WBEZ | Politics http://www.wbez.org/news/politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lawsuit Challenges Illinois Ban on Marijuana Campaign Money http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-illinois-ban-marijuana-campaign-money-113928 <p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; Two Libertarian political candidates have asked a federal court to declare unconstitutional an Illinois ban on political contributions from the state&#39;s new medical marijuana industry.</p><p>The candidates &mdash; Claire Ball of Addison and Scott Schluter of Marion &mdash; filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;last week in which they say they support marijuana legalization and want to solicit campaign donations from marijuana businesses. Illinois law bars such contributions.</p><p>Ball is running for state comptroller. Schluter is running for state representative in southern Illinois&#39; 117th District. They argue that banning campaign donations from marijuana businesses infringes on the First Amendment&#39;s guarantee of free speech, citing among other cases the U.S. Supreme Court&#39;s 2010 decision in the case known as Citizens United.</p><p>The lawsuit acknowledges that preventing corruption is a legitimate reason for governments to restrict campaign donations. However, it says &quot;medical cannabis cultivators and producers are not singularly more corrupting than similarly situated individuals.&quot;</p><p>The lawsuit names Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and members of the Illinois Board of Elections. The office has until Dec. 10 to respond to the lawsuit, Madigan spokeswoman Annie Thompson said Tuesday.</p><p>Ball and Schluter are represented by attorneys with the Liberty Justice Center inChicago&nbsp;and the Pillar of Law Institute in Washington.</p><p>Illinois now has 15 medical marijuana cultivation centers authorized to grow the plant for legal sales. Nearly a dozen marijuana dispensaries have active licenses and 3,300 patients have been approved for the program.</p><p>The Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, an industry group, hasn&#39;t had a chance to consider the lawsuit, said spokeswoman Kim Morreale McAuliffe.</p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/lawsuit-challenges-illinois-ban-marijuana-campaign-money-113928 The Obama Administration’s Strategy In The Fight Against ISIS http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-23/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-strategy-fight-against-isis-113892 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1120_mcgurk-624x404.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_96488"><hr /><img alt="US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on &quot;Terrorist March in Iraq: The U.S. Response.&quot; on July 23, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/11/1120_mcgurk-624x404.jpg" style="height: 401px; width: 620px;" title="US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “Terrorist March in Iraq: The U.S. Response.” on July 23, 2014. McGurk is also the Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)" /><p>In an interview before the Paris attacks, President Barack Obama&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/president-obama-vows-completely-decapitate-isis-operations/story?id=35173579" target="_blank">said</a>&nbsp;ISIS had been contained, that the militants were losing ground. In Turkey on Monday, he&nbsp;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/16/press-conference-president-obama-antalya-turkey" target="_blank">acknowledged</a>&nbsp;the terrorism ISIS claimed responsibility for, but continued to defend his strategy to combat the group.</p></div><p>&ldquo;As I outlined this fall at the United Nations,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;we have a comprehensive strategy using all elements of our power, military, intelligence, economic, development and the strength of our communities.&rdquo;</p><p>But critics are firing back. Republican Senator John McCain&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/17/456326738/sen-john-mccain-on-isis" target="_blank">told</a>&nbsp;NPR&rsquo;s&nbsp;<em>Morning Edition</em>&nbsp;this week that the White House really doesn&rsquo;t have a strategy to fight ISIS, and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.msnbc.com/andrea-mitchell-reports/watch/feinstein---i-ve-never-been-more-concerned--567674435736" target="_blank">on MSNBC</a>, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein disagreed with Obama&rsquo;s assertion that ISIS has been contained.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve never been more concerned,&rdquo; Feinstein said. &ldquo;I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained. ISIL is expanding. They just put out a video saying it is their intent to attack this country.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s </em>Indira Lakshmanan talks to&nbsp;Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy to the<a href="http://www.state.gov/s/seci/" target="_blank">Global Coalition to Counter ISIL</a>, about the challenges of fighting ISIS and how the attacks in Paris and Beirut and the downing of the Russian plane over Egypt are affecting the U.S. and coalition strategy.</p><hr /><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong>Explain what you&rsquo;ve noticed in your role as presidential envoy.</strong></p><p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s going on within this jihadist community is the competition for the mantle of global jihad. It&rsquo;s a competition between al-Qaida senior leadership in Pakistan and ISIL, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. It&rsquo;s a dangerous phenomenon and we&rsquo;re not focused on only one and not the other, but the difference is that ISIL is focused on actually establishing its phony self-declared caliphate and establishing a state. I&rsquo;ve traveled to almost 30 capitals all around the world from Europe to the gulf region to Asia, and what we&rsquo;re finding in this phenomenon of foreign fighters &ndash; and 30,000 from a hundred countries all around the world, it&rsquo;s almost twice as many of the jihadist fighters that went into Afghanistan in the &rsquo;80s and those only came from a handful of countries &ndash; is that the attraction to be part of this phony self-declared caliphate is something that is a magnet and a draw. That is why ISIL in particular has been drawing so many young men and women from around the world and it&rsquo;s one reason why we are so focused on Iraq and Syria on retaking territory from ISIL and we&rsquo;ve had some real success in that regard. In Iraq we&rsquo;ve now retaken about 40 percent of territory that ISIL controlled, but that figure isn&rsquo;t as important as the actual strategic ground that we&rsquo;re taking back.