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Biden will struggle to cut defense spending despite pressure
  + stars: | 2020-11-25 | by ( Mike Stone | ) + 0.00   time to read: +3 min
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Joe Biden will come under immense pressure from progressives in the Democratic party to cut the defense budget once he takes office in January. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File PhotoBut defense spending is unlikely to be cut since it supports countless U.S. jobs during the coronavirus recession. In three years, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has increased defense spending 19% from $619.5 billion to $740 billion. The possibility of cutting defense jobs could hurt vulnerable Democrats seeking reelection at a time when their majority in the House is already razor thin. For that reason deep defense cuts may not be popular with many moderate Democrats either, a former Pentagon official added.
Persons: Joe Biden, Erin Scott, Donald Trump’s, , Todd Harrison, we’ll, ” Harrison, Toby O’Brien, Michele Flournoy, Booz Allen Hamilton, Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Ronald Reagan, Biden Organizations: WASHINGTON, Democratic, Pentagon, REUTERS, Progressive Democrats, House, Representatives, Center for Strategic, Studies, Raytheon Technologies, Reuters, Congressional, Defense, U.S . Department of Defense, Booz, Homeland Security, Lockheed, Lockheed Martin Co, Army, Navy, for Strategic, Ronald, Capitol Hill Locations: Arlington , Virginia, U.S
China's Manila mission says 'dangerous' U.S. creating chaos in Asia
  + stars: | 2020-11-24 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -1.00   time to read: +2 min
MANILA (Reuters) - China’s embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for “creating chaos” in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. China claim to 90% of the South China Sea includes areas claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. The United States has repeatedly sent warships to the strategic waterway to demonstrate freedom of navigation there. “Facts have proved that the U.S. is the biggest driver of the militarization,” the embassy statement said, calling it “the most dangerous external factor” in the South China Sea. The United States embassy in Manila had no immediate response.
Persons: Robert O’Brien, “ we’ve, , O’Brien Organizations: White, United Locations: MANILA, Philippines, United States, Asia, China, Beijing, Manila, Taiwan, Vietnam, U.S, South, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Brunei, Malaysia, South China
'We've got your back' - Trump advisor vows U.S. support in South China Sea
  + stars: | 2020-11-23 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -0.98   time to read: +2 min
“I think when we send that message – that peace-through-strength message – is the way to deter China. Vietnam and the Philippines have been the most vocal regional opponents to what they see as Chinese overreach in the South China Sea and its disregard for boundaries outlined in international maritime law. China claims 90% of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam each claim parts of it. The United States has long opposed China’s expansive claims, sending warships regularly through the strategic waterway to demonstrate freedom of navigation there. Last year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured the Philippines it would come to its defense if attacked in the South China Sea.
Persons: Robert O’Brien, Robert O'Brien, Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr, Eloisa Lopez, we’ve, , , ” O’Brien, Mike Pompeo Organizations: U.S . National, Foreign Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, REUTERS, United, Forces Locations: MANILA, Philippines, Vietnam, China, Washington, U.S, Pasay City, Metro Manila, South, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, United States, Manila, South China
China says it will respond to U.S. admiral visit to Taiwan
  + stars: | 2020-11-23 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -0.99   time to read: +2 min
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China September 10, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia RawlinsA two-star Navy admiral overseeing U.S. military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. Neither Taiwan nor the United States has officially confirmed the trip. China urges the United States to fully recognise the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, Zhao told a news briefing. China has already lodged “stern representations” with the United States, which should stop having these kinds of interactions with Taiwan, he added.
Persons: Zhao Lijian, Carlos Garcia Rawlins, Trump, China “, Zhao, , Alex Azar, Keith Krach, Robert O’Brien, Organizations: U.S . Navy, Chinese Foreign Ministry, Foreign Ministry, REUTERS, Sunday, Foreign, Health, U.S, White House Locations: BEIJING, MANILA, China, Taiwan, Taipei, Washington, U.S, Beijing, Asia, United States, Manila, , Washington . China
FILE PHOTO: The General Electric Co. logo is seen on the company's corporate headquarters building in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Alwyn ScottWASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Electric Co. and a Vietnamese company on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a liquified natural gas power plant, according to GE and a senior Trump administration official. GE said the Long Son LNG facility in Ba Ria-Vung Province would provide 3,600-4,500 megawatts of power to the country. Pacific Corp., Vietnam’s Power Engineering Consulting Joint Stock Company 2 and TTC Group, and Mitsubishi’s Corp.’s local subsidiary, also will participate in the project, GE said. O’Brien was scheduled to meet government officials and speak to students during his visit.
