In U.S. presidential first, Trump prays at Jerusalem's Western Wall

In U.S. presidential first, Trump prays at Jerusalem's Western WallPresident Donald Trump made a historic visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Monday, standing before the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray and saying a few words before inserting a note between the monumental stones. One of them, Psalm 122, speaks of Jerusalem as a “city that is united together”. The ancient stones are in a part of Jerusalem that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Texas House passes 'bathroom bill' targeting public schools

Texas House passes 'bathroom bill' targeting public schoolsThe Texas House of Representatives gave formal approval on Monday to a bill that would restrict bathroom access for transgender students in public schools, a measure that critics say promotes discrimination against such children. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature has been at the forefront in advancing measures seen by backers as protecting traditional values and religious liberty but criticized by civil rights groups as eroding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, people. The Texas House gave preliminary approval on Sunday night to the bill, which requires public school students to use bathrooms, changing facilities and locker rooms that match their biological sex, not the gender with which they identify.

Trump seeks to slash $3.6 trillion of spending in austere budget

Trump seeks to slash $3.6 trillion of spending in austere budgetBy Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump wants lawmakers to cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade, taking aim in an austere budget unveiled on Tuesday at healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor while boosting the military. Republicans who control the U.S. Congress – and the federal purse strings – will decide whether to make politically sensitive cuts, and the proposal is very unlikely to be approved in its current form. Although it is not expected to survive on Capitol Hill, the proposal puts numbers on Trump’s vision of the role of government: a budget with radical cuts to government assistance to lower-income Americans.

U.S. derivatives regulator splits with White House over budget

U.S. derivatives regulator splits with White House over budgetThe Republican-led U.S. derivatives regulator pushed back against White House efforts on Tuesday to rein in its fiscal 2018 budgets, saying it needs additional resources to carry out its mission to monitor the marketplace and analyze rules. In a somewhat unusual move, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Tuesday it is seeking a $31.5 million boost on its current $250 million budget. The White House, by contrast, proposed to keep the budgets of both the CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission flat.

Trump budget would sell entire U.S. Northeast gasoline reserve

Trump budget would sell entire U.S. Northeast gasoline reserveThe Trump administration is proposing to sell off in the coming fiscal year the entire gasoline reserve created in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, according to its budget proposal unveiled on Tuesday. The U.S. Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR) was established in 2014 to minimize the impact of sudden supply interruptions, such as occurred in 2012 during Sandy, the second-costliest hurricane in the country’s history. The gasoline reserve was established as part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

In Jordanian city hit by ISIS, old lessons on Christian-Muslim coexistence

In Jordanian city hit by ISIS, old lessons on Christian-Muslim coexistenceWhen Islamic State jihadists seized the Crusader castle in the heart of this southern Jordanian city in December, Maher Habashneh had just one thing in mind. Braving stray bullets from a firefight playing out in the city center between ISIS and an alliance of security forces and city residents, Mr. Habashneh rushed to the home of Waddah Amarien, where he stood guard until his childhood friend returned from Amman early the next morning. Habashneh, an unemployed university graduate, is Muslim, Mr. Amarien is Christian.

Trump budget proposal would dramatically cut foreign aid

Trump budget proposal would dramatically cut foreign aidBy Yeganeh Torbati WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would slash nearly a third in funding for diplomacy and foreign aid including global health and food aid, peacekeeping and other forms of non-military foreign involvement. If passed, the steep funding cuts in the plan released on Tuesday would mean much less non-military U.S. government engagement abroad as the administration implements Trump’s “America First” worldview. The budget plan may face rough sledding in Congress, where both Republicans and Democrats have said they do not support such drastic cuts to U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid.

Suspect named after youngsters killed in UK concert attack

Suspect named after youngsters killed in UK concert attackPolice on Tuesday named a young man — reportedly British-born of Libyan descent — as the suspect behind a suicide bombing that ripped into young fans at a concert in Manchester, killing 22 including an eight-year-old girl. Manchester police identified the suspect as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, but declined to give any further details. Prime Minister Theresa May vowed “terrorists will not prevail”, after the Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack at the conclusion of US pop star Ariana Grande’s concert late Monday at the Manchester Arena, one of Europe’s largest indoor venues.

Ex-Eaton Vance trader pleads guilty in U.S. to options fraud

Ex-Eaton Vance trader pleads guilty in U.S. to options fraudA former Eaton Vance Corp portfolio manager pleaded guilty on Tuesday to an illegal options trading scheme that defrauded the company and allowed him to make $1.9 million in profits. Kevin Amell, who had been a vice president at the asset management company, pleaded guilty in Boston federal court to one count of securities fraud as part of a plea agreement that prosecutors announced last month. Under the deal, prosecutors are recommending a prison sentence of no more than 27 months, and Amell, 45, will forfeit $1.95 million.