Thursday morning news: July 12, 2018

President Trump calls out allies at NATO summit » President Trump will take part in a second day of meetings at the NATO summit in Brussels today.

Day one got off to a rocky start on Wednesday. During a breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens  Stoltenberg, Trump took a hard jab at Germany. He complained that while the U.S. foots much of the bill to help protect European nations from Russia, Germany pays Russia billions of dollars for natural gas.  

TRUMP: Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they’ll be getting 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline. And you tell me if that’s appropriate because I think it’s not.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back on Wednesday, saying Germany is “independent” and is not beholden to Russia.

The president struck a softer tone later in the day during a face-to-face meeting with Merkel, saying the U.S. has a “very good” relationship with Germany.

But Trump again criticized NATO member nations for not paying enough toward their own defense. He’s calling on each member to raise its contribution to 4 percent of its GDP, even though many countries aren’t even meeting the current 2 percent threshold.

Despite the disagreements, Jens Stoltenberg called day one of the NATO summit a success.

STOLTENBERG: In the history of NATO we have had many disagreements, and we have been able to overcome them again and again, because at the end of the day we believe that Europe and North America are safer together.

After today’s NATO meetings, President Trump will fly to the U.K. to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II.

Congress pushes back on White House tariffs » Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are beginning to push back against President Trump’s use of tariffs in trade disputes.

The Senate voted 88-11 on Wednesday to approve a resolution calling for Congress to have a say when the White House imposes tariffs on national security grounds. The vote was largely symbolic, but it sent a clear message to the president that Senators aren’t happy with mounting trade wars.

Members in the House are also troubled by the tariffs. House Speaker Paul Ryan:  

RYAN: I don’t wanna hamstring the president’s negotiating tactics, but I’ve long said I don’t think tariffs are the right way to go. I think that there are legitimate—absolutely legitimate—unfair trade practices, particularly by China, that we and our allies should be confronting.

And China is vowing to fight back after the United States announced a possible second round of tariff hikes on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The U.S. proposal includes increased taxes on imported food and electronics. China’s Ministry of Commerce released a statement calling the move “totally unacceptable,” adding that Beijing will take “necessary countermeasures” to protect its interests.

Twitter to delete millions of suspicious accounts » Twitter users may wake up to find their followers have dwindled. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has that story.

ANNA JOHANSEN: Twitter will begin deleting tens of millions of suspicious accounts today in an effort to crack down on fake followers.

The policy targets a type of social media fraud, where users buy packages of fake followers to boost their popularity. They can also buy comments and retweets.

Critics say this devalues the influence of legitimate users and undermines the credibility of Twitter as a whole. Some have even called for Federal Trade Commission intervention.

With the new reforms, average users will probably lose about four followers.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.

NFL player’s union challenges anthem policy » The NFL Players Association is challenging the league’s new national anthem policy. Union representatives filed a grievance Tuesday, saying the new policy infringes on players’ rights and violates the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the league.

The policy allows players to protest during the pregame playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by staying in the locker room but requires them to stand if they are on the field.

The NFL said it will not punish a player for violating the policy, but will instead fine the player’s team. And team officials can then decide whether to discipline the player.

Croatia shocks England in World Cup semifinal » In World Cup soccer, Croatia shocked England in a come-from-behind 2-to-1 victory on Wednesday.

The match remained tied at the end of regulation, but Croatia seized the momentum in the extra period. And in the 1-hundred and ninth minute, Mario Mandzukic got a header assist from Ivan Perisic and rifled the ball toward England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

AUDIO: Mandzukic got there and scores! Mario Mandzukic! Croatia takes the lead in extra time of the World Cup semifinal!

The Croatians face France Sunday in their first World Cup final.

England will play Belgium in the third-place match in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Saturday.

I’m Kent Covington. Next up—Mindy Belz on international travel warnings this summer. And Leigh Jones reports on a merger proposal for two big government agencies. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) German Chancellor Angela Merkel  and U.S. President Donald Trump during their bilateral meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

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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