Friday morning news: August 10, 2018

Trump administration announces plans for Space Force » The Trump administration has unveiled plans to create the country’s sixth military branch.

At the Pentagon Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence said the president believes we must have American dominance in space. 

PENCE: Space is, in his words, a warfighting domain, just like land and air and sea.

Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the vice president said the White House wants a separate Space Force in place by 2020.

The Pentagon delivered a report to Congress Thursday, laying out plans to form the new military branch.

PENCE: This report reviews the national security space activities within the Department of Defense, and it identifies concrete steps that our administration will take to lay the foundation for a new department of the Space Force. 

President Trump asked the Pentagon in June to form the new branch.

Last year, Congress scrapped a plan to create a Space Corps within the Air Force after Pentagon officials resisted. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis criticized that plan. But he now says he’s on board with creating a separate Space Force.

Congress would have to approve the proposal. It would be the first new military branch since the formation of Air Force in 1947.

Indonesia rattled by another earthquake » The island of Lombok in Indonesia has been hit a third major earthquake in just a little more than a week.

Thursday’s 5.9 magnitude aftershock was the latest blow to the island. A 6.9 quake on Sunday and a 6.4 earthquake a week earlier killed more than 300 people.

More than 270,000 people are now homeless or otherwise displaced as a result of the disaster. 

Puerto Rico now says Maria killed more than a thousand » Nearly one year after Hurricane Maria ripped through the Atlantic, Puerto Rico’s government has conceded it greatly understated the death toll on the island. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: For months, the Puerto Rican government maintained the storm killed 64 people on the island. But in a new report released Thursday, officials estimate more than 1,400 people died. Though the report stops short of updating the official number.

The hurricane slammed the island last September, triggering widespread flooding and destroying already fragile infrastructure.

The report, addressed to Congress, requests $139 billion for reconstruction.

While some died in the storm or in floodwaters, officials believe many more perished due to poor conditions and lack of medical care after the storm.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.

Willow Creek shakes up leadership » Fallout continues at a Chicago area megachurch over the way leaders handled sexual misconduct claims against former pastor Bill Hybels.

The entire board of Willow Creek Community Church and its remaining lead pastor, Heather Larson, announced this week that they’re stepping down. Their departures follow the abrupt resignation of lead teaching pastor Steven Carter on Sunday after the publication of another sexual harassment report involving Hybels. Bill Hybels founded Willow Creek Community Church in 1975. He retired in April after earlier reports of misconduct.

Close elections remain undecided » Still no winner from Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary in Kansas. Officials continue to sort through thousands of provisional ballots. As of now, challenger Kris Kobach holds a narrow lead over Governor Jeff Colyer. And we do mean narrow!

Out of more than 300,000 ballots cast the margin between Kobach and Colyer now stands at just 91 votes.

Still Kris Kobach says with the general election fast approaching, he can’t wait for the official results to start campaigning.

KOBACH: We have only three months. And if we spend a week of that three months doing absolutely nothing, then we will have given our opponents a sizeable lead in the footrace that we have. 

But Kobach said for now he considers the vote a “tentative victory,” and that he may have to “hand the baton” to Governor Colyer if the provisional ballots swing the vote.  

Laura Kelly easily won the Democratic nomination for governor.

Still no winner in Ohio’s special election for the U.S. House either, as officials work through several thousand provisional ballots in that race as well. Republican Troy Balderson now leads Democrat Danny O’Conner by just under 1,600 votes.

Congolese president to step aside » Longtime Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila announced plans this week to step down. The UN welcomed the news, as did U.S. officials.

WORLD Africa reporter Onize Ohikere has more on the upcoming presidential election. 

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: The country’s ruling party says Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister, will represent the party in the December elections. That means President Kabila will step aside.

Kabila raised international concern when he remained in power, even after his mandate to rule ended in 2016. The move sparked deadly protests across the country that killed dozens of people.

Congo has never had a peaceful transition of power since the country’s independence in 1960. And many feared Kabila would run for a third term, in violation of the county’s constitution.

But some analysts say if Shadary wins the election, not much will change. Shadary is loyal to Kabila, who could still have powerful influence behind the scenes.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.

Argentina votes down abortion bill » The Argentine Senate this week voted to keep protections for the unborn.

The Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion on demand through 14 weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers debated for more than 15 hours and voted 38-to-31 against the measure.

The decision could echo across Latin America, where the pro-life movement remains strong even as the influence of the Roman Catholic Church has diminished.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next: a report on the fires ravaging California. And later, Word Play with George Grant. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Vice President Mike Pence gestures during an event on the creation of a United States Space Force, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at the Pentagon. 

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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