Duckworth Has Baby; 1st US Senator to Give Birth in Office

Senator Tammy Duckworth has given birth to a baby girl, making her the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office.

The Illinois Democrat announced she delivered her second daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, on Monday. Her office says Duckworth is recovering well and asked for privacy.

Duckworth, a 50-year-old veteran who lost her legs in the Iraq War, is one of only 10 lawmakers who have given birth while in Congress. Her first daughter, Abigail, was born in 2014.

Duckworth says Maile’s middle name is in honor of Duckworth’s husband’s great aunt, Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson, who was an Army officer and nurse in World War II.

She says she’s grateful to friends and family and “our wonderful medical teams for everything they’ve done to help us in our decades-long journey to complete our family.”

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Duckworth Has Baby; 1st US Senator to Give Birth in Office

Senator Tammy Duckworth has given birth to a baby girl, making her the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office.

The Illinois Democrat announced she delivered her second daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, on Monday. Her office says Duckworth is recovering well and asked for privacy.

Duckworth, a 50-year-old veteran who lost her legs in the Iraq War, is one of only 10 lawmakers who have given birth while in Congress. Her first daughter, Abigail, was born in 2014.

Duckworth says Maile’s middle name is in honor of Duckworth’s husband’s great aunt, Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson, who was an Army officer and nurse in World War II.

She says she’s grateful to friends and family and “our wonderful medical teams for everything they’ve done to help us in our decades-long journey to complete our family.”

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Trump’s Tendency to Go Off Script Carries Risks

President Donald Trump seems to be relying more on his gut political instincts in recent weeks.  Whether it is sending U.S. troops to the border with Mexico or imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump seems to be harkening back to his roots as a presidential candidate in 2016, eager to wear the badge of a political disrupter, much as he promised on the campaign trail.

Emblematic of this shift in style, Trump literally tossed away his prepared script during a recent discussion on tax reform in West Virginia, where he continues to enjoy high approval ratings.

“You know, this was going to be my remarks. It would have taken about two minutes. But the hell with it! That would have been a little boring, a little boring,” Trump told the crowd.

Cheered by his base

The audience seemed to delight in Trump’s decision to go off script, and it stands out as a symbolic moment that seems to frame the Trump presidency. After sifting through a long list of advisers, Trump seems more eager to return to his roots as a freewheeling candidate eager to please his hardcore base of supporters.

Trump’s decision to go after China on trade is a classic example of his desire to follow through on a campaign promise popular with much of his base.

“For many years, no president wanted to go against China economically, and we are going to do it,” Trump told the crowd in West Virginia.

Trump kept up his barrage Monday on Twitter, referring to “stupid trade” with China.

​Worried about retaliation

But as China responds with trade actions of its own, some American farmers are getting nervous about where all of this might lead.

“We are looking forward to more profits this year than last year because of the tax cut. Hopefully, we don’t have to give it all away due to the tariffs,” said Iowa hog farmer Jeff Rehder.

Whether it is expressing a desire for U.S. troops to be pulled out of Syria or using them to beef up the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration, Trump appears to be listening more to his gut political instincts.

“It signifies to me that Donald Trump believes that he can run the whole shebang [administration] and that he can do it from Twitter,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato via Skype. “And that includes whether it is declaring new policy or arranging for the firing of a secretary of state or any number of other things.”

Echoes of the campaign

Others see the latest shift as a natural evolution of the man who made bold promises on the campaign trail, especially his vow to be a political disrupter.

“He was a strong outsider, so I think you could argue he had to find his way. Look, I think the president is always going to be this way to some extent,” said John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

Trump prefers to visit friendly states with lots of supporters, such as West Virginia, where his disruptive nature continues to play well. “He doesn’t seem tremendously interested in broadening his base for the most part,” said Michael Barone of the American Enterprise Institute. “He seems interested in pursuing policies, in rough form at least, that he advocated.”

Democrats plan a reckoning

But opposition Democrats have a different take on Trump’s reliance on his gut political instincts.

Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress said the president’s actions are helping to motivate Democrats, and that could lead to a political reckoning for Trump and his fellow Republicans in the congressional midterm elections in November.

“It seems as if Donald Trump is energizing Democrats like we haven’t seen in a very long time. And as a result of that, they are turning out in much, much higher numbers up and down the federal, state and local level.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan insists Republicans can limit the damage in November by emphasizing the Trump tax cuts. “We need to execute, we need to get our message and we need to make sure that our candidates are not massively outraised and outspent on TV,” Ryan said.

Like many Republicans, Ryan will be keeping a close eye on Trump’s public approval rating as the months tick down to the midterms. Trump’s approval has increased slightly in recent days in several polls, but his average approval is still around 41 percent, and that usually is a precursor to significant congressional losses for the party holding the White House during a midterm election.

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Trump’s Tendency to Go Off Script Carries Risks

President Donald Trump seems to be relying more on his gut political instincts in recent weeks.  Whether it is sending U.S. troops to the border with Mexico or imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump seems to be harkening back to his roots as a presidential candidate in 2016, eager to wear the badge of a political disrupter, much as he promised on the campaign trail.

Emblematic of this shift in style, Trump literally tossed away his prepared script during a recent discussion on tax reform in West Virginia, where he continues to enjoy high approval ratings.

“You know, this was going to be my remarks. It would have taken about two minutes. But the hell with it! That would have been a little boring, a little boring,” Trump told the crowd.

Cheered by his base

The audience seemed to delight in Trump’s decision to go off script, and it stands out as a symbolic moment that seems to frame the Trump presidency. After sifting through a long list of advisers, Trump seems more eager to return to his roots as a freewheeling candidate eager to please his hardcore base of supporters.

Trump’s decision to go after China on trade is a classic example of his desire to follow through on a campaign promise popular with much of his base.

“For many years, no president wanted to go against China economically, and we are going to do it,” Trump told the crowd in West Virginia.

Trump kept up his barrage Monday on Twitter, referring to “stupid trade” with China.

​Worried about retaliation

But as China responds with trade actions of its own, some American farmers are getting nervous about where all of this might lead.

“We are looking forward to more profits this year than last year because of the tax cut. Hopefully, we don’t have to give it all away due to the tariffs,” said Iowa hog farmer Jeff Rehder.

Whether it is expressing a desire for U.S. troops to be pulled out of Syria or using them to beef up the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration, Trump appears to be listening more to his gut political instincts.

“It signifies to me that Donald Trump believes that he can run the whole shebang [administration] and that he can do it from Twitter,” said University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato via Skype. “And that includes whether it is declaring new policy or arranging for the firing of a secretary of state or any number of other things.”

Echoes of the campaign

Others see the latest shift as a natural evolution of the man who made bold promises on the campaign trail, especially his vow to be a political disrupter.

“He was a strong outsider, so I think you could argue he had to find his way. Look, I think the president is always going to be this way to some extent,” said John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

Trump prefers to visit friendly states with lots of supporters, such as West Virginia, where his disruptive nature continues to play well. “He doesn’t seem tremendously interested in broadening his base for the most part,” said Michael Barone of the American Enterprise Institute. “He seems interested in pursuing policies, in rough form at least, that he advocated.”

Democrats plan a reckoning

But opposition Democrats have a different take on Trump’s reliance on his gut political instincts.

Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress said the president’s actions are helping to motivate Democrats, and that could lead to a political reckoning for Trump and his fellow Republicans in the congressional midterm elections in November.

“It seems as if Donald Trump is energizing Democrats like we haven’t seen in a very long time. And as a result of that, they are turning out in much, much higher numbers up and down the federal, state and local level.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan insists Republicans can limit the damage in November by emphasizing the Trump tax cuts. “We need to execute, we need to get our message and we need to make sure that our candidates are not massively outraised and outspent on TV,” Ryan said.

