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NEWS     FRIDAY,  DECEMBER   14, 2018    NEWS

GM won’t be treated well after plant closures, Trump warns
President Trump railed against the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, on Thursday, calling her “nasty” and saying the auto manufacturer would not be treated well moving forward, regarding its decision to slash 15 percent of its North American workforce and halt production at several plants. “I don’t like what she did,” Trump said during an interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner. “It was nasty. Ohio is going to replace those jobs in two minutes.” The closures of five GM facilities in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and Ontario -- announced at the end of November -- came as the largest American auto manufacturer looks to cut costs amid restructuring. It could affect up to 14,000 employees. Fox
VOA VIEW: GM will lose.

First Lady OK With a 2nd Term; Husband Is 'Fighting for America Every Day'
Politics is a "tough business" that requires a "very thick skin," First Lady Melania Trump told Fox News's Sean Hannity Wednesday night. But she said she wouldn't mind staying on for a second term. "I think my husband is doing an incredible job. The country does best ever. So yes, I think I want the country to continue to do well."
Hannity asked Mrs. Trump what she would like the country to know about her husband that a hostile media would never report. "That he's fighting for America and American people every day -- every day," Mrs. Trump said. CNS
VOA VIEW: A second term is a natural win.

Feds Collect Record Taxes Through November; Still Run $305.4B Deficit
The federal government collected record total tax revenues of $458,653,000,000 in October and November, the first two months of fiscal 2019, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today. Even with these record tax collections, however, the government still ran a deficit of $305,394,000,000 for the first two months of the fiscal year. That is because while collecting that record $458,653,000,000 in taxes, the government spent $764,046,000,000. The record $458,853,000,000 in federal taxes in October and November was up $5,280,090,000 from the $453,372,910,000 in total taxes in constant November 2018 dollars that the federal government collected in October and November of fiscal 2018. CNS


Rep. Nancy Pelosi says she is praying for President Donald Trump as shutdown looms
As a partial government shutdown looms, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi flatly dismissed President Donald Trump’s demands for $5 billion towards a border wall, scoffed at his claim that Mexico is implicitly paying for the wall as a result of the renegotiated trade agreement and revealed that she told him on Tuesday, after a public confrontation at the White House, that she is praying for him.  ABC
VOA VIEW: Pelosi is an idiot.

New 'no escape' Meteor missiles boost fighter jets' firepower
There is no escape for enemy aircraft when up against fighter jets armed with the incredibly fast, powerful and extremely destructive Meteor missiles. The Meteors are made to excel at hunting and destroying enemy threats at long ranges no matter the environment or weather conditions. To ensure maximum destruction, the Meteor’s fragmentation warhead detonates on impact or at the optimum point of intercept. Powered by air-breathing ramjets, these new missiles can reach ultra-fast speeds exceeding the speed of sound. Further boosting the destructive power, the ramjets provide the missile with thrust all the way through to the strike.  Fox

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina pleads guilty to engaging in conspiracy against US
Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday morning to attempting to infiltrate Republican political circles and influence US relations with Russia before and after the 2016 presidential election. Butina, 30, attended conferences of groups such as the National Rifle Association and the National Prayer Breakfast, and orchestrated gatherings where influential Americans could meet with Russians. "Butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics," prosecutors said. Butina admitted to acting "under direction of" a Russian official whom CNN has identified as Alexander Torshin, the recently retired deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia. CNN


Del Monte recalls canned corn in 25 states, 12 nations, due to botulism risk
Del Monte Foods is recalling more than 64,000 cases of incompletely sterilized canned corn that could cause life-threatening illness if consumed. Walmart and Target are among the retailers in 25 states and 12 countries that sold the recalled product, the food producer said. The recall of 64,242 cases of "Fiesta Corn" seasoned with red and green peppers was due to under-processing, the company said in a notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The missed steps from the commercial sterilization process could result in spoilage and possible contamination with life-threatening pathogens, if eaten, Del Monte warned. CBS

Trump says he has a short list for chief of staff position
During a White House meeting with a number of incoming governors Thursday afternoon, President Trump said there are five "well-known" and "terrific" people on his short list of candidates to replace outgoing chief of staff John Kelly. "We're interviewing people," he told reporters. When asked about a federal judge's order to have Michael Flynn and special counsel Robert Mueller turn over investigative records from Flynn's interviews with FBI agents in 2017, Mr. Trump praised his first national security adviser. "Well, the FBI said Michael Flynn, a general and a great person, they said he didn't lie. CBS

US unveils new Africa policy to counter 'predatory' Russia and China
The Trump administration has unveiled a new Africa policy focused on combating the “predatory” practices of China and Russia, and ending what it calls “indiscriminate assistance” and “unproductive, unsuccessful and unaccountable” UN peacekeeping missions. Announcing the new policy, the national security adviser, John Bolton, said it would put US interests first, so would be built around trade and countering the threat terrorist groups like Isis and al-Qaida could pose to the US.
Bolton said that Trump had approved the policy on Wednesday and the administration would begin executing it immediately. That is likely to have a rapid impact on UN peacekeeping missions. Guardian

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Yemen's warring parties agree ceasefire in Hodeidah
Talks in Sweden between Yemen's warring parties on Thursday led to a major breakthrough in blunting a devastating war that has killed thousands and driven the country to famine, with both sides agreeing on a ceasefire in a key port that acts as a lifeline for millions. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced that the Iran-linked Houthi rebels, who control Hodeidah port, had reached a ceasefire there with the Saudi-led coalition that was massing troops in the Red Sea city ahead of a final push into the port. In a statement released near the end of peace talks this week in Sweden, Mr Guterres said that UN troops would be dispatched to Hodeidah, where the organisation will also help distribute much-needed aid. Telegraph