Persons: Alwyn Scott WASHINGTON, Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s, Vietnam’s EVNGenco3, O’Brien, Michael Nguyen Organizations: General, Co, REUTERS, General Electric Co, Saturday, GE, Trump, . Pacific Corp, Power Engineering, Company, TTC Group, Mitsubishi’s Corp Locations: Boston , Massachusetts, U.S, Vietnamese, Hanoi, Vietnam, Massachusetts, Ho Chi Minh City, Son, Ba Ria, Vung Province
U.S. national security adviser O'Brien en route Vietnam, Philippines
  + stars: | 2020-11-18 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -0.51   time to read: 1 min
FILE PHOTO: National security adviser Robert O'Brien speaks to the news media outside of the White House in Washington, U.S., Nov. 17, 2020. REUTERS/Leah MillisWASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien is on his way to Vietnam and the Philippines to discuss regional security cooperation, the White House said in a tweet on Wednesday. While traveling, he will stop in Alaska “to promote America’s arctic security efforts,” the White House National Security Council tweeted. He will also meet American service personnel at Joint Base Hickam in Hawaii.
Persons: Robert O'Brien, Leah Millis, Robert O’Brien Organizations: White, REUTERS, White House, White House National Security, Joint Base Hickam Locations: Washington , U.S, Leah Millis WASHINGTON, Vietnam, Philippines, Alaska “, Hawaii
U.S. security adviser O'Brien en route to Vietnam, Philippines
  + stars: | 2020-11-18 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) + 0.92   time to read: +2 min
FILE PHOTO: National security adviser Robert O'Brien speaks to the news media outside of the White House in Washington, U.S., Nov. 17, 2020. REUTERS/Leah MillisWASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien is on his way to Vietnam and the Philippines, countries that share U.S. concern over China’s increasingly assertive behavior and extensive maritime claims in Asia, the White House said on Wednesday. Tweets from the White House National Security Council said O’Brien would meet leaders in both countries “to reaffirm the strength of our bilateral relationships and to discuss regional security cooperation.”O’Brien’s trip follows a visit to Hanoi last month by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Washington also has concerns about human rights in the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has been engaged in a war on drugs in which thousands of urban poor have been killed, many in mysterious circumstances. On a visit last year, Pompeo assured the Philippines that Washington would come to its defense if it came under attack in the South China Sea, where Manila has competing claims with China and other countries, including Vietnam.
Persons: Robert O'Brien, Leah Millis, Robert O’Brien, O’Brien, , Mike Pompeo, Michael Nguyen, Rodrigo Duterte, Pompeo, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Trump, Xi Jinping Organizations: White, REUTERS, White House, White House National Security Council, U.S, Asia Summit, Reuters Locations: Washington , U.S, Leah Millis WASHINGTON, Vietnam, Philippines, Asia, Hanoi, Vietnamese, Washington, South China, Manila, China, Pacific, United States
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Tuesday it is President Donald Trump’s hope that all U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan and Iraq by May. O’Brien spoke to reporters after the Pentagon announced troop drawdowns in both Afghanistan and May by January 15, five days before Trump leaves office. “By May it is President Trump’s hope that they’ll all come home safely and in their entirety,” O’Brien said.
Persons: Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s, O’Brien, Trump, Trump’s, ” O’Brien Organizations: WASHINGTON, White House, Pentagon, Locations: Afghanistan, Iraq
REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueBiden’s senior campaign staff have been discussing their roles in the transition and the new administration that takes over Jan. 20. A spokesman for Biden’s transition team declined to comment. Biden, a Democrat, is also set to receive a briefing on national security threats from his own advisers. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said on Monday he would ensure a professional transition in the likely event that Biden is deemed the winner. Georgia is undertaking a manual recount on its own, but in Wisconsin the Trump campaign would have to pay for a recount in advance.
