Top News Stories for Today – January 26, 2017
Trump’s first post-inauguration interview
President Trump gave his first interview since his inauguration on Wednesday, a wide-ranging chat with ABC News’ David Muir that covered his US-Mexico border wall, replacing ObamaCare, and his baseless claim that 3-5 million people voted illegally — “They all voted for Hillary,” he told Muir — among other topics.
Trump said construction would start on the border wall “relatively soon,” maybe within “months,” and maintained that Mexico will pay for “100 percent” of the costs “at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico.” He repeated his demonstrably false claim that he had “the biggest crowd in the history of inaugural speeches,” and insisted that he would have won the popular vote without the alleged illegal votes, or if he’d campaigned for the popular vote. On his ObamaCare replacement plan, Trump said: “Millions of people will be happy. Right now, you have millions and millions and millions of people that are unhappy.” ABC News, The Washington Post, The Week
Trump to speak in GOP retreat
On Thursday, President Trump will speak to House and Senate Republicans at the GOP’s annual policy retreat, the first retreat in a decade where the GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House. Vice President Mike Pence will also address the congressional Republicans, as will British Prime Minister Theresa May, marking the first time a foreign head of government appears at a GOP retreat.
House Speaker Paul Ryan laid out an ambitious list of policies for Trump’s first 200 days, including a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act by March and a total overhaul of the US tax code by midsummer, plus special funding for Trump’s $14 billion Mexico border wall and an infrastructure bill. Some Republicans, however, expressed concerns about Trump being able to stay focused on their shared agenda. “I’d rather not be revisiting and rehashing the election — it’s over,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). At the same time, he added, “I don’t control the Twitter feed.” The Associated Press, The Week
Mexico says again they won’t pay for the wall
Hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing federal funds to the building of a US-Mexico border wall, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said his country absolutely will not pay for it. “Mexico doesn’t believe in walls,” he said. House Speaker Paul Ryan told MSNBC on Wednesday night that “there are a lot of different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to doing this, and there are different ways to defining how exactly they pay for it,” but at first, “we’re going to pay for it and front the money up.”
When interviewer Greta Van Susteren said the estimated price tag is $8 billion to $14 billion, Ryan agreed, saying “That’s about right.” Other estimates put the price as high as $25 billion for just construction. On Wednesday, Trump also signed an executive order targeting “sanctuary cities” and is expected to soon issue orders temporarily banning refugees and suspending visas for people from several Middle Eastern and North African countries. BBC News, Reuters, The Week
New drug for Alzheimer
Scientists have developed a drug they hope will benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease. The new compound sweeps away abnormal protein clumps in the brain which are a hallmark of the neurodegenerative disorder. In a study reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers describe how a synthetic drug, called antisense oligoneucleotide, reduced the production and in some cases cleared clumps of tau in the brain. Tau bundles are one of the hallmarks of the disease, along with beta amyloid deposits, another destructive protein.
By stopping the formation of tau, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found they could extend the lives of mice that were bred to have collections of human tau in their brains. The investigators also tested the compound in monkeys and saw positive results. Tim Miller, a professor of neurology at Washington University and senior author of the study, hopes the drug, developed with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, will soon be tested in humans with Alzheimer’s disease. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which primarily strikes senior adults, leading to a decline in mental functioning and eventually death. VOA
Williams sisters reach Australia open final
On Australia Day at the Australian Open, Americans ruled in the women’s semifinals. More specifically, two resilient, legendary players who’ve long carried the torch for US tennis — Serena and Venus Williams.
And the result is a tantalizing, first grand slam final between the siblings — who own a combined 29 majors in careers that have spanned three decades — in eight years. CNN
Scientists planning march in Washington
As more than a million women and their allies were making final plans for marches in Washington and around the world to protest Donald Trump, a commenter posted on a Reddit thread, “There needs to be a Scientists’ March on Washington.” Other users — who’d been discussing the changing White House website, climate change and energy policy — jumped on the idea. “I’m a Physics major and he’s a Biology professor. If this gets organized, we will march!” one user responded. “I’m an artist but passionate about science. I’ll march too!” another said.
Within hours, a Facebook group was born. A website, a Twitter handle and the beginnings of a plan quickly followed. Hundreds of thousands joined the Facebook group that has now been made secret. Organizers want the march to be a non-partisan protest that addresses issues including government funding for scientists, transparency, climate change and evolution, according to the website. CNN
Greece snubs Turkey soldiers’ extradition
Greece’s Supreme Court has ruled against extraditing eight Turkish soldiers whom the Turkish government accuses of being involved in last July’s attempted coup. The eight men fled in a helicopter to Greece after the coup attempt but say they were not involved. Turkey has demanded they return to stand trial. The soldiers say their lives would be in danger.
The case has presented a diplomatic dilemma for Greece. Senior prosecutors had argued against agreeing to extradition. The court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed against. BBC
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