Top News Stories for Today – April 28, 2017
House puts off Health Care vote again
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that there will not be a vote on health-care legislation this week, as Republicans are “still educating members.” White House and Republican leaders had labored all day to wring votes out of resistant moderate GOP lawmakers for the health care measure. But they remained shy of the support they’d need to fully rouse the measure back to life, and it was uncertain when the vote would occur.
Republicans pulled an earlier version of the American Health Care Act last month, after several members of the conservative Freedom Caucus said they didn’t support it. The bill was amended by Freedom Caucus and centrist Tuesday Group members this week, but more than 15 Republican lawmakers have publicly said they will not vote for this new version of the AHCA. President Trump, who is nearing his 100th day in office, campaigned on a promise to immediately repeal and replace ObamaCare. VOA, Politico, The Week
ASEAN Summit ignores China threat
Leaders from 10 Southeast Asian countries at this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippines have avoided criticizing China over its expansion in the contested South China Sea, a sign, some analysts say, of Beijing’s economic and diplomatic influence.
ASEAN heads of state who conclude the four-day summit in Manila Saturday have, so far, issued no criticism of China. Analysts and media reports earlier in the week expected a mildly worded statement without naming any one country as a troublemaker. VOA
Major conflict with North Korea possible
In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, President Trump said “there is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” but he is hopeful that the US can find other ways to work with the country regarding its nuclear and missile programs. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically, but it’s very difficult,” Trump said.
The Trump administration has called North Korea an “urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority,” and on Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to urge the U.N. Security Council to enact more sanctions against Pyongyang. When asked about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump noted that he was 27 when his father died and he took over as ruler. “So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age,” Trump said. “I’m not giving him credit or not giving him credit. I’m just saying that’s a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he’s rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he’s rational.” Reuters, The Week
Trump says he thought being president ‘would be easier’
President Trump reflected on his first 100 days in office, telling Reuters: “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going on. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” Trump specified that he still isn’t used to the restrictions of the job, such as having Secret Service agents with him at all times.
“You’re really into your own little cocoon,” he said, “because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere.” That includes getting behind the wheel: “I like to drive. I can’t drive any more,” Trump said. Reuters
South Korea rejects Trump’s $1 Billion THAAD demand
The South Korean government has quickly refuted US President Donald Trump’s call for Seoul to pay $1 billion for the THAAD missile defense system. The Defense Ministry put out a statement Friday saying, “There is no change in South Korea and the United States’ position that our government provides the land and supporting facilities and the US bears the cost of THAAD system’s deployment, operation and maintenance.”
The deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery was agreed to last year by the administrations of then US President Barack Obama and then South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Park was able to evade demands that she seek National Assembly approval for the deal by claiming no additional funding would be required for the THAAD deployment. VOA
Oceans could rise higher than thought in California
New climate-change findings mean the Pacific Ocean off California may rise higher, and storms and high tides hit harder, than previously thought, officials said. The state’s Ocean Protection Council on Wednesday revised upward its predictions for how much water off California will rise as the climate warms. The forecast helps agencies in the nation’s most populous state plan for climate change as rising water seeps toward low-lying airports, highways and communities, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Discoveries that ice sheets are melting increasingly fast in Antarctica, which holds nearly 90 percent of the world’s ice, largely spurred the change. VOA
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