Persons: Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, Kevin Lamarque Biden’s, Cedric Richmond, Steve Ricchetti, Biden, Richmond’s, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Trump, Emily Murphy, , Murphy, Republican Trump, Robert O’Brien, , Harris, ” O’Brien, Matthew Brann, Brad Raffensperger, it’s, Raffensperger Organizations: White, REUTERS, Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic, Democrat, Republican, General, National Security Council, Global Security, Monday, Trump, BIDEN, Electoral College, U.S, District, Washington Post Locations: WILMINGTON, Del, WASHINGTON, U.S, Wilmington , Delaware, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin
The message he had heard was: “Look hard and see how many ballots you can throw out,” Mr. Raffensperger, told CNN on Monday evening. The error was not related to signature matching but was caused by county election officials neglecting to upload the results of a set of ballots, Mr. Raffensperger said. Georgia is one of five states that Mr. Biden captured from Mr. Trump en route to becoming president-elect. Mr. Biden has more than enough electoral votes to win the national election even without Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. He said he had asked Mr. Raffensperger for details about Georgia’s signature verification process and suggested that it be made more stringent.
Persons: Lindsey Graham, Joseph R, Biden, Lindsay Graham, Alex Edelman, Trump, Brad Raffensperger, Lindsey Graham of, Raffensperger, Graham, ” Mr, Mr, Trump’s, Robert C, O’Brien Organizations: , Republican, Washington, CNN, Mr, Capitol Locations: South Carolina, Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Floyd County, Trump, Trump . Georgia
Powell Says Economic Risks Persist Despite Vaccine: Live UpdatesJudy Shelton’s confirmation to the Fed fails to advance to a final vote. “It’s probably too soon to say with any confidence” what the economic impact of potential vaccines might be, Mr. Powell said. “From the very start, we’ve been concerned about longer-run damage to the productive capacity of the economy,” Mr. Powell said. —Advertisement Continue reading the main storyTesla is joining the S&P 500, and that could have investors scrambling to buy its shares. Tesla’s sheer size will give it immediate influence over the S&P 500, which is weighted by market capitalization.
Persons: Powell, Judy Shelton’s, Judy Shelton, Erin Schaff, Shelton’s, Mitch McConnell, Shelton, , Shelton —, Trump’s, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins —, Lamar Alexander, Charles E, Grassley, Rick Scott of, Christopher Waller, Louis, Mark Kelly, Trump, Joseph R, Biden, — Jeanna, Jerome H, ” Mr, “ It’s, résumés, we’ve, Mr, “ We’ve, “ We’re, , — we’ll, Aly Song, Reuters Tesla, Tesla, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson, ” Angela Hwang, Conan O’Brien, HBO Max, Johnny Carson, Jake Michaels, “ Conan, , O’Brien, “ I’m, John C, Reilly, Zach Braff, Laci Mosley, “ Conan ”, Trevor Noah’s “, Stephen Colbert’s “, Conan ”, O’Brien —, David Letterman, NBC’s, Letterman, O’Brien’s, , Brendan Mcdermid, ” Morgan Stanley, Doug McMillion, Stocks, Dow, Ruth Fremson, Ricardo Valadez, Elizabeth Warren’s, won’t, Valadez, Mitch McConnell of, John Cornyn of, Susan Collins of, David Perdue, Jon Ossoff, Kelly Loeffler, Raphael Warnock, Eileen Appelbaum Organizations: Hill, The New York, Federal Reserve’s Board, Governors, Republican, Twitter, Federal Reserve Bank of St, Democratic, Fed, Federal, Federal Reserve, Pfizer, Moderna, ” Service, Treasury Department, Tesla, Reuters, JPMorgan Chase, Investment, Johnson, Food and Drug Administration, HBO, The New York Times, TBS, Warner Media, Nielsen, Comedy Central, CBS, Black, Commerce Department, Walmart, Dow Jones Indices, CVS Health, Rite Aid, Walgreens Boots Alliance, New York Times, Financial Reform, Government, Democrats, Apollo, KKR, Blackstone, Roark Capital, Insight Partners, Center for Economic, Research Locations: Tennessee, Iowa, Rick Scott of Florida, Washington, Arizona, United States, Shanghai ., Puurs, Belgium, Rhode Island , Texas, New Mexico, WarnerMedia, Europe, Britain, , Georgia, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Cornyn of Texas, Susan Collins of Maine
Conan O’Brien to leave late-night TV for a weekly HBO Max show.
