Wednesday morning news: July 25, 2018

At least 74 killed in seaside fires in Greece » A state of emergency remains in effect today in near Athens, Greece where wildfires have raged through seaside resorts. Firefighters continue working to douse the remaining fires with high-powered hoses …

AUDIO: Sound of firefighters

A least 74 people have died in the fires and as rescue workers go door-to-door searching for victims, the death toll likely will rise.

The blazes that broke out Monday were the deadliest in decades to hit the country, which endures fires every year. This round trapped thousands of people on beaches, roads, and in homes. One survivor said many escaped the flames by diving into the water.

AUDIO: Thankfully the sea was there and we went into the sea, because the flames were chasing us all the way to the water. It burned our backs and we dove into water. It reminded me of the eruption at Pompeii, exactly that. And I said we must run to save ourselves and nothing else. Terrible. 

Coast guard boats rescued some 700 people from beaches or from the water. But dozens of others drowned as they swam out to sea to escape the smoke.

Trump announces support for farmers » The Trump administration on Tuesday announced billions of dollars in relief for American farmers impacted by trade disputes with China and other trading partners.

China recently retaliated against U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum, and other goods by taxing American pork and soybeans.

USDA Chief Economist Rob Johannson called the $12 billion of emergency aid a “one-time” relief program.

JOHANNSON: It is a short-term bridge to help the president successfully negotiate these deals. We don’t expect this to persist into another year.

Many GOP lawmakers oppose the president’s trade tariffs and some Republicans did not welcome Tuesday’s announcement. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said, “America’s farmers don’t want to be paid to lose—they want to win by feeding the world.”

But President Trump, speaking Tuesday at the VFW annual convention in Missouri said in the long run negotiating fair trade deals will be a big win for the U.S. economy.

TRUMP: They don’t want to have those tariffs put on them. They’re all coming see us. And the farmers will be the biggest beneficiary. Watch. We’re opening up markets. You watch what’s going to happen. Just be a little patient.

Report: NoKo begins dismantling facilities at test site » President Trump also noted satellite imagery that appears to show North Korea taking a step toward fulfilling promises leader Kim Jong Un made at the Singapore summit last month.  

TRUMP: New images just today show that North Korea has begun the process of dismantling a key missile site, and we appreciate that. We had a fantastic meeting with Chairman Kim and it seems to be going very well. 

The North Korea-focused website 38 North said commercial satellite images from July 20th to 22nd indicate the North began dismantling facilities at the Sohae launch site.

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged caution on Tuesday. He said the U.S. would like to have more than just satellite images to confirm Kim Jong Un is making good on his word.

POMPEO: We’ve been pressing for there to be inspectors on the ground when that engine test facility is dismantled consistent with Chairman Kim’s commitment. 

So far North Korea has not allowed international inspectors to monitor its apparent steps toward getting rid of nuclear weapons.

Congress officially blocks F-35s to Turkey » Lawmakers in Congress Monday approved a measure that would temporarily block deliveries of about 100 F-35 fighter jets to Turkey while demanding the release of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson. WORLD Paul Butler has more.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: The House and Senate Armed Services committees included the ban in the Pentagon’s budget blueprint for the next fiscal year. The bill includes language demanding the release of Brunson and any other “U.S. citizens wrongfully or unlawfully detained in Turkey.” It awaits approval in the full House and Senate.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Congress that while he shared lawmakers’ concern over human rights and the rule of law in Turkey, cutting off the fighter jets could disrupt supply chains, driving up costs and delaying deliveries of the F-35.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

Israel shoots down Syrian jet » The Israeli military on Tuesday shot down a Syrian fighter jet that breached its airspace.

The incident occurred as military conflicts within Syria creep closer to Israel’s border. As Syrian government forces advanced to reclaim territory from rebel fighters, they reached the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the first time in seven years.

The jet crashed in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the breach of Israeli territory a “gross violation” of a 1974 agreement that established the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria.

Ivanka shutters clothing line » Ivanka Trump announced Tuesday that she’s  pulling the plug on her fashion line of dresses, shoes, and handbags in order to focus on her work as a White House adviser. But the move comes amid questions about conflicts of interest and some reports of declining sales. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports.

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The president’s oldest daughter stepped away from day-to-day operations of her company more than a year ago. But in the retail landscape, the Ivanka Trump brand has become inseparably tied to politics.

Her celebrity as first daughter appeared to boost sales at times but it also led some critics of the Trump administration to call for boycotts against her fashion line. Several stores, such as T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom, dropped the brand in recent months, citing sluggish sales. But the company said its business was strong, and the decision to shut down had nothing do with its performance.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next, a healthcare conversation with Dr. Bill Cassidy, U.S. Senator from Louisiana. Plus, we kick off our 2018 Hope Awards coverage. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) A Greek national flag flutters over the charred remains of a burned-out car and house in Mati east of Athens, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. 

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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