By Oluwakemi Ike
1. Trump, GOP Focus on Tax Cuts After Decline of New Healthcare:
After President Trump and Congress failed to repeal Obamacare the week before, they are now swaying their efforts to pass major tax cuts. They are desperate for a legislative win after gaining a loss. Without the abolishment of the Affordable Care Act, Trump has presented Congress with a challenge of rewriting the tax code he was hoping for. The tax cuts Trump is aiming for include a large corporate cut and individual savings in what would be the first extreme overhaul of the tax code in years. Many people believe Trump is going for this to achieve an easy win. “They have to have a victory here," said Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation economist and former Trump adviser. "But it is going to have to be a bit less ambitious rather than going for the big bang.”
- Source: The New York Times
2. Hundreds Arrested During Russia Protest:
Russian police arrested over 700 protesters in Moscow after rallies against corruption in President Vladimir Putin’s government evolved. The Kremlin issued bans to halt the protests, but thousands of people stormed the streets, chanting “Shame! Shame!” Alexei Navalny was one of the first to be arrested among the protesters and was also the chief organizer of the rally. Navalny put together the rally after the wake of his accusations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has attained vineyards, luxury yachts and mansions worth more than $1 billion. Alec Luhn, an American journalist for the Guardian was among the arrested protesters, but was later released.
- Source: The Washington Post
3. London Attacker Sent WhatsApp Message Before Attack:
A top British security official stated that Khalid Masood sent a WhatsApp message just before driving into dozens of pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge that left three people and one police officer dead. Masood was shot dead on Parliament grounds. Due to the messages’ encryption, it is not able to be accessed. Home secretary, Amber Rudd urged WhatsApp and other encrypted services to make their platforms more accessible to intelligence services and police during investigating and lawful eavesdropping. “We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp–and there are plenty of others like that–don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other,” Rudd stated. But her request for a system to allow authorities to access information is likely to be resisted by the tech industries, which has faced law enforcement demands to retrieve data in the past.
- Source: The Associated Press
4. U.S. Air Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader in Afghanistan:
A U.S air strike in southeast Afghanistan has left al Qaeda leader, Qari Yasin dead. He was believed to have been the architect behind a 2008 suicide truck bombing that killed more than 50 people at the Marriott hotel in Pakistan, the Pentagon noted over the weekend. He has also been believed to be behind other attacks such as gunmen firing at a Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus in Lahore, Pakistan. Six police officers and two civilians were killed in the attack, the visiting players were left wounded. “The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement.
- Source: CNN
5. Eight Presumed Dead after Japan Avalanche:
Eight high school students form Japan were presumed dead after an avalanche hit at the Nasu Osen Family Ski Resort north of Tokyo on Monday. Forty people, generally students were injured in the avalanche. The group of 70 from different schools were on a three-day mountain climbing training trip. Dozens of troops were involved in the rescue, amid the heavy snowstorm. In Japan, rescue teams wait for a physician at a hospital to pronounce victims instead of doing it at the scene. “We have avalanche incidents once or twice a year around here, but haven't had anything this big,” a fire department official told Reuters news agency. An official also told Reuters that there would be an investigation as to why the group was out in the event of an avalanche warning.
- Source: BBC News