Top News Stories for Today – Sept 26, 2017
GOP health care bill
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Monday evening she is opposed to both versions of the health-care bill sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), likely killing the bill. Collins said she has three major concerns about Graham-Cassidy, including its “sweeping changes and cuts in the Medicaid program,” how it would “open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” and the resulting “higher premiums and reduced coverage for tens of millions of Americans.”
Trump advisers used private email
At least six of President Trump’s top advisers — including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and ex-chief strategist Stephen Bannon — have used private email accounts to talk about White House matters, several current and former officials told The New York Times on Monday.
On Sunday, a lawyer for Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner confirmed that Kushner used private emails for White House business, and officials told the Times that Ivanka Trump, Gary Cohn, and Stephen Miller also sent or received “at least a few emails on personal accounts.” It isn’t known if any of the emails contained confidential information, or how many emails were sent and received from the private accounts. During 2016 election, Trump relentlessly slammed Hillary Clinton for her use of private email during secretary of states, and called she should be jailed because of using private email. The New York Times, The Week
N Korea said US declared war on us
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday that President Trump’s recent threats and provocations are “clearly a declaration of war.” Speaking from the United Nations in New York City, Ri added that North Korea has the right to shoot down American bombers even if they are not in North Korea’s airspace.
On Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clarified, “We’ve not declared war on North Korea.” Last week, Trump vowed to “totally destroy” North Korea if it continues to menace the US and its allies. On Saturday, a group of US bombers flew well north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, staying over international waters but making a clear show of force. The Associated Press, CBSN
Pope Francis accused of spreading heresy
Several dozen conservative Catholic scholars and clergy accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy. No one’s done anything like this for quite a while — like, not since 1333. In a letter, the group claims Francis is “misleading the flock” with his openness to allowing some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive holy communion, among other concerns.
But Catholic observers don’t think this brouhaha will go anywhere. Many of the letter’s signees are part of a traditionalist group that’s already broken away from the church. But it does highlight the anxieties some of the church’s more conservative members are feeling about Francis’ tenure. CNN
Vanuatu volcano threatens to erupt
More than 6,000 people have been moved to emergency shelters on Vanuatu’s northern island Ambae in the South Pacific as a volcano threatens to erupt, officials said on Tuesday. The volcano, known as Monaro, stirred earlier this month but intensified over the weekend to begin emitting ash and volcanic gas, triggering fears of an imminent eruption.
The last time the Ambae volcano erupted was in 2005. Vanuatu is one of the world’s poorest nations, where locals are almost entirely reliant on food grown in their garden to survive. Vanuatu, formed with more than 80 islands and 260,000 people, is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and its Tana island active volcano is a major tourist attraction. VOA
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