Top News Stories For Today – Nov 3, 2017
Trump to visit Asia
On Friday, President Trump leaves Washington for a 12-day journey that includes stops in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. He will also stop briefly in Hawaii. He is scheduled to return to the US on Nov. 14. Trump’s goals, according to his advisers, are to show a hard line on North Korea’s nuclear threat and what he views as Asia’s unfair trade imbalance with the US, and signal his commitment to open Asian seas in the face of Chinese maritime aggression.
This will be the longest trip a US president has taken to Asia since George H.W. Bush visited in late 1991 and early 1992, a visit mostly remembered for Bush getting sick and throwing up at a Japanese state dinner. NPR, The Week
GOP reveals new tax bill
House Republicans revealed their new tax bill Thursday, and though President Donald Trump has voiced his approval, he admits there is “much work left to do.” Major provisions of the bill include decreasing the number of tax brackets from seven to four, reducing the top corporate income tax rate and increasing the standard deduction, which could affect some popular tax breaks for individuals such as mortgage interest, state and local taxation, charitable giving and student loan interest.
Republican leaders acknowledge the fight ahead but insist that, overall, this is a plan that will give a generational lift to the middle class — despite Democratic assertions it is just another disguised giveaway to the GOP’s rich friends. CNN
DNC was rigged in Clinton’s favor
Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she believes that the Democratic National Committee was “rigged” in favor of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primary. Warren said so Thursday after being asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether she believes that the Democratic campaign organization was tipped in favor of Clinton over her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders
Her comments came in response to an excerpt from a new book by Donna Brazile, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, detailing the final months of the 2016 campaign. In the excerpt published in Politico this week, Brazile says Clinton’s team was given operational control over the party committee before Clinton was the nominee because of the massive amounts of funds it raised for the DNC. Brazile’s story points to a longstanding rift among Democrats that casts concern over how the party will handle its opportunities in the 2020 election. CNN
Jeff Sessions in Russian investigation
Former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page privately testified Thursday to lawmakers that he mentioned to Jeff Sessions he was traveling to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign — as new questions emerge about the attorney general’s earlier comments to Congress about Russia and the Trump campaign.
Page’s testimony will likely fuel further scrutiny about what Sessions knew about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia — and communications about Russia that he did not disclose despite a persistent line of questioning in three hearings this year. CNN
US Jobs report shows hiring rebound in October
The economy added 261,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department reported Friday, with the gains falling short of the 325,000-job increase analysts expected but still marking a sharp rebound from September’s weakness due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The October gains nudged the unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent from 4.2 percent, putting it at its lowest level in 17 years.
The initial September employment figures showed a loss of 33,000 jobs that month, but the latest figures indicate that the economy actually gained 18,000 jobs that month. Wages dropped by 1 cent to an average of $26.53 an hour. USA Today, MarketWatch, The Week
10 Churches banned from holding worship services in India
Local authorities in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu have banned 10 churches from holding worship services in the last two months. Sources have told Morning Star News that thanks to pressure applied by Hindu extremist groups, local government officials have ordered churches in the state’s Coimbatore district to stop worshiping unless they are given permission from a government collector’s office.
Local Christian leaders, however, are warning that it could take years for Christians to be granted such an approval to worship. Although just 10 churches have thus far been banned from holding worship, Sathyanathan believes that Hindu extremists plan to target about 20 other churches as well. India ranks as the 15th worst nation in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List. The Christian Post
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