Friday morning news, January 24, 2020


Democrats wind down opening arguments in impeachment trial » Today is day three of opening arguments for House Democrats in the Senate impeachment trial. 

On Thursday, the lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff pressed his case once again—defending the House’s charge that President Trump abused his office. He  discussed evidence from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, which he says bolsters that case. 

SCHIFF: The only thing that mattered with the public announcement. As this note says with an asterisk, get Zelensky to announce that the Biden case will be Biden case will be investigated. 

And fellow impeachment manager, Texas Congresswoman Syvia Garcia, said in pushing for that announcement, the president abused his power. 

GARCIA: Because he knew it would be damaging to an opponent that was consistently beating him in the polls. And therefore, it could help him get reelected in 2020.

Democrats today will use the balance of the 24 hours allotted to make their opening arguments. Then, White House lawyers will respond. 

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow…

SEKULOW: We will be putting on both an affirmative case in defense of the president, but also pointing out some of the errors in the case they presented. 

White House counsel will also get 24 hours over three days to make their case. 


New visa rules aimed at curbing “birth tourism” in U.S. » The Trump administration on Thursday published new visa rules aimed at restricting so-called “birth tourism.” WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The new rules are designed to stop women from traveling to the United States to give birth so their children can have U.S. citizenship.

The federal government will deny tourist visas to travelers if consular officers determine that they’re coming here primarily to give birth. 

Those with medical needs will be treated like other foreigners coming to the United States for medical treatment. They must prove they have the money to pay for it—including transportation and living expenses.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that, “Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses.”

She said “It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism. The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.”

The new rules take effect today. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 


W.H.O. says it’s still too early to declare coronavirus emergency » The World Health Organization said Thursday that it’s still too early to declare the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency. WHO Emergency Committee chairman, Dr. Didier Houssin explained why they’re holding off on that declaration.  

HOUSSIN: Because of limited number of cases abroad, and also considering the efforts which are presently made by China—Chinese authorities—to try to contain the disease. 

An emergency declaration can bring more money and other resources to fight a threat. But it can also trigger economically damaging restrictions on trade and travel in the affected countries.

On Thursday, Chinese authorities moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million. It is an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds.

Officials in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, shut down the train station and airport there. They also halted ferry, subway, and bus service. Normally bustling streets, shopping malls, restaurants, and other public spaces in the city of 11 million were eerily quiet. Authorities announced similar measures will take effect Friday in two other nearby cities. 

At least 17 people have died in the outbreak, all of them in and around Wuhan. 


Three American firefighters killed battling Australian wildfires » Three American firefighters died Thursday while battling wildfires in Australia. 

They were flying a C-130 aerial water tanker in New South Wales when the plane went down. State Rural Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters…

FITZSIMMONS: The crash down in the Snowy Monaro area, it impacted heavily with the ground, and initial reports are that there was a large fireball associated with the impact of the plane as it hit the ground. 

Officials are investigating the cause of the crash. Americans and firefighters from several other countries have joined Australian teams to combat one of the worst fire seasons the continent has seen.

The tragedy brings the death toll from the blazes to at least 31 since September. The fires have also destroyed more than 2,600 homes and torched more than 25 million acres. That’s an area bigger than the state of Indiana.


Journalist Jim Lehrer dies » Journalist Jim Lehrer has died at the age of 85. Many knew him as the longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour.”

LEHRER: Good evening, I’m Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour this Wednesday …

Many others knew him best for his role as a debate moderator. Lehrer moderated 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012.

LEHRER: Governor Romney, do you have a question you’d like to ask the president directly about something he just said? Well sure, I’d like to correct the record, and go through piece by piece. 

He also anchored PBS coverage of inaugurations and conventions.

After Lehrer graduated from college in 1956, he served three years in the U.S. Marine Corp. He later worked 11 years at The Dallas Morning News and other newspapers before making the jump to television. 

In a statement, PBS said Lehrer died “peacefully in his sleep.” 


Giants’ Eli Manning retires » Eli Manning is ending a 16-year NFL career. The New York Giants announced this week that the two-time Super Bowl champ is retiring. 

Giants’ president and chief executive officer John Mara said “For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field.” 

Manning holds numerous franchise records with the Giants, and was selected to four Pro Bowls. The 39-year-old leaves the NFL with as many Super Bowl titles as his brother, Peyton, who retired after leading the Denver Broncos to a title in 2015.


(AP Photo/Chip Somodevilla, File) This Sept. 26, 2008 file photo shows debate moderator Jim Lehrer during the first U.S. Presidential Debate between presidential nominees Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. 

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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