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Reports: Confirmation of Trump’s Pick to Lead VA May Be in Jeopardy

Confirmation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs agency may be in jeopardy. 

The Washington Post reported late Monday that Senate lawmakers have postponed the confirmation hearing for Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson after top Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about his qualifications. 

Jackson was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs on Wednesday. 

Two sources told CNN that committee members have been informed of allegations of improper conduct at more than one stage in Jackson’s career. 

Jackson, who currently serves as Trump’s physician, is already facing scrutiny over his lack of experience managing an agency as large as the VA — the U.S. government’s second-largest agency.

Jackson gained a degree of fame unusual for White House physicians in 2017 when he took questions from the White House press corps on national television, discussing at length the president’s physical exam.

Trump, the oldest first-term president in American history, was plagued at the time by questions about his physical health, weight and mental stability. But Jackson gave the president top rating. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” Jackson declared at the time. 

Trump picked Jackson to replace David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama era.

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Reports: Confirmation of Trump’s Pick to Lead VA May Be in Jeopardy

Confirmation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs agency may be in jeopardy. 

The Washington Post reported late Monday that Senate lawmakers have postponed the confirmation hearing for Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson after top Republicans and Democrats raised concerns about his qualifications. 

Jackson was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs on Wednesday. 

Two sources told CNN that committee members have been informed of allegations of improper conduct at more than one stage in Jackson’s career. 

Jackson, who currently serves as Trump’s physician, is already facing scrutiny over his lack of experience managing an agency as large as the VA — the U.S. government’s second-largest agency.

Jackson gained a degree of fame unusual for White House physicians in 2017 when he took questions from the White House press corps on national television, discussing at length the president’s physical exam.

Trump, the oldest first-term president in American history, was plagued at the time by questions about his physical health, weight and mental stability. But Jackson gave the president top rating. “The president’s overall health is excellent,” Jackson declared at the time. 

Trump picked Jackson to replace David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama era.

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China Tech Firms Pledge to End Sexist Job Ads

Chinese tech firms pledged on Monday to tackle gender bias in recruitment after a rights group said they routinely favored male candidates, luring applicants with the promise of working with “beautiful girls” in job advertisements.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report found that major technology companies including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent had widely used “gender discriminatory job advertisements,” which said men were preferred or specifically barred women applicants.

Some ads promised candidates they would work with “beautiful girls” and “goddesses,” HRW said in a report based on an analysis of 36,000 job posts between 2013 and 2018.

Tencent, which runs China’s most popular messenger app WeChat, apologized for the ads after the HRW report was published on Monday.

“We are sorry they occurred and we will take swift action to ensure they do not happen again,” a Tencent spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

E-commerce giant Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, vowed to conduct stricter reviews to ensure its job ads followed workplace equality principles, but refused to say whether the ads singled out in the report were still being used.

“Our track record of not just hiring but promoting women in leadership positions speaks for itself,” said a spokeswoman.

Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of search engine Google, meanwhile said the postings were “isolated instances.”

HRW urged Chinese authorities to take action to end discriminatory hiring practices.

Its report also found nearly one in five ads for Chinese government jobs this year were “men only” or “men preferred.”

“Sexist job ads pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies,” HRW China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement.

“These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China,” she added.

China was ranked 100 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report, after it said the country’s progress towards gender parity has slowed.

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China Tech Firms Pledge to End Sexist Job Ads

Chinese tech firms pledged on Monday to tackle gender bias in recruitment after a rights group said they routinely favored male candidates, luring applicants with the promise of working with “beautiful girls” in job advertisements.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report found that major technology companies including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent had widely used “gender discriminatory job advertisements,” which said men were preferred or specifically barred women applicants.

Some ads promised candidates they would work with “beautiful girls” and “goddesses,” HRW said in a report based on an analysis of 36,000 job posts between 2013 and 2018.

Tencent, which runs China’s most popular messenger app WeChat, apologized for the ads after the HRW report was published on Monday.

