Kremlin says Putin, Trump to speak by phone on Tuesday: RIA

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will speak by phone on Tuesday, RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Trump will speak with Putin on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EDT, the White House said on Monday night.

A senior Trump administration official said the two leaders would likely discuss the civil war in Syria, where Moscow backs the government of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports rebels trying to overthrow him.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Jack Stubbs)

New York girds itself for Trump's first visit as president

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By Laila Kearney| NEW YORK

New York is bracing for President Donald Trump’s first trip back to his hometown since taking office in January in a Thursday visit that is expected to draw protests and snarl traffic in the United States’ most populous city.

The trip could mark a repeat of the chaotic 2-1/2 months between the real estate developer’s Nov. 8 election and Jan. 20 swearing-in, when crowds of protesters and admirers flocked outside his home in the gold-metal-clad Fifth Avenue Trump Tower.

The early days of the Trump administration have brought aggressive rhetoric and moves to crack down on immigration as well as roll back environmental regulations, much of which has ruffled feathers in the liberal northeast city.

Anti-Trump activists, some of whom have organized marches across the country since Trump’s stunning election victory, are planning loud protests to mark the native son’s return.

“A very hot welcome is being planned for Mr. Trump,” said Alexis Danzig, a member of Rise and Resist, an informal group of activists which formed as Trump came to power. “We’ll be out in full force to voice our grievances.”

Trump’s business dealings and romantic fallouts were constant city tabloid fodder in the 1980s and 1990s. His television show, “The Apprentice,” broadcast Trump to the world as the ultimate Big Apple dealmaker during the 2000s.

While the Trump brand is internationally associated with New York, fewer than one in five city residents voted for him.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, have said his stance on immigrants has put him at odds with a city where nearly a third of residents are foreign-born.

Protesters plan to gather Thursday near the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, a decommissioned aircraft carrier where Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are to have their first in-person meeting. One of the pair’s last exchanges was an acrimonious phone call in January.

New York police declined to provide details of their preparations for Trump’s tour and the protests planned around it.

One lingering issue from the transition period, that of the costs of protecting the president-elect’s building was resolved earlier this week in a proposed federal budget including $61 million to reimburse New York and other local governments for providing Trump-related security.

“That’s good news for our city and the hardworking police officers faced with this unprecedented security challenge,” de Blasio said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay)

Trump: Republican-led Senate should ease rules to pass bills

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Republicans should make it easier for the Senate to pass legislation, either by allowing bills to be approved by a simple majority vote or by winning a wider majority in the 2018 congressional election.

“The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” he wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

U.S. issues travel alert for Europe, citing threat of terrorist attacks

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The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent.

In the alert, the State Department cited recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom and said Islamic State and al Qaeda “have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe.”

The State Department’s previous travel alert for Europe, issued ahead of the winter holiday season, expired in February. A State Department official said Monday’s alert was not prompted by a specific threat, but rather recognition of the continuing risk of attacks especially ahead of the summer holidays. The alert expires on Sept. 1.

Malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, airports and other locations are all possible targets for attacks, the State Department’s alert said.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; editing by Diane Craft)

One student killed, three wounded in University of Texas stabbings

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A man enrolled at the University of Texas went on a stabbing spree with a large hunting knife at the school’s Austin campus on Monday, killing one student and wounding three others also believed to be students, police said.

The suspect, identified as Kendrex White, was apprehended about two minutes after campus police received reports of the attack on the school’s main grounds. White was being questioned by police and formal charges related to the attack were likely to come later.

“I don’t know what his motivation is,” University of Texas at Austin Police Chief David Carter told a news conference.

White has been booked by Austin police on a single charge that was not listed in online jail records.

All the victims were found in about a one-block area and were men aged 20 or 21, police said. Their names have not been released.

“There are no words to describe my sense of loss,” University President Greg Fenves told the news conference.

The person killed was found dead at the scene, Austin-Travis County EMS Captain Rick Rutledge said in a telephone interview.

The university canceled classes for the day.

“Our prayers go out to all those affected by today’s tragic events,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)

Trump questions why U.S. Civil War had to happen

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Donald Trump has shown a fascination with populist 19th-century U.S. president Andrew Jackson since he has occupied the Oval Office, hanging “Old Hickory’s” portrait in the Oval Office, visiting his plantation in Tennessee and placing a wreath at his tomb.

In an interview that aired on Sirius XM satellite radio on Monday, Trump suggested that if Jackson had governed a little later than his 1829-1837 presidency, the American Civil War might have been averted. Trump also questioned why the bloody conflict had to happen.

“Had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,” Trump told Sirius XM. He said that although Jackson was a “swashbuckler,” after his wife died, Jackson visited her grave every day.

