Pence: US will impose Sanctions on Turkey til Brunson is released » The White House is prepared to impose sanctions against Turkey until it frees American Pastor Andrew Brunson. Turkish authorities released the 50-year-old pastor from jail on Wednesday, but he remains under house arrest, facing espionage charges.
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday offered this warning:
PENCE: To President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the President of the United States of America: Release Pastor Andrew Brunson now or be prepared to face the consequences.
The vice president heard there speaking at a conference on international religious freedom in Washington Thursday.
Pence added that “Brunson is an innocent man, there is no credible evidence against him.” The Turkish government arrested Brunson in October 2016, accusing him of taking part in an attempted coup.
President Trump has repeatedly demanded Brunson’s release and said on Twitter last week that the pastor’s detention was “a total disgrace.”
On Monday, Congress voted to temporarily bar deliveries of 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, demanding Brunson’s release.
Immigrant reunification » The court-imposed deadline for the federal government to reunite thousands of children and parents separated at the southern border passed last night.
The Trump administration said Thursday that it has reunited more than 1,800 children with their parents and sponsors.
Still, officials deemed more than 700 parents ineligible, and many of them may already have been deported. Of those, 431 children have parents outside the United States.
More than 2,500 children were separated from their parents at the border in the past several months amid a zero-tolerance policy that called for criminal prosecution for anyone caught crossing illegally.
No impeachment for Rosenstein » House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he does not support the articles of impeachment that 11 conservative lawmakers filed Wednesday against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
RYAN: I do not for a number of reasons. First, it takes – I don’t think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term, number one; number two, I don’t think that this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. That’s a really high standard.
Those 11 lawmakers complained that Rosenstein, who oversees the DOJ’s Russia probe, has been stonewalling congressional panels. GOP lawmakers want answers about the Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also defended his deputy Thursday, saying he has the highest confidence in Rosenstein.
Trump admin resumes Obamacare insurer payments » The Trump administration has resumed payments to Obamacare insurers, just weeks after putting them on hold. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The Trump administration released a final rule this week clarifying the Obamacare risk-adjustment program.
The program redistributes money between insurance companies. It’s meant to level the playing field between insurers with healthier patients and those with high-risk patients.
A federal judge challenged the program earlier this year, saying the redistribution process favored larger companies at the expense of small startups.
The new guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services add an explanation about the formula for calculating average premiums. That clears the way for the government to resume payments to insurers.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.
Mid-Atlantic flooding » The skies finally cleared in Pennsylvania and other parts of the mid-Atlantic Thursday, after five days of downpours.
In central Pennsylvania, 7 to 11 inches of rainfall that started Saturday caused massive flooding, forcing evacuations and rescues this week.
Hershey, Pennsylvania, resident Sue Perkins said creeks spilled over into roads and neighborhoods.
PERKINS: When we get heavy rain quickly, you know, when it rains for a couple days, we get a lot of flooding, especially when the creeks start overflowing.
And central Pennsylvanians aren’t out of woods just yet. More thunderstorms in the forecast for much of the flooded region tomorrow.
Imran Khan wins Pakistan election » Cricket star–turned-politician Imran Khan will be Pakistan’s next prime minister.
Officials were still counting votes late into the night Thursday, but Pakistani media reported Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party had secured 119 of 270 seats. A coalition government with one of the other two major parties is likely. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler has that story.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Imran Khan didn’t wait for the official results, declaring victory Thursday in a televised address …
AUDIO: Khan victory speech
He said “thanks to God, we won and we were successful.”
Khan pledged to root out corruption within Pakistan’s government, uplift the poor and foster a peaceful relationship with neighboring India.
The nuclear-armed Pakistan’s road to democratic rule has been uneven. This election is the second consecutive transfer of power between two civil governments after a decade of military rule. The election was marred by violence. An ISIS attack in July killed nearly 150 people and an election day bombing killed 31 earlier this week.
Other parties have alleged vote-rigging and that the military establishment cracked down on Khan’s opponents. Khan has criticized some Taliban violence but Radio Free Europe reports his party has ties to hard-line Islamic political figures.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.
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