“We are sorry they occurred and we will take swift action to ensure they do not happen again,” a Tencent spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

E-commerce giant Alibaba, founded by billionaire Jack Ma, vowed to conduct stricter reviews to ensure its job ads followed workplace equality principles, but refused to say whether the ads singled out in the report were still being used.

“Our track record of not just hiring but promoting women in leadership positions speaks for itself,” said a spokeswoman.

Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of search engine Google, meanwhile said the postings were “isolated instances.”

HRW urged Chinese authorities to take action to end discriminatory hiring practices.

Its report also found nearly one in five ads for Chinese government jobs this year were “men only” or “men preferred.”

“Sexist job ads pander to the antiquated stereotypes that persist within Chinese companies,” HRW China director Sophie Richardson said in a statement.

“These companies pride themselves on being forces of modernity and progress, yet they fall back on such recruitment strategies, which shows how deeply entrenched discrimination against women remains in China,” she added.

China was ranked 100 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Report, after it said the country’s progress towards gender parity has slowed.

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New NASA Boss Gets ‘Hearty Congratulations’ From Space

NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space.

 

Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the International Space Station who offered “hearty congratulations.” The Oklahoma congressman became the 13th administrator of NASA, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year.

 

“America loves what you guys are doing,” Bridenstine, a former naval aviator, told the astronauts. He promised to do his best “as we reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”

 

This is the 60th anniversary year for NASA .

 

Bridenstine is the first elected official to lead NASA, something that had bogged down his nomination last year by President Donald Trump. The Senate approved his nomination last week by a narrow vote of 50-49. Monday’s swearing-in ceremony took place at NASA headquarters in Washington.

 

Pence noted that the space agency, under Bridenstine’s direction, will work to get astronauts back to the moon and then, with help from commercial space and international partners, on to Mars.

 

“NASA will lead the way,” said Pence, who heads the newly resurrected National Space Council.

 

Charles Bolden Jr., a former space shuttle commander and major general in the Marines, was NASA’s last official administrator. The space agency was led by Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot in the interim. Lightfoot retires from NASA at the end of this month.

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New NASA Boss Gets ‘Hearty Congratulations’ From Space

NASA’s new boss is already getting cheers from space.

 

Immediately after being sworn into office Monday by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took a call from the three U.S. astronauts at the International Space Station who offered “hearty congratulations.” The Oklahoma congressman became the 13th administrator of NASA, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year.

 

“America loves what you guys are doing,” Bridenstine, a former naval aviator, told the astronauts. He promised to do his best “as we reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”

 

This is the 60th anniversary year for NASA .

 

Bridenstine is the first elected official to lead NASA, something that had bogged down his nomination last year by President Donald Trump. The Senate approved his nomination last week by a narrow vote of 50-49. Monday’s swearing-in ceremony took place at NASA headquarters in Washington.

 

Pence noted that the space agency, under Bridenstine’s direction, will work to get astronauts back to the moon and then, with help from commercial space and international partners, on to Mars.

 

“NASA will lead the way,” said Pence, who heads the newly resurrected National Space Council.

 

Charles Bolden Jr., a former space shuttle commander and major general in the Marines, was NASA’s last official administrator. The space agency was led by Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot in the interim. Lightfoot retires from NASA at the end of this month.

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Pence Picks Kellogg to Serve as National Security Adviser

Vice President Mike Pence has chosen retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, a top official with the National Security Council, to serve as his national security adviser.

 

Pence selected Kellogg, a national security aide to President Donald Trump, to fill the role after his top choice, Jon Lerner, withdrew his name from consideration.

 

Lerner, an adviser to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, pulled out of a proposed dual role after Trump learned of his planned hiring. Lerner is a longtime Republican strategist and pollster who previously worked with the Club for Growth, which aired ads critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

Pence said in a statement that Kellogg “brings a wealth of experience in national security and foreign policy matters to this role and has already been an integral part of the President’s national security team.”

 

Kellogg has served as chief of staff at the National Security Council and is the latest NSC official to depart after the arrival of Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Also gone are spokesman Michael Anton, homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, and deputy national security advisers Ricky Waddell and Nadia Schadlow.

