LBN – Special Report – Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump Ultimatum to GOP: Pass Health Care or Else:

President Trump has urged a vote on the American Health Care Act on Friday after the vote was postponed Thursday due to a lack of sufficient support to pass it. According to The Washington Post, Trump delivered an ultimatum: Pass the bill or he will move on from the repeal-and-replace cause. House Speaker Paul Ryan will call the vote Friday after a series of negotiations took place with Trump and his aides on Thursday. At this stage, there are still not enough committed votes for the bill to pass and there are attempts to negotiate with conservatives to back the bill. Republicans came up with a proposed change to the measure Thursday evening that would eliminate the law’s “essential benefits” that insurers must offer under the Affordable Care Act. Those include mental-health treatment, wellness visits, and maternity and newborn care.

Trump Administration Orders Tougher Screening of Visa Applicants: 

The Trump administration is making it tougher for millions ofvisitors to enter the United States by demanding new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travelers and relatives of American residents. Diplomatic cables sent last week from Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to all American embassies instructed consular officials to broadly increase scrutiny. It was the first evidence of the “extreme vetting” Mr.Trump promised during the presidential campaign. The new rules generally do not apply to citizens of 38 countries — including most of Europe and longstanding allies like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea — who can be speedily admitted into the United States under the visa waiver program. That program does not cover citizens from any country in the Middle East or Africa.

Trump Issues Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline:

The Trump administration on Friday issued a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to be built, effectively reversing the previous White House’s decision to reject the plans two years ago. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. State Department, in reviewing the project plans, decided the pipeline would be in “the national interest,” despite numerous environmental and legal concerns surrounding the project. The White House said that President Trump will address the Keystone approval in a Friday announcement. “We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative,” said the CEO of TransCanada, the company that received the permit. “We look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure.” Even with an approved permit, the 1,700-mile pipeline still faces significant hurdles as portions of its planned route are being litigated at the state level.

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CONVERT – Cops: London Terrorist Was Born Adrian Russell Ajao:

Scotland Yard announced Friday that the terrorist they identified as Khalid Masood was born Adrian Russell Ajao. His mother was a white British Christian living in southeast England. Officials said Ajao changed his name and moved to the Birmingham area after becoming involved in crime in his teens. The death toll of his murderous rampage in Westminster rose to four overnight when a man named as Leslie Rhodes, 75, from South London succumbed to his injuries. Counter-terror raids continued early Friday with two more arrests—bringing the total to nine—in association with Wednesday’s attack.

Hosni Mubarak Freed From Detention in Egypt:

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was freed from a Cairo military hospital Friday, six years after he was ousted and detained on charges of human-rights abuses during his 30-year rule. The now-88-year-old was transferred to his mansion in a Cairo suburb. “He went home at 8:30 this morning,” said his lawyer. “I don’t have further details, but he is home and all is well now.” Mubarak was ousted in 2011 after an 18-day demonstration during the Arab Spring, and his release, for many, meant the final blow in the hope for his prosecution. For others, the time may have helped heal those dashed wishes. “At this point, I really don’t care,” said Ahmed Harara, an activist who lost his sight after he was shot during the demonstrations in 2011. “I realized years ago that this is not just about Mubarak and his regime—it’s an entire system that has now resurrected itself.”

Twitter Mulls Subscription-Based Version:

Twitter Inc. on Thursday announced it is considering a premium version of its Tweetdeck interface, a move that could see the company charge subscription fees for the first time. Amid dwindling ad revenue in 2016, a company spokeswoman said Thursday that the social-media site had started a survey to assess “the interest in a new, more enhanced version of Tweetdeck.” “We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals,” spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca said. Twitter users began posting what they described as screenshots of the survey, as well as a mock-up of the new interface. According to the images, a premium version of Tweetdeck would include breaking news alerts, new analytics, and information about the tweeting activity of an account’s followers. No mention was made of subscription fees for regular users, but a premium version of Tweetdeck would mark the first time the company collects subscription fees in its 11-year existence.

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WINDY CITY FLIGHT – Census: Chicago Tops in Losing Residents:

According to new Census data released Thursday, Chicago is losing more residents than any other metropolitan area in America. The South and Southwest regions  saw gains in the data, which tracked changes from July 2015 to July 2016. Dallas and Houston reported the biggest increases in metropolitan areas, adding more than 100,000 residents each. The Chicago area lost more than 19,500 residents in a year’s time. Families leaving the city cited the crime rate and city schools as motivations for leaving.

 

Randy Thomas, America’s Premiere Female Live Voice Announcer, is the Voice of This Year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:

Acclaimed voice-over artist, Randy Thomas will return for her third performance as the voice of this year’s Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Randy Thomas, http://www.randythomasvo.com/, will be the voice of this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame which takes place on Friday April 7, 2017 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. Along with a radio broadcast on Sirius XM, an edited broadcast will be available on HBO at a later date. With more than 20 years of experience as a voice over artist, Thomas has made history, returning for her eighth time to announce the Academy Awards©, the Emmy Awards© five times, the SAG Awards© five times, the Tony Awards eighteen times and Entertainment Tonight for fourteen years and counting. Earlier this year she was also the voice of the Super Bowl for the third time. As the voice of so many award shows, the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame is another great stride for Randy Thomas, who is leading the way for women in this industry. This year the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame will induct Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra and Joan Baez into the Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:  ***Amy Schumer has parted ways with Sony’s live-action “Barbie” over a scheduling conflict. “Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” the actress said in a statement to Variety. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***Katy PerryMaroon 5 and One Direction’s Niall Horan are set to perform at the annual Wango Tango concert near Los Angeles in May. Ryan Seacrest and iHeartMedia’s KIIS FM announced Friday that rapper Machine Gun Kelly, former Fifth Harmony singerCamilla Cabello and Academy Award nominee and singer Hailee Steinfeld will also hit the stage at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on May 13.

LBN-MEDIA INSIDER:   ***American Media Inc. is closing Us Weekly’s West Coast bureau, Page Six has learned. Sources say 10 of the 11 staffers based in the celebrity weekly’s LA office have been laid off. But veteran Us editor Rebecca Bienstock — who currently serves as the West Coast bureau chief — has been offered the chance to move to the company’s New York offices.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Skip Williamson, a rambunctious creator of underground comics that merged his radical politics with his love of scatological humor, died on March 16 in a hospital in Albany, near his home in Wilmington, Vt. He was 72. The cause was renal failure, his daughter Molly Hiland Parmer said.

LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: Legislation can be crafted bottom up or top down. In bottom up you ask, What problems do voters have and how can they be addressed. In top down, you ask, What problems do elite politicians have and how can they be addressed? The House Republican health care bill is a pure top-down document. It was not molded to the actual health care needs of regular voters. It does not have support from actual American voters or much interest in those voters. It was written by elites to serve the needs of elites. Donald Trump vowed to drain the swamp, but this bill is pure swamp. First, the new Republican establishment leaders needed something they could call Obamacare repeal — anything that they could call Obamacare repeal. It became clear as the legislative process rushed forward that there was no overarching vision in this legislation on how to reform health care or even an organizing thought about how to improve the lives of voters. There was no core health care priority that Republicans identified and were trying to solve.

LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Bob Dylan opened up about his music and songwriting and discussed his relationships with Frank SinatraElvis Presley and others in a rare and lengthy interview posted exclusively to his website Wednesday.In the Q&A with author Bill Flanagan, Dylan recalled Sinatra telling him, “‘You and me, pal, we got blue eyes, we’re from up there … These other bums are from down here.’” “I remember thinking that he might be right,” added Dylan, who last year was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, but did not show up to accept the award.

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