Like many Republicans, Ryan will be keeping a close eye on Trump’s public approval rating as the months tick down to the midterms. Trump’s approval has increased slightly in recent days in several polls, but his average approval is still around 41 percent, and that usually is a precursor to significant congressional losses for the party holding the White House during a midterm election.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg Faces Grilling on Capitol Hill

On the eve of an expected grilling by U.S. lawmakers, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg once again apologized for inadequately protecting the data of millions of social media platform users and highlighted steps the firm is taking to prevent a repeat.

In multiple interviews with news media outlets and in prepared remarks to be delivered on Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg on Monday acknowledged that the tools Facebook provides to promote human interconnectedness were exploited for ill or nefarious purposes.

 

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said in testimony released ahead of Tuesday’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees and Wednesday’s appearance before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 

“I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” Zuckerberg added.

 

Zuckerberg was called to testify after news broke last month that personal data of millions of Facebook users had been harvested without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, a British voter profiling company that U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign hired to target likely supporters in 2016.

 

Prior to 2016, Facebook allowed a British researcher to create an app on Facebook on which about 200,000 users divulged personal information that was subsequently shared with Cambridge Analytica. The number of affected Facebook users multiplied exponentially because the app also collected data about friends, relatives and acquaintances of everyone who installed it.

 

Cambridge Analytica said it had data for 30 million of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

 

On Capitol Hill, U.S. lawmakers signaled they want action, not just contrition, from social media executives.

 

“If we don’t rein in the misuse of social media, none of us are going to have any privacy anymore,” the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, Bill Nelson of Florida, told reporters after meeting privately with Zuckerberg Monday.

 

Meanwhile, Facebook announced it is starting to notify tens of millions of users, most of them in the United States, whose personal data may have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

The social media giant is also empowering all its users to shut off third-party access to their apps and is setting up cyber “firewalls” to ensure that users’ data is not unwittingly transmitted by others in their social network.

 

For years, Congress took a largely “hands-off” approach to regulating the internet. Some analysts believe that is about to change after the Facebook data breach, as well as a cascade of revelations about Russian cyber-meddling.

 

“At this point in time, it’s really up to Congress and the federal agencies to step up and take some responsibility for protecting privacy, for regulating Facebook as a commercial service which it clearly is,” Marc Rotenberg, president of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, told VOA. “We’ve gone for many years in the United States believing that self-regulation could work — that Facebook and the other tech giants could police themselves, but I think very few people still believe that.”

This story was written by Michael Bowman, Ken Bredemeier contributed.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg Faces Grilling on Capitol Hill

On the eve of an expected grilling by U.S. lawmakers, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg once again apologized for inadequately protecting the data of millions of social media platform users and highlighted steps the firm is taking to prevent a repeat.

In multiple interviews with news media outlets and in prepared remarks to be delivered on Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg on Monday acknowledged that the tools Facebook provides to promote human interconnectedness were exploited for ill or nefarious purposes.

 

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said in testimony released ahead of Tuesday’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees and Wednesday’s appearance before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

 

“I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” Zuckerberg added.

 

Zuckerberg was called to testify after news broke last month that personal data of millions of Facebook users had been harvested without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, a British voter profiling company that U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign hired to target likely supporters in 2016.

 

Prior to 2016, Facebook allowed a British researcher to create an app on Facebook on which about 200,000 users divulged personal information that was subsequently shared with Cambridge Analytica. The number of affected Facebook users multiplied exponentially because the app also collected data about friends, relatives and acquaintances of everyone who installed it.

 

Cambridge Analytica said it had data for 30 million of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users.

 

On Capitol Hill, U.S. lawmakers signaled they want action, not just contrition, from social media executives.

 

“If we don’t rein in the misuse of social media, none of us are going to have any privacy anymore,” the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, Bill Nelson of Florida, told reporters after meeting privately with Zuckerberg Monday.

 

Meanwhile, Facebook announced it is starting to notify tens of millions of users, most of them in the United States, whose personal data may have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

The social media giant is also empowering all its users to shut off third-party access to their apps and is setting up cyber “firewalls” to ensure that users’ data is not unwittingly transmitted by others in their social network.