  + stars: | 2020-11-17 | by ( John Koblin | ) sentiment -0.94   time to read: +1 min
“Conan,” the TBS show hosted by Conan O’Brien, will go off the air in June, and the host will move on to HBO Max, where he plans to have his own weekly variety series, Warner Media announced on Tuesday. “In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,’” Mr. O’Brien said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription.”It is something of a lateral move: TBS and HBO Max are both part of WarnerMedia, AT&T’s news and entertainment division. For the week of Nov. 9, when Mr. O’Brien welcomed John C. Reilly, Zach Braff and Laci Mosley as guests, “Conan” averaged 275,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. Unlike the majority of his competitors, Mr. O’Brien has not made pointed political humor the focus of his nightly monologues, favoring a more absurdist approach.
Persons: “ Conan, Conan O’Brien, HBO Max, , Johnny Carson, O’Brien, “ I’m, John C, Reilly, Zach Braff, Laci Mosley, “ Conan ”, Trevor Noah’s “, Stephen Colbert’s “ Organizations: TBS, HBO, Warner Media, Nielsen, Comedy Central, CBS Locations: WarnerMedia
7 Podcasts From Familiar Faces
  + stars: | 2020-11-17 | by ( Emma Dibdin | ) + 0.00   time to read: +3 min
As the podcast boom has snowballed over the past few years, so has the number of star vehicles in audio form. Once seen as a hobby, or at best a side hustle, podcasts now provide an opportunity for stars to connect directly with their audience. A household name at the helm is no guarantee of a good audio experience, but these seven podcasts hosted by celebrities are worth the listen. Every week, Faris welcomes a fellow comedian or cultural figure for a conversation that is always unscripted but often plays more like a humorous skit than a straightforward chat-show interview. “The Left Ear” is a compilation of candid first-person stories about sexual violence, presented without editorializing, told to Johnson via voice mail.
Persons: Anna Faris, , Faris, bro, Karen, Abby, “ Chelsea Handler, Dakota Johnson, editorializing, Johnson, Conan O’Brien, O’Brien, Tom Hanks, Maya Rudolph, Keegan, Michael Key, Organizations: Hollywood, Co Locations: Chad
Lebanese security chief visited Syria in efforts to free U.S. captive
  + stars: | 2020-11-14 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -0.55   time to read: +1 min
Slideshow ( 2 images )AMMAN (Reuters) - Lebanese Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim visited Damascus after a trip to Washington as part of efforts to free U.S. citizen Austin Tice, who is thought to be held in Syria, Lebanese broadcaster al Jadid reported on Saturday. U.S. President Donald Trump has adopted the case of the freelance journalist and former U.S. Marine officer who disappeared while reporting in Syria in 2012. Abbas said the trip to Damascus came after he visited Washington last month where he met with national security adviser Robert O’Brien. The trip was the first time such a high-level U.S. official had met in Syria with the isolated government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in more than a decade. Syria erupted into civil war nearly a decade ago after Assad in 2011 began a brutal crackdown on protesters calling for an end to his family’s rule.
Persons: Abbas Ibrahim, Austin Tice, Jadid, Ibrahim, al Jadid, Tice’s, , Donald Trump, Abbas, Robert O’Brien, Trump, Tice, Bashar al, Assad Organizations: U.S . Marine, White House Locations: AMMAN, Damascus, Washington, Syria, Lebanese, Syrian
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien will represent the United States at back-to-back virtual summits with Asian countries this weekend, the White House said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien takes off his a face mask during a meeting at Sao Paulo's Industries Federation President in Sao Paulo, Brazil October 19, 2020. “Ambassador O’Brien will reaffirm the commitment of the United States to prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific during virtual remarks,” the White House said in a statement. Vice President Mike Pence represented the United States at the meetings in Singapore in 2018, while O’Brien did so in Thailand last year. (This story corrects final sentence to show that Pence represented the United States in 2018 and O’Brien last year)
Persons: Robert O’Brien, Robert O'Brien, Amanda Perobelli, Donald Trump, Trump, Joe Biden, O’Brien, , Barack Obama’s, Mike Pence, Pence Organizations: WASHINGTON, . National, Sao Paulo's Industries, REUTERS, U.S ., Association of Southeast Asian Nations, East Asia Summit, Economic, Pacific, Economic Cooperation, Asia Pacific, U.S, Democratic, , ASEAN, EAS Locations: United States, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Asia, Pacific, China, East Asia, U.S, Manila, Singapore, Thailand
U.S. Secret Service officers sidelined by COVID-19
  + stars: | 2020-11-13 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -1.00   time to read: +2 min
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dozens of U.S. Secret Service officers assigned to protect President Donald Trump have been sidelined by COVID-19, the Washington Post and New York Times reported on Friday as the coronavirus outbreak spread at the White House. Two U.S. government sources familiar with the situation confirmed to Reuters that Secret Service officers had tested positive for the virus but did not provide a specific number. The New York Times reported that at least 30 uniformed Secret Service officers recently tested positive for the virus, and that around 60 were asked by the agency to quarantine themselves. Secret Service representatives declined to give a tally of officers affected. White House spokesman Judd Deere referred questions to the Secret Service, but told the Post separately that the administration took every case seriously.