Jackson, a slave owner who was instrumental in the forced removal of Native American tribes from the U.S. Southeast in the so-called Trail of Tears, died nearly 16 years before the start of the Civil War.

But Trump told Sirius XM that Jackson “was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War.””He said, ‘There’s no reason for this,'” Trump said. “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War — if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

It was not clear what Trump believed Jackson would have done to avert the 1861-65 conflict, which cost 620,000 lives.

In a tweet later on Monday, Trump acknowledged that Jackson had died 16 years before the start of the war but said he “saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!”

The events leading to the Civil War have been extensively researched, with slavery being one of the root causes. Slavery and its legacy have been a source of division in the United States since.

By the time of his death, Jackson owned about 150 slaves who lived and worked at his plantation, the Hermitage. During his time in office, Jackson denounced the growing activity of abolitionists seeking an end to slavery.

Trump and his supporters have likened his election victory to Jackson’s triumph in 1828, when Jackson became the first U.S. president from what was then the western frontier of Tennessee.

The populist Democrat famously opened the White House to all comers after his inauguration, turning the normally dignified executive mansion into a mob scene.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Peter Cooney)

New York girds itself for Trump's first visit as president

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By Laila Kearney| NEW YORK

New York is bracing for President Donald Trump’s first trip back to his hometown since taking office in January in a Thursday visit that is expected to draw protests and snarl traffic in the United States’ most populous city.

The trip could mark a repeat of the chaotic 2-1/2 months between the real estate developer’s Nov. 8 election and Jan. 20 swearing-in, when crowds of protesters and admirers flocked outside his home in the gold-metal-clad Fifth Avenue Trump Tower.

The early days of the Trump administration have brought aggressive rhetoric and moves to crack down on immigration as well as roll back environmental regulations, much of which has ruffled feathers in the liberal northeast city.

Anti-Trump activists, some of whom have organized marches across the country since Trump’s stunning election victory, are planning loud protests to mark the native son’s return.

“A very hot welcome is being planned for Mr. Trump,” said Alexis Danzig, a member of Rise and Resist, an informal group of activists which formed as Trump came to power. “We’ll be out in full force to voice our grievances.”

Trump’s business dealings and romantic fallouts were constant city tabloid fodder in the 1980s and 1990s. His television show, “The Apprentice,” broadcast Trump to the world as the ultimate Big Apple dealmaker during the 2000s.

While the Trump brand is internationally associated with New York, fewer than one in five city residents voted for him.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, have said his stance on immigrants has put him at odds with a city where nearly a third of residents are foreign-born.

Protesters plan to gather Thursday near the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, a decommissioned aircraft carrier where Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are to have their first in-person meeting. One of the pair’s last exchanges was an acrimonious phone call in January.

New York police declined to provide details of their preparations for Trump’s tour and the protests planned around it.

One lingering issue from the transition period, that of the costs of protecting the president-elect’s building was resolved earlier this week in a proposed federal budget including $61 million to reimburse New York and other local governments for providing Trump-related security.

“That’s good news for our city and the hardworking police officers faced with this unprecedented security challenge,” de Blasio said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay)

United CEO takes responsibility for passenger incident

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United Airlines (UAL.N) Chief Executive Oscar Munoz will tell the U.S. Congress on Tuesday he is taking responsibility for a series of failures that led to the April 9 forced removal of a passenger from a Chicago airplane that prompted worldwide condemnation.

Munoz apologized for the incident in written testimony. He cited four areas in which United should have acted differently. “Most importantly our employees did not have the authority to do what was right for our customers and for our company,” he said in the testimony. “As CEO that is my responsibility.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Many U.S. babies and toddlers still don’t have a balanced diet

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By Lisa Rapaport

<span class="articleLocation”>(Reuters Health) – Despite some recent improvements in how U.S. parents feed young children, more than half of babies aren’t getting any breast milk and many toddlers don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, a new study suggests.

About two in five infants consume breast milk, which doctors recommend for the health of mothers and babies alike. That statistic didn’t change much over the study period from 2005 to 2012. But more parents stopped giving infants solid foods before six months of age, a practice doctors discourage because solids are harder to swallow and can be less nutritious and higher in calories than breast milk or infant formula.

At least nine in 10 toddlers consume at least a little bit of either fruit or veggies on a typical day, and this didn’t change much during the study period, researchers report in Pediatrics. But the most common veggie was potatoes, and the least popular option was dark green vegetables.

“We knew from previous studies that more work was needed to improve feeding habits in this age group, and we observed many of the same trends in our study: a substantial proportion of American infants are not breastfed, vegetable consumption is lower than desired, and consumption of sweetened beverages and sugary snacks is prevalent,” said study co-author Gandarvaka Miles, a public health researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“However, we did observe some trends in the right direction,” Miles added by email.