Climate change also wiped out life on Earth 252 million years ago
In addition to detailing the demise of Permian-era life, the new research can be used to better understand the impacts of warming ocean temperatures on modern species. Some 252 million years ago, nearly all live on Earth vanished. The fossil record suggests some 96 percent of all marine life disappeared, and scientists suspect the magnitude of losses on land was similar. But until now, scientists weren't sure what exactly caused the massive Permian Period extinction, an event known as the Great Dying. UPI

Senate to vote Monday to advance criminal justice overhaul
The Senate will vote on Monday to advance a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, putting the legislation on track to be completed next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved on Thursday to set up votes to open up debate on the legislation, which will then be followed by a limited amount of amendments. McConnell's parliamentary move fulfills a promise to President Donald Trump to consider the bill in the lame duck after the GOP leader publicly and privately surmised that the Senate didn't have enough time to complete it. After the Senate begins debating the bill, it will take 60 votes ultimately to pass it. And an amendment from bill opponent Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) will require just 50 votes in the narrowly divided Senate. Politico


Trump: 'I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law'
US President Donald Trump has said he never directed his former private lawyer to break the law, a day after he was sentenced to prison. "He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law." Mr Trump tweeted of Michael Cohen, adding that he pleaded guilty "to embarrass the president". His comments came a day after Cohen received a three-year jail sentence for campaign finance and fraud crimes. Cohen had blamed Mr Trump's influence and "dirty deeds" at his sentencing. In a series of tweets on Thursday, Mr Trump also insisted that he "did nothing wrong" in regards to campaign finance laws. BBC

Pimco Sees ‘Flashing Orange’ U.S. Recession Signal as Cycle Ages
U.S. growth will slow and the risks of a recession climb in 2019 as the near-decade-long economic cycle ages, according to Pacific Investment Management Co. “The probability of a U.S. recession over the next 12 months has risen to about 30 percent recently and is thus higher than at any point in this nine-year-old expansion,” Pimco economist Joachim Fels and Andrew Balls, global fixed-income chief investment officer, wrote in an outlook released Thursday. “Even so, the models are flashing orange rather than red.”  Bloomberg

Senate votes to end US military support for Saudis in Yemen
The Senate has passed a resolution calling for an end to US military support to the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war, and asserting Congress’s right to decide on matters of war and peace. The measure, which passed by 56 votes to 41, marked the first time the Senate had invoked the 1973 War Powers Resolution to seek to curb the power of the p“Today we declare we will not long participate in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen which has caused the worst humanitarian crisis on earth, with 85,000 children starving to death. Today we tell the despotic regime in Saudi Arabia that we will no longer be part of their military adventurism.” Sanders went on: “The War Powers Act was passed 45 years ago. Theresident to take the US into an armed conflict. Guardian

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Suspect in mass shooting in Strasbourg, France, is killed by police
The suspect in the Strasbourg shooting that left three dead and 13 injured has been killed by police in that city, French authorities said Thursday. The announcement of the death of 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt comes after an intense manhunt involving hundreds of officers since the shooting Tuesday night outside the Strasbourg's Christmas market. He had been on the run since the attack near the popular tourist attraction. The Paris prosecutor's office said the prosecutor was on the way to the site where Chekatt was killed. French security forces were trying to catch Chekatt dead or alive, an official said earlier Thursday. NBC

Bernie Sanders addresses 2020 speculation
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said on Thursday that "if" he decides to run for president again in 2020, he knows the issues he'll campaign on. Addressing speculation that he could enter the wide-open Democratic field, Sanders, 77, told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell that he would "make that decision when I think it's appropriate." "If, and that is an if, I do decide to run, we're going to be taking on the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry, and Wall Street. And all of the powerful special interests who now control much of what goes on in Congress," he said. NBC
VOA VIEW: Good for ego, but no chance of a win.
Senators vote to end US backing for Saudi war on Yemen
Members of President Donald Trump's Republican party joined Democrats by 56-41 to rebuke the longtime US ally over reporter Jamal Khashoggi's death. Mr Trump has vowed to veto the largely symbolic measure, and it is unlikely to pass the House of Representatives. Experts say Yemen is experiencing the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The non-binding "war powers resolution" also calls on Saudi Arabia to "moderate its increasingly erratic foreign policy". The US chose to cease refuelling Saudi war planes last month, and Thursday's resolution - if it were passed into law - would prohibit that practice from resuming.  BBC

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Trump claims, without evidence, that Mexico will pay for border wall via trade deal
After threatening to shut down the government if Congress does not allot $5 billion for a wall across the southern border, President Trump now says Mexico will be paying for the wall using money the U.S. would "save" from the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement. The president tweeted, “I often stated, “One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.” This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!" ABC

Bomb threats emailed to multiple locations across the country
Dozens of institutions across the country received email threats Thursday afternoon, prompting evacuations and sweeps of buildings. At this time it unclear if the threats -- which have been received at locations throughout San Francisco, at the University of Washington in Seattle, and at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, among other places -- are connected. The FBI said it is aware of the threats and is working with law enforcement to provide assistance. "As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," the FBI said. In Seattle, UW noted in a campus-wide alert that the FBI had "advised that the email is not a credible threat." CNN

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