Top News Stories For Today – Jan 3, 2018
Pro government protest in Iran
A new set of demonstrators hit the streets in Iran — pro-government counter-protesters. These protesters waved Iranian flags and held signs voicing support for the government and its rulers. This comes after a week of anti-government demonstrations across the country, sparked by economic concerns and overall dissatisfaction with the government.
These latest demonstrations are not a total surprise, since counter-protests are a common reaction to dissent against the government there. More than 20 people have died in the demonstrations, and more than 450 people have been arrested. CNN
Trump to Kim: My nuclear button is much bigger than yours
President Trump responded to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day address by tweeting Tuesday night that his nuclear launch button is much bigger, more powerful, and actually works. In his speech Monday, Kim said the “entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, a nuclear button is always on my desk. This is reality, not a threat.”
Trump waited a day to fire back, tweeting, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Minutes earlier, Trump threatened to cut off US aid to the Palestinian Authority. “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” he tweeted. Twitter, Twitter, The Week
North Korea reopens cross-border hotline to Seoul
North Korea reopened a cross-border communication channel with South Korea on Wednesday for the first time since February 2016, in preliminary signs of a thaw between Pyongyang and Seoul. Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification, said North Korea will deal with South Korea in a “sincere and careful” manner, as willed by leader Kim Jong Un, who held out a tentative olive branch on Monday.
South Korea said the two countries communicated for 20 minutes over the channel at the border village of Panmunjom, mostly an exchange of names and exchanges to make sure the hotline was working. Critics say Kim is trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and the US The Associated Press, The Week
Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire at the end of this term
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced in a video Tuesday that he is retiring at the end of his term, putting an end to speculation over the future of the longest-serving Republican senator in American history. “When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter,” Hatch said, adding: “But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
Hatch’s retirement opens up a path for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the 83-year-old senator’s seat, as has been long rumored. Romney, though, is no friend of President Trump’s, and Trump reportedly urged Hatch to attempt an eighth term rather than retire. Bloomberg
Joshua Boyle arrested
Joshua Boyle, the Canadian who spent five years in captivity with his family in Afghanistan, has been arrested. Boyle faces 15 charges, including assault, sexual assault and unlawful confinement. All the charges are connected to incidents which allegedly happened after Boyle and his family returned to Canada in October.
Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were kidnapped in Afghanistan by terrorists in 2012. Coleman was pregnant, and the couple had two more children during their five years in captivity. The family was freed in a mission carried out by Pakistani forces based on intelligence from US authorities. CNN
Extreme weather in US
This winter weather mess is about to get a whole lot worse. Already, there have been 11 cold-related deaths, and much of the nation is now due to stay in the deep freeze through the weekend. Now, the East Coast will have to deal with what meteorologists are calling a “winter hurricane” (it’s technical name is even scarier: “bombogenesis.”)
It’ll bring hurricane-force winds and snow. Great. It’ll start in Florida, of all places, where residents of places like Tallahassee — which hasn’t seen measurable snow in almost 30 years — could get as much as an inch of snow and ice today. Coastal Georgia and the Carolinas will get some snow, too, before the storm plows up to the Northeast. CNN
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