U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: March 14, 2017

Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. CBO: GOP health plan would leave 24 million more uninsured
The House Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million over 10 years, according to a review released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday. The bill, however, would save the government $337 billion over the same period. The savings for the government pleased conservatives, but the expected swelling of the ranks of the uninsured cast fresh doubts on President Trump’s promise that the GOP plan would provide “insurance for everybody.” The CBO said that 14 million people would lose coverage in the first year. Premiums would be 15 to 20 percent higher than under the Affordable Care Act next year, but 10 percent lower after 2026. The White House’s internal review projected even steeper losses, with 26 million fewer covered.

Source: The Washington Post, Politico

2. U.K. Parliament clears government to start Brexit process
The U.K.’s Parliament on Monday gave the government of Prime Minister Theresa May authority to start formal negotiations on the country’s departure from the European Union, with no further input from lawmakers. Voters approved the move in a 2016 referendum. David Davis, the Cabinet minister responsible for negotiating Brexit, said lawmakers agreed “to get on with the job of leaving the EU and negotiating a positive new partnership with its remaining member states. … We are now on the threshold of the most important negotiation for our country in a generation.” The unelected House of Lords had passed two amendments calling for guarantees that EU residents in the U.K. could remain, and giving Parliament the right to approve the final Brexit deal. The elected House of Commons overturned the amendments, clearing the government to proceed. May says she wants to start the process by March 31.

Source: The New York Times

3. Flights, school canceled as winter storm hits Northeast
Airlines canceled thousands of flights on Monday as the Northeast braced for a fast-moving winter storm expected to hit parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut with up to two feet of snow by early Wednesday. The storm, Stella, began hitting the East Coast from Washington, D.C., to New York with ice and heavy snow early Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to drop to 15 to 30 degrees below normal for this time of year. Many local governments ordered schools to close on Tuesday, as areas that are home to 50 million people fell under storm or blizzard warnings or watches issued by the National Weather Service.

Source: Reuters

4. Justice Department asks for more time on wiretap evidence
The Justice Department, facing a Monday deadline, asked for more time to provide lawmakers with evidence supporting President Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama had New York City’s Trump Tower wiretapped during last year’s election campaign. The House intelligence committee agreed to give the Justice Department another week to comply, moving the deadline to March 20, the day of the committee’s first open hearing on alleged Russian election interference. The committee leadership said it might use its subpoena power to get any available information if the White House doesn’t provide it. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump did not mean to accuse Obama specifically, and that in the tweets in which Trump made the explosive allegations he put the word wiretap in quotes, “to mean broadly surveillance” but not necessarily the bugging of Trump’s phones.

Source: The Associated Press

5. Diplomatic fight between Turkey and the Netherlands escalates
Turkey suspended high-level diplomatic relations with the Netherlands on Monday, escalating a dispute that began when Turkey’s foreign minister was denied permission to visit the Netherlands for a political rally. Turkey said it would not permit the return of the Dutch ambassador to Turkey, and Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, demanded to know why the Dutch government refused to let him fly to Rotterdam for the event. “Why this time am I a terrorist?” he said in a Monday interview with CNN. “Are the Turks living in this country terrorists?”

Source: CNN

6. Poland seeks Minnesota man’s arrest on WWII war crime allegations
Polish prosecutors said Monday that they were seeking the arrest of a Minnesota man, Michael Karkoc, accusing him of ordering the killing of 44 civilians as a Nazi commander in World War II. Prosecutor Robert Janicki said evidence collected during an investigation that spanned years confirmed Karkoc’s identity “100 percent,” although the 98-year-old’s family denied he had ever committed war crimes, calling the allegations “evil, fabricated, intolerable, and malicious.” German authorities investigated Karkoc in 2013 after an Associated Press report identified him as a former Nazi commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which allegedly burned villages and killed civilians in Poland. The German investigation was dropped due to medical documentation showing Karkoc, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, unfit to stand trial.

Source: BBC News

7. Scottish leader seeks second independence referendum
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Monday that she would seek a second referendum on Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom. Sturgeon plans to ask the Scottish Parliament for permission next week, as Britain gears up to leave the European Union following last year’s Brexit vote. Unlike Britain, Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and Sturgeon said she wanted to ensure Scottish citizens “have a choice at the end of this process.” Though Scottish voters decided against leaving the U.K. in a 2014 referendum, Sturgeon said there’s since been “a material change of circumstances.” Sturgeon hopes for a vote as early as fall 2018 or spring 2019, but Scotland first must get permission from British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Source: The Associated Press

8. Puerto Rico oversight board approves governor’s turnaround plan
Puerto Rico’s federal oversight board voted unanimously on Monday to back Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s turnaround plan. The decision clears the way for the government to start negotiations with bond holders to reduce the island’s debt. The board said that the government could avoid austerity measures, which Puerto Ricans have protested, if it comes up with other ways to save money by April 30. The board demanded a number of painful conditions, including furloughs for government employees, deeper pension-spending cuts, and possibly cutting Christmas bonuses. Board members last week rejected Rossello’s plan, saying it relied on “overly optimistic” economic projections, but signed off when he submitted a revised version with new economic and spending forecasts.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters

9. Pirates hijack oil tanker off Somalia
Pirates hijacked an oil tanker off Somalia’s coast in the first such attack on a large commercial ship since 2012, Somali officials said Tuesday. The vessel, Aris 13, was carrying fuel from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, when it reported on Monday that it was being approached by two skiffs. An official in the semiautonomous state of Puntland said more than two dozen men boarded the vessel, which had eight Sri Lankan crew members on board. The ship later moved closer to the coast.

Source: The Associated Press

10. Lawyers counter documentary’s Ferguson claims
Prosecutors and a lawyer for a Ferguson, Missouri, convenience store on Monday disputed claims in a documentary released over the weekend that security footage proved that Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, did not rob the store shortly before he was shot by a white police officer in 2014. Jason Pollock, who made the film Stranger Fruit, said the video showed Brown giving store employees marijuana in exchange for cigarillos, then leaving the cigarillos behind the counter for safekeeping. Pollock said Brown returned hours later to pick up the cigarillos, not to rob the store as police have said. Shortly after leaving the store, Brown was fatally shot, touching off weeks of unrest. The store lawyer released unedited footage he said disproved Pollock’s claim, and the county’s chief prosecutor called the film misleading and “pathetic.”

Source: The New York Times

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