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Author: Mary Chastain

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Mary Chastain

Mary is the resident libertarian. She covers stories in every vertical, but her favorite thing to do is take on the media. She saw its bias against the right when she was a socialist.

Mary loves the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, tennis, cats, Oxford comma, Diet Coke, and needlework.

Europe and Russia spent the last few days celebrating the 71st Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) to mark the end of World war II. The German military surrendered on May 7, 1945, in Reims, France and then again on May 8 in Berlin, Germany, a week after the Red Army overtook the capital.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would leave his GOP convention chair if presumptive GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump asks him.
"He's the nominee. I'll do whatever he wants with respect to the convention," he said.
Speaker Ryan responded to Trump's interview on NBC's Meet the Press from Sunday. Trump told host Chuck Todd that Ryan's comments "blindsided" him.

Former Facebook employees have told Gizmodo that the company regularly told them to stamp out conservative news even if it trended on the website. From Gizmodo:
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module. In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”

The Zika virus has forced the Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to move the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins series from Puerto Rico to Miami. Several players voiced their concerns over the virus, which led the union to ask Commissioner Rob Manfred to move the series. MLB scheduled the games on May 30 and 31. "The Pirates are disappointed that we will not be playing in San Juan this season," stated the team. "We very much looked forward to this opportunity. However, the health and safety of our traveling party must be and is our first priority. As a result, the Pirates fully support the decision by the Commissioner and the Players Association to postpone the trip to San Juan."

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad confirmed he will sign a bill that will not allow public companies to do business with firms involved in Israel boycotts. Iowa's Senate passed House File 2331 last week in a 38-9 vote. The legislators hope the bill counters "efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement." Palestinian groups began the movement in 2005 as a way to money and goods from Israel. "I just think it is wrong to be boycotting our friend and ally, Israel," declared Gov. Branstad. "There is a lot of opportunity for us to do business with them, and I don’t believe we ought to be penalizing Israel, of all countries. They are one of our best friends and allies. This is something I strongly support."

NATO has accepted Israel's request to establish an office at the headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The decision went through because Turkey decided to stop opposing Israel's attempts at opening an office at NATO. A non-NATO country needs unanimous consent from all NATO members in order to collaborate with the organization.

Kuwait Airways has decided to stop all of their inter-European flights instead of accepting Israeli passengers. The Lawfare Project filed civil and criminal complaints against the airlines in Geneva, Switzerland, over their discrimination policies. They claimed the policy violated "the Swiss Penal Code as well as the Swiss constitution, which protects individuals from discrimination based on race, religion and ethnicity." "By cancelling these lucrative flight paths rather than admitting Israelis on KAC flights, the airline--a wholly owned instrumentality of the Kuwaiti government--is demonstrating its commitment to discrimination even while exposing itself to enormous pecuniary loss," wrote Lawfare Project in a statement.

A judge in Spain's National Court has sent out international arrest warrants for Russian citizens, including some close to President Vladimir Putin, allegedly linked to the mafia. Judge Jose de la Mata, who investigates organized crime, found "very serious facts" against each of the men stemming from the Troika operation. The court opened that investigation in in 2008 two mafias in Eastern Europe: Tambov and Malyshev. "(The Tambov group) maintains strong links with political, economic, legal and security powers in Russia and also with members of other international criminal organizations," he said in his report.

The Turkish parliament dived into another fistfight this week as the lawmakers debate changes to the country's constitution. The members fought again about stripping some members of parliament of their immunity if they face charges. The fight "left one person with a dislocated shoulder and a second with a bloodied nose."

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed the father of his rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) helped Lee Harvey Oswald kill President John F. Kennedy. "His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous," he told Fox News. "What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don't even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it."

Cuba has received their first U.S. cruise ship in the last 38 years as the two countries relax their tense relationship. Carnival's Adonia landed at Havana Bay with 700 passengers at 9:30AM Eastern time. It will also make stops at Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. The ship included Cuban passengers who escaped the Communist regime under Fidel Castro. "I'm just thinking of that day when we left (Cuba) and shaking like a leaf," said passenger Ana Garcia. She left the island 48 years ago. "I'm blessed to be here today and hoping for a better tomorrow for Cuba and my Cuban brothers and sisters," she continued.

Gen. Philip Breedlove, the top military commander of NATO, has warned the organization they need to focus on Russia before he leaves his position at the end of May. “We see that Russia has not accepted the hand of partnership but has chosen a path of belligerence,” he stated. “We need to readdress where we’re heading.” Breedlove leaves his position "this month after three years in the top military job at NATO." His statements come after NATO announced they will send 4,000 troops to the Baltic States - Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia - and Poland. “The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops,” Robert Work, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, told The Wall Street Journal. “From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior.”
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