10 things you need to know today: May 1, 2017
Congressional negotiators reach deal to avoid shutdown, North Korea vows to push nuclear program "to the maximum," and more
Congressional negotiators reach a deal to prevent a shutdown
Congressional leaders reached a deal late Sunday to keep the government funded through September, all but ending the possibility of a government shutdown next weekend. The $1 trillion spending agreement followed weeks of negotiations nearly disrupted by President Trump's call for including money to start building his promised wall on the Mexican border. The deal includes concessions to both parties. It includes $295 million to help Puerto Rico continue making Medicaid payments, and also includes increases in energy and science funding Trump wants to cut — both policies Democrats had demanded. It also includes $12.5 billion in new military spending and $1.5 billion more for border security requested by Republicans, although that money must be spent on technology and repairs to existing fencing and other infrastructure, not Trump's wall. The deal came two days after Congress passed a stopgap spending measure to keep federal agencies funded for a week so the spending packaged could be finalized. The House and the Senate are expected to vote on the agreement by Thursday.
North Korea vows to push its nuclear program 'to the maximum'
North Korea said Monday that it would boost its nuclear weapons program "to the maximum" in a "consecutive and successive way at any moment," suggesting it planned to continue testing nuclear weapons despite pressure from the U.S. and other countries. President Trump has said a "major, major conflict" could erupt over North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. When asked on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday whether he would intervene militarily if North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear weapon test, Trump said, "I don't know. I mean, we'll see." The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier strike group to waters near the Korean peninsula in a show of force. Pyongyang has threatened to sink the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, and China warned last week that tensions over North Korea could spiral out of control.
Trump reaches out to Asia leaders for help pressuring North Korea
President Trump on Sunday spoke by phone with the prime ministers of Thailand and Singapore seeking to broaden support for increasing pressure on North Korea to curb its missile and nuclear weapons programs. Trump reportedly invited both leaders to Washington. The outreach came two days after North Korea's latest missile test launch, the second straight to end in failure. On Saturday, Trump also invited controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. In the previous week he spoke to leaders from China and Japan about North Korea. "We need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get to make sure that we have our ducks in a row," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told ABC's This Week on Sunday.
Report: Controversial Trump aide Sebastian Gorka to leave White House
Controversial White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka is expected to step down, CNN reported on Sunday, citing several administration officials. Gorka reportedly is likely to take a job outside the White House, although according to one official he might take another job in President Trump's administration. Gorka, a former Breitbart national security editor, is an outspoken advocate of taking a harder line against Islamist terrorists, and has been a vocal defender of Trump's now-blocked travel ban.
Biden surprises crowd by saying he won't run in 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden doused speculation that he was gearing up for a possible 2020 presidential bid on Sunday, telling New Hampshire Democrats, "Guys, I'm not running." The crowd booed when he said it, although supporters reacted positively to Biden's call for restoring dignity to politics and the party's appeal to working class voters. Politico reported on Sunday that people close to Biden said his upcoming speaking schedule, starting with the Sunday night speech at the state Democratic Party dinner, demonstrated his desire to stay involved in the national political debate. Next he will appear at a fundraiser for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, then make a speech to the Florida Democratic Party. "He doesn't sit still well," said a Biden adviser. "He wants to have a voice. The more stuff he does like this, the more people hear his voice."
Ros-Lehtinen, first Cuban-American woman in Congress, is retiring
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, an influential Cuban-American Republican, told The Miami Herald on Sunday that she would retire at the end of her term next year. Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, winning her first congressional election in 1989 after serving seven years in the Florida legislature. She won her current term last year in Florida's heavily Democratic redrawn 27th district, beating Democratic challenger Scott Fuhrman, a political newcomer, by 10 percentage points. She said she could have won next time by a bigger margin, but, "We just said, 'It's time to take a new step.'"
French strikes kill 20 militants along Mali-Burkina Faso border
French forces killed more than 20 militants with both ground and air strikes in a forested area near the border between the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso over the weekend. The attack came after the death of a French soldier earlier in the month. France has sent 4,000 soldiers to the region to join the fight against Islamist militants, although the French military did not immediately identify what group it had targeted in the weekend strikes.
At least 13 killed in weekend storms across four states
The death toll from weekend storms and tornadoes that swept across Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi reached at least 13 late Sunday. Four people were killed and more than 50 injured as tornadoes swept through the Canton area east of Dallas, flattening homes, flipping cars, and causing "extensive damage," officials said. Several people were killed when they were swept away by floodwater, including a 10-year-old girl in Springdale, Arkansas, and a 72-year-old woman in Missouri. In Dead Cove City, Arkansas, fire chief Doug Deckar was on a road checking water lines early Sunday when he was hit by a car and killed, Arkansas state police said.
Twitter and Bloomberg partner to offer streaming news
Twitter is teaming up with Bloomberg to stream video news around the clock, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Bloomberg, a global financial news service, reportedly will create a channel with live news produced for Twitter from Bloomberg's bureaus around the world, rather than simply rebroadcasting Bloomberg's current TV news. "It is going to be focused on the most important news for an intelligent audience around the globe and it's going to be broader in focus than our existing network," said Bloomberg Media's chief executive officer, Justin Smith. The two companies are expected to announce the partnership at an event that Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are holding for advertisers.
The Fate of the Furious tops $1 billion globally
The Fate of the Furious topped the domestic box office for the third straight week, bringing in another $19.4 million in North America over the weekend as its global total surpassed $1 billion, according to studio estimates released Sunday. The action movie, with a cast led by Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, also beat out its predecessor, Furious 7, to become the biggest-grossing imported film in China, where it has earned $361 million. The No. 2 film of the week domestically was Eugenio Derbez's comedy, How to Be a Latin Lover, starring Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, and Kristen Bell. No. 3 was Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, a "Tollywood" (Telugu language) film from South India, with $10.1 million on just 420 screens (compared to 4,000-plus screens showing The Fate of the Furious).