Top News Stories for Today – March 23, 2017
7 arrested in London terrorist attack
On Thursday morning, Britain’s Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said that seven people have been arrested in overnight raids in London and Birmingham in connection with Wednesday’s deadly attack outside Parliament and on Westminster Bridge.
“It is still our belief — which continues to be borne out by our investigation — that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism,” he said. “At this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public.” At least four people, including the attacker, were killed when the unidentified man ran down civilians on the bridge in an SUV, scaled the fence around Parliament, and fatally stabbed a police officer. Rowley said 29 people were hospitalized and seven remain in critical condition. BBC News, The Associated Press, The Week
GOP health bill vote still uncertain
Republicans say they still plan to put the American Health Care Act up for a vote on Thursday, even as the White House and House Republican leaders continue to work to whip up enough votes to ensure passage.
Late Wednesday, the White House and the conservative House Freedom Caucus reportedly reached a deal to strike ObamaCare’s requirement that insurance plans cover 10 “essential health benefits,” and the Freedom Caucus will press their other demands — notably killing a prohibition against denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and annual or lifetime coverage limits — in a meeting with President Trump on Thursday morning. House moderates later met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and his leadership team and balked at the changes. “Everybody’s frustrated,” one lawmaker in the meeting told Politico. “Some moved; some stayed the same. … Nobody goes closer to the bill on that one.”
The Koch-aligned networks said it would create a new fund for Republican 2018 reelection races — but they’ll only open it up to GOPers who vote against the bill. The bill needs a simple majority of 216 to be approved in the House. With no Democrats expected to support the proposal, GOP can afford to lose no more than 21 Republicans. According to CNN, 24 House Republicans have flat-out said they will vote against the bill, while four more have indicated they are likely to oppose it. That’s 28 GOP lawmakers opposed to or leaning against the bill. Politico, The New York Times, The Week, CNN
FBI may have evidence of Russia-Trump coordination
The FBI is reviewing information that counterintelligence investigators believe may show coordination between associates of President Trump and Russian operatives to potentially release information to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign before the 2016 presidential election, US officials told CNN Wednesday.
Agents are sifting through human intelligence; travel, business, and phone records; and accounts of in-person meetings, CNN reports. The officials say this investigation is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he announced on Monday that the FBI is looking into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, cautioning that while the information indicates possible coordination, it is not conclusive and the investigation is ongoing. CNN
Trump’s interview with Time magazine
President Trump defended a number of his baseless claims in a head-turning interview with Time magazine published Thursday morning. When pushed by reporter Michael Scherer about sharing conspiracies that he couldn’t verify as true, Trump became defensive: “I know you are going to write a bad article because you always do,” he said.
After touting his ability to have predicted Brexit and reiterating his false claim that three million people voted illegally in the election, Trump explained, “I inherited a mess in so many ways,” but added, “Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know.” Time, The Week
NATO seeks new date for NATO Talks
Tillerson had initially decided to skip talks set for April 5-6 in Brussels, unsettling European allies who have questioned President Donald Trump’s commitment to the alliance. But the State Department said on Tuesday that Tillerson had proposed new dates for the talks, his first such NATO meeting. VOA
Sea ice falls to record low at both poles
The extent of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has set a new record low for the wintertime in a region strongly affected by long-term trends of global warming, US and European scientists said Wednesday. Sea ice around the North Pole expands to its biggest extent of the year in February or March after a deep freeze in the winter polar darkness and shrinks to the smallest of the year in September, at the end of the brief Arctic summer.
Arctic sea ice appeared to reach its annual maximum extent March 7, the lowest maximum in the 38-year satellite record, according to the Colorado-based US National Snow and Ice Data Center. On that date, the ice covered 14.42 million square kilometers (5.57 million square miles), 97,000 square kilometers less than the previous lowest maximum that occurred February 25, 2015. The trend of shrinking ice around the North Pole in recent decades has been one of the starkest signs of climate change. VOA
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