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NEWS - THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2019 - NEWS
Senators on Wednesday questioned acting Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler in his confirmation hearing to replace Scott Pruitt permanently. President Donald Trump's nominee to take over the federal agency charged with protecting human health and the environment faced questions about the impact of the government shutdown on EPA and his views on climate change in a Senate hearing on Wednesday. Andrew Wheeler took over the helm of Environmental Protection Agency in July after Scott Pruitt, the previous administrator, resigned amid increasing ethical questions and controversy. ABC
VOA VIEW: Dems are going to far.
An American was among more than a dozen killed when gunfire and explosions erupted at a high-end hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday afternoon. An American was among more than a dozen people killed when gunfire and explosions erupted at a high-end hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.S. State Department and those who knew him. Jason Spindler "was tragically among the fatalities," the company he founded, I-DEV International, told ABC News in an email Wednesday. ABC
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to President Trump suggesting he find another date or location. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is formally asking President Trump to delay his State of the Union address scheduled for Jan. 29, or to submit his thoughts in writing instead. In a letter sent Wednesday morning to the White House, Pelosi cited potential security concerns given that federal agencies are stretched thin, given their furloughed or unpaid workforce. CBS
VOA VIEW: Trump so say, no thank you.

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The General Services Administration ignored concerns that President Trump's lease on a federal building could violate the emoluments clause. A new report from the General Services Administration (GSA) Office of the Inspector General found that the GSA "improperly ignored" concerns that President Trump's lease on the government-owned Old Post Office, which houses the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., might violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution when it allowed him to keep the lease after taking office. CBS
VOA VIEW: A waste of time.
As the U.S. and China negotiate on trade, Beijing is working overtime, pulling multiple levers to steady its lagging economy and boost markets.As the U.S. and China negotiate on trade, Beijing is working overtime, pulling multiple levers to steady its lagging economy and boost markets. China's central bank on Wednesday injected a record $83 billion into the financial system, seeking to avoid a cash crunch. The move is the latest in a series of stimulus efforts by Chinese officials, who have been working to assure investors that more spending and other types of policy support would be forthcoming. CNBC
The wealthiest Americans are still the hardest hit by stocks – but now, more than ever, the rest of the country feels the pinch of a decline in the market. "Household equity holdings have more than tripled as a share of disposable income at the aggregate level since the late 80s," Goldman Sachs senior economist Daan Struyven said in a study Tuesday. "A 1 percent move in stock prices now has a much larger impact on wealth levels for most groups." CNBC
The White House sent invitations to a bipartisan group of lawmakers for a meeting aimed at finding a solution to ending the government shutdown -- now in its 25th day as the longest in US history -- but no Democrats are expected to attend. CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports. CNN
VOA VIEW: Fools!
During the longest government shutdown in US history, President Donald Trump has been losing support among those who may be his strongest supporters -- white Americans who don't have college degrees. CNN
VOA VIEW: CNN's liberal view.
Air Force veteran and triple amputee Brian Kolfage, 37, who started the GoFundMe page in December to raise money for President Trump’s border wall, said Wednesday that donors have given $7 million to his new idea: privately building the wall, according to reports. CBS News reported that Kolfage would use contributions from his new nonprofit, We Build the Wall, Inc. to build the barrier on private land. The news outlet reported that $7 million had been redirected to We Build the Wall, and more than 120,000 donors have chosen this option. FOX News

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Two US soldiers, a defence department civilian official and contractor were killed, US Central Command confirmsA suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State has killed four Americans in north-eastern Syria, just weeks after Donald Trump said the terrorist group had been defeated and announced he was withdrawing American forces.The bomber struck on Wednesday inside a restaurant in the town of Manbij, where US troops had regularly gathered. . Guardian
Shaked and has a relatively clean image, and hoped to attract right-of-center voters who were deterred to voting Likud because of corruption allegations against Netanyahu. Jerusalem Post
The report, based on a source who took part in a briefing in Washington on the plan, said it calls for the annexation of the large settlements and the evacuation of some settlement outposts. Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: The plan is not workable.
A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced bills on Wednesday that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], ZTE Corp or other Chinese telecommunications companies that violate U.S. sanctions or export control laws. Reuters
VOA VIEW: Makes sense.

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Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded a $69 million contract for programming and reprogramming on all operational F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Lockheed Martin Corp. has been awarded a $69 million contract for programming upgrades for operational F-35 Lightning II, as well as associated training aircraft. UPI
China has rapidly modernized its military and increased defense spending for two decades, posing a security threat to Asia, a U.S. defense report said. The report released Tuesday by the Defense Intelligence Agency said China saw a nearly threefold increase in defense spending from 2002 to 2018. Last year, the DIA estimated Beijing spent more than $200 billion. UPI

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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2018 All rights reserved
January 16, 2019

     Dems are hurting those who they seem to care about. Nearly 43,000 immigration hearings have already been canceled due to the government shutdown, bumping immigrants out of court dates that took years to secure, according to a new report. And tens of thousands more hearings will soon be in jeopardy if the shutdown continues. Attorneys say migrants may have to wait up to four years in some areas to have their hearings rescheduled after the government reopens.

     The partial government shutdown has closed most immigration courts, effectively cancelling 42,729 hearings from December 24 through January 11, according to the report from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Each additional week the government is shut down will cancel another 20,000 hearings. If the shutdown continues through all of January, that means more than 100,000 individuals will have had their hearings postponed, according to TRAC.

     Once the government reopens, those court appearances will get added to the immigration court's record-high 800,000-case backlog, which has grown by 49 percent since President Trump took office in January 2017, according to TRAC.