Top News Stories For Today – Jan 29, 2018
EU ready to hit back Trump on trade
The European Union says that if US President Donald Trump initiates unfair trade measures against the 28-nation bloc, it would stand ready “to react swiftly and appropriately.” In a weekend interview, Trump said he was annoyed with EU trade policy since he claims the US cannot sufficiently export to the EU. He said his problems with the EU “may morph into something very big” from a trade standpoint.
EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas retorted Monday that “while trade has to be open and fair it also has to be rules-based.” Schinas said: “The EU stands ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measure from the United States.” VOA
Russian team banned from Paralympic games
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned Russia’s team from the PyeongChang Winter Games, but will allow individual athletes to compete under a neutral flag. The IPC said in a statement Monday that “it is maintaining the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC),” because of its doping past.
However, “in recognition of the progress made by the RPC in improving its anti-doping activities,” the IPC is allowing individual Russian athletes who meet certain conditions to compete in five sports as neutral athletes at the games, which run from March 8-18. PyeongChang will be the second Paralympics without a Russian team. The country was first excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016 over allegations of a state-sponsored doping. VOA
Key Republicans back Robert Mueller
On Sunday, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on TV they would favor passing legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from President Trump but saw no need to do so now, even after reports that Trump sought to fire Mueller last summer and backed down. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarty (R-Calif.) was more dismissive of the idea.
“Right now there’s not an issue,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press. “So why create one when there isn’t a place for it?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it’s time to act. “The most important thing Congress can do right now is to ensure that Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation continues uninterrupted and unimpeded,” he said. The New York Times, The Washington Post
Grammys 2018 award
Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar were the big winners Sunday night at the 60th Grammy Awards in New York City. Mars won Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best R&B Album for “24K Magic,” plus Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance for “That’s What I Like,” while Lamar took home Best Rap Album for “Damn,” Best Rap/Sung Performance with Rihanna for “Loyalty,” and Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for “Humble.”
Other winners include Alessia Cara, who was named Best New Artist; Childish Gambino, who won Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Redbone;” and Chris Stapleton, who won Best Country Solo Performance for “Either Way” and Best Country Album for “From A Room: Volume 1.” Los Angeles Times
US-Vietnam military ties warn China
A high-level US visit to Vietnam followed by plans to send American naval vessels may herald a tougher American policy toward China in Asia’s stickiest maritime sovereignty dispute. US Defense Secretary James Mattis met in Vietnam last week with the host country’s president, Tran Dai Quang, as well as the general secretary of its ruling Communist Party and a Vietnamese military counterpart.
“The Mattis visit and the one by the aircraft carrier in March are intended to send a signal to China about its assertive behavior in the South China Sea,” said Murray Hiebert, deputy director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. VOA
Pro-opposition rallies across Russia
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released from police detention in Moscow after thousands of pro-opposition marchers rallied against a March election expected to extend President Vladimir Putin’s term in Kremlin. Police arrested Navalny while he was on his way to a rally in central Moscow. Earlier, police raided his Moscow headquarters, breaking into the office with a power saw. They claim someone had reported a bomb threat.
Navanlny is urging Russians to boycott the March presidential election, in which Vladimir Putin is just about assured to win a fourth term. Putin has been Russian president or prime minister since the last day of 1999. Many of the young marchers who have known no other leader say they are sick of living in what one of them calls a “quagmire.” VOA
Federer wins Australian Open
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has defeated Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win the 2018 Australian Open in Melbourne. It is Federer’s 20th Grand Slam title and after going four years without winning a major, he now has won three of the last five.
In the women’s final, 2nd seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark beat top seeded Romanian star Simona Halep in three sets, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 on Saturday. It was Wozniacki’s first Grand Slam title. Wozniacki is the first player from Denmark to win a major singles title. It comes nine years after her first attempt in 2009, when she lost the US Open final to Kim Clijsters. She also lost the US Open in 2014, to Serena Williams. VOA
Jordan King calls for Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem
Jordan’s king affirmed his support Sunday for establishing a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem, highlighting his differences with the Trump administration on a central issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abdullah II spoke at the start of a meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who also expressed concern about President Donald Trump’s recognition last month of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Jordan is a reliable US ally and a major recipient of US economic and military aid, in Middle East. VOA
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