Pediatricians recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed infants until at least six months of age because it can reduce babies’ risk of ear and respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, allergies, childhood obesity and diabetes.

Mothers can benefit too, with longer periods of breastfeeding linked to lower risks of depression, bone deterioration and certain cancers.

From 2005 to 2008 and again from 2009 to 2012, researchers surveyed parents about infant and toddler eating habits. For the new study, they compared data collected from a total of 2,359 participants.

The proportion of babies under six months of age who were breastfed, exclusively or not, was little changed during this time and was about 36 percent by the end of the study period.

In this age group, however, there was a meaningful reduction in use of infant cereals and fruit juices for babies, which were being fed to 26 percent and 7 percent, respectively, by the end of the study. Pediatricians recommend delaying fruit juice until after age one.

With the older children in the study, researchers found toddlers were more likely to consume fried white potatoes than green vegetables. Consumption of green veggies fell by half during the study to only about 8 percent of toddlers by the end.

“The rates for vegetable consumption are disappointing, as most parents will know that vegetables are healthy but this isn’t translating into consumption rates in their children,” Dr. Helen Coulthard of De Montfort University in the UK, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

One limitation of the study is that parents’ ability to accurately recall and report on how they fed their children during infancy and early childhood isn’t always reliable, the authors note. Researchers also didn’t account for portion sizes.

Still, the findings suggest that parents who struggle to feed their kids the way doctors recommend may be in good company, said Dr. Myles Faith, a researcher at the University at Buffalo who wasn’t involved in the study.

One of the best ways to get kids to try more foods is to stick with it, and keep putting different things in front of them to taste, Faith said by email.

“Repeated exposure to foods increases children’s preferences and intake,” Faith added. “So, the more opportunities infants and children have to see, taste, and experience fruits and vegetables, the more receptive they should become over time.”

These efforts matter because they can influence children’s eating habits and health later in life, said Dr. Elise Mok of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Canada.

“Early diet has been associated with weight status during childhood and cardiometabolic health in adulthood,” Mok, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2qlUnlb Pediatrics, online May 1, 2017.

Bullying may be decreasing in U.S. schools

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By Andrew M. Seaman

<span class="articleLocation”>(Reuters Health) – The various efforts used to curb bullying in U.S. schools may be working, a new study suggests.

The study was confined to one large school district in the state of Maryland. But among the students there, bullying in person or online decreased between 2005 and 2014, researchers found.

“It gives us some idea that what we’re doing continues to work,” said senior author Catherine Bradshaw, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

People should not take the results to mean bullying is no longer a significant concern, she told Reuters Health.

“It continues to be a concern for students who continue to be a part of it,” she said.

Writing May 1st in the journal Pediatrics, she and her colleagues note that bullying has received a lot of media attention over the past decade – and as a result, many people may believe it’s on the rise.

Past research suggests bullying among school-age children is decreasing, they add, but that research was often flawed. For example, some studies did not use a standardized definition of bullying; other studies only analyzed people who were victimized or only elementary, middle or high school students.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed survey responses collected between 2005 and 2014 from 246,306 fourth- through 12th-graders at 109 schools in Maryland.

The survey defined bullying the same way the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta does. The definition includes “actions like threatening, teasing, name-calling, ignoring, rumor-spreading, sending hurtful emails and text messages, and leaving someone out on purpose.”

Among other questions, the survey asked students if they’d been bullied or if they had bullied someone else at least twice in the last month.

Rates of bullying ranged from about 13 percent to about 29 percent. Rates of being a bully ranged from 7 percent to about 21 percent.

Over the 10-year study period, being bullied, being a bully and witnessing bullying became less common. There were also decreases in the rates of student reports of being pushed, threatened, cyberbullied and having rumors spread about them.

Rates of students reporting feeling safe at school increased over the 10 years, too.

“In the more recent years, that’s where we’ve seen a steeper decline in the data,” said Bradshaw.

While the study can’t say why bullying rates decreased over the decade or why the decrease was steeper in recent years, the researchers suggest it may be due to increasing number of anti-bullying policies and an increase in evidence-based anti-bullying policies.

All states now have laws that address bullying, the researchers write.

The most successful anti-bullying programs are typically science based, intensive, involve the whole school and engage students, teachers and parents, according to Stephen Leff and Dr. Chris Feudtner, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

“These programs often try to build skills in youth problem-solving abilities, empathy, perspective-taking, and how to be a positive bystander,” Leff and Feudtner write in an editorial accompanying the new study.

They add that the new data is encouraging, but “we need to sustain our focus to continue the decrease of bullying and victimization in schools across the nation.”

Bradshaw said the nation’s foot must be kept on the gas in order to make progress on decreasing rates of bullying.

“We wan to build momentum and not lose any traction,” she said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/2pyVXgy and bit.ly/2pyS6Qr

Pediatrics 2017.