Tuesday morning news: October 2, 2018

U.S., Canada tout new trade agreement » The United States and Canada are both touting a new trade deal struck Sunday night. The agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will revise and rename the North American Free Trade Agreement.

ROSS: This is fundamental reform. And now there’s no more NAFTA. There is USMCA. So rest in peace NAFTA. 

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. USMCA stands for the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

Ross said the new pact vindicates President Trump’s trade policies.

The new deal would give U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market and place new protections on intellectual property rights and drug development. It would also impose new manufacturing requirements on automobiles in an effort to keep jobs in the United States.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country also benefits.

TRUDEAU: We know that protecting our auto industry was one of the core concerns that Canadians had about getting to a deal, and we’re glad to say that we have significant protections for our auto industry. 

President Trump said he plans to sign the pact by the end of next month and then submit it to Congress.

Outside counsel: No reasonable prosecutor would bring case » The outside counsel brought in by Senate Republicans to question both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford last week gave her legal opinion on Monday.

In a memo to lawmakers, sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell said based on the evidence she saw she does not believe a “reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Kavanaugh.  

Ford says he sexually assaulted her at a high school house party in 1982. But Mitchell said there are several inconsistencies with the accusation, including that Ford’s account of when the alleged attack occurred has changed.

Mitchell also noted key missing details and that no one Ford has named as present has corroborated her story.

Democrats worry about White House interference » Democrats, however, say Mitchell’s conclusion is based only on the evidence she’s seen and that a full, unfettered FBI probe is needed to ensure all of the evidence comes to light. Democrats say they’re concerned about White House interference.

BLUMENTHAL: The White House seems to be micromanaging and straight-jacketing an investigation that must uncover the facts and evidence necessary to determine whether Brett Kavanaugh is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. 

This follows media reports that the White House was blocking important lines of inquiry in the probe. But President Trump denied that on Monday. He said the Senate Judiciary Committee defined scope of the probe.

TRUMP: My White House will do whatever the senators want. I’m open to whatever they want. The one thing I want is speed.

The bureau has until Friday to complete the probe.

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week.

U.S. sues to stop California internet rules » The Trump administration has sued the state of California over internet regulations that Governor Jerry Brown signed on Sunday. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler reports.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: The state law is a response to the FCC’s decision to scrap Obama-era “net neutrality” rules. The law directly defies the new federal policy by prohibiting internet providers from favoring certain content or websites.

The Federal Communications Commission last year repealed “net neutrality” rules, saying they created burdensome, anti-consumer regulations on internet companies.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday, “Once again the California Legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”

Net neutrality advocates worry that without rules, internet providers could block or slow down content from competitors.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

Koreas have begun disarming DMZ » Another sign of warming relations between North and South Korea: Officials in Seoul say troops from both countries have begun removing landmines from their heavily fortified border. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The demining on the border follows an agreement the two nations reached last month to ease military tensions along the Demilitarized Zone.

South Korea deployed army engineers with demining equipment to the border village of Panmunjom and Arrow Head Hill where both countries plan to launch their first joint searches for soldiers killed in the Korean War.

The troops began removing mines on the southern part of the two sites. A South Korean defense official said Monday his country’s military believes North Korea is also demining on the northern part of the sites, though the North has not confirmed that report.

The demining comes as the Koreas and the U.S. look to resume nuclear negotiations, which had stalled in recent weeks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to visit Pyongyang this month to try to set up a second summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

MLB postseason stage set » The Major League Baseball playoff stage is set.

The L-A Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 on Monday to clinch the NL Western Division title. They’ll host the Atlanta Braves a Division Series matchup starting Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-to-1 to win the NL Central Division crown. They’ll move on to play the winner of today’s National League Wild Card game between the Rockies and Cubs in Chicago.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next—Katie Gaultney on a tragedy stoking controversy in Dallas. And Cal Thomas on the Kavanaugh investigation. This is The World and Everything in It.

(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference regarding the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the National Press Theatre, in Ottawa, Ontario on Monday, Oct. 1, 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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