Friday morning news: November 8, 2019

China, U.S. move closer to deescalating trade war » The United States and China have agreed to ramp down the trade war as part of an initial agreement. That according to Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng. 

FENG (Mandarin): [Fade in and under]

He told reporters Thursday that negotiators agreed to a “phased cancellation” of tariff hikes … if talks continue to progress.

FENG (Mandarin): [up for a couple of seconds, then back under and slowly out]

It’s part of what the world’s two biggest economies are calling “Phase 1” of a process to de-escalate the trade rift. 

No word yet on exactly when or how much the two sides will reduce tariffs. Gao said that will depend on the agreement. 

Still, the news gave Wall Street another boost. All three major stock indexes hit new record highs in afternoon trading.  

Nine sentenced in Chinese fentanyl bust on U.S. tip » Meantime, cooperation of another sort resulted in a major fentanyl trafficking bust in China. 

A Chinese court sentenced nine traffickers on Thursday … in a case that is the culmination of a rare collaboration between Chinese and U-S law enforcement. 

Chinese investigators worked off a 20-17 tip from U-S officials. 

Austin Moore is the U-S attache to China for Homeland Security. He said DHS investigators got a tip from a defendant in New Orleans.

MOORE: This individual provided the name and contact information for an individual in China from whom he had previously bought narcotics. 

Chinese police then busted a drug ring based in northern China that shipped illegal synthetic drugs to the U-S and other countries. 

Two convicted Chinese citizens received prison sentences ranging from six months to life in prison. Courts sentenced one man to death with a two-year reprieve. But death sentences in China are almost always commuted to life in prison after the reprieve.

Judge orders Trump to pay $2M in foundation case » A New York judge has ordered President Trump to pay $2 million dollars to resolve a lawsuit involving The Trump Foundation. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has that story.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The suit alleged that Trump misused his charitable foundation to further political and business interests. After the ruling Thursday, the Trump Foundation said that money raised by the penalty will go to several charities. Those include the U-S Holocaust Memorial Museum and the United Negro College Fund.

It called the lawsuit politically motivated … but said it’s happy the matter is resolved.

New York’s attorney general filed the lawsuit last year alleging Trump and his family illegally operated the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his presidential campaign.

Attorney General Letitia James called the court’s decision a “major victory” … though she initially asked for close to $3 million dollars in restitution.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones. 

Congolese warlord sentenced for war crimes, crimes against humanity » A notorious warlord in Congo learned his fate on Thursday. 

SOUND (ICC NATS-1): The International Criminal Court is now in session.

Earlier this year, the I-C-C found Bosco Ntaganda guilty on 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. That stemmed from his role as a military commander … overseeing atrocities in a bloody ethnic conflict in the early 2000s. 

On Thursday, the court handed it harshest ever sentence to Ntaganda. 

SOUND (ICC NATS-2): The overall sentence imposed on you shall therefore be 30 years of imprisonment. 

The court convicted the warlord, know as “The Terminator” … of crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery. His victims included many children.

The court’s maximum sentence is 30 years, although judges also have the discretion to impose a life sentence. Lawyers representing victims in the case had called for a life term. Ntaganda does plan to appeal the sentence. 

Comedian John Crist cancels performances amid harassment allegations » Christian Comedian John Crist has canceled his tour and upcoming appearances … in response to a report accusing him of sexual harassment. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports. 

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: John Crist is a popular comedian, and the son of a pastor. His jokes often poke fun at artifacts of evangelical culture … things like crowded church parking lots and celebrity pastors. He has millions of followers on social media and a Netflix special scheduled to debut later this month.

But this week, Crist canceled his upcoming performances … after admitting inappropriate behavior toward women. Crist said—quote … “Those closest to me—my family, team, and close friends—have known about this battle for some time, and now you do too.” He made the statement to Charisma News, which published accusations against him. Crist added … “I’m ashamed of my behavior, and I’m so sorry for hurting so many people.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Visitors chat near American and Chinese flags displayed at a booth of an American company during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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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