 

For years, Congress took a largely “hands-off” approach to regulating the internet. Some analysts believe that is about to change after the Facebook data breach, as well as a cascade of revelations about Russian cyber-meddling.

 

“At this point in time, it’s really up to Congress and the federal agencies to step up and take some responsibility for protecting privacy, for regulating Facebook as a commercial service which it clearly is,” Marc Rotenberg, president of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, told VOA. “We’ve gone for many years in the United States believing that self-regulation could work — that Facebook and the other tech giants could police themselves, but I think very few people still believe that.”

This story was written by Michael Bowman, Ken Bredemeier contributed.

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87M Facebook Users Will Find Out Whether Their Data Was Compromised

Social media giant Facebook is starting to notify 87 million of its users whether their personal data was harvested without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, the Britain-based voter profiling company U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign hired to target likely supporters in 2016.

Facebook believes most of the affected users, more than 70 million, are in the United States, but there are also more than a million each in the Philippines, Indonesia and Britain.

The company has apologized for the security breach, with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging the company made a “huge mistake” by not more closely monitoring use of the data and not taking a broad enough view of the company’s responsibilities.

Facebook allowed a British researcher to create an app on Facebook on which about 200,000 users divulged personal information that academic Alexsandr Kogan subsequently shared with Cambridge Analytica.  The number of affected Facebook users multiplied exponentially, however, because of the data collected from all the friends, relatives and acquaintances the 200,000 had online Facebook contact with.

Cambridge Analytica says it only had data for 30 million Facebook users.

Zuckerberg is meeting privately with lawmakers in Washington about the controversy and then testifying publicly Tuesday and Wednesday before two congressional committees.

Facebook is sending a notice to all of its 2.2 billion users with a link to see what apps they use and instructions on how they can, if they wish, shut off third-party access to their apps.

 

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87M Facebook Users Will Find Out Whether Their Data Was Compromised

Social media giant Facebook is starting to notify 87 million of its users whether their personal data was harvested without their knowledge by Cambridge Analytica, the Britain-based voter profiling company U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign hired to target likely supporters in 2016.

Facebook believes most of the affected users, more than 70 million, are in the United States, but there are also more than a million each in the Philippines, Indonesia and Britain.

The company has apologized for the security breach, with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledging the company made a “huge mistake” by not more closely monitoring use of the data and not taking a broad enough view of the company’s responsibilities.

Facebook allowed a British researcher to create an app on Facebook on which about 200,000 users divulged personal information that academic Alexsandr Kogan subsequently shared with Cambridge Analytica.  The number of affected Facebook users multiplied exponentially, however, because of the data collected from all the friends, relatives and acquaintances the 200,000 had online Facebook contact with.

Cambridge Analytica says it only had data for 30 million Facebook users.

Zuckerberg is meeting privately with lawmakers in Washington about the controversy and then testifying publicly Tuesday and Wednesday before two congressional committees.

Facebook is sending a notice to all of its 2.2 billion users with a link to see what apps they use and instructions on how they can, if they wish, shut off third-party access to their apps.

 

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Afghanistan Expands Perfume Market with Orange Blossom Scent

Afghanistan is set to exploit its unique agricultural climate by refining and exporting another kind of flower, orange blossoms! An Afghan investor found a way to extract the citrusy, floral bouquet from the delicate flowers to create perfumes. As VOA’s Zabihullah Ghazi reports in Jalalabad, not only is the perfume diversifying the country’s agricultural output, it’s also providing employment opportunities. Shaista Sadat Lami narrates.

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Afghanistan Expands Perfume Market with Orange Blossom Scent

Afghanistan is set to exploit its unique agricultural climate by refining and exporting another kind of flower, orange blossoms! An Afghan investor found a way to extract the citrusy, floral bouquet from the delicate flowers to create perfumes. As VOA’s Zabihullah Ghazi reports in Jalalabad, not only is the perfume diversifying the country’s agricultural output, it’s also providing employment opportunities. Shaista Sadat Lami narrates.

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