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Have you been asking other countries to do more on military side in the coalition?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;We are. I think if you look at the airstrikes statistics, we have a very broad air coalition both in Iraq and Syria. The French were one of the first countries to strike with us back in September in Iraq, they also were one of the earliest Western partners to join the air campaign in Syria. The Australians are also doing airstrikes with us in Syria. But we&rsquo;re obviously always asking about a little bit more in the air, a little bit more intelligence collection of information, but right now we&rsquo;re also focused on not only special forces on the ground but also the training of Iraqi security forces, of Iraqi police, of indigenous forces such as the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>What are the&nbsp;most important elements of counter ISIL strategy?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Number one, we&rsquo;re looking to degrade and suffocate and destroy them in their core. And their core is in Iraq and Syria, and we&rsquo;re doing that by working with indigenous forces on the ground combined with an air campaign to degrade their networks and take out their leaders, and to take out their command control platforms and their supply lines. We&rsquo;ve been doing that consistently week to week, it took a long time to set up the conditions by which we could get our special forces into Syria and work effectively with forces on the ground there. It took us a while to work with the Peshmerga to get them in place to begin to do an operation like they did last week to retake Sinjar. All of that is going on. Anytime we see their leaders, we&rsquo;re able to quite effectively take out their leaders. The military is very connected with the economic &ndash; this is the most well funded terrorist organization in history.</p><p>So for example, their number one financier was a terrorist name Abu Sayyaf, we did a Special Forces raid into Syria, about six months ago, we collected more information off of that site than any Special Forces raid in history, and from there we&rsquo;ve been working with the coalition partners and with the Iraqis to really cut into their finances. And based on all intelligence we started about two weeks ago, on the military side, a concerted campaign to take out their ability to get resources out of the ground, in oil trade, and actually move it by trucks. This is all a fusion of economics, intelligence, and military.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On the videos where ISIS threatens to attack Washington and New York</strong></p><p>&ldquo;We take any threat very seriously. FBI Director James Comey and the Attorney General spoke yesterday about the fact that we have no actual direct intelligence on threats now, but this is something we take extremely seriously. This is why we are at war against this barbaric terrorist organization, and we&rsquo;re working across all multiple lines of efforts from military to economic to diplomatic to suffocate it at its core and outside of the networks the feed it.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/11/20/us-strategy-isis" target="_blank">via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 11:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-11-23/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-strategy-fight-against-isis-113892 White House Appeals Immigration Case To Supreme Court http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-supreme-court-113876 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-462749516_wide-b43ecd1399a998f33dcfbe6e529a7fd90af7367e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456789951" previewtitle="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/20/gettyimages-462749516_wide-b43ecd1399a998f33dcfbe6e529a7fd90af7367e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="President Obama speaks about immigration reform during a meeting with young immigrants in the White House on Feb. 4. The president's 2014 executive actions on immigration have been caught up in a legal dispute, which the White House has appealed to the Supreme Court. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>One year after President Obama announced new executive actions on immigration, his administration is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the new policies.</p></div></div></div><p>The executive actions in question &mdash; the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, as well as an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA &mdash; would have affected millions of immigrants.</p><p>They would permit parents of American citizens, as well as immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, to apply for &quot;deferred action,&quot; which would allow them to live and work in America without fear of deportation.</p><p>But the executive actions have been caught up in a legal dispute&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/02/17/386905806/federal-judge-blocks-obama-s-executive-actions-on-immigration">since February</a>&nbsp;and have never been implemented. (The original DACA executive action, from 2012, has already granted deferred action to some immigrants and is not affected by this case.)</p><p>Most recently, a federal appeals court decided in favor of Texas and other states challenging the Nov. 20, 2014, executive actions.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/10/455438464/appeals-court-deals-blow-to-obamas-immigration-plan">The court ruled</a>&nbsp;that President Obama had overreached his authority in issuing the orders.</p><p>Now, the Obama administration&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/US-v.-Texas-Petition-15-674.pdf">has appealed that decision</a>&nbsp;to the Supreme Court.</p><p>The case centers on the question of whether the administration&#39;s actions are a matter of prosecutorial discretion &mdash; the executive branch deciding which immigrants to deport, on a case-by-case basis &mdash; or an attempt to unilaterally alter the nation&#39;s immigration laws.