who stepped down earlier this year.


4. ‘Liberia can achieve Universal Health Coverage’ – Health Minister

Monrovia - Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has reaffirmed Liberia's capacity to achieve Universal Health Coverage, where all communities will have access to quality health services. Despite the progress registered, Liberia is yet to achieve national, regional or global health targets according to him. He continued, "Under this project, WHO is responsible for supporting the Ministry of Health to provide essential logistical support to three beneficiary health clinics-Koon Town Clinic, Nyenhn Health Center and the Bensonville Hospital.


5. Mueller says Manafort tried to tamper with a potential witness

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing on Monday that President Trump 's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release. FBI agent Brock Domin said in the filing that Manafort attempted to contact witnesses via phone call, text and encrypted messages to two people from "The Hapsburg Group," which Manafort had worked with to lobby for Ukrainian interests. Trump has spoken out about Manafort in recent days, slamming the FBI and Department of Justice for not telling him that agents were "Secretly investigating" Manafort during the 2016 presidential campaign.


6. Supreme Court rules in favor of baker who would not make wedding cake for gay couple

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. In an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that leaves many questions unanswered, the court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not adequately taken into account the religious beliefs of baker Jack Phillips. The couple arrived with Craig's mother and a book of ideas, but Phillips cut short the meeting as soon as he learned the cake was to celebrate the couple's marriage.


7. Howard Schultz says he may consider run for president

Read Howard Schultz's email to Starbucks employees. Schultz has spoken frequently about race, and Starbucks has taken progressive stances on social issues - including gay marriage, immigration and Trump's travel ban. In an email to Starbucks employees, Schultz did not address a future in politics.


8. China warns US trade deals are off if tariffs go ahead

"Despite the potential negative repercussions for both economies, the risk of a full-blown China-U.S. trade war, with tariffs and other trade sanctions being imposed by both sides, has risen significantly." Asked specifically on Fox's "Sunday Morning Futures" if the U.S. is willing to throw away its relationship with China by proceeding with threatened tariff hikes, Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, pointed in part to an unfair relationship involving a multi-billion dollar trade deficit, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' warning of China's activities in the South China Sea and the threat of China stealing U.S. intellectual property. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said then that the U.S. tariffs were suspended and the trade war "On hold." The purchases are meant to reduce America's massive trade deficit in goods and services with China, which last year came to $337 billion, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.


9. Austrian far-right leader wants EU's Russian sanctions ended

ZURICH - Austria's vice chancellor and leader of the country's far-right Freedom Party called for ending the European Union's sanctions against Russia, days before he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during a trip to Vienna. Heinz-Christian Strache, whose pro-Moscow party is junior partner to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives, has said in the past he did not favor EU sanctions against Moscow over its backing of rebels in Ukraine. The United States, the EU and other countries imposed sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.



11. New South Africa Minimum Wage The Beginning Of A Long Difficult Process: Finance Minister

According to the World Bank, the poorest 20 percent of South Africans consume less than 3 percent of the country's total expenditure. The wealthiest 20 percent account for 65 percent. South Africa's consumer price inflation has been on a largely downwards trajectory since early 2016, hitting a seven-year low of 3.8 percent in March.


12. Feds pay $670 a day for unaccompanied illegal immigrant children

The image of two illegal immigrant children sleeping on the floor in a chain-link fence "Cage" swept the internet last weekend, sparking misdirected anger from activists who blamed President Trump for the conditions - which were actually from 2014, when the photo was taken, under President Obama. Here is another image: illegal immigrant children set up in comfy dormitories, coloring with "Multicultural crayons," watching their favorite soccer teams from back home on the extensive cable system, even kicking the ball around themselves on a beautiful new soccer field - all paid for by taxpayers. BCFS was effusive in describing the steps it takes to help the illegal immigrant children be prepared for permanent life in the U.S. while making sure they also remain connected to their homes through special foods, celebration of their cultural holidays and that robust cable television package to make sure they don't miss out on their shows.


13. Japan: charges dropped in cronyism scandal threatening to bring down Shinzo Abe

Dozens of Japanese officials have escaped charges over a cronyism scandal that threatened prime minister Shinzo Abe's grip on power. Prosecutors said on Thursday they would not indict the officials, including former tax agency chief Nobuhisa Sagawa, who testified to parliament that Abe did not order the document changes. Akie Abe was set to serve as honorary principal for the proposed new primary school, but stepped down in February last year when questions were raised about the land deal.


14. Bill Clinton: The "Political Press" gave Obama better coverage in part because of his race

Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday he believed that President Barack Obama received friendlier media coverage than did other chief executives in part because of his race. Asked about the stark contrast in press coverage between Mr. Obama and President Trump, Mr. Clinton agreed that there was a different standard. The former president made his appearance as part of a book tour for his newly released political thriller written with bestselling author James Patterson, "The President is Missing."


15. NATO chief says alliance won't aid Israel if Iran attacks

NATO's secretary-general says the alliance wouldn't come to Israel's defense in case of attack by arch enemy Iran. Jens Stoltenberg told the magazine Der Spiegel in comments published Saturday that Israel is a partner, but not a member and that NATO's "Security guarantee" doesn't apply to Israel. Israel and Iran have also clashed militarily over Iran's military presence in Syria.


16. Cuba set to launch constitutional rewrite to reflect reforms

HAVANA - Cuba's national assembly named former President Raul Castro on Saturday to head the commission charged with carrying out changes to the constitution that would provide legal backing to the island's economic and social opening. Castro is slated to remain head of the Cuban Communist Party until 2021. Castro, the brother of former leader Fidel Castro, first announced the need for a new constitution in 2011 after embarking on a series of reforms cautiously opening up the economy to foreign investment and the private sector in order to make Cuban socialism sustainable.


