LBN – Special Report – Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

*Trump Expected to Pull U.S. From Paris Climate Accord
President Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, three officials with knowledge of the decision said, making good on a campaign pledge but severely weakening the landmark 2015 climate change accord that committed nearly every nation to take action to curb the warming of the planet. A senior White House official cautioned that the specific language of the president’s expected announcement was still in flux Wednesday morning. The official said the withdrawal might be accompanied by legal caveats that will shape the impact of Mr. Trump’s decision. And Mr. Trump has proved himself willing to shift direction up until the moment of a public announcement. He is set to meet Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has advocated that the United States remain a part of the Paris accords and could continue to lobby the president to change his mind. Even as reports surfaced about his decision, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter that he would make his intentions known soon.
*ON & ON & ON & ON….80+ Killed, 350 Injured as Explosion Rocks Kabul’s Diplomatic Zone:

As many as 80 people were killed and hundreds more wounded Wednesday when a massive car bomb went off in the diplomatic zone of Kabul during rush hour, shattering windows in houses hundreds of meters away. It was not immediately clear what the target of the suicide car bombing was, but the area is full of foreign embassies, and the presidential palace is not far away. Early reports indicate a tanker truck loaded with explosives entered the heavily guarded area. The blast was believed to be the most powerful in years, reportedly tearing doors off hinges in buildings half a mile away. Emergency officials on the ground put the number of people injured at more than 350; Interior Ministry Najib Danish said authorities were still trying to determine the exact number of casualties. “We don’t know at this moment what was the target of the attack, but most of the casualties are civilians,” Danish was cited as saying by the Associated Press. The Afghan Taliban have denied responsibly for the attack. The BBC reported one of its drivers was killed, and four journalists wounded in the attack.

*Russia Probe Distracts, Scares Off Potential Appointees
President Trump, who still needs to fill hundreds of vacancies in the federal government, is having trouble getting appointees to commit over the growing Russia scandal, Politico reports. “It’s an additional factor that makes what was an already complicated process of staffing the government even harder,” said Max Stier, who advised the Trump transition team on hiring. The White House has announced nominees for only 117 out of 559 Senate-confirmed posts. George W. Bush andBarack Obama had both nominated about twice as many people by the same period in their first terms. “There’s no doubt in my mind that people are being very cautious, to put it mildly,” said one lawyer, who represents prospective political appointees. “You’re going to have a situation where they’re going to have trouble getting A-list or even B-list people to sign up,” the lawyer added.
*Manchester Attacker Bought Most Bomb Parts ‘Himself’

Salman Abedi, who detonated a suicide bomb in Manchester at an Ariana Grande concert last Monday, bought most of the component bomb parts himself, according to police. BBC reports that most of the planning was “carried out alone” in fewer than four days leading up to the attack, according to the head of the North West counter terrorism unit, Russ Jackson. Police have not ruled out the theory that Abedi was part of a wider network of terrorists when he planned the attack, which killed 22 people and injured dozens of others. So far, 16 people have been arrested in connection with the attack. Five have been released without charge.

*Trump: Kathy Griffin Should Be ‘Ashamed’

President Trump on Wednesday morning responded to an image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a severed and bloody head that resembles Trump. “Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself,” he tweeted. “My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!” Griffin apologized late Tuesday for the image. “I sincerely apologize,” Griffin said, in a video. “I’m a comic. I cross the line. I move the line and then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny, I get it.”
*Scott Pelley Out at ‘CBS Evening News’
Scott Pelley is being pushed out as anchor of CBS Evening News. Pelley, who is currently on assignment, will assume a permanent position with the network’s flagship news program, 60 Minutes. Pelley’s office was reportedly being cleared Tuesday. The network has not yet officially commented.


*LBN-INVESTIGATES: The Chicago Police Department has recorded suicide rates 60 percent higher than the national average.
*MS-13 Vixen Gets 40 Years for Luring Victim into Fatal Ambush

A woman who promised sex with a man to lure him to a park in Maryland where he was fatally stabbed 153 times by MS-13 gang members has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.Vanesa Alvarado, 20, received the maximum sentence based on an earlier plea agreement in the brutal June 2016 murder ofCristian Antonio Villagran-Morales in Malcolm King Park in Gaithersburg. “This was a terrible, terrible case,” Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Anne Albright said, according to the Washington Post. Alvarado — who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder — told the 18-year-old victim she wanted to have sex, but prosecutors said she instead led him to waiting MS-13 gang members who thought Villagran-Morales was part of a rival gang. After setting up the ambush, according to court records and prosecutors, Alvarado began laughing and encouraging the attack. “Even after the murder, Ms. Alvarado showed so little regard for the life of her victim that she came back to the crime scene to show her friends the gang’s handiwork,” Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Hill wrote in court records. It’s unclear how Alvarado got involved with the MS-13 gang, which is known for recruiting members from immigrants who cross the border illegally
*LBN-HEALTH WATCH: Caffeine improves athletic performance. This is a truth almost universally acknowledged in exercise science. But scientists, coaches and athletes also have thought that to gain any performance boost from taking caffeine before an event, an athlete had to abstain from the stuff for days or weeks before a big event. A new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology intimates, however, that these ideas about caffeine and performance are out of date and that someone can swill coffee every day and still get a caffeine performance buzz when needed. Caffeine is, of course, one of the world’s most popular mind-altering substances, used by millions of us to jump-start our sluggish morning brain function and goose alertness throughout the day.