Persons: Donald Trump, COVID, Judd Deere, Trump, Melania Trump, Trump’s, Barron, Hope Hicks, Robert O’Brien, Kayleigh McEnany, Ben Carson, Corey Lewandowski, Nancy Pelosi, Organizations: WASHINGTON, Secret Service, Washington Post, New York Times, White House, Reuters, The New York Times, Secret, Trump, White, U.S . Department of Housing, Urban, . House Locations: U.S, Corey Lewandowski .
White House chief of staff Meadows has COVID-19, source says
  + stars: | 2020-11-07 | by ( Reuters Staff | ) sentiment -0.98   time to read: +1 min
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has frequently appeared at public events without wearing a mask, has been diagnosed with COVID-19, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Friday. Another top campaign aide, Nick Trainer, has also tested positive for the virus, according to the source. Meadows, who was at a White House election night party attended by dozens of Trump loyalists, is the latest official within Trump’s close circle to have contracted COVID-19, which has killed more than 236,000 Americans. He has contradicted the public statements of top health experts, even after an outbreak seized the White House in October. Another friend of Trump’s, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, died of the coronavirus in July after attending one of Trump’s rallies.
Persons: Mark Meadows, Nick Trainer, Donald Trump, Trump, Barron, Robert O’Brien, Trump’s, Herman Cain Organizations: WASHINGTON, White House, Reuters, Trump loyalists, Republican Locations: Trump’s, North Carolina, Meadows
Mr. Trump has not had a briefing led by his designated briefer, the veteran intelligence officer Beth Sanner, in more than a month, people familiar with the matter said. Instead, Mr. Trump has relied on Mr. Ratcliffe to brief him two or three times a week, including one delivered Thursday, the people said. Early in Mr. Trump’s presidency, aides shrunk the size of traditional intelligence briefings to prevent leaks, officials have said. Ronald Reagan was the last president not to regularly hear from his designated intelligence briefer. Mr. Trump is also the first president to rely primarily on the director of national intelligence to deliver his intelligence since the position was created in 2004.
Persons: Trump, Beth Sanner, Sanner, Ratcliffe, Robert C, Mark Meadows, Trump’s, Ronald Reagan, Robert C. O’Brien, Mark Meadows Organizations: White House, Mr Locations: Armenia, Azerbaijan
ALL BLOOD RUNS RED: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard — Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy, by Phil Keith with Tom Clavin. (Hanover Square, 352 pp., $17.99.) This “absorbing” biography of the first Black American fighter pilot “reads like a picaresque novel,” our reviewer, Thomas E. Ricks, noted. “Metaphorically speaking, of course.”ATTICUS FINCH: The Biography: Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of an American Icon, by Joseph Crespino. (Basic, 272 pp., $17.99.)
Persons: Eugene Bullard — Boxer, Phil Keith, Tom Clavin, Thomas E, Ricks, Bullard, Jim Crow, stowing, Edna O’Brien, Francine Prose, , Boko Haram, ” CARI MORA, Thomas Harris, Harris, , Pablo Escobar — “, Vanessa Friedman, ATTICUS FINCH, Harper Lee, Joseph Crespino, Howell Raines, Harper, Lee “, , Thomas E. Ricks, Pablo Escobar Organizations: Black American, French Foreign Legion, Lambs, Pilot, Soldier, Spy, Vanessa Friedman, Howell Raines Locations: Hanover, Europe, Paris, Nigeria, Colombian, Miami, Miami
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