Tuesday morning news, February 11, 2020

White House releases 2021 budget » The White House released its proposed 2021 budget on Monday. It outlines President Trump’s nearly $5 trillion plan for running the country if he wins reelection. 

Acting White House budget director Russell Vought told Fox News…

VOUGHT: It balances the budget in 15 years. It has more deficit reduction, 4.6 trillion, than any president’s budget in history, continues to do everything we can to deal with the trillion dollar deficits…

The president’s budget proposes cost-cutting reforms to social safety net programs, but it does not propose painful cuts to Medicare and Social Security. It also proposes cuts to foreign aid, while calling for more money for defense and border security. 

The White House and Congress already negotiated a two-year spending deal last year that covered half of 2021. But this plan reminds Congress and voters of the administration’s priorities.

Democrats are already calling the budget a nonstarter. They say the budget would cut benefits to those who need it and hurt working families. It’s likely to go nowhere fast in the Democratic-controlled House.

Voters head to polls in New Hampshire » Voters head to the polls in the Granite State today for the first-in-the-nation primary.  

The last average of polls in New Hampshire gives Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders a commanding 7 point lead over former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. 

It’s worth noting that Buttigieg defied the final polling average in Iowa—albeit by a smaller margin of 3-and-a-half points. Both campaigns are now calling for a re-canvassing in some parts of Iowa after delays and irregularities with the vote counts. 

Senator Amy Klobuchar has seen a last minute surge of support in New Hampshire. She campaigned in Keene on Monday. 

KLOBUCHAR: I am someone that can win this thing. I think that is why I am surging. I think the people of New Hampshire get it. You are a state that’s a primary, so people can vote who are independent, as well as our fired up Democratic base. You know how to count votes! (laughs)

But according to pollsters, she still lags well behind Sanders and Buttigieg. The final state polling average has her in a virtual third place tie with Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

More than 40,000 now infected with coronavirus » The latest figures from health officials show that more than 40,000 people have contracted the coronavirus and more than 900 have died. 

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke Monday at a briefing in Switzerland. He said the “objective remains containment.” 

GHEBREYESUS: We call on all countries to use the window of opportunity we have to prevent a bigger fire. 

Ninety-nine percent of the reported cases are in China. The Chinese government on Monday reported a rise in new cases. That dimmed recent optimism that the near-quarantine of some 60 million people and other disease-control measures had effectively contained the virus. 

DOJ charges 4 members of Chinese military over Equifax breach » The Department of Justice on Monday blamed Beijing for one of the largest ever data breaches and theft of Americans’ personal information. 

The DOJ announced charges Monday against four members of the Chinese military. Prosecutors say they were behind the 2017 hacking of the Equifax credit reporting agency.

Attorney General William Barr told reporters…

BARR: The hackers secured the names, birthdates, and social security numbers of nearly 150 million Americans, and the drivers licenses of at least 10 million Americans. 

Law enforcement says the four suspects also stole the company’s trade secrets, including database designs.

But FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich acknowledged that there’s almost zero chance the Chinese government will turn over the suspects to U.S. authorities. 

BOWDICH: We can’t take them into custody, try them in a court of law, and lock them up—not today, anyway. But one day, these criminals will slip up. And when they do, we’ll be there. 

The charges come as the Trump administration continues to warn against efforts by Beijing to collect data on Americans and steal scientific research and innovation.

Coast Guard nabs $338 million in cocaine » The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday offloaded some 20,000 pounds of cocaine seized in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

It took the drug haul to Naval Base San Diego. The drugs have an estimated street value of nearly $340 million. 

U.S. ships intercepted drug runners in eight operations between November and mid-January. 

AUDIO: United States Coast Guard! (instructions in Spanish)

The Coast Guard released video of the operations on Monday.

AUDIO: Looks like what might be a bale right there. Looks like two bails right there underneath the console, a third—yeah, this place is loaded. 

The Coast Guard says the campaign against drug cartels involves numerous U.S. agencies as well as the Navy.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought pauses as he speaks during a television interview at the White House, Monday, Feb.10, 2020 in Washington. 

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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