Top News Stories for Today – November 13, 2016
Trump taps Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon as top aides
President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday picked Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff. Priebus is a longtime friend of House Speaker Paul Ryan. His selection was expected to please establishment Republicans who opposed Trump’s candidacy, but anger his anti-establishment base.
Trump picked Priebus over Steve Bannon, his campaign CEO and controversial former Breitbart News leader, and named Bannon as his chief strategist. Civil rights groups lambasted Trump for putting Bannon in such an influential role. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-watch group, said Bannon had turned Breitbart into “a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.” The Week, CNN, The New York Times
Trump hedges on mass deportations
In his first on-air interview since winning the election, President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday told CBS that mass deportation of undocumented immigrants who do not have criminal records is not high on his agenda. “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers,” he said, a project he estimates will remove two or three million people.
Then, he will secure the border. Only once both those goals are achieved and “after everything gets normalized,” Trump said, would he make a determination on whether to pursue mass deportation of the eight to nine million undocumented immigrants who would remain in the United States. Trump called those other immigrants “terrific people,” a marked change in tone from his past suggestions that most undocumented immigrants are criminals. CBS News, Pew Research, The Week
Trump tells supporters harassing minorities to stop
In a 60 Minutes segment that aired Sunday night, Donald Trump told supporters who may be engaged in harassment against minorities to knock it off. Trump told Lesley Stahl he had not heard of any acts of violence in his name by or against supporters or any cases of his backers using racial slurs against blacks, Latinos, or gays.
“I am very surprised to hear that — I hate to hear that,” he said. Asked if he wanted to tell his supporters anything, Trump responded, “I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible. I’m going to bring this country together.” Stahl told him Muslims and Latinos are being harassed, and he interrupted her to say, “I am so saddened to hear that, and I say, stop it. If it, if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.” The Week, 60 Minutes
Facebook to get fake news off
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is promising to try to get fake news and hoaxes off the social network. Since last week’s election, critics have said fake news posts injected disinformation into politics, possibly influencing the vote.
Zuckerberg claimed that “more than 99 percent” of the news people see on Facebook is legitimate. “Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes,” he said, and the hoaxes are not limited to “one partisan view.” He said that Facebook nevertheless has launched a mechanism letting users flag hoaxes, and will let users know if it decides to make changes to its News Feed. Facebook, The Week
Obama makes last foreign trip as president
US President Barack Obama departs Monday on the final planned foreign trip of his presidency, and his advisors expect President-elect Donald Trump will be a primary topic of discussion with other leaders. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the itinerary with stops in Greece, Germany and Peru is a signal of solidarity to the country’s closest allies and a way to show “support for a strong and integrated and united Europe.”
The only major planned speech is in Greece, on Wednesday, addressing work that remains to tackle economic challenges there and elsewhere in the world while promoting inclusive growth and combating inequality. VOA
A pro-Russian wins presidential election in Bulgeria
Bulgaria’s Socialist Party candidate has won the presidential election, leading to the resignation of the country’s prime minister. Former air force commander General Rumen Radev, a Russian-friendly political novice, won nearly 60 percent of the vote, according to nearly complete results released Monday. Tsetska Tsacheva, the candidate of the ruling center-right GERB party, fell far short in his attempt to become president.
Analysts had speculated that a surprise Radev win could strengthen Russian influence in ex-communist Bulgaria, one of the poorest members of the 28-nation European Union. That speculation had been bolstered by Radev’s campaign support for the lifting of Western sanctions against Russia for Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis of 2014. VOA
Xi says US-China cooperation key
China’s president has offered the US president-elect congratulations on his recent win at the polls in their first telephone conversation. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said Xi Jinping and Donald Trump agreed Monday to meet “at an early date” to discuss the relationship between the two countries.
A statement from Trump’s office in New York said “During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another and President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.” Xi told Trump, according to CCTV, that “The facts prove that cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States.”
During the recent US presidential campaign, Trump was highly critical of China’s trade practices and currency manipulations. He said China viewed the US as a pushover. VOA
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