Top News Stories For Today – Jan 20, 2018
US Federal government shuts down
The US government shutdown at midnight on Friday after a four-week spending bill, which passed in the House Thursday, failed 50-49 in the Senate. It needed 60 votes to pass. President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met privately Friday in an attempt to negotiate a deal, but at voting time, most Democrats stood firm in their refusal to support a measure that does not protect young undocumented immigrants.
Republicans have portrayed Democrats’ stand as unfair to the 9 million children who depend on the CHIP health insurance program. This is the first government shutdown in more than four years, and the first to occur while a single party controls both the White House and Congress. Lawmakers said negotiations would continue through the weekend. The Washington Post, The New York Times
N Korea will send 22 athletes in winter Olympic
A Korean unity deal for the Pyeongchang Olympics will see 22 North Korean athletes cross the border with South Korea to compete and march together under a unification flag at the opening ceremony. A total of 12 North Korean women’s hockey players will join their South Korea neighbors in a united roster playing in special uniforms with a Korean song as their anthem.
North Koreans will also compete in figure skating, short track speed skating, Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. The North Korean delegation will also include 24 coaches and officials, plus 21 media representatives at the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games. The deal became possible after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said three weeks ago that a team could cross the border to compete. Associated Press
Supreme Court on Trump’s travel ban
The Supreme Court confirmed Friday that it will consider the legality of President Trump’s travel ban, which restricts travel to the United States from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea, and for certain government officials from Venezuela. Six of the eight nations targeted by the ban are predominately Muslim.
A lawsuit filed by Hawaii legally challenged the ban, which was issued in September, and succeeded before a federal district court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Supreme Court has signaled it could be amenable to Trump’s ban, which is the third of its kind to be issued by the Trump administration. Oral arguments could begin as soon as April. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal
Blame game after government shutdown
Minutes after a Senate bill collapsed Friday night, the blame games for the federal government shutdown began. Republicans labeled it the “Schumer shutdown,” after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The New York Democrat fired back, calling it “the Trump shutdown.”
Kamala Harris, Democrat from California said, “This shutdown was avoidable. The WH created this crisis & the GOP leaders in Congress refused to negotiate with Democrats. We must pass a bipartisan solution to fund the government, guarantee health care for millions of kids & protect Dreamers. Americans expect & deserve it.”
Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky said, “The facts before us are simple. Right now, the Democratic leader has no compromise immigration bill on the table. No bill exists. Why do Americans need to suffer from a government shutdown when he doesn’t even have an immigration bill?”CNN
Former general enters Egypt’s presidential race
Former Egyptian armed forces chief of staff General Sami Anan said Saturday he intended to run in the country’s presidential election in March. In a video declaration posted on Anan’s official Facebook page, he said he will run for president to save Egypt from incorrect policies and called on state institutions to maintain neutrality toward all candidates.
General-turned-President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced late Friday he would run for a second term. The election is Egypt’s third since the 2011 uprising that deposed President Hosni Mubarak. VOA
Flu season gets worse in US
The flu season in the US is getting worse. Health officials last week said flu was blanketing the country but they thought there was a good chance the season was already peaking. But the newest numbers out Friday show it grew even more intense.
One measure of the season is how many doctor or hospital visits are because of a high fever, cough and other flu symptoms. Thirty-two states reported high patient traffic last week, up from 26 the previous week. Overall, it was the busiest week for flu symptoms in nine years. Hawaii is the only state that doesn’t have widespread illnesses. Associated Press
Women will march again in Washington DC
Activists are returning to the streets a year after a million people rallied worldwide at marches for female empowerment, hoping to create an enduring political movement that will elect more women to government office. Hundreds of gatherings are planned Saturday and Sunday across the US and in places such as Beijing, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Nairobi, Kenya.
A rally Sunday in Las Vegas will launch an effort to register 1 million voters and target swing states in the midterm elections. The 2017 rally in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of similar marches created solidarity for those denouncing President Donald Trump’s views on abortion, immigration, LGBT rights and more. Afterward, a wave of women decided to run for elected office and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct became a cultural phenomenon. Associated Press
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