Top News Stories for Today – January 27, 2017

Top News Stories for Today – January 27, 2017

Trump to meet Theresa May

Trump to meet Theresa MayPresident Trump is hosting his first world leader Friday, holding talks and a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. May and Trump separately addressed congressional Republicans on Thursday, with May touting the benefits of a strong United Nations, NATO alliance, and European Union, all organizations Trump has disparaged.

Britain is looking to forge a bilateral trade deal with the US as it exits the EU, so trade is expected to be a major focus of the meeting. World leaders are unfamiliar with Trump and most of his top advisers, so May’s visit is also a sort of testing of the waters; in announcing Friday’s schedule, the White House misspelled May’s first name, leaving out the “h.” The schedule has since been corrected. Trump had also been scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto next Tuesday, but Peña Nieto canceled the event over Trump’s expedited plan to build a Mexico border wall. The Associated Press, The Week



Trump’s 20% import tax on Mexico

Trump to speak in GOP retreatPresident Donald Trump could impose a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for his border wall, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday, before clarifying that the idea was simply an “example of options [of] how to pay for [the] wall” and not a concrete policy proposal. Mexico was the United States’ third largest supplier of goods imports in 2015, with the US importing $295 billion worth of goods across the southern border.

Raising import taxes on Mexican goods would likely cause Mexican companies to pass the costs on to US retailers and businesses, resulting in higher prices for US consumers. “By doing [the import tax] we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone. That’s really going to provide the funding,” Spicer said. When asked about the costs getting passed along to Americans, Spicer said, “I’m not going to get into it.” The threatened trade war added to bilateral tensions with Mexico; on Thursday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a scheduled meeting with Trump, citing Trump’s push for a border wall. CNN, Twitter, The Week



Mike Pence to address March for Life in DC

Mike Pence to address March for Life in DCVice President Mike Pence will become the highest political official to ever address the annual March for Life on Friday as thousands of abortion opponents arrive in Washington, D.C., to protest the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing the practice. Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway will also join Pence at the demonstrations.

“A lot of people are gonna be showing up,” President Donald Trump told Republicans on Thursday. “They’ll have 300, 400, 500, 600 thousand people. You won’t even read about it.” The march will unavoidably draw comparisons to last weekend’s Women’s March, which drew half a million people to Washington; organizers for the March for Life expect a more modest 50,000. But “I don’t think that these numbers are the most important,” March for Life president Jeanne Mancini said. ” The number most important for us is 58 million, which is the number of Americans that have been lost to abortion.” ABC News, The New York Times, The Week



Trump and Putin scheduled to talk Saturday

Trump and Putin agree to improve relationshipPresident Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have not spoken since Trump won the election and Putin called to congratulate him. That will all change on Saturday, when Putin will speak with Trump over the phone, the Kremlin announced Friday.

Putin’s spokesperson said the two leaders will “exchange views about main parameters of current bilateral relations.” It is unclear what specifically will be discussed or if the two will agree to meet in person during their call. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Trump’s call to Russia, and added that the president will also be speaking with the leaders of Germany and France on Saturday. The Associated Press, White House



US transparency rating may be endangered

Trump to order border wall constructionThe anti-corruption group Transparency International says it is concerned that allegations of conflicts of interest and nepotism in the Trump administration may hurt international perceptions about America’s ability to continue serving as a champion of anti-corruption efforts around the world. After its annual report on corruption perceptions, the Berlin-based group minces no words in laying out what it sees as troubling signs in the new US administration.

“The concerns about the US are the concentration of power, the ideas around conflicts of interest being unmanaged, cronyism, nepotism and the muzzling of the press so these are the conditions that we would look out for in the future as to where a country might decline in the rankings,” said Robert Barrington, Transparency International’s director for Britain. President Donald Trump was elected partly on promises to “drain the swamp,” take power away from Washington cronies and return it to the American people. VOA



Europeans against Trump’s torture remarks

US transparency rating may be endangeredPresident Donald Trump’s tough talk on countering terrorism and US media reports that his administration may be considering reviving a counterterror program that earned worldwide condemnation are increasing European alarm about America’s new leadership. In London, the pushback has been fierce, complicating British Prime Minister Theresa May’s trip to Washington, where she hopes to begin forging closer ties between post-Brexit Britain and the United States.

Senior members of May’s ruling Conservatives and opposition leaders, as well as influential celebrities, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, have criticized Trump’s midweek remarks to CNN that “torture works” in the interrogation of terrorism suspects. Speaking on the BBC’s “The Andrew Marr Show” in London, May said “We do not sanction torture, we do not get involved with that, and that will continue to be our position.” VOA



First human-pig embryos made

First human-pig embryos madeTo grow human organs within animal bodies has long been the dream of scientists wanting to provide transplantable hearts, lungs, kidneys and other organs for patients in need. A glimpse of possible success in this elusive goal was seen Thursday.

Using stem cell technologies, researchers generated human cells and human tissues in the embryos of pigs and cattle. Their research appeared in the journal Cell. However, the scientific report in the journal Cell shows the process is challenging and the aim of growing human organs in animals is distant. BBC



Turkey threatens to cancel EU deal

Greece snubs Turkey soldiers' extraditionTurkey has threatened to cancel a deal with the EU on taking back migrants who cross over to Greece.Turkish officials are unhappy about a decision by the Greek Supreme Court not to extradite a group of eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece after a failed coup in July. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the ruling as a “political decision” and demanded a retrial. An EU spokeswoman said the body was confident the migrant deal would hold.

The three majors, three captains and two sergeant majors fled in a helicopter to Greece after last July’s coup attempt in Turkey. They are accused of playing a significant part in the attempt, and of having links with a group which allegedly tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the attempted coup. They say they were not involved and would fear for their lives if extradited home. The Greek court’s presiding judge ruled that the men were unlikely to receive a fair trial in Turkey. BBC

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