Tuesday morning news: November 6, 2018

Election Day » It’s Election Day in America! Voters are heading to the polls in all 50 states to decide races at every level. Most notably, of course, control of Congress is up for grabs.

TRUMP: Republicans have created the best economy in the history of our country. This is the single best economy.

President Trump made his closing arguments for Republican candidates in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday.

TRUMP: … And it’s the hottest jobs market on the planet Earth. 

But it’s unclear if the buzzing economy will be enough for Republicans. While the president is not on the ballot, public opinion of a sitting president always sways votes in a midterm election. And with President Trump’s approval rating mired in the low 40’s, Democrats have worked hard to ensure this Election Day is a referendum on President Trump.

New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez told voters on Monday…

MENENDEZ: Unfortunately, Donald Trump is waging a war on our cities, and my Republican opponent will be just another rubber stamp for the Trump agenda. 

Menendez’s seat in a heavily Democratic state is almost certainly safe. But overall, despite the midterm momentum his party might enjoy, the math in the U.S. Senate favors Republicans. Democrats are defending 26 Senate seats today, the GOP only nine.

In its final election forecast, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics says the most likely outcome is that Republicans gain a seat in the Senate for a total of 52.

But it projects a 30-plus seat gain for Democrats in the House. They need only 23 to reclaim control of the chamber.

Republicans are also at a disadvantage in governor’s races around the country. That’s something Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam acknowledged.

HASLAM: There’s currently 36 governor’s races, 26 of which the Republicans—we hold the seats. So it’s easy to see it’s a little bit more of an uphill battle for us than it has been historically with that many seats. 

Haslam chairs the Republican Governors Association. He added that he is optimistic, but he knows Democrats will likely gain ground at the state level.

But in a matter of hours, the educated guessing game will be over. The earliest polls begin closing at 6 p.m. Eastern time.  

U.S. re-imposes more sanctions against Iran » The Trump administration on Monday reinstalled another series of tough sanctions against Iran sanctions the Obama White House lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The sanctions cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters…

MNUCHIN: We sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels as part of Treasury’s largest every single day action targeting Iran. 

Mnuchin said the U.S. will lift sanctions only if Iran’s leaders stop supporting terrorism, “stop ballistic missiles and abandon their nuclear ambitions.”

Iran says it will not bend and will break the sanctions.

But many businesses have already pulled out of Iran to avoid losing access to the American market. Some U.S. allies and trading partners, however, are getting a break. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained Monday that the U.S. will grant temporary waivers to eight countries. They are China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.

POMPEO: Each of those countries has already demonstrated significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the last six months, and indeed two of those eight have already completely ended imports of Iranian crude. 

President Trump said Monday a big part of the reason for the carve outs is to avoid raising oil prices globally.

Turkish official: Saudi Arabia covered up forensic evidence of Khashoggi slaying » A Turkish official told a pro-government newspaper in Turkey this week that Saudi Arabia covered up evidence of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.

The official told the newspaper that the Saudis sent a chemist and a toxicologist into its Istanbul Consulate to scrub trace evidence. And only then did they allow Turkish investigators into the facility.

Turkish officials said the team’s deployment suggests Saudi government higher-ups were well aware of the killing. Two of Khashoggi’s sons appeared on CNN this week to appeal for his remains to be released so he can be buried.

Students kidnapped in Cameroon » Armed separatists in Northwest Cameroon kidnapped nearly 80 students from a Presbyterian boarding school Monday. WORLD Africa reporter Onize Ohikere reports.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Armed men entered the school in the city of Bamenda overnight. They held the school’s guard at gunpoint and forced him to lead them to the sleeping students.

The gunman then forced 79 boys and girls onto the school’s bus, along with several teachers and the school principal. But when they tried to leave, the busdriver pretended there was a mechanical problem so the kidnappers left with the students on foot.

Cameroon’s Northwest is at the center of clashes between security forces and English-speaking separatists who have declared the region an independent state named Ambazonia.

The leader of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, the Rev. Fonki Samuel Forba, spoke with the kidnappers and said—quote—“All they want is for us to close the schools. We hope and pray they release the kids and the teachers.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.

U.S. Olympic Committee to remove USA Gymnastics as governing body » The U.S. Olympic Committee is moving to revoke USA Gymnastics’ status as the governing body for the sport at the Olympic level.

That news comes in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving former team doctor Larry Nassar and what many see as the group’s botched response.  

In an open letter to the gymnastics community Monday, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland said, “you deserve better,” adding the challenges facing USA Gymnastics are more than it’s capable of overcoming as currently constructed.

The organization made repeated mistakes following the Nassar scandal. They included the botched hiring of a program coordinator and an interim CEO to replace Kerry Perry, who lasted less than a year on the job after replacing Steve Penny.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Stickers are place out over voters at a polling place in Doylestown, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 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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