Wednesday morning news: April 25, 2018

Trump warns Iran, talks nuclear deal changes with Macron » President Trump had a stern warning for Iran on Tuesday. Iranian officials have said recently that their country might pull out of the nuclear deal if Trump insists on changing the agreement. But at the White House the president said Iran had better think twice before restarting its nuclear program.

TRUMP: They’re not gonna be restarting anything. If they restart it, they’re gonna have big problems–bigger than they’ve had before. And you can mark it down. If they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.

The president heard there briefing reporters as a he welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House on Tuesday. The Iran nuclear deal was a central topic of their closed-door meetings.

President Trump’s current waiver on sanctions against Iran expires on May 12th, and he has pledged that he will not renew that waiver unless the terms of the nuclear deal are improved. Trump has called the deal “insane.” But Macron once again stated his case for upholding the current agreement.

MACRON: We have to take it as a part of a broader picture. TRUMP: Sure. MACRON: Which is the security of the overall region.  And we have the Syrian situation. We have the upcoming election in Iraq. We have the stability to preserve for our allies in the region, and what we want to do is to contain the Iranian presence in the region. 

The leaders also discussed several other issues, including climate change. Macron says he shares some of Trump’s economic concerns about the Paris Climate Accord, but has no plans of backing out, as Trump did last year.

Hours later, President Trump and First Lady Melania hosted their first state dinner, entertaining Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte and more than a hundred other guests in the State Dining room.

VA sec nominee delayed amid allegations » Also at yesterday’s White House press conference, the president voiced support for doctor and Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, his pick to take over the VA.

Senators on the Veterans Affairs committee said they’re holding off on a confirmation hearing for Jackson as they look into allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior. Those allegations include claims that he over-prescribed prescription drugs and drink on the job.

Trump said Tuesday, the process for Jackson may be more trouble than it’s worth.

TRUMP: If I were him, the fact is, I wouldn’t do it. What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians. I really don’t think, personally, he should do it, but it’s totally his–I would stand behind him–totally his decision.

Republican Senator Mike Rounds says the VA committee isn’t worried about the allegations just yet, but members need to do their due diligence.

ROUNDS: Chairman Isakson had a phone conversation with a lot of us around the committee over the weekend. He indicated that there had been some unsubstantiated allegations made, and he wants to do it right. We told him that if he wanted to delay the meeting, that was fine with us.

For his part, Ronny Jackson said yesterday that he has no plans to back away from the scrutiny.

JACKSON: I’m looking forward to rescheduling the hearing and answering everyone’s questions.

Jackson has served as a White House physician since 2006. Lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump on Tuesday asking for any communication between the Pentagon and the White House for the last 12 years regarding “allegations or incidents” involving him.

Nigeria attack » A church attack in Nigeria has killed at least 15 people, including two priests. WORLD’s Africa Reporter Onize Ohikere reports.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Armed herdsmen attacked St. Ignatius Catholic church on Tuesday in a community in Benue state. State officials said the attackers also burned down 50 houses.

Benue has seen repeated violent clashes between herdsmen and majority Christian farmers. Five days ago, another attack killed at least 10 people.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari reacted the violence on Tuesday, calling the attack on innocent churchgoers “despicable.” He said “Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.

George H.W. Bush hospitalized » Former President George H.W. Bush is recovering in a Houston hospital from an infection. He was hospitalized shortly after attending the funeral of his wife, Barbara, who died last week and was laid to rest Saturday in Houston.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush appeared to be responding to treatments and was eager to travel to his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The 93-year-old ex-president has required hospital treatment several times in recent years for respiratory problems.

Alfie Evans hearing »

A judge has once again denied further treatment for British toddler Alfie Evans, ending his parents long legal battle for the right to continue fighting for his life. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Judge Anthony Hayden has denied a final appeal to Alfie Evans’ family after holding another hearing Tuesday afternoon.

The 23-month-old boy has been diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition, but doctors still don’t fully understand his condition. He’s in a semi-vegetative state, and doctors say Alfie would die without ongoing medical intervention. But on Monday he started to breathe on his own after doctors took him off of life-support. That prompted doctors to give him oxygen and hydration. It also prompted Judge Hayden to grant a new appeal hearing Tuesday.

An Italian Embassy official reportedly appeared in court, and a lawyer for the Evanses told the judge that an air ambulance was standing by to take Alfie to Italy for treatment. But the judge once again ruled against it, calling his decision “the final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

I’m Jim Henry. Straight ahead: Washington Wednesday. And later, Janie Cheaney on troubling teaching aimed at school children. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) In this April 2, 2018, file photo, White House physician and nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Ronny Jackson arrives at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.

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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