Top News Stories For Today – Jan 24, 2018
Sessions questioned in Russia probe
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for hours in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, the Justice Department said, as prosecutors moved closer to a possible interview with President Donald Trump about whether he took steps to obstruct an FBI probe into contacts between Russia and his 2016 campaign.
The interview with Sessions last week makes him the highest-ranking Trump administration official, and first Cabinet member, known to have submitted to questioning. It came as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates whether Trump’s actions in office, including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, constitute improper efforts to stymie the FBI investigation. Associated Press
Philippine’ Mt. Mayon volcano
Philippine’s Mount Mayon has spewed lava up to 600 meters (2,000 feet) high at times Tuesday and early Wednesday and its ash plumes stretched up to 5 kilometers (3 miles) above the crater. Lava fountaining regularly flowed up to 1.86 miles from the crater in a dazzling but increasingly dangerous eruption.
At least 56,217 people were taking shelter in 46 evacuation camps Tuesday and army troops and police were helping others leave the danger zone. VOA
Franklin Graham defends Trump
President Donald Trump is a “changed person” amid recent reports of an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, said the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in the CNN interview. Graham’s remarks come after a Wall Street Journal report that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, formed a private LLC to pay a former porn star in exchange for not speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with the then-candidate.
Graham argued that the President has matured over the years. However, Lemon cited controversial tweets and recent reports of Trump’s derogatory remarks regarding some nations in Africa. In his continued defense of Trump, Graham said the President is a businessman, not a politician and “he talks a certain way” to get his point across. Graham pointed out that Trump has “offended” people, but asserted that God had put him in the White House for a reason. CNN
Dem and GOP more apart after shutdown end
The end of the government shutdown finds Republicans and Democrats moving even further apart on immigration. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer withdrew an offer that would have approved funding for President Trump’s border wall. And the White House indicates it wants more than just the wall and additional resources on the Southern border in exchange for a DACA fix.
It wants Homeland Security to have more power to remove undocumented immigrants. These changes in positioning risk losing the support of very conservative and very liberal lawmakers. Which means we’ll probably be facing another immigration-fueled shutdown come February 8. CNN
Trump to meet world leaders at Davos
President Trump will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and other world leaders when he attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, White House officials said. In addition to meetings with world leaders, Trump will also host a small dinner for European business executives on Thursday night.
Trump will have a full day of meetings in Davos on Thursday and then deliver a keynote address to the forum on Friday before returning to the United States later that day. White House senior economic adviser Gary Cohn said Trump will use his speech to encourage global companies to invest in the United States and take advantage of Trump’s corporate tax cuts. VOA
Cigarette smoking rates in US reach historic lows
The American Lung Association says fewer Americans smoke cigarettes now than before tobacco control policies were put in place. In its annual report, the ALA says smoking rates among adults and teens are at historic lows. On average, just over 15.5 percent of American adults and eight percent of high school students smoke cigarettes.
The association gets its data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which show the smoking rate declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016. Still, CDC data shows that nearly 38 million American adults continue to smoke. VOA
Chung becomes first Korean to reach a grand slam semi-final
Hyeon Chung is the first Korean to reach a grand slam semi-final after continuing his spectacular Australian Open run at Melbourne Park. The 21-year-old world No.58 outclassed unseeded American Tennys Sandgren 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 on Wednesday to also become the lowest-ranked man to make the last four of the Open since Marat Safin in 2004.
Chung, who sensationally knocked out six-time champion Novak Djokovic in the fourth round after taking out Germany’s World No 4 Alexander Zverev in the previous round, had a few nervy minutes before he sealed the victory. Chung will play second-seeded titleholder and five-time champion Roger Federer or Czech Tomas Berdych on Friday night for a most improbable berth in the final. “Whoever win, I’m playing. I don’t care,” a jubilant Chung said. Perth Now
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