Top News Stories For Today – Jan 23, 2018
Koreas exchange visits ahead of Olympics
North and South Korea are engaged in a flurry of cross-border visits ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in the South, as the bitter rivals press ahead with an agreement for the North to take part in the games.
A delegation from South Korea traveled to the North Tuesday for a three-day visit to look over potential venues for joint events linked to the Pyeongchang Games, the first such official visit in two years. The trip comes one day after a North Korean delegation, led by the leader of the North’s popular Moranbong girl band, departed Seoul after a two-day visit to inspect venues for artistic performances during the Games. VOA
US Government shutdown end
After the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to reopen the government with a vote of 81-18, the House followed on Monday afternoon, voting 266-150 and sending the bill to President Trump’s desk, where it was signed late Monday.
The measure funds the federal government through Feb. 8, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years. To get Democrats on board, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised that immigration legislation will be brought to a vote by Feb. 8 if it’s not resolved earlier. The Hill
China’s Xinjiang to build border wall
China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang will build a “Great Wall” around its borders to prevent the infiltration of militants from outside the country, state media reported on Tuesday citing the regional governor.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Xinjiang in the past few years in violence between Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language, and ethnic majority Han Chinese, especially in the heavily Uighur southern part of Xinjiang. China blames the violence in Xinjiang on Islamist extremists and separatists, some of whom it says have links to groups outside the country. VOA
Myanmar’s tycoons on Rakhine reconstruction
Myanmar’s top business leaders have rallied behind State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s plan for Rakhine State, where criticized Rohingya crisis was occurred, expending money and resources on frontline efforts to resettle refugees and rebuild infrastructure. While government led by Suu Kyi’s NLD party is constitutionally barred from holding the army to account, it has tried to take control in other ways, chiefly via the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine, or UEHRD. It was formed in October to mobilize Myanmar society in a shared patriotic venture.
They were quick to help. A Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine state ceremony held in the capital, Naypyidaw, in October drew close to $13.5 million from well-known company chairmen: Aung Ko Win of KBZ, Zaw Zaw of Max Myanmar, Steven Law of Asia World, Chit Khine of Eden, and Khin Shwe of Zaykabar, among others. VOA
Trump will attend World Economic Forum
The annual World Economic Forum officially kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. A White House delegation is heading to the forum, and now that the government shutdown has ended, President Trump is expected to go ahead with plans to go to Davos later in the week. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the US delegation, which also will include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, in a Sunday op-ed, called for Trump to use his appearance to reassure other world leaders uneasy about his “America First” policies. The Hill, The New York Times
FBI director threatened to quit from Sessions
At President Trump’s urging, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was forced out, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Axios. Sessions told White House Counsel Don McGahn that Wray is distressed by the request, and McGahn said it’s not worth losing Wray, especially after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey last year.
Trump nominated Wray, a deputy attorney general under former President George W. Bush, last June. McCabe was acting director of the FBI after Comey was fired, and Trump and other Republicans want him gone because his wife ran for office as a Democrat. Axios
West Coast tsunami alerts canceled
A magnitude 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Alaska early Tuesday prompted NOAA’s US Tsunami Warning System to issue a tsunami warning for parts of Alaska and all of coastal British Columbia, and put the entire US West Coast and Hawaii on tsunami watch. The warnings were canceled hours later after “additional information and analysis.”
The earthquake struck 157 miles southeast of Chiniak, Alaska, at about 3:30 a.m. Alaska Standard Time, the US Geological Survey said. The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management initially warned people in coastal Alaska and British Columbia to “move inland to higher ground,” and many complied, causing traffic jams en route to higher ground. Reuters, US Tsunami Warning Center
The Shape of Water leads 2018 Oscar nominations
Guillermo del Toro’s aquatic fairy tale, The Shape of Water, leads the 2018 Oscar nominees, competing in 13 categories including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress in a Leading Role for star Sally Hawkins. Dunkirk followed with eight nominations, while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri earned seven nods and Phantom Thread six.
All four are competing for Best Picture, alongside The Post, Lady Bird, Get Out, Call Me by Your Name, and The Darkest Hour. The Netflix historical drama Mudbound, meanwhile, made history after Rachel Morrison earned a nomination for Best Cinematography, making her the first woman ever nominated in the category. The Academy Awards will be held March 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The Washington Post, Cinemacked
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