Tuesday morning news: February 12, 2019

House and Senate negotiators agree “in principle” to funding deal » As President Trump once again pressed his case for a border wall at a rally in Texas on Monday…

TRUMP: We can have technology. We can have beautiful drones flying all over the place, but it doesn’t work without the wall. 

Back in Washington, House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement to partially pay for a wall, fund the government and avoid another shutdown.

The funding deal reportedly provides just under $1.4 billion for a barrier. President Trump had asked for $5.7 billion. But White House officials have said the president would likely accept a lesser amount for now and would then look for other ways to fund the remainder of the construction costs.

The details of the agreement are still hazy. Congressional leaders are expected to provide more information today.  

Political turmoil continues in Virginia » A political firestorm continues to swirl in Virginia, as separate scandals engulf the state’s top three officials.

Two women have accused Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. Over the weekend a Democratic state delegate drafted a resolution to begin impeachment proceedings against him, but has since backed off. Many Virginia lawmakers feel it’s still too soon for that.

Republican State Senator Amanda Chase is one of them, but she also said on Monday…

CHASE: I’m calling for hearings. I’m calling for a thorough investigation so that these women can be heard. Their voices need to be heard. But I want to make sure when they do it that it counts.

Professor Vanessa Tyson came forward first and accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform a sex act in 2004. A second woman, Meredith Watson, on Friday accused Fairfax of raping her while they were students at Duke University in 2000.

Fairfax said encounters with both women were consensual and he’s asked for an FBI investigation of the accusations.

Meantime Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have faced calls to resign for wearing blackface while in college. Northam said Friday he intends to stay in office.

Iranians celebrate Islamic Revolution, chant “Death to America” » Hundreds of thousands poured into the streets across Iran on Monday celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution’s so-called victory day.

Many waved Iranian flags and chanted “Death to America,” while burning U.S. and Israeli flags.

AUDIO: [Sound of celebration]

President Hassan Rouhani addressed the crowd, vowing to continue building Iran’s military might.

AUDIO: [Sound of celebration]

And he said Tehran will not seek permission from any country regarding its missile development program.

House speaker rebukes Democratic rep. over Israel remarks » A freshman Democratic congresswoman apologized Monday for tweets suggesting that members of Congress are being paid to support Israel. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has more.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: On Sunday Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar commented on a tweet about lawmakers who defend Israel. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she said using a slang term for $100 dollar bills.

Asked on Twitter who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel, she responded, “AIPAC!” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Those remarks drew condemnation from both sides of the aisle. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement signed by other Democratic leaders. It said—quote—“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive.”

Pelosi called on Omar to apologize and she did a short time later. She said “I expect people to hear me when others attack me about my identity” adding “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Omar was elected last year and is one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

Denver teachers strike » Denver teachers went on strike Monday after they failed to reach a pay raise deal with administrators. The strike is the first in 25 years for Denver’s more than 4,000 teachers.

DAVIS: There’s nothing getting done. And so we don’t feel that another day of unproductive negotiating is worth anyone’s time. 

But talks are expected to resume today. The issues on the table include whether to lower bonuses to raise teachers’ base pay and how to provide increased salaries based on education and training.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova said the district is working to come together with teachers.

CORDOVA: It’s my goal and my hope that we’re as quickly as possible back with our teachers in classrooms. I think that’s the most important thing that we can do for our students. 

Denver’s schools remain open, staffed by administrators and substitute teachers. But the district has canceled classes for 5,000 preschool children. In at least one school, students walked out of class to support their teachers.

Rep. Walter Jones dead at 76 » Congressman Walter Jones has died. The North Carolina Republican entered hospice care last month after breaking his hip.

Jones was known as a political maverick unafraid to buck his own party. He was one of the first Republicans to reverse direction on the war in Iraq. And before taking a leave of absence last year amid failing health, he pushed for debate in the House about bringing troops home from Afghanistan.

JONES: Mr. Speaker it makes no sense that our men and women in uniform have been there for 17 years. The Afghan government will never change. 

Jones also was a strong advocate for campaign finance reform and controlling the national debt. He was 76.

The winner of a special election will complete his two-year term in the coastal 3rd District.

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) Children wave Iranian flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. 

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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