Top News Stories For Today – Nov 29, 2017
Pope speaks of need for forgiveness in Myanmar
Pope Francis spoke of the need for “forgiveness” and avoiding “revenge” at a mass attended by tens of thousands of people in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, on Wednesday. He skirted direct mention of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority for the second time in his four-day visit, after talking generally of religious tolerance at a meeting with diplomats Tuesday. Some 150,000 Catholics from across the country gathered at Kyaikkasan sports ground for the service, some arriving the night before to ensure their places.
Many in the audience in Yangon were happy Pope Francis chose not to reference the Bengali crisis. He has said his primary purpose for the visit was to support the Christian population. The country recently established diplomatic relations with the Vatican. VOA
N Korea launches more advanced ICBM missile
North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday that flew to a height of 2,800 miles, higher than any of its previous tests. If aimed at a standard trajectory, the ICBM would have a range of more than 8,100 miles, or “more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C.,” says David Wright at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
North Korea lauded the launch, conducted early Wednesday in Pyongyang, claiming it could “load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States.” Experts disputed the warhead claim, but Pyongyang is making rapid progress. A South Korean minister warned Tuesday that “we cannot rule out the possibility of North Korea declaring the completion of their nuclear program next year.” The Washington Post, CNN, The Week
NBC fires longtime host Matt Lauer
NBC News’ Matt Lauer has been terminated over “inappropriate sexual” workplace behavior. In a memo to staff, NBC News chairman Andy Lack explained that “on Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer.”
Lack added that while “it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” Today, NBC News, The Week
Key Senate panel passes GOP tax bill
The Senate Budget Committee passed the Republican tax bill 12-11 on Tuesday, as protesters shouted “kill the bill” and were arrested outside the doors. The senators divided along party lines, with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) flipping to “yes” just before the vote, Bloomberg Politics reports. Previously, Johnson had announced his opposition to the bill, and Corker was among a handful of holdouts whose vote was unclear.
With a slim 52-to-48 Senate majority, Republicans can only afford two defections and still pass the legislation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects the tax bill to increase the nation’s deficit by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade. A full Senate vote could come as soon as Thursday. Bloomberg Politics, NBC News, The Week
Court won’t block Trump’s pick to lead consumer bureau
US District Judge Timothy Kelly ruled in favor of the Trump administration on Tuesday, denying a request by Leandra English to block White House budget director Mick Mulvaney from becoming acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Last week, English was promoted to deputy director by the bureau’s outgoing chief, Richard Cordray, who said effective at midnight Friday, she would become acting director.
The Trump administration announced that it was installing Mulvaney as acting director, and English asked for a temporary restraining order to keep Mulvaney from taking the post. Republicans have criticized the consumer bureau, saying it acts too aggressively when it takes on big banks, payday lenders, and other businesses. Politico
Obama re-emerges on global stage with trip to Asia
Just two weeks after the US president met with China’s leader in Beijing, Donald Trump’s immediate predecessor is to do the same. Former President Barack Obama is also to meet this week in India with that country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi before flying to France. The former president’s team is playing down any notion that Obama is seeking to undercut or overshadow the current president.
Obama began his overseas trip Tuesday in Shanghai with private meetings and speaking at a trade summit. The Xi meeting is scheduled for Wednesday where Obama is also to join an education summit. Obama has several events planned later this week in India, including a town hall event with young leaders. The former president then flies to Paris to hold meetings, participate in a communications industry summit and, according to local media reports, he will be hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron at a private Elysee Palace dinner. VOA
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