</p><p>In the appeal to the Supreme Court, the administration argues that deferred action falls under the &quot;longstanding authority&quot; of the secretary of homeland security &mdash; and that given the impossibility of deporting every &quot;removable alien&quot; in America, the administration must have the ability to prioritize deportations.</p><p>The administration also cites &quot;the irreparable injury to the many families affected by delay&quot; in implementing the executive actions.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/20/456782713/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-to-supreme-court?ft=nprml&amp;f=456782713" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 13:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/white-house-appeals-immigration-case-supreme-court-113876 4 Things To Know About Visa Waivers and Security http://www.wbez.org/news/four-things-know-about-visa-waivers-and-security-113867 <p><div id="res456719401" previewtitle="Passengers wait to get their passports checked at Miami International Airport earlier this year. The visa waiver program allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Passengers wait to get their passports checked at Miami International Airport earlier this year. The visa waiver program allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/19/gettyimages-465228486_wide-058dd4ca4d2e8267cfc0ced36608e4633ea0ebc9-s1600-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Passengers wait to get their passports checked at Miami International Airport earlier this year. The visa waiver program allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive. (Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>While Congress took steps to pause the Syrian refugee program this week, there is another concern that many say poses a bigger threat of a allowing a potential terrorist into the U.S. It&#39;s known as the visa waiver program, and it allowed 20 million travelers into the U.S. last year, with much less screening than refugees receive.</p><p>President Obama said recently that &quot;the idea that somehow [refugees] pose a more significant threat than all the tourists that pour into the United States every single day just doesn&#39;t jibe with reality.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Here are four things to know about that program, and the security concerns that have been raised about it:</p><p><strong>1. How does it work?</strong></p><p>It used to be that if you were a person living abroad and you wanted to see the U.S., you had to first go to an American embassy and get a visa. You would be interviewed by an embassy official who would ask about your background. But since the 1980s, residents of many countries no longer have to go thru that process. In fact, 38 nations, including most of Europe are visa waiver countries. It&#39;s a largely hassle-free way to come to the U.S. for tourists and business people. You&#39;ll need to answer a few questions on a form on the internet, and have a passport with a digital photograph.</p><p><strong>2. What are the concerns?</strong></p><p>Some lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, say the process has gaps. She calls it &quot;the soft underbelly&quot; of America&#39;s national security. She and other lawmakers are worried about the thousands of Europeans who have gone to Syria to fight alongside ISIS.</p><p>They return to France or Belgium, say, and with no screening could then easily hop on a flight to the U.S.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_360930717092.jpg" style="height: 411px; width: 620px;" title="(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)" /></div><p><strong>3. How can those gaps be closed?</strong></p><p>Feinstein is proposing legislation to tighten the visa waiver program and attempt to keep those foreign fighters out. The bill would require people who have traveled to Syria or Iraq in the past five years to go through an interview in order to get a U.S. visa. Of course, given the porous Syrian border it&#39;s not easy to say for sure who has traveled there.</p><p>The Department of Homeland Security did tighten the program earlier this year, including requiring foreign travelers from waiver countries to carry passports with biometric data embedded on computer chips.</p><p><strong>4. Would </strong><strong>changing</strong><strong> the visa waiver program make it more difficult for legitimate visitors coming to the U.S.?</strong></p><p>That&#39;s what concerns many, including the travel and tourism industry and some business groups. All those foreign visitors to the U.S.&nbsp;<a href="https://vwp.ustravel.org/?utm_source=MagnetMail&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=ncarpenter@ustravel.org&amp;utm_content=11.19.15%20-%20Press%20-%20VWP%20Response&amp;utm_campaign=PROOF%3A%20Travel%20Leaders%20Warn%20Against%20Headlong%20Rush%20to%20Gut%20Visa%20Waiver%20Program" target="_blank">spend on average</a>&nbsp;$4,700 per person per trip, according to the U.S. Travel Association.</p><p>Roger Dow, the group&#39;s president and CEO, supports closing loopholes, but warns against making any major changes. The Obama administration says its open to amending the program.</p><p>It&#39;s a delicate balance, said Frank Cilluffo, who runs the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University. &quot;We want to be open to foreign travelers, we want to be open to foreign cultures, we want to be open for business. But the flip side is we&#39;ve got an acute security threat right now.&quot;</p><p>Feinstein says she intends to introduce her legislation after Thanksgiving.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456715124/4-things-to-know-about-visa-waivers-and-security?ft=nprml&amp;f=456715124" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 11:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/four-things-know-about-visa-waivers-and-security-113867 Why Congress is Moving to Tighten Restrictions on Refugees, but Leaves the Visa Waiver Program Untouched http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-11-20/why-congress-moving-tighten-restrictions-refugees-leaves-visa-waiver <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/11779461853_39c1b20bca_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><header><div><figure><div id="file-93891"><div><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_main/public/story/images/congress.jpg?itok=kMu8cqAV" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="The dome of the US Capitol is seen as a man walks past flags flying at half-staff at the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington November 16, 2015. