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Friday News Roundup - International

Oct 13, 2017

Will he or won’t he?

The clock is ticking on President Trump’s decision on the Iran nuclear deal. Can the world hold on to the agreement if the U.S. president lets go?

And what about peace in the Middle East, now that rival Palestinians are trying to mend fences?

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

President Trump is striking a formal blow against the Iran nuclear deal. But he is stopping short of asking Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. Instead, the president is urging lawmakers to pass a new law, spelling out conditions under which sanctions could be reimposed.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

Susan Collins, one of the few remaining centrist Republicans in the U.S. Senate, has decided to stay in that polarized body rather than run for governor of Maine.

Collins told a crowd of roughly 100 business leaders and a throng of local and national media at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine, on Friday that she will not seek the Republican nomination to run for governor next year. Instead, Collins said she will remain in the Senate at least until her current term ends in 2020.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

President Trump spoke to one of the most faithful blocs of his base on Friday, telling attendees of this year's Values Voter Summit that in America "we don't worship government, we worship God."

Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET

President Trump's decision Thursday to end subsidy payments to health insurance companies is expected to raise premiums for middle-class families and cost the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars.

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Updated at 4 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Friday that he will not recertify the Iran nuclear deal. As NPR's Scott Horsley writes, Trump "is stopping short of asking Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. Instead, the president is urging lawmakers to pass a new law, spelling out conditions under which sanctions could be reimposed."

Our original post:

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Yesterday, when President Trump signed an executive order on health care, he made a promise.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Today is only the beginning.

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Two weeks ago, bump stocks were just an odd-sounding firearm attachment largely unknown outside gun enthusiast circles.

That all changed early last week with the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, where police discovered a dozen of the devices in the shooter's hotel room overlooking the city's neon-lit Strip. Now, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups are asking for a fresh look at the legality of bump stocks.

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, most Americans — regardless of party — favor tightening restrictions on firearms, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.

But significant partisan divides remain — and perhaps relatedly, they exist alongside divides in knowledge about guns in America.

Eight-in-10 Americans told the pollsters they favor bans on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and "bump stocks," an accessory used by the Las Vegas shooter that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like an automatic weapon.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Trump administration said Thursday that it would end the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments designed to help low-income Americans get health care. Not paying the subsidies, health care experts have warned, could send the health insurance exchanges into turmoil.

The 2020 Census is expected to cost more than $15 billion — an increase of more than 25 percent above the U.S. Census Bureau's original estimate — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told members of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during a Thursday hearing.

"There are still many challenges ahead," said Ross, who says additional funding from Congress is "urgently needed" as preparations continue for the once per decade, constitutionally mandated count of every person in the U.S.

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The federal government is gearing up for its big 2020 census count. Today Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Congress the Census Bureau needs more than $15 billion to do the survey.

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Now we turn to Sabrina Corlette. She used to be a staffer with the Senate Health Committee. She now studies the health insurance industry at Georgetown University. Welcome to the program.

SABRINA CORLETTE: Thank you.

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White House chief of staff John Kelly made an unusual appearance at Thursday's daily press briefing to clear up a few things: He isn't going anywhere, he is not frustrated by President Trump's use of Twitter and he is not trying to micromanage the president.

"Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I'm not quitting today," Kelly said. "I don't believe — and I just talked to the president — I don't believe that I'm being fired today. And I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving."

China: How A Superpower Sets Its Agenda

Oct 12, 2017

It’s an event that comes around every five years, and it sets the stage for political leadership of the world’s most populous country.

The national congress of China’s Communist Party will convene on October 18, 2017 in Beijing. Chinese president Xi Jinping is likely to secure another five-year term, but there are questions about changing party policies.

As a Brazilian-born scientist, it pains me to witness the devastating cuts — and proposal of future additional reductions — to the country's science funding.

The cut of 44 percent in March brought the 2017 budget for Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications the lowest level in 12 years. Additional cuts of about 16 percent have been proposed for the 2018 budget.

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that is intended to provide more options for people shopping for health insurance. The president invoked his power of the pen after repeated Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have failed.

"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care."

With President Trump's announcement that he plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen as homeland security secretary, he still has one more Cabinet post to fill — health and human services secretary. A president having to find replacements for two Cabinet secretaries this early in an administration is unprecedented. But observers are more alarmed by the less visible vacancies at the sub-Cabinet level: hundreds of positions without a nominee, and a president who says he has no intention of filling many of the jobs.

In 2015, world powers agreed to give Iran relief from some economic sanctions in return for inspections and limits on its nuclear program. Since the nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — took effect in January 2016, Iran has allowed inspections and is seeing some economic payoff.

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

An American woman, her Canadian husband and their three young children have been freed after five years in captivity by an extremist group in Afghanistan, the White House said Thursday.

Caitlan Coleman, now 32, was several months pregnant when she and her husband, Joshua Boyle, were abducted in 2012 while on a trip to Afghanistan.

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RT, the Kremlin-backed global TV network, will remove a series of provocative street ads appearing in Washington and New York, that appear to poke fun at Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The advertisements began appearing on bus shelters, cars and in subway stations recently. One read: "Stuck in traffic? Lost an election? Blame us!" Another teased: "Find out who we are planning to hack next."

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