Thursday morning news: November 29, 2018

Pompeo urges senators not to act against Saudi Arabia » The Trump administration is urging senators not to take action against Saudi Arabia in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis made a closed-door to appeal to lawmakers on Wednesday. They’re hoping to dissuade legislators from passing a resolution on the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Pompeo said punishing Saudi Arabia by withdrawing U.S. support in Yemen would be a big mistake.

POMPEO: We are on the cusp of allowing U.S. envoy Martin Griffiths to in December gather the parties together and hopefully get a ceasefire. 

He said that’s a diplomatic goal the State Department has been working toward for months.

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle feel the U.S. should do more to punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder.

The U.S. has sanctioned 17 people but President Trump has said no further punishment is planned.

Democrats nominate Pelosi for speaker of the House » House Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi for House speaker on Wednesday. The former speaker and current minority leader entered the closed-door caucus election in an unusual position: running unopposed for the nomination.

She still faces a showdown vote when the full House convenes in January. And some House Democrats are calling for a change at the top. But Pelosi says she’s not worried.

PELOSI: I’m talking about scores of members of Congress who just gave me a vote—are giving me a vote of confidence. That is where our focus is. Are there dissenters? Yes, but I expect to have a powerful vote as we go forward. 

She won the nomination by a vote of 203 to 32.

Ivanka Trump explains personal email use » Ivanka Trump is defending her use of a personal email account for White House business. A recent Washington Post report said the president’s daughter and White House adviser sent hundreds of emails last year to aides and Cabinet officials about government business in violation of federal records rules.

A spokesman for the first daughter’s lawyer last week said Trump used her private email address before she was briefed on the rules and that she promptly turned over her emails so they could be stored with other White House records.

In an interview with ABC News, Ivanka Trump said that stands in contrast with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who set up her own private email server for government business. And Trump said any comparisons between the two situations are way off base.

IVANKA: All of my emails that relate to any form of government work, which was mainly scheduling and logistics and the fact that I have a home life and a work life, are all part of the public record. They’re all stored on the White House system. There just is no equivalency between the two things. 

The Trump administration says unlike Clinton, Ivanka Trump never emailed classified information and no emails were ever deleted.

House Democrats still plan to investigate the matter in January.

Investigators issue preliminary report on doomed Lion Air jet » Investigators in Indonesia say they still don’t have all the answers about what caused a Lion Air Boeing 737 to crash into the Java Sea last month, killing 189 people. New data recovered from the jet’s black box indicates pilots fought against an automated system that pitched the jetliner’s nose downward because of a faulty sensor.

The country’s National Transportation Safety Commission issued a preliminary report that stopped short of declaring the probable cause of the crash. Investigators are still trying to figure out why engineers certified the jet airworthy and whether they followed required maintenance procedures.

Chinese scientist condemned for gene editing human embryos » A Chinese researcher continues to alarm the scientific and bioethics community with claims of being the first in the world to use gene editing on human embryos. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: He Jiankui of Shenzhen said he used the CRISPR gene-editing tool to alter the DNA of twin girls, born earlier this month, to resist HIV.

He made his first public statements about his secretive work on Wednesday and revealed a second pregnancy involving a gene-edited baby is in its very early stages.

Altering DNA in a human embryo that will be implanted in the womb is banned in many countries, including the U.S. in part because the changes can be inherited and might harm other genes. Meanwhile, regulators and scientists from around the world are condemning He’s actions, calling his experiment unethical and unscientific.

China’s National Health Commission has ordered officials to investigate He’s work. And his employer, the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, is also investigating.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to members of the media after leaving a closed door meeting about Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

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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