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><header><figure><div id="file-93891">&nbsp;</div></figure></header></div></div></div></figure></div></header><div><div><article about="/stories/2015-11-20/why-congress-moving-tighten-restricts-refugees-leaves-visa-waiver-program" typeof="sioc:Item foaf:Document"><div><p dir="ltr">Of the various ways of getting into the United States, applying for political refugee status is hardly the easiest.</p></div><p>Since 2012, there have been 1,854 Syrian refugees admitted to the US. President Barack Obama has said that we will take in an additional 10,000 in fiscal year 2016, likely now with increased vetting and background checks after more than 30 governors have said they would reject refugees in their states. &nbsp;</p><p>While the refugee debate continues both in Washington and at the state level, 20 million people traveled to the US in fiscal year 2013 under the Visa Waiver Program &mdash;&nbsp;a program that allows citizens of 38 approved countries, mostly Western allies and Japan, to travel here for tourism or business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.</p><p>The Belgian and French citizens who were involved in the Paris attacks could have, in theory, been able to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. &nbsp;</p><p>The Congressional reaction gives a clue into how Washington works in crisis mode.</p><p>&quot;I mean, there was just overwhelming outcry from my district,&rdquo; said GOP Rep.&nbsp;Dave Brat. &ldquo;The folks want action now.&rdquo;</p><p>And action is what they got. On the House floor Thursday,&nbsp;representatives passed a bill that would suspend the Syrian refugee program. It passed 289-137, with the support of 242 Republicans and 47 Democrats.</p><p>That prompted protests from Democrats, including President Obama, who said refugees were being vilified, and that they already undergo checks that take up to two years.</p><p>Republican Rep. Mike McCaul, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee who introduced the House bill to halt the refugee program, stressed that speed is critical and that lawmakers wanted to pass a bill before going home for Thanksgiving.</p><p>&quot;The threat&#39;s real,&rdquo; said McCaul. &ldquo;ISIS has said they want to exploit it to infiltrate the West. It&#39;s not a threat I&#39;m making up. It&#39;s a threat the administration&rsquo;s own officials have warned us about.&quot;</p><p>There is indeed speculation that at least one of the ISIS terrorists in Paris entered Europe posing as a refugee. But even before McCaul introduced the bill earlier this week, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle admitted they didn&#39;t really think the refugee program posed a major national security threat.</p><p>Senator Richard Burr, GOP chairman of the Intelligence Committee, also supports pausing the refugee program. But from a threat standpoint, Burr says that the Visa Waiver Program deserves more scrutiny.</p><p>&ldquo;Were I in Europe already and I wanted to go to the United States, and I was not on a watch list or a no-fly list, the likelihood is that I would use the Visa Waiver Program before I would try to pawn myself off as a refugee and try to enter under false documents,&quot; he says.</p><p>Compared to the 10,000 proposed to be admitted by the refugee program, the tens of millions of people entering the US from Europe with the Visa Waiver Program is a flood.&nbsp;And that&rsquo;s largely by design. Ease of travel is vital to business and tourism &mdash; commerce worth billions of dollars a year to the economy.</p><p>Republicans like McCaul say they&#39;re also in favor of tightening up visa waivers. There&#39;s momentum building for possible reforms in early December. But the program is complex, with powerful stakeholders.</p><p>So going at the refugee program is a way to bring frightened and demanding voters results. More than half of all all respondents in a Bloomberg poll this week said they support halting the refugee program.</p><p>But it&rsquo;s also how the bill works that tells you a lot.</p><p>McCaul&#39;s bill is rather straightforward. It requires the FBI and other top security chiefs to ramp up vetting of refugees headed for the US. But it doesn&#39;t tell the agencies how to increase security, nor does it give them more money.</p><p>The bill essentially only does one important thing: It says that it is entirely up to the intelligence chiefs to personally certify that each and every refugee cleared for entry is not a threat. The result is that politicians will have effectively put the responsibility entirely on the intelligence community.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s why it&#39;s important that we have all three, one representing intel community, one FBI, the other Homeland Security signing off,&rdquo; said McCaul, &ldquo;Assuring the Congress and the American people that they do not poet a threat to the United States.&quot;</p><p>Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is one of the people who would have to personally certify each refugee &mdash;&nbsp;30 per day, at least.</p><p>&quot;To personally certify, with respect to 30 people a day,&rdquo; Jeh said, &ldquo;that certain requirements have been met is hugely cumbersome and I don&#39;t think the American people will think that is the best and wisest use for the Secretary of Homeland Security to be spending his time.&quot;</p><p>McCaul was clear: he&rsquo;s not out to waste Johnson&rsquo;s time.</p><p>Instead, he wants to give him, FBI Director James Comey, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, direct political responsibility for the refugees, and clear culpability if anything goes wrong.</p><p>McCaul continued, &quot;Because they will own it, and if they make a mistake it&#39;s their mistake.&rdquo;</p></article></div></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-11-20/why-congress-moving-tighten-restricts-refugees-leaves-visa-waiver-program" target="_blank"><em> via The Takeaway</em></a></p></p> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-11-20/why-congress-moving-tighten-restrictions-refugees-leaves-visa-waiver How Does the US Government Vet Syrian Refugees? Very Carefully. http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-19/how-does-us-government-vet-syrian-refugees-very-carefully-113860 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Syrian_Refugee_Sacramento_limit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The craven murders committed by ISIS militants in Paris last Friday have prompted some Americans (including&nbsp;surprise, a number of politicians)&nbsp;to think again about admitting any more Syrian refugees.