Wednesday morning news: November 13, 2019

Public impeachment hearings begin today » Public impeachment hearings begin this morning on Capitol Hill.  

The first witnesses to testify in front of the TV cameras will be Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Both have already testified behind closed doors. 

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m. Eastern Time. 

Democrats say starting today the American people will hear for themselves the evidence that President Trump wrongly leveraged military aid to Ukraine. Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee…

KILDEE: The fact that he was willing to condition that very necessary aide on a political favor is a point that we can’t ignore.

Republicans complain that the process remains one-sided. GOP members have submitted a list of witnesses they would like to question. But Democrats have the final say, and it’s unclear if they’ll accept any of the names on that list. 

Supreme Court hears DACA arguments » The Supreme Court could be poised to let the Trump administration pull the plug on the DACA program. That stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants whose parents illegally brought them into the country as children.

President Obama used executive authority to create the program after legislation failed in Congress. And the high court heard arguments on Tuesday on whether it should stop the Trump administration from winding down the program. 

Outside the Supreme Court, DACA recipients and supporters pleaded their case.

AUDIO: I hope that the justices can see our humanity, our worth, and the contributions we make to this country as the good Americans we are. 

But conservative justices indicated that the question is not the merit of the program or its beneficiaries, but whether the Trump administration is within its authority.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh indicated the White House provided good reasons to do away with DACA. And Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito questioned whether the court had the right to review such executive branch decisions. 

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor disagreed with the administration’s rationale for ending DACA—namely that it is illegal. The court is expected to rule on the case by June of next year.

Trump hosts Turkish president at White House » President Trump will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today at the White House. 

Erdogan’s government reached agreements with the United States and Russia last month that ostensibly halted a Turkish assault on Kurds in northern Syria.

But some humanitarian groups say Turkey never actually ceased fire, as it claimed. 

Suicide bombers strike in Syria near Turkish border » Meantime, violence continues in the increasingly unstable region. 

WORLD’s Mindy Belz was on the ground near the Turkish border when suicide bombers struck, killing several people. She sent in this report.

MINDY BELZ, REPORTER: A car bomb rattled buildings and shattered glass in a busy commercial area in central Qamishli on Monday. Eyewitnesses reported five dead, but authorities have not released an official death toll.

Moments later a motorcycle bomber struck the Chaldean Catholic Church only blocks away. It’s one of 11 churches in this historically Christian area. Soon after the bombings came reports that militants had killed Qamishli’s Armenian Catholic priest, along with the man’s father. ISIS claimed responsibility for gunning down the men in their car. ISIS has claimed 30 attacks in the first 10 days of November, a huge increase in the wake of the U.S. pullout from northeastern Syria.

The new violence falls hard on residents here, who include Christians, Kurds, and Arab Muslims. Already they have survived other ISIS onslaughts.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Mindy Belz reporting from Qamishli, Syria.

Israeli airstrike kills Palestinian militant leader » An Israeli airstrike in eastern Gaza Tuesday killed a senior leader of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. 

AUDIO: [Sound of rocket blast]

Israeli forces targeted the home of Bahaa Abu el-Atta—killing him and his wife. 

Islamic Jihad is an Iranian-backed terror group. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abu al-Atta was preparing immediate attacks on Israel. Netanyahu is heard here through an interpreter. 

NETANYAHU: I want to clarify, Israel is not interested in an escalation, but we will do everything necessary to defend ourselves. 

Syrian officials said a separate Israeli strike in Damascus targeted another of the group’s top commanders, but he emerged unharmed.

The airstrikes set off the heaviest fighting in months between Israel and Islamic Jihad. Gaza militants fired scores of rockets into Israel throughout the day, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv. Israeli warplanes responded with a series of airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets—killing at least five other militants.

Jimmy Carter recovering after surgery » Former President Jimmy Carter was recovering Tuesday from surgery to relieve pressure from bleeding on his brain. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Carter underwent surgery at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital to resolve bleeding due to his recent falls. His spokeswoman said the surgery went well, and there were no complications. 

Carter has fallen at least three times this year. He was last hospitalized on October 21st after fracturing his pelvis.

At 95, Carter is the nation’s oldest-ever ex-president. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The Capitol is seen at dawn on the morning after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution to affirm the impeachment investigation, in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 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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