Top News Stories for Today – January 4, 2017
Obama and Pence on ObamaCare
Senate Republicans launched an aggressive effort on Tuesday to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act, introducing a budget bill that could excise much of ObamaCare with a simple majority in the Senate. On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with Democrats to strategize on ways to try to defend the law.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence will meet with House Republicans on Wednesday morning and have lunch with Senate Republicans, with ObamaCare plans high on the menu for both meetings. Republicans have not come up with a plan to replace the 2010 law, which has extended health insurance to 20 million Americans, and the current plan is to delay the effective date of ObamaCare’s demise for at least 18 months, perhaps longer, to let GOP lawmakers come up with a viable plan. The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press
Fox’s Megyn Kelly switchs to NBC
NBC announced Tuesday that Megyn Kelly is joining the NBC News family, and on Tuesday night’s Kelly File, Kelly delivered the news to her Fox News audience. The decision to “pursue a new challenge” was a tough one, she said, because she loves the show, her staff, her colleagues at Fox News, and especially her viewers.
She decided to make the switch, despite a reported Fox News offer of $20 million a year, because of the “human connection” she misses with her young children, she said. Her “new adventure” will involve “joining the journalists at NBC News, who I deeply admire,” Kelly said, but she wasn’t burning bridges. Kelly said she is “deeply thankful to Fox News,” the Murdoch family, and her colleagues, whom she described as a “second family.” Kelly has been at Fox News for 12 years, and has the network’s No. 2 show. Her last day with the network is Friday. The New York Times, The Week
Turkey identifies nightclub shooter
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday authorities have identified the gunman who killed 39 people in a New Year’s attack at a nightclub in Istanbul. Cavusoglu made the announcement during an interview with the state-run Anadolu news agency, but did not give the attacker’s name.
Authorities have been searching for the shooter since early Sunday when he fled the Reina nightclub. Turkish media broadcast video Tuesday of a man they said was the suspected gunman walking around Istanbul’s Taksim square. It was unclear when the video was recorded. Authorities had earlier released a grainy image of the suspected shooter taken from security camera footage. VOA
Trump slams GM for making cars in Mexico
US President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized General Motors, the country’s biggest automaker, for sending its Mexican-made Chevrolet Cruze compact models back to US car dealers tax free and threatened to impose a hefty tariff on the company. “Make in USA. or pay big border tax!” Trump declared in a Twitter message.
GM said it already makes the majority of its compact Cruze models in the United States, at its Lordstown, Ohio, manufacturing plant in the country’s industrial heartland. The automaker said last June that consumer demand for the Cruze was such that the Lordstown plant couldn’t produce enough of them, leading the company to ramp up production at its existing manufacturing facility in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. General Motors has sold more than 3 million of the vehicles since it started the line of Cruze models in 2009, with nearly half of the sales in China, followed by purchases in the US, Russia and Brazil. VOA
No evidence of Rohingya genocide
A commission set up by Myanmar’s government says it has so far found no evidence of genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. In its interim report, the commission also said there was not enough evidence to support widespread rape allegations. It did not mention claims that security forces had been killing people.
There have been repeated allegations of abuses of Rohingya people since a military counter-insurgency campaign was launched in Rakhine in October. Some have even said the state’s actions amount to ethnic cleansing, and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, has faced international criticism. BBC
Trump backs Assange over Russian hack
Donald Trump has backed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in casting doubt on intelligence alleging Russian meddling in the US election. Mr Assange said Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party. Mr Trump has now backed that view in a tweet. He wrote: “Assange… said Russians did not give him the info!”
The president-elect has repeatedly refused to accept the conclusions of the US intelligence community. Several US agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. BBC
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