Thursday morning news: March 29, 2018

Shulkin out at VA » President Trump has fired Veteran’s Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.

The announcement came late Wednesday. The president has nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley hinted earlier this week a change at the VA could be forthcoming.

GIDLEY: The bottom line is, we all serve at the pleasure of the president, and if he’s not pleased, you’ll know it.

And the president was not pleased with a bruising ethics controversy involving Shulkin’s travel expenses. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned amid a similar controversy last September.

Ronny Jackson is a Navy rear admiral and would be the first ever active duty officer to head the VA. In a statement, Trump praised Jackson as “highly trained and qualified.”

Kim Jong Un meeting » AUDIO (NoKo media nats): [up for a second or two, then under and slowly out]

North Korean media is confirming that Kim Jong Un did in fact visit China this week — his first trip outside his home country since he assumed power in 2011.

Chinese media also confirm the meeting, stating that Kim visited Beijing from Sunday through Wednesday. In a letter, Kim thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for a productive trip and–quote “heartwarming hospitality.”

The White House said Wednesday it was encouraged by the meeting.

SANDERS: We’re gonna be cautiously optimistic, but we feel like things are moving in the right direction and that the meeting yesterday was a good indication that the maximum pressure campaign has been working.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

President Trump said yesterday that he received a message from the Chinese president that the meeting with Kim went very well … and that Kim looks forward to meeting with President Trump. But in the meantime, Trump added … “maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!”

A time and place for a meeting between Trump and Kim has not yet been announced.

Liberian immigrants » The Trump administration has announced that it’s ending a program allowing some Liberian immigrants to remain in the U.S. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The United States started the Deferred Enforcement Departure program back in 2007. It accepted Liberian immigrants due to political conflict … and later because of the Ebola outbreak.

But President Trump says Liberia is now much more stable  and—quote—“no longer experiencing armed conflict.”

More than 8-hundred Liberian citizens work in the U-S under the program, which is now slated to end on March 31st of next year.

The Trump administration had already announced it would end temporary protected status for thousands of nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Earlier this month, immigrants from those countries filed a suit in federal court … claiming racial animus motivated the decision.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

OC joins sanctuary city lawsuit » The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to join the federal government in a lawsuit against California over the state’s immigration law.

The county government wants to challenge Senate Bill 54, which took effect in January. The new laws blocks local law enforcement from following some federal immigration rules… in essence, promoting sanctuary city policies for the entire state.

Michelle Steel, a member of the Orange County board of supervisors says the county has released 1-hundred-72 criminals because of the law.

The county sheriff’s department already said it would push back against the state. Orange County undersheriff Don Barnes …

BARNES: We’re going after very serious offenders, who are in custody of our jail and are being convicted of some very serious crimes. We’re trying to help our communities be safer by turning the individuals over to ICE and not letting them return to our communities and commit more crime.

Barnes said his department has begun publishing online the release dates and times of any inmates it discharges. It’s a move designed to help federal immigration officials keep tabs on criminal immigrants.

Facebook update » Facebook is struggling to keep friends these days … feeling the heat from the governments of both the United States and the U-K about its privacy practices. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler reports.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined a summons Tuesday from a committee within the British parliament … but could testify before the U-S Congress soon. Three separate committees have asked him to appear.

The requests come as lawmakers demand answers about a data firm’s mining of information from millions of Facebook users without permission … as well as the company’s own collection of personal data.

On Wednesday, the company announced a privacy settings makeover to prepare for new regulations in Europe. The changes could help Facebook’s 2-point-2 billion users more easily navigate security settings.

Amid the privacy controversy … some companies like Mozilla and Pep Boys have suspended their online advertising on Facebook.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

COVINGTON: And I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Jim Henry covers a controversial decision this week out of the Commerce Department. And Cal Thomas on new national security adviser John Bolton. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) FILE – In this Wednesday, March 7, 2018 file photo, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks at a news conference in Washington. On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, President Donald Trump fired Shulkin, and tweeted that White House doctor Ronny Jackson is his nominee to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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