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National Press Club

Investigative journalist, human rights lawyers detail forced organ harvesting in China

June 22, 2016 | By Jesse Rifkin | jesserifkin01@gmail.com

Forced organ harvesting in China from members of persecuted ethnic and religious groups is a much more horrific and widespread problem than was previously believed, three co-authors of a new investigative report said at a National Press Club event on June 22.

The stories being suppressed by the Chinese government could at times be stomach-churning.

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Democratic Convention officials emphasize First Amendment rights, safety

June 21, 2016 | By Lorna Aldrich | lorna2@verizon.net

Democratic National Convention officials on Tuesday expressed their support for potential protesters' First Amendment rights and promised to ensure their safety at next month's event.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney cited his city's record of handling large events, such as the Occupy protests and the papal visit, while protecting those taking part.

"This is a participatory democracy and the key is to participate," he said at a June 21 National Press Club Newsmakers news conference.

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University of Missouri president sees 'grim' fall but says progress made after black student protests

June 21, 2016 | By Lawrence Feinberg | lfeinber@gmail.com

University of Missouri President Michael Middleton said the school faces a “grim” situation this fall with declining enrollment and a projected $30 million revenue shortfall in the wake of tumultuous black student protests last year.

At a National Press Club breakfast June 21, Middleton said the perceptions of disorder and disarray causing the decline are inaccurate but he acknowledged that dealing with problems of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” are “major challenges.”

“We have made significant progress,” Middleton declared, “but there is much more work to be done.”

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FCC chairman says agency will open spectrum for fifth-generation wireless

June 20, 2016 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver | HeatherForsgrenWeaver@gmail.com

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to vote on a proposal next month that will open up a large swath of spectrum for fifth-generation wireless, or 5G, FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler told a National Press Club Luncheon June 20.

Wheeler plans to circulate his “Spectrum Frontiers” proposal to his fellow commissioners on June 23, he said. It is common for the FCC chairman to distribute items a few weeks before a meeting to allow the members of the commission to negotiate before the vote, which is scheduled for July 14.

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Girl Scouts plan to lobby for investment in girls

June 14, 2016 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver | HeatherForsgrenWeaver@gmail.com

Girl Scouts from around the country plan to go to Capitol Hill June 14 to advocate on behalf of investing in girls.

“People give more to animal causes today than to girl causes,” Anna Maria Chávez, chief executive of Girl Scouts of the USA, said at a June 13 National Press Club luncheon. “I have a brand new puppy …. He is a wonderful dog but he will not be the president of the United States one day, a Girl Scout will be.”

Only 7 cents of every dollar contributed to charity goes to those focusing on women and girls, Chávez said.

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CDC Director Tom Frieden: Zika crisis demands urgent action

May 26, 2016 | By Julia Haskins | juliaannehaskins@gmail.com

Halting the spread of the Zika virus worldwide requires urgent action by governments and public health officials, CDC Director Tom Frieden said at a National Press Club luncheon May 26.

Speaking at his fourth Press Club luncheon, Frieden admitted the lack of knowledge about the behavior of the Zika virus, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, makes an efficient response challenging.

“This is not only unexpected, it’s completely unprecedented,” Frieden said, explaining that never before has a mosquito bite been found to cause an infection resulting in birth defects.

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Congressmen urge Muslim community to build political influence, voting power

May 25, 2016 | By Yasmine El-Sabawi | yasmine.elsabawi@gmail.com

Muslim-Americans are not regarded as an influential voting bloc in the U.S., and the community must step up its engagement efforts to be better represented in the political process, two Muslim Congressmen told a National Press Club Newsmaker crowd on May 24.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said Muslims must be the ones to stand up to anti-Muslim legislation proposed in state legislatures and city councils, which requires Muslims to establish a political presence.

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W. Va. AG Patrick Morrisey: EPA oversteps on coal, clean energy

May 24, 2016 | By Noel St. John

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined energy industry representatives at a May 23 Newsmaker to rally against against what Morrisey characterized as EPA overreach on clean energy.

Morrisey charged the Environmental Protection Agency with acting as a central planning authority by overstepping it boundaries and attempting to regulate beyond its scope. Morrisey also said the EPA attempts to double regulate coal-fired power plants under separate sections of the Clean Power Plan. The plan itself, Morrisey said, is unlawful.

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Author researches first ladies’ importance to White House

May 16, 2016 | By Heather Forsgren Weaver | HeatherForsgrenWeaver@gmail.com

First ladies are an important asset to modern White House communications strategies, Lauren Wright told a National Press Club Book Rap May 12, as she promoted her new book, "Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today."

“There is no doubt that presidential spouses are media superstars,” Wright said, noting that Michelle Obama’s 2012 convention speech had more views than any of the speeches at the Republican National Convention.

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Rights advocates raise alarm at over voter suppression

May 16, 2016 | By Andrew Kreig | andrew.kreig@gmail.com

The nation faces an unprecedented threat to voter turnout in this fall’s elections, according to civil rights advocates speaking at a Newsmaker on Friday.

“This is the first presidential election cycle to be conducted without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The heart of it is pre-clearance for voting rights changes in states with a long history of voter suppression.”

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