*LBN-SPORT INSIDER:   ***The trickling-out of layoffs at ESPN is not over, and it claimed another fan favorite. NFL reporter John Clayton — of the famed ponytail debate — was let go by the network as part of their recent layoffs, Sporting News reported on Wednesday.   ***Nike said it doesn’t plan on dumping Tiger Woods over his DUI arrest earlier this week, according to reports. “There is no change in our relationship with Tiger,” a spokesman for the athletic giant told CBS News Wednesday. Nike, which has sponsored Woods since 1996, also stood by the golf legend as his slew of sexploits came to light in 2009, while other sponsors including AT&T and Gatorade dropped him.

*LBN-SEE IT: “I Think the President could be better served than he’s been served,” Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, said, of the officials in Donald Trump’s Administration.

“Answer questions to find out which government benefits you may be eligible to receive.


*LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Raymond J. Pfeifer, who spent eight months digging through the toxic debris of the collapsed World Trade Center for the remains of fellow firefighters and other victims and years lobbying, successfully, for health benefits for those who survived, died on Sunday in a hospice in Port Washington, N.Y. He was 59. The cause was complications of cancers he contracted while searching the Lower Manhattan site after the 2001 terrorist attack, his wife, Caryn, said.

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. The perception of success of such interactions is dependent on employees “who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest”. Customer service concerns the priority an organization assigns to customer service relative to components such as product innovation and pricing. In this sense, an organization that values good customer service may spend more money in training employees than the average organization or may proactively interview customers for feedback. From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer service plays an important role in an organization’s ability to generate income and revenue. From that perspective, customer service should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement. One good customer service experience can change the entire perception a customer holds towards the organization. ——

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Lloyd Grove: Soon-to-be former CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, who’s being forced off the network’s signature newscast after six years at the helm, is said to be sorry that his acrimonious contract negotiations three years ago created bad blood with news division president David Rhodes. “Scott regrets it,” a Pelley confidant told The Daily Beast, referring to the anchor’s decision to hire Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel in 2014 to obtain a more opulent deal than the estimated $5 million a year he was getting at the time. Pelley was traveling in the Middle East and Europe for 60 Minutes—his once and future home when his anchor duties end—and unavailable; a CBS News spokesperson didn’t respond to messages requesting comment. Pelley is expected to resume his anchor duties next week until a temporary replacement is named. Emanuel, the co-CEO of the powerhouse talent agency William Morris Endeavor, is a famously aggressive negotiator and a thorn in the side of showbiz and media executives everywhere.

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: PresidentTrump’s trip to Europe was truly historic. He left our most important allies there so uncertain about America’s commitment to their security from Russia and to shared values on trade and climate change that German leader Angela Merkel was prompted to tell her countrymen that Europe’s days of relying on America are “over to a certain extent,” and therefore Germany and its European allies “really must take our fate into our own hands.” No U.S. president before had ever put a crack in the Atlantic alliance on his inaugural tour. Historic. Merkel is just the first major leader to say out loud what every American ally is now realizing: America is under new management. “Who is America today?” is the first question I’ve been asked on each stop through New Zealand, Australia and South Korea. My answer: We’re not the U.S.A. anymore. We’re the new U.A.E.: the United American Emirate.

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Frank Bruni: Over recent years, without much media fanfare, something fascinating occurred, a reminder that for all the ways in which we seem to be sliding backward, we’re lurching forward, too. The developing world turned a corner — thanks to medical advances, rising wealth and more — and communicable diseases like malaria and AIDS now kill fewer of its people than noncommunicable ones like heart disease, strokes, respiratory ailments and diabetes do. But awareness of this progress lags far behind it. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, noncommunicable diseases were responsible for 67 percent of deaths in low- and middle-income countries in 2015, but only about 1 percent of the foreign aid and donations dedicated to health care was aimed at preventing and treating them.

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Next on “Without Notes” – The riveting conclusion of Zuhdi Jasser’s interview. —-


LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord

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