Top News Stories For Today – Nov 9, 2017
Trump doesn’t blame China for unfair trade
In front of Chinese business leaders and President Xi Jinping, President Trump on Thursday described the US trade relationship with China as being “one-sided and unfair,” but said he doesn’t fault China for the deals it has made.
“Who can blame a country that is able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens,” Trump said. “I give China great credit.” Trump is in Beijing as part of his 12-day tour of Asia, and said he has “great chemistry” with Xi and thinks they will do “tremendous things” together. In 2016 May Trump told a campaign crowd “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world,” The Washington Post, The Week
Alaska signs deal to advance pipeline with China
The state of Alaska took a major step toward realizing a long-sought pipeline to move natural gas from the North Slope to Asia, siding with interests from China after major oil companies stepped back from the project. The agreement Alaska Gov. Bill Walker signed Thursday in Beijing with Sinopec, China Investment Corp. and the Bank of China does not guarantee a pipeline will be built, but it gives the lingering liquefied natural gas project a jolt of life.
The agreement was signed as both US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping watched. No financial terms were released, but it’s been estimated that the project could cost $43 billion. VOA
Senate GOP to unveil tax plan today
The Senate is scheduled to release its tax overhaul package on Thursday, and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) says he will release an updated version of the House bill, but Republicans on Wednesday couldn’t agree whether Tuesday’s electoral beating would help focus congressional Republicans on passing a tax bill or hurt the effort.
Complicating their political calculus are a series of nonpartisan analyses of the House tax plan that find some middle class families would actually pay more in taxes next year, and the number of beneficiaries would shrink dramatically by 2017. House Republicans are also trying to cut the projected $1.57 trillion their plan adds to the deficit down to $1.5 trillion to fit Senate parameters. Politico, The Washington Post, The Week
US announces new travel restrictions for Cuba
The Trump administration announced a new list of travel restrictions and sanctions on Cuba on Wednesday. The new restrictions mean that American tourists will need to primarily book a trip with organized tour groups in order to visit the country, as well as follow a blacklist of 180 businesses, including 83 hotels and 10 Havana boutiques.
US government officials told The Associated Press that the restrictions aim to decrease American trade and commerce with businesses backed by the Cuban military. The blacklist will go into effect Thursday. Embassies in Havana and Washington will remain open. The Associated Press
Pence meets with victims of Texas Church massacre
Vice President Mike Pence paid tribute to the victims, survivors and their families of this week’s church massacre in Texas. He stepped onto the field after an emotional, tear-filled meeting in the school library with about 80 of the victims’ relatives. He was joined by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and their wives.
They made their way around the room to each family member — their short conversations ending with a hug and assurances that the country is thinking about them. Sessions described the scene at the church as “stunning” and “horrible.” VOA
Saudi blockade could drive Yemen to massive famine
UN has warned that unless a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition allows humanitarian aid access into Yemen, it will lead to “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.” Since Monday, all humanitarian operations to Yemen, including UN aid flights, have been blocked after Saudi Arabia forced every single air, land and sea port in the country closed. The move came in response to the interception of a missile fired toward the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia justified the blockade, saying Houthi rebels were being supplied with weapons from Iran, and has accused Tehran of “direct military aggression.” But Iran denies arming the rebels. The country relies on imports for virtually everything civilians need to survive, but now neither food, fuel nor medicine can get in. VOA
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