Top News Stories For Today – Oct 24, 2017
Xi, China’s most powerful leader
China’s Communist Party has agreed to add the political thought of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to its constitution, putting him on par with the country’s founder Mao Zedong and further consolidating his power ahead of a top level leadership reshuffle. The move to amend the Communist Party constitution also bolsters growing anticipation that Xi could remain China’s most influential leader for some time to come, analysts said.
The revision was voted at the closing session of the once-in-five-year party congress on Tuesday. The vote passed with no opposition and no abstentions. It also puts Xi in a unique position. China’s second most powerful man, Wang Qishan was not included in a list of members on the party’s Central Committee released Tuesday, a sign that the 69-year-old would be stepping aside. Some analysts suggest, however, that he could take up some other senior role instead. VOA
Trump to talks tax cuts with GOPs
President Trump heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a luncheon with Senate Republicans, and the main item on the menu will be tax cuts. House Republicans plan to unveil an ambitious tax plan in the next week or so, but Republican lawmakers are struggling to offset the $5 trillion in tax cuts Trump has proposed with his pledged limitations — which include no changes to 401(k), axing the estate tax, no fourth tax bracket for millionaires, and a 20 percent corporate tax rate — and deficit limits.
In order to pass the bill with just 50 Senate votes, Republicans can’t exceed the $1.5 trillion deficit number they set in their budget resolution, and senators worry Trump will continue to tie their hands. The Hill, The Washington Post,The Week
Niger ISIS attack
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the media Monday regarding the deadly ambush on Army soldiers in Niger. Four US service members were killed in the Oct. 4 attack, when Dunford said American forces were ambushed by nearly 50 local militants who were likely affiliated with the Islamic State.
Critics noted information about America’s presence in Niger had been scarce, prompting Dunford to acknowledge that “we owe you more information”; he confirmed that there are roughly 800 US soldiers stationed in Niger, the highest contingent in a single African country. Among those killed was Army Sgt. La David Johnson, and President Trump’s condolence call to Johnson’s widow has been a source of controversy over the last week. The Daily Beast, BuzzFeed News,The Week
White nationalism in US Military
A new Military Times poll finds that nearly one in four US service members say they have witnessed examples of white nationalism in the ranks, and they view this as a greater national security threat than Syria and Iraq.
The poll, released Monday, was conducted a month after white supremacists held a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. When it comes to national security, 30 percent of respondents said white nationalists pose a significant threat to the US, more than Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent), and Iraq (17 percent). This voluntary survey was conducted online between Sept. 7 and 25, with 1,131 active-duty service members responding and a margin of error of about ±3 percent. Military Times
Tillerson visits to Afghanistan, Iraq
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday made surprise visits to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither trip had been announced by the State Department. In Afghanistan, Tillerson appealed to “moderate voices among the Taliban” who “do not want to continue to fight forever,” going so far as to offer such individuals “full involvement and participation in the government” in exchange for working toward a peace process in the war-torn country.
The 16-year conflict in Afghanistan is the longest-running war in US history, and Tillerson’s Monday visit is likely a reflection of the Trump administration’s desire to end the military activity there. Tillerson traveled to Iraq just hours after visiting Afghanistan. The Week, The Associated Press