17. US Commerce Secretary in Beijing for Talks on Trade Surplus

U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross is in Beijing for talks on China's promise to buy more American goods after Washington ratcheted up tensions with a new threat of tariff hikes on Chinese high-tech exports. BEIJING - U.S. and Chinese officials have discussed specific American export items Beijing might buy as part of its pledge to narrow its trade surplus with the United States, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Sunday as the two sides began a new round of talks in Beijing aimed at settling a simmering trade dispute. Private sector analysts say that while Beijing is willing to compromise on its trade surplus, it will resist changes that might threaten plans to transform China into a global technology competitor.


18. Trump and Kim Increasingly Popular in South Korea

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have received their highest approval ratings ever in South Korea-even though they went back and forth this week on whether a historic summit to discuss denuclearization would go ahead. Trump has gained eight percentage points in the past two months to achieve a 32 percent approval rating from South Koreans, according to a Gallup Korea poll released Friday. Only 9 percent of South Koreans approved of Trump a year ago. While both Trump and Kim's disapproval ratings dropped by double digits since March, they remain far less popular than South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who, a little over a year since taking office, received an approval rating in the high 70s. Seoul National University political science professor and polling expert Kang Won-taek told The Washington Post that it is "Very rare in South Korea" for Trump to become more popular among liberals and conservatives.


19. Trump says summit with Kim is back on

Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June is back on, the US president says, a week after it was scrapped. The envoy, Gen Kim Yong-chol, hand-delivered a letter from the North Korean leader to President Trump. Scheduled to happen in Singapore, the historic meeting between Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un would be the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders.


20. MSNBC host Joy Reid says homophobic blog posts were not hers

In a statement Wednesday evening, John H. Reichman, Reid's attorney, said, "We have received confirmation the FBI has opened an investigation into potential criminal activities surrounding several online accounts, including personal email and blog accounts, belonging to Joy-Ann Reid. Our own investigation and monitoring of the situation will continue in parallel, and we are cooperating with law enforcement as their investigation proceeds." Two posts, given as examples, "Best Love Life Ever: Celebrity Wife-Swap Edition," and "Brokeback Committee Room," were not posted or written by Reid, according to the letter. Jonathan Nichols, an independent cybersecurity expert hired by Reid, said in a statement: "We have significant evidence indicating that not only was Ms. Reid's old blog compromised, some of the recently circulated posts were not even on the site at any time, suggesting that these instances may be the result of screenshot manipulation with intent to tarnish Ms. Reid's character."


21. Starbucks Anti-Bias Training “Missed the Mark Completely,” Say Two Philly Baristas

All eyes were on Starbucks again on Tuesday as the corporation shut down 8,000 stores to conduct anti-bias training following the public uproar over a white Starbucks manager calling the police on two black men who were waiting in a store in Philadelphia in April. Starbucks billed Tuesday's training as "One step" in addressing racial bias, and national reports have called the company's move an "Important start." But for two Philadelphia Starbucks employees I talked to, the training merely "Targeted" people of color and exacerbated racial tensions. Both baristas told me that the training had missed the mark completely.


22. Chelsea Manning Loses Wikileaks First Amendment Appeal

Appellant [also] asserts her actions in disclosing classified information related to national security are protected by the First Amendment and that she did not have reason to know the records she disclosed could be used "To the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." We disagree. United States courts have repeatedly held that the First Amendment does not protect unauthorized disclosures of classified information.... In the face of a similar First Amendment challenge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in U.S. v. Morison, upheld the Espionage Act convictions of an employee of the Naval Intelligence Support Center who had a Top Secret security clearance and had also signed a non-disclosure agreement. Actually we do not perceive any First Amendment rights to be implicated here .... It is a prosecution under a statute, of which the defendant, who, as an employee in the intelligence service of the military establishment, had been expressly noticed of his obligations ... is being prosecuted for purloining from the intelligence files of the Navy national defense materials clearly marked as 'Intelligence Information' and 'Secret' and for transmitting that material to 'one not entitled to receive it' .... We do not think that the First Amendment offers asylum under those circumstances ... merely because the transmittal was to a representative of the press.


23. US vetoes UN resolution on protecting Palestinians

The United States vetoed Friday an Arab-backed UN draft resolution calling for measures to protect the Palestinians after more than 100 were killed by Israeli fire during protests at the border with Gaza. US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council the measure was "Wildly inaccurate in its characterization of recent events in Gaza" by condemning Israel for the violence. The Kuwait-drafted text had called for "Measures to guarantee the safety and protection" of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, and requested a UN report to propose an "International protection mechanism."


24. Spanish PM Rajoy forced out of office by no-confidence vote

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been forced out of office by a no-confidence vote in parliament. Many Spanish voters, exasperated by corruption scandals involving the traditional centre-right PP and centre-left Socialist parties, have abandoned them for newcomers like the left-wing Podemos and pro-market Ciudadanos, as well as regional parties. He was eventually forced to resign after his refusal to back Mariano Rajoy in an investiture vote plunged the country into a prolonged political stalemate and his party into bitter infighting.


25. US warns of ability to take down Chinese artificial islands

"Why does the US choose to sail every now and then close to Chinese South China Sea islands and reefs? What is the US trying to do?" she said. McKenzie said the United States had a lot of experience "Taking down small islands that are isolated," referencing US military operations during World War II where thousands of US troops died as they fought their way across several islands in the Pacific. US surveillance has shown the movement of Chinese anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles onto their artificial islands during recent drills.