10 things you need to know today: November 9, 2017
Trump tells Chinese leaders he doesn't fault them for "unfair" trade gap, Pence consoles a grieving Texas town, and more
Trump tells Chinese leaders he doesn't 'blame' them for trade gap
President Trump, speaking in front of Chinese business leaders and President Xi Jinping on Thursday, said that the U.S. trade relationship with China is "one-sided and unfair," but that he doesn't fault China for the gap. "Who can blame a country that is able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens," Trump said. "I give China great credit." Trump, who is in Beijing as part of his 12-day tour of Asia, said he has "great chemistry" with Xi and thinks they will do "tremendous things" together. During his 2016 campaign, Trump accused China of "raping" the U.S. economy. On Thursday, Trump repeated his insistence that the U.S. will have to come up with new policies to reach a better trade balance with China, although he did not provide details.
Pence consoles grieving Texas community after church massacre
Vice President Mike Pence visited Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Wednesday to deliver a message of support to a small rural community where a gunman killed 26 people at the First Baptist Church. "We grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope," Pence said at a vigil in a packed stadium. "Our faith gives us hope. Heroes give us hope." The crowd cheered as survivors walked onto the football field, including Stephen Willeford, who shot at the gunman as he exited the church, and Johnnie Langendorff, who drove Willeford in a high-speed chase to stop the killer. "Thank God there was a neighbor that helped save lives on the tragic day," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
Trump administration announces new travel restrictions for Cuba
The Trump administration on Wednesday said it was imposing travel and trade restrictions on Cuba, reversing some of the Obama administration's moves to normalize relations with the Communist-ruled Caribbean island. Most U.S. individual travel to the island will no longer be allowed, with Americans going to Cuba required to go with a group licensed by the Treasury Department, as they were before former President Barack Obama eased the rules. Americans also will have to stay away from hotels and restaurants the State Department believes to be linked to members of the Cuban government. A senior Trump administration official said the changes are intended to steer money away from Cuba's military and intelligence services, and "encourage the government to move toward greater economic freedom" for Cubans.
Air Force Academy finds an alleged victim responsible for racist messages
The Air Force Academy has determined that a cadet candidate previously believed to have been a target of racial slurs scrawled on note boards outside his room was actually the one who wrote the messages. Five African-American cadet candidates were reported in September to have been targeted with a racial slur and the words "go home" on erasable note boards. The one found to have been responsible is no longer at the school. The academy's top general, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, said despite the finding he stood by a stern speech he gave to cadets and staff after the incident in which he said those who can't respect others "need to get out," saying, "Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed."
Spanish court officially tosses out Catalonia's declaration of independence
Spain's Constitutional Court on Wednesday formally annulled the Catalan Parliament's declaration of independence, approved last month and instantly condemned as illegal by the federal government. On the same day, demonstrators blocked roads across Catalonia demanding that Spain accept Catalonia's bid to break away and release eight politicians arrested for the regional government's independence push. The jailed lawmakers face a sedition and rebellion investigation, and face up to 30 years in prison if tried and convicted.
Congressional negotiators allot more for military than Trump requested
House and Senate negotiators have agreed to allot $700 billion for the Pentagon in 2018, $32 million more than President Trump requested. In the revised version of a defense policy bill, the lawmakers earmarked $634 billion for core Pentagon operations and another $66 billion for the missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other war zones. Trump had asked for $603 billion for basic military operations and $65 billion for overseas. Final approval of the extra money will require rolling back a 2011 law limiting federal spending, which Democrats pushing for increased domestic spending are expected to oppose.
CNN poll finds trust in Trump down a year after his election
A year after President Trump's election, only 40 percent of Americans believe he is doing a good job keeping his campaign promises, down from 48 percent in April, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS that was released Wednesday. Forty percent also said he was capable of bringing the country the change it needs, a drop from 49 percent late last year. Trump's numbers also have fallen on questions about his ability to unite the country, with only 30 percent saying he will unite the U.S. rather than divide it. That was down 13 points compared to a November 2016 poll. Only 38 percent of respondents said Trump cared about people like them, and only 34 percent said he was "honest and trustworthy."
Regulators demand sale of CNN or DirecTV before AT&T-Time Warner deal
U.S. antitrust regulators have told AT&T to sell either Turner Broadcasting — the parent of CNN — or its DirecTV satellite television unit before they will approve its bid to buy media company Time Warner, The New York Times and Reuters reported Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The demands could threaten the prospects of the $85.4 billion deal, which could create a powerhouse with wireless and broadband services, satellite TV service, the Warner Brothers movie studio, and cable content providers HBO and CNN. AT&T and Time Warner are expected to challenge in court if the Justice Department makes the request formal. President Trump has criticized the proposed merger, saying "deals like this destroy democracy."
Lin-Manuel Miranda to return to Hamilton role in Puerto Rico run
Lin-Manuel Miranda announced Wednesday that he would return to his starring role in his Pulitzer- and Tony-winning musical Hamilton when the show goes to Puerto Rico in 2019. "Bringing [Hamilton] to Puerto Rico is a dream that I've had since we first opened at The Public Theater in 2015," said Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, noting that he had promised to bring the show to the U.S. Caribbean territory and return to the starring role on a visit before Hurricane Maria. "In the aftermath of Maria," he said, "we decided to expedite the announcement of the project to send a bold message that Puerto Rico will recover and be back in business, stronger than ever."
Kevin Spacey cut from finished movie
Director Ridley Scott has decided to cut Kevin Spacey from the film All The Money In The World, and reshoot his scenes with Christopher Plummer replacing him in the role of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Spacey worked about nine days on the film. His character is key, as the thriller involves efforts to free Getty's kidnapped grandson and he refuses to pay a ransom. The filmmaker's unprecedented move followed a wave of sexual abuse allegations against Spacey. The film had been completed ahead of a Dec. 22 release, which Scott said he is determined to keep. Last week, Netflix ended production of its popular political drama House of Cards, in which Spacey played a ruthless politician.