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China: How A Superpower Sets Its Agenda

Oct 12, 2017

It’s an event that comes around every five years, and it sets the stage for political leadership of the world’s most populous country.

The national congress of China’s Communist Party will convene on October 18, 2017 in Beijing. Chinese president Xi Jinping is likely to secure another five-year term, but there are questions about changing party policies.

White House chief of staff John Kelly made an unusual appearance at Thursday's daily press briefing to clear up a few things: He isn't going anywhere, he is not frustrated by President Trump's use of Twitter and he is not trying to micromanage the president.

"Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I'm not quitting today," Kelly said. "I don't believe — and I just talked to the president — I don't believe that I'm being fired today. And I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving."

As a Brazilian-born scientist, it pains me to witness the devastating cuts — and proposal of future additional reductions — to the country's science funding.

The cut of 44 percent in March brought the 2017 budget for Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications the lowest level in 12 years. Additional cuts of about 16 percent have been proposed for the 2018 budget.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

As Democratic pols jettison their old contributions from Harvey Weