Friday morning news

McCain memorial service in Phoenix » Family, friends, and colleagues paid tribute to Sen. John McCain Thursday during a memorial service at North Baptist Church in Phoenix.

MUSIC: [Amazing Grace]

Former Vice President Joe Biden offered a moving tribute to a man he disagreed with politically but counted as a friend.

BIDEN:  My name’s Joe Biden. [laughter] I’m a Democrat. [laughter] And I loved John McCain.

Biden went on to recall some of his favorite memories of McCain, including his enthusiasm for the political process.

BIDEN: … or when you saw the sheer joy that crossed his face when he knew he was about to take the stage of the Senate floor and start a fight. [laughter]

About 15,000 people filed past McCain’s casket at the Arizona Capitol earlier this week. His family held a private service Wednesday. After Thursday’s public memorial, a military aircraft carried McCain’s casket to Washington, where he will lay in state at the U.S. Capitol today.

Senator McCain will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after another service at the Washington National Cathedral.

Justice Department joins Harvard lawsuit » The Trump administration has joined a lawsuit against Harvard University. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has the details.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: A group of Asian-Americans is suing Harvard for what they say is discrimination. The students contend the school rejected them in an effort to keep Harvard’s Asian-American student population artificially low.

On Thursday the Department of Justice filed a statement of agreement in the case. It said in part—quote—“Harvard has failed to carry its demanding burden to show that its use of race does not inflict unlawful racial discrimination on Asian-Americans.”

A group opposed to affirmative action filed the lawsuit…pointing to consistently low “personal ratings” for Asian-Americans. That has led to a relatively static Asian-American student population at Harvard over the last 25 years, even as more qualified applicants wanted to enroll.

The Supreme Court recently upheld the use of race in college admissions decisions on a narrow basis. The Harvard case could test how narrow that limit is.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

U.S. soldier pleads guilty to supporting ISIS » A U.S. soldier stationed in Hawaii pleaded guilty Thursday to attempting to help ISIS. Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang admitted to giving secret military information to undercover agents posing as ISIS members. He also gave them a drone meant to track U.S. troops.

Kang was trained as an air traffic controller and had a secret security clearance. The documents he gave agents included the U.S. military’s weapons file, details about a sensitive mobile airspace management system, various military manuals, and documents containing personal information about U.S. service members, according to prosecutors. He also gave them call signs, mission procedures, and radio frequencies that could have aided ISIS fighters targeting U.S. troops. The FBI arrested him last year after he said he wanted to attack civilians in Hawaii.

As part of his plea deal, Kang expects to get a 25-year prison sentence.

IAEA on Iran » International regulators declared Iran in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal in a confidential report released to UN member states Thursday. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has the story.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, said Iran has remained within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal in May. The remaining signatories—Germany, Britain, France, Russia, and China—continue to negotiate with Iranian officials to keep the deal in place. Trump said he would be willing to discuss terms of a new deal, but Iran rejected the offer.

The country’s leaders have threatened to restart their nuclear weapons programs if the deal can’t be salvaged. UN inspectors said they found no increased production of enriched uranium at the nuclear sites they visited, according to the IAEA report.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

Trump cancels pay raise for federal employees » President Trump has canceled a pay raise for federal employees, saying the government can’t afford it. In a letter to congressional leaders, the president wrote, quote—“We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”

Federal workers expected to get a 2.1 percent across-the-board raise in January, plus locality pay increases averaging 25.7 percent.

The raises would have cost $25 billion. Instead of giving automatic raises, the president wants employees compensated based on their performance.

Democrats and union leaders blasted the decision as an insult to federal workers.

I’m Jill Nelson. Straight ahead: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. And the 100-year celebration of a very special American. This is The World and Everything in It

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) The flag-draped casket of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is removed to be carried by an Armed Forces body bearer team to a hearse, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. 

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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