Friday morning news: November 15, 2019

Party leaders clash as public impeachment hearings resume » Today is day two of public impeachment hearings in the House. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify today. The State Department removed her from the post back in May. 

Democrats say she was the victim of a smear campaign by President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and his allies.  

Not surprisingly, Republicans and Democrats have very different takes on testimony witnesses gave in the first public hearing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters… 

PELOSI: The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry, and that the president abused power and violated his oath. 

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only thing he heard Wednesday was more flimsy hearsay evidence. 

MCCARTHY:  They had never spoken to President Trump. They had not met with the chief of staff. Their understanding, which is the foundation of the case for the Democrats was based on secondhand information. 

At least eight witnesses are scheduled to testify next week, including former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. 

Fed chairman delivers good news, warning to Capitol Hill » Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell paid a visit Thursday to deliver both good news and a warning. 

Powell told lawmakers on the House Budget Committee that the economy is strong.

POWELL: We’re at levels of unemployment that we haven’t seen in 50 years. 

And the short-term outlook is good. He said he does not see evidence of a bubble forming that could later burst and he does not believe—quote—“the probability of a downturn is at all elevated.”

But beyond the short-term, he said, we have a problem. The U.S. government can’t keep spending money it doesn’t have. 

POWELL: Our debt is growing faster than our economy by a margin. And so I think by definition, that makes it unsustainable. 

Powell said over time, Americans “will be spending more of their tax dollars to pay for interest on the borrowing that we’ve done, as opposed to the things we need [like] education, healthcare, and security.” 

At least 2 dead in California school shooting » A student gunman opened fire Thursday at a Southern California high school, killing two students and wounding three others. 

Police say a 16-year-old male walked onto campus, pulled a handgun from his backpack, and shot five people before shooting himself in the head.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said officers quickly swarmed the building. 

VILLANUEVA: We received multiple calls, and within two minutes, at 7:40 our first units arrived on scene and encountered, in the quad area of the school, multiple victims, gunshot wounds. 

Authorities later said the shooter survived but was in grave condition.

The attack occurred at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles northwest of downtown LA. One student described the panic inside the school after the shots rang out. 

AUDIO: I saw a bunch of kids running toward me screaming leave campus there’s a shooter. And I still, like, I couldn’t fathom what was happening. I still thought it was a joke, but then I saw my sister running towards me saying Theresa we need to go. 

The two students who died were a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Their names were not released.

Venice “on its knees” following historic flooding » Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Thursday that his government was declaring a state of emergency in the flood-ravaged city of Venice. The move will help secure funding to repair damage from the highest tide in 50 years. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

CONTE: [Speaking Italian]

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The prime minister spent Wednesday night in Venice, where flood waters drenched world-famous monuments, homes, and businesses. Conte described the flooding as “a blow to the heart of our country.” 

The water rose more than six feet above sea level Tuesday. That was the second-highest level ever recorded in the city. Another wave of high water hit the next day. 

Tourists floated suitcases through St. Mark’s Square, where officials removed walkways to prevent them from drifting away. Wooden boards that shop and hotel owners have placed on doors in previous floods couldn’t hold back the water.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the damage is estimated at “hundreds of millions of euros.”

He said “St. Mark’s Basilica has sustained serious damage, like the entire city and its islands.” He added, “Venice is on its knees.” 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Islamic Jihad fires rockets at Israel following ceasefire announcement » Violence continued in Gaza on Thursday. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of rockets at Israel—just hours after the group announced a ceasefire.

That announcement came after two days of fighting, triggered when Israel killed a top commander in the Iranian-backed group. Militants retaliated by firing more than 400 rockets into Israel. 

Israeli forces responded with a counterattack on Islamic Jihad targets, killing more than 30 Palestinians. Some rights groups reported that civilians were among the dead. 

Deval Patrick announces White House bid » Even as some Democrats have pulled the plug on their White House bids in recent weeks, new candidates are still jumping in. 

AUDIO: I’m Deval Patrick. I used to be governor of Massachusetts, but that’s not where I started ...

Deval Patrick heard there in a video announcement on Thursday, declaring his candidacy. The 63-year-old served two terms as governor, leaving office in 2015. 

His entrance comes days after former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed paperwork in Alabama to run in the Democratic presidential primary. Bloomberg has made no official announcement about his plans. 

Also this week, former GOP South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford announced that he’s ending his primary challenge to President Trump.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. gavels as the House votes 232-196 to pass resolution on impeachment procedure to move forward into the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 31, 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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