Friday morning news: December 6, 2019

House speaker recommends articles of impeachment » One day after the Judiciary Committee took up the House impeachment inquiry,  Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’s heard enough. 

PELOSI: Today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.

Pelosi said she made the decision with a heavy heart, but added “our democracy is at stake.” 

PELOSI: The president leaves us no choice but to ask, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. 

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Democrats have been looking for a hook to hang an impeachment case on from day one. 

MCARTHY: Today with the speaker’s announcement, she has weakened the nation. It was not new news. They have always had this prewritten timeline from the day they got sworn in. 

The full House could vote on impeachment before Christmas. And McCarthy said despite the Democratic majority in the chamber, he doesn’t think it’s at all a slam dunk that the House will vote to impeach the president. 

But if it does, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chamber will have to figure out how to handle it. He said there are three ways the Senate could approach impeachment procedures. 

MCCONNELL: By bipartisan agreement on procedure, by 51 senators deciding what the procedure is going to be, or basically kind of a jump ball. 

This is only the fourth time Congress has tried to remove a sitting president. 

Trump admin announces big changes to food stamp program » The Department of Agriculture has announced big changes to the SNAP program—better known as food stamps—that could mean nearly 700,000 fewer people will receive assistance. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the planned changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—or SNAP for short. 

Federal law limits the benefits to prevent them from becoming a way of life. Able-bodied adults under the age of 50 can only receive food stamps for three months

But states are allowed to waive the federal limit in areas where unemployment is higher than the national average. And with the lowest U.S. unemployment rate in decades, about 3.6 percent, the Trump administration says it’s time for a change. 

Under new regulations, states could only waive limits on SNAP benefits where unemployment is above six percent, and only for one year. 

The Agriculture Department estimates the change could save around $5.5 billion over five years. But critics say it will harm thousands who are working but still can’t make ends meet. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.  

Thousands protest retirement reforms in France » Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Paris on Thursday to protest the government’s plan to overhaul the retirement system.

At times, the demonstrations turned ugly. Small groups of protesters smashed store windows, set fires, and hurled rocks at police, who fired tear gas to break up the crowds. 

And with many government workers walking out in protest, France’s high-speed trains stood still, leaving tourists stranded for hours. 

AUDIO: I arrived at the airport this morning not knowing anything about the strikes happening. And we waited for almost two hours at the airport for the train to arrive, and it didn’t arrive. 

And many iconic attractions were closed to tourists as well.  

AUDIO: We had one morning left and we wanted to come up the Eiffel Tower, but it was closed. 

Paris authorities barricaded the presidential palace and police ordered all businesses, cafes and restaurants in the area to close.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to reveal the details of his retirement reform plan next week. The plan will encourage some people to work longer. And some fear it will raise the country’s official retirement age. 

Gunmen kill Japanese humanitarian, five others in Afghanistan » A Japanese physician and humanitarian who worked in Afghanistan for more than a decade, died this week after attackers opened fire on his vehicle. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Unknown gunmen ambushed Dr. Tetsu Nakamura’s vehicle—killing him and five other people. 

The 73-year-old Nakamura led the Japanese charity Peace Medical Service in Afghanistan since 2008. He worked in rural areas to help villagers in a drought-stricken region to build canals using old Japanese techniques. 

Afghans credit him for the region’s reforestation and fertile wheat farmlands. Villagers fondly called him “Uncle Murad.” In April, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani awarded him honorary citizenship. Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry extended its condolences and lauded Nakamura for “bringing livelihood to the people of the region.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Saudi state-owned oil company set for biggest ever IPO » Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company is gearing up to sell shares in the biggest initial public offering ever. Aramco, which pumps and produces Saudi Arabia’s crude oil to the world, set its share price on Thursday. It’s valuing the company at $1.7 trillion. That’s more than Apple or Microsoft. 

It will sell shares at roughly $8.50 each, putting the overall value of the stake being sold at nearly $26 billion. 

Aramco is expected to start trading on the Saudi Tadawul stock exchange within the next two weeks. 

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at her weekly news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 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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