 

Kellogg served as acting national security adviser after Michael Flynn resigned in February 2017 as Trump’s first national security adviser. Flynn’s successor, H.R. McMaster, was recently replaced by Bolton.

 

Kellogg, who served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades, previously served as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and as a top aide to Paul Bremer, who led the Coalition Provisional Authority during the reconstruction of Iraq.

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Pence Picks Kellogg to Serve as National Security Adviser

Vice President Mike Pence has chosen retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, a top official with the National Security Council, to serve as his national security adviser.

 

Pence selected Kellogg, a national security aide to President Donald Trump, to fill the role after his top choice, Jon Lerner, withdrew his name from consideration.

 

Lerner, an adviser to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, pulled out of a proposed dual role after Trump learned of his planned hiring. Lerner is a longtime Republican strategist and pollster who previously worked with the Club for Growth, which aired ads critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

Pence said in a statement that Kellogg “brings a wealth of experience in national security and foreign policy matters to this role and has already been an integral part of the President’s national security team.”

 

Kellogg has served as chief of staff at the National Security Council and is the latest NSC official to depart after the arrival of Trump national security adviser John Bolton. Also gone are spokesman Michael Anton, homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, and deputy national security advisers Ricky Waddell and Nadia Schadlow.

 

Kellogg served as acting national security adviser after Michael Flynn resigned in February 2017 as Trump’s first national security adviser. Flynn’s successor, H.R. McMaster, was recently replaced by Bolton.

 

Kellogg, who served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades, previously served as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and as a top aide to Paul Bremer, who led the Coalition Provisional Authority during the reconstruction of Iraq.

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Facebook Says It is Taking Down More Material About ISIS, al-Qaida

Facebook said on Monday that it removed or put a warning label on 1.9 million pieces of extremist content related to ISIS or al-Qaida in the first three months of the year, or about double the amount from the previous quarter.

Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, also published its internal definition of “terrorism” for the first time, as part of an effort to be more open about internal company operations.

The European Union has been putting pressure on Facebook and its tech industry competitors to remove extremist content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so, and the sector has increased efforts to demonstrate progress.

Of the 1.9 million pieces of extremist content, the “vast majority” was removed and a small portion received a warning label because it was shared for informational or counter-extremist purposes, Facebook said in a post on a

corporate blog.

Facebook uses automated software such as image matching to detect some extremist material. The median time required for takedowns was less than one minute in the first quarter of the year, the company said.

Facebook, which bans terrorists from its network, has not previously said what its definition encompasses.

The company said it defines terrorism as: “Any non-governmental organization that engages in premeditated acts of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government, or international organization in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.”

The definition is “agnostic to ideology,” the company said, including such varied groups as religious extremists, white supremacists and militant environmentalists.

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Facebook Says It is Taking Down More Material About ISIS, al-Qaida

Facebook said on Monday that it removed or put a warning label on 1.9 million pieces of extremist content related to ISIS or al-Qaida in the first three months of the year, or about double the amount from the previous quarter.

Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, also published its internal definition of “terrorism” for the first time, as part of an effort to be more open about internal company operations.

The European Union has been putting pressure on Facebook and its tech industry competitors to remove extremist content more rapidly or face legislation forcing them to do so, and the sector has increased efforts to demonstrate progress.

Of the 1.9 million pieces of extremist content, the “vast majority” was removed and a small portion received a warning label because it was shared for informational or counter-extremist purposes, Facebook said in a post on a

corporate blog.

Facebook uses automated software such as image matching to detect some extremist material. The median time required for takedowns was less than one minute in the first quarter of the year, the company said.

Facebook, which bans terrorists from its network, has not previously said what its definition encompasses.

The company said it defines terrorism as: “Any non-governmental organization that engages in premeditated acts of violence against persons or property to intimidate a civilian population, government, or international organization in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aim.”

The definition is “agnostic to ideology,” the company said, including such varied groups as religious extremists, white supremacists and militant environmentalists.

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