Tuesday morning news: February 26, 2019

U.S. imposes sanctions on more Venezuelan officials » Vice President Mike Pence on Monday announced the U.S. is hitting more Venezuelan officials with sanctions.

PENCE: Including three border state governors implicated in last weekend’s violence and a member of Maduro’s inner circle. These people worked to block aid for people in need and suppress peaceful protest, while their tyrant danced in Caracas. 

The vice president speaking from Columbia on Monday, where he met with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido and other regional leaders.

Pence said embattled President Nicolas Maduro “is a usurper with no legitimate claim to power,” adding that he “must go.” And Pence said more than 50 nations have joined the U.S. in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s rightful interim president.

President Trump signals optimism on China, North Korea » President Trump is signaling a great deal of optimism in trade talks with China. On Sunday he said, while “we still have a little ways to go,” if progress continues—quote—“we’re going to have some very big news over the next week or two.” And on Monday he told a gathering of governors at the White House…

TRUMP: China’s been terrific. We want to make a deal that’s great for both countries, and that’s really what we’re going to be doing.

Renewed optimism over trade talks between the world’s two biggest economies lifted markets around the globe. China’s stock market just enjoyed its best day in more than three years.

The president also said Monday he’s looking forward to his second summit this week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

TRUMP: I’m not pushing for speed, but we’re not removing the sanctions. And we’re going to have, I think, a very interesting two and a half days in Vietnam.

The president said the U.S. is willing to take its time in nuclear talks with North Korea as long as it continues its suspension of nuclear weapons testing.

Law to require care for babies who survive abortions fails in Senate » The U.S. Senate on Monday rejected a bill that would require doctors to provide medical care to babies who survive abortions.

53 senators voted for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, but it fell short of the 60 votes need to pass.

Three Democrats joined Republicans in backing the legislation. They were senators Bob Casey, Joe Manchin, and Doug Jones.

44 senators voted no — all Democrats. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski did not vote.

British prime minister says Brexit deal still possible » European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday called on the UK to delay its exit from the European Union.  

TUSK: I believe that in the situation we are in, an extension would be a rational solution. 

But British Prime Minister Theresa May said she believes a Brexit deal is still within reach.

MAY: I’ve had a real sense from the meetings I’ve had here, conversations I’ve had with EU leaders in recent days, a real sense that we can achieve that deal. It’s within our grasp to leave with a deal on the 29th of March, and that’s where all my energies are going to be focused. 

May speaking from the EU-Arab League Summit in Egypt. She said her staff would continue negotiations with EU leaders after they returned from Egypt.

The prime minister has pushed back a vote on her Brexit deal in Parliament as she continues efforts to win over British lawmakers. The vote could now come as late as March 12th.

Meatime, May’s opponents in Britain’s Labour Party say they’ll push for a second referendum if lawmakers reject their alternative Brexit plan.  

Patriots owner charged with two counts of soliciting » Authorities say New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paid for sex at a Florida massage parlor just hours before he flew to Kansas City for last month’s AFC Championship game. He is charged with two first-degree misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution … in a case that’s shining a national spotlight on human trafficking in the U.S.

State attorney for Palm Beach County, Dave Aronberg said Monday…

ARONBERG: Many prostitutes in cases like these are themselves victims, often lured into this country with promises of a better life, only to be forced to live and work in a sweatshop or a brothel, performing sex acts for strangers. 

The 77-year-old Kraft was among numerous men arrested in a statewide sting operation at the so-called spas.

A spokesman for Kraft denies he did anything illegal. But Jupiter, Florida police detective Andrew Sharp said his department has video evidence of the alleged acts.

Singer R. Kelly pleads not guilty, posts bail » Singer-songwriter R. Kelly posted bail on Monday, after pleading not guilty to multiple charges of sexual abuse of a woman and three underage girls.

The 52-year-old Grammy Award-winning artist has sold more than 30-million albums throughout his career. He spent the weekend in a Chicago jail after police arrested him on Friday.

As a condition of his bail, he cannot have any contact with females younger than 18. Prosecutors claim they have evidence Kelly engaged in sexual acts with a girl as young as 14.

But Kelly’s attorney Steven Greenberg told reporters over the weekend…

GREENBERG: Mr. Kelly is strong. He’s got a lot of support, and he’s going to be vindicated.

In 2008, a jury acquitted the singer, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, of child pornography charges. Those charges involved a video that allegedly showed him having sex with a minor.

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano) Venezuelan youth protest in front of a barricade demanding the National Guard reopen the border crossing in Urena, Venezuela, on the border with Colombia, Monday, Feb. 25, 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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