&nbsp;</p><p>For presidential candidate Donald Trump, it&#39;s&nbsp;the Trojan Horse argument:&nbsp;An ISIS militant could sneak in and wreak the same kind of terror on Americans. But here&#39;s a pretty sobering reality check: Of the 4 million Syrians who have fled their country since 2011, only some 2,000 have been admitted to the United States as refugees.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really a drop in the bucket.&quot; says Max Rosenthal, who wrote about the US government refugee vetting process for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/11/heres-what-it-takes-to-enter-us-as-a-syrian-refugee" target="_blank">Mother Jones</a>. &quot;Lebanon is a country of 4 million people.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php" target="_blank">The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees</a>&nbsp;estimates that there&#39;s 1&nbsp;million refugees in Lebanon. &quot;That&#39;a a conservative estimate,&quot; says Rosenthal.&nbsp;&quot;So you&#39;re talking about well over a quarter of the population of Lebanon is now made up of refugees, mostly from Syria.&quot;</p><p>There are millions more in Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. In Europe, Germany alone expects to have close to a million Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. &quot;There are thousands of people coming into Europe everyday. So it&#39;s just a dramatically different situation.&quot;</p><p>What about the vetting process, critics ask. How does the US government determine whether a Syrian refugee will not be a security risk?</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a long process. It takes a minimum of 18 months. Some cases go up&nbsp;to even three years.&quot;</p><p>Rosenthal says it starts with refugees applying for refugee status. &quot;They make contact and they send in an application to the United States. UNHCR helps identify which candidates might be good for resettlement in the United States.&quot;</p><p>Often that has to do with whether or not the refugee applicant has&nbsp;family members already in the US. Then the application goes to the Department&nbsp;of Homeland Security.</p><p>&quot;They have a group called The Refugee Corps that goes out and interviews these refugees wherever they are, whether it&#39;s Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon,&quot; says Rosenthal. &quot;They go through a really long screening process trying to verify the stories that these refugees are tellling them, trying to make sure that their identities are what they say they are, trying to make sure that there&#39;s not a security threat and that they have no known connections to any terrorist groups or anybody who&#39;s really going to affect the security of the United States.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Rosenthal says there&#39;s even a &#39;gut feeling&#39; litmus test. &quot;Even if the refugee applicant makes it&nbsp;through all those security checks and&nbsp;their details line up, if there&#39;s something that strikes the security officer the wrong way, they have the discretion to say no to those refugees.&quot; &nbsp;</p><div><p>And all of this takes place outside the United States. Refugee applicants from Syria are vetted in the Middle East.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re not taking people who have made their way to Europe. So much of the focus has been on refugees that go to Europe but don&#39;t forget that the overwhelming majority of refugees are still kind of trapped without resources in the Middle East and those are the people the United States are talking to, people in Turkey, people in Jordan.&quot;</p><p>Then there&#39;s one final test, says Rosenthal,&nbsp;the Syria Enhanced Review process, essentially a pre-screening screening.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;Essentially when a person delivers their application to the US Refugee admissions program, the Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence and security agencies take that information and go through it before the applicant&#39;s in-person interview. &nbsp;So that way when the security officer goes to interview them, they have this file that says what the guy says, what their family says, and examined what their claims are.&quot;</p><p>They then deliver to the interviewer a&nbsp;set of specific, focused questions to make the vetting more in depth. &quot;That&#39;s something that only Syrians are going through because of security concerns since the start of Syria&#39;s civil war.&quot;</p></div><p>&mdash; <a href="http://admin.pri.org/stories/2015-11-18/how-does-us-government-vet-syrian-refugees-very-carefully" target="_blank"><em>via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 14:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-19/how-does-us-government-vet-syrian-refugees-very-carefully-113860 House Votes To Increase Security Checks On Refugees From Iraq, Syria http://www.wbez.org/news/house-votes-increase-security-checks-refugees-iraq-syria-113858 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/65431421_h40946722_wide-1f7754b1ace5d1876ef9aa9a17916ca6a5954958-s1600-c85_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456653632" previewtitle="Speaker of the House Paul Ryan holds up statements from the FBI director and the secretary of Homeland Security about the risk involved in admitting refugees from Syria, during a news conference Wednesday about the House bill calling for a stricter vetting process for refugees from Syria and Iraq."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Speaker of the House Paul Ryan holds up statements from the FBI director and the secretary of Homeland Security about the risk involved in admitting refugees from Syria, during a news conference Wednesday about the House bill calling for a stricter vetting process for refugees from Syria and Iraq." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/19/65431421_h40946722_wide-1f7754b1ace5d1876ef9aa9a17916ca6a5954958-s1600-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="Speaker of the House Paul Ryan holds up statements from the FBI director and the secretary of Homeland Security about the risk involved in admitting refugees from Syria, during a news conference Wednesday about the House bill calling for a stricter vetting process for refugees from Syria and Iraq. (Gary Cameron/Reuters/Landov)" /></div><div><div><p>The House of Representatives has easily passed a GOP-authored bill to restrict the admission of Iraqi and Syrian refugees to America by requiring extra security procedures.</p></div></div></div><p>The bill &mdash; called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, or the American SAFE Act of 2015 &mdash; would require the secretary of Homeland Security, the head of the FBI and the director of national intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria, affirming he or she is not a threat.</p><p>The FBI director would also need to confirm that a background investigation, separate from the Homeland Security screening, had been conducted on each refugee.</p><p>Lawmakers say it is the first of many bills aimed at addressing security concerns in the wake of the Paris attacks, reports NPR&#39;s Muthoni Muturi.</p><div id="res456651635">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">We cannot and should not wait to act&mdash;not when our national security is at stake. <a href="https://t.co/5kLsFrubIc">https://t.co/5kLsFrubIc</a> <a href="https://t.co/ymqHQyWnup">https://t.co/ymqHQyWnup</a></p>&mdash; Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) <a href="https://twitter.com/SpeakerRyan/status/667414998134579200">November 19, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Supporters of the bill say it would require a &quot;pause&quot; in admitting Syrian and Iraqi refugees, as current applications would be halted while a new vetting process was established. Some conservative critics object that it doesn&#39;t ban such refugees outright.</p><p>Meanwhile, liberal House members say requiring top officials to be involved in thousands of individual applications is unmanageable, and that the bill would result in an extended roadblock for Syrians and Iraqis fleeing a humanitarian crisis. That&#39;s a&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorLeahy/status/667382334774099969">rejection of American values</a>, some Democrats argue.</p><p>The bill passed the House of Representatives 289-137.</p><p>It&#39;s unclear whether the Senate will take up the legislation, says NPR&#39;s Arnie Seipel. If the bill does pass through Congress, President Obama has pledged to veto it. But in the House of Representatives, at least, Republicans would only need one more vote to make the bill veto-proof.</p><div id="res456651632">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That&#39;s not who we are. And it&#39;s not what we&#39;re going to do.</p>&mdash; President Obama (@POTUS) <a href="https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/667021784726769665">November 18, 2015</a></blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://twitter.com/Jordanfabian/status/667102371965706241">The administration says</a>&nbsp;the bill would introduce &quot;unnecessary and impractical requirements that would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world.&quot;</div><p>It would also undermine allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe, the administration says.</p><p>Obama argues that the existing vetting process &mdash; which includes fingerprinting, examination of personal history and interviews &mdash; is sufficient, and the certification requirement the Republicans are calling for would &quot;provide no meaningful additional security.&quot;</p><p>The Obama administration has recently begun disclosing details about how Syrian refugees are currently screened. As we&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/17/456395388/paris-attacks-ignite-debate-over-u-s-refugee-policy">reported Tuesday,</a>&nbsp;the process includes multiple agencies and lasts up to two years.</p><p>One challenge is that the Syrian government does not cooperate with the U.S., making it difficult to verify some Syrian documents, The Associated Press reports. But the administration says Syrian refugees provide extensive amounts of information for investigators to use.</p><p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-11-18/bloomberg-poll-most-americans-oppose-syrian-refugee-resettlement">Bloomberg poll</a>&nbsp;released this week found more than half of respondents think the U.S. should stop accepting Syrian refugees.The U.S. has taken in about 2,500 Syrian refugees since 2011, according to the AP, and the Obama administration has announced a plan to accept 10,000 more in the coming year. The White House says half of the refugees admitted to the U.S. are children, and about a quarter are older than 60.</p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/house-votes-increase-security-checks-refugees-iraq-syria-113858 Chicago City Council Approves Ban On Drones http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-city-council-approves-ban-drones-113857 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/drone-784310_640_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It prohibits the flying of drones within 5 miles of the city&#39;s airports, and creates no-fly zones over churches, schools, hospitals, police stations and private property without the owner&#39;s consent.</p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-city-council-approves-ban-drones-113857 Groups Call for Rauner to Reverse Refusal of Syrian Refugees http://www.wbez.org/news/groups-call-rauner-reverse-refusal-syrian-refugees-113846 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_674516350357_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois groups that help Syrian refugees resettle are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to reverse his threat to temporarily stop accepting new Syrian refugees after the attacks in Paris.</p><p>Members of groups including RefugeeOne and the Heartland Alliance said Wednesday they believe Rauner doesn&#39;t have the authority to halt the federal resettlement program, and they want a welcoming atmosphere in Illinois.</p><p>They say Rauner and other GOP governors&#39; similar decisions were made out of fear, and that refugee screening processes are vigorous.</p><div><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">True progressive <a href="https://twitter.com/CarlosRosa">@CarlosRosa</a> rejects <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rauner?src=hash">#Rauner</a>&#39;s refugee/immigrant scapegoating: &quot;My community chooses love&quot; | <a href="https://t.co/YrVPyJp7zL">https://t.co/YrVPyJp7zL</a></p>&mdash; Jay Travis (@Jayfor26) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jayfor26/status/667079771537453056">November 18, 2015</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Since 2010 Illinois has received 169 Syrian refugees.</p><p>RefugeeOne executive director Melineh Kano says at least 21 more individuals are expected in December. She says Rauner&#39;s administration has requested information on them.</p><p>Also on Wednesday,&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;City Council approved a largely symbolic resolution to accept Syrian refugees.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/groups-call-rauner-reverse-refusal-syrian-refugees-113846 Let's tell Obama #WhatObamaShouldKnow about women in Malaysia http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-13/lets-tell-obama-whatobamashouldknow-about-women-malaysia-113787 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/obama-visits-malaysia.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_main/public/obama-visits-malaysia.jpg?itok=iGdpRZrk" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="US President Barack Obama pauses after being introduced at the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur April 27, 2014. (PRI/Larry Downing)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Selamat Datang, Mr. President!&rdquo; As a Malaysian, I would like to welcome President Barack Obama who is making his second visit to Malaysia in less than seven months.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Obama&rsquo;s last trip here in April made him the first US president to visit Malaysia in nearly 50 years. On that visit, Obama called for equal opportunities for the Malaysia&rsquo;s non-Muslim minority.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But this time his top priority will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive free trade deal with Malaysia and 11 other countries across the region.</div><p>However, we at Across Women&#39;s Lives would like to invite you and your friends to help Obama to look at the status of women in the three countries that he will visit in this trip &mdash;&nbsp;Malaysia, Philippines and Turkey.</p><p>Malaysia was ranked 107th out of 142 countries in the WEF Global Gender Gap 2014, one of the two worst performing country in Southeast Asia together with Cambodia. (East Timor and Myanmar were not ranked.)</p><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/PVUkQ/1/" style="width: 813.25px;" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></div><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-gap.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>A closer look at this annual index published by the World Economic Forum to measure gender equality revealed that Malaysia was given some of the lowest scores in term of women&#39;s political empowerment. The chart below shows the details.</p><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="500" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="https://charts.datawrapper.de/agzjF/index.html" style="width: 813.25px;" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></div><div><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-cabinet.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div></div><div>The weak position of Malaysian women in the public space is further confirmed by another international gender index. The Social Institutions &amp; Gender Index 2014 published by OECD Development Center ranked Malaysia as the country with the highest &quot;restricted civil liberties&quot;&nbsp;in Southeast Asia. This includes negative attitudes toward women as public figures or as leaders.</div><p>The same index found that Malaysia has the second highest &quot;discriminatory family code&quot;&nbsp;in the region after Indonesia. &quot;Discriminatory family code&quot;&nbsp;refers to social institutions that limit women&rsquo;s decision-making power and undervalue their status in the household. This is especially true for Muslims women who are deprived of certain rights under the Sharia laws. For example, Muslim men are allowed to marry up to four women, and they are granted an automatic right to divorce, while women need the approval of a judge if they want a divorce.</p><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="http://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/bisIa/1/" style="width: 813.25px;" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></div><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-family.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>Malaysia practices a unique dual justice system that allows the Sharia laws to run in parallel with secular laws. The Islamic laws only applicable to Muslims who make up approximately 61 percent of the population. The growing of conservative Islam since the 1970s has led to a narrower interpretation of Islamic laws and teachings.</p><p>The discrimination against Muslim women was epitomized by a recent debate over the definition of marital rape following a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dap-rep-launches-rape-awareness-campaign-targeting-men" target="_blank">rape awareness campaign</a>&nbsp;launched in April with the tagline &quot;Rape is rape. No excuse.&quot;</p><p>But Islamic conservatives, including a state-appointed mufti, challenged the campaign, arguing that men can always have sex with their spouses even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/women-must-give-husbands-sex-even-on-camels-islamic-scholar-says#sthash.qX1O4Ock.dpuf" target="_blank">without their consent</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;Even the Prophet says even when they&rsquo;re riding on the back of the camel, when the husband asks her, she must give ... So there&rsquo;s no such thing as rape in marriage. This is made by European people, why should we follow?&rdquo; Harussani Zakaria, mufti of the Malaysian state of Perak, told a local newspaper.</p><p>The muftis in Malaysia are given power to issue Fatwa which is legally binding for every Muslim.</p><p>Two months later, this view on marital rape was backed by the government when the law minister Nancy Shukri, one of the three female ministers in the cabinet, told the parliament that marital rape&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/06/10/govt-maintains-marital-rape-not-crime/" target="_blank">is not a crime</a>and there is no plan to amend the law.</p><p>The Islamic laws and religious norms also hold Malaysia back from fully complying with the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The country has made several reservations with regard to women&#39;s equality in marriage and family relations.</p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-rape.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>Criminalization of transgender</p><p>The discrimination does not stop at Muslim women. Muslim men who want to be women are also facing growing persecution by the religious authority.</p><p>In June this year, religious officials&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/negri-sembilan-islamic-department-crashes-wedding-for-transgender-hunt" target="_blank">raided a wedding party</a>&nbsp;held in a private home and arrested 17 transgender women invited as guests, including a minor. One was reportedly beaten, choked and kicked by the officials during the arrest. A Sharia court later fined and jailed the 16 adults for seven days. They were put in the male prison and had their heads shaved.</p><p>The offense? Men posing as women, which is a crime under a state Sharia law.</p><p>According to Human Right Watch, while some states in Malaysia also criminalize women posing as men, all arrests to date under these laws have targeted transgender women.</p><p>In a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/09/24/im-scared-be-woman/human-rights-abuses-against-transgender-people-malaysia" target="_blank">report</a>&nbsp;released last year, the international human rights watchdog pointed out that transgender people in Malaysia are fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, physically and sexually assaulted, and denied access to health care because of their gender identities.</p><p>&ldquo;When public officials or private individuals commit violence against transgender people, the victims face serious obstacles &mdash; and at times further sexual abuse &mdash; from the police who are supposed to be helping them,&rdquo; said the report.</p><p>The struggle for transgender right suffered a blow last month when the Malaysian federal court, the highest court in the country, overturned the judgments of two lower courts and reinstated a state law that criminalizes cross-dressing of males as females.</p><p>Rights group Justice for Sisters found that the court&#39;s decision has triggered a wave of&nbsp;<a href="https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/317227#ixzz3r5p5u7Fn" target="_blank">raids and arrests</a>against the transgender community in several states.</p><div><iframe frameborder="0" height="330" scrolling="no" src="http://admin.pri.org/sites/default/files/whatobamashouldknow-malaysia-transgender.html" style="width: 813.25px;" width="100%"></iframe></div><p>Sex trafficking</p><p>Malaysia was identified by the US State Department and the United Nations as both a destination as well as a transit country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking.</p><p>In her&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15631&amp;LangID=E#sthash.bldkFj5x.dpuf" target="_blank">preliminary report</a>&nbsp;published in March this year after a visit to Malaysia, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, stated that trafficking of young foreign women and children particularly from neighboring countries for the purpose of sexual exploitation is prevalent in the country.</p><p>&ldquo;These young women and children mostly end up into the commercial sex trade following deceptive recruitment practices for legal work in Malaysia.</p><p>&ldquo;There is also information about women and girls from South Asia entering into brokered marriages with older men in Malaysia and subsequently being forced into domestic servitude and forced prostitution,&rdquo; her report states.</p><p>Human trafficking in Malaysia attracted international attention in May when several&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/24/mass-graves-trafficking-malaysia-perlis" target="_blank">mass graves</a>&nbsp;of suspected trafficking victims were found along Malaysia&rsquo;s border with Thailand, and again in July when the US&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-07-27/us-human-trafficking-report-called-toilet-paper-after-it-upgrades-malaysia-s" target="_blank">upgraded Malaysia</a>&nbsp;from tier three, the worst ranking in its 2015 Trafficking in Persons report, to tier two.</p><p>The upgrade was criticized by anti-trafficking groups and activists as a political decision to facilitate Malaysia&rsquo;s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership as US legislation bars Obama to fast-track the trade negotiation with countries in tier three.</p><p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/04/us-usa-humantrafficking-disputes-special-idUSKCN0Q821Y20150804" target="_blank">Reuters report</a>&nbsp;published in August revealed that human rights experts at the State Department concluded that Malaysia should remain in tier three as the trafficking conditions in the country hadn&rsquo;t improved. However they were overruled by senior American diplomats and pressured to inflate the assessments of Malaysia.</p><p>Several US lawmakers have since called for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/28/us-usa-malaysia-humantrafficking-idUSKCN0RS2QI20150928" target="_blank">internal probe</a>&nbsp;into the controversial ranking.</p><p>On top of all this, Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, who recently claimed he is the only prime minister in the world to be able to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/313831" target="_blank">play golf with Obama</a>, has been implicated in a financial scandal.</p><div><img alt="obama plays golf with malaysian prime minister najibi razak" src="http://cdn1.pri.org/sites/default/files/styles/original_image/public/obama-malaysia-najib-golf.jpg?itok=cYje0RJv" title="US President Barack Obama and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak walk off the 18th hole while playing a round of golf at th" typeof="foaf:Image" /><div><p>US&nbsp;President Barack Obama and Malaysia&#39;s Prime Minister Najib Razak walk off the 18th hole while playing a round of golf at the Clipper Golf course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii during Obama&#39;s Christmas holiday vacation in Kaneohe, Hawaii, December 24, 2014.</p></div><div>Credit:&nbsp;<p>Hugh Gentry</p></div></div><p>Razak&rsquo;s opponents say he&rsquo;s capitalizing on his cozy relationship with Obama while his support within the country wavers. Hence there are more reasons for Obama to raise the issues above during his visit to Malaysia.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 14:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-11-13/lets-tell-obama-whatobamashouldknow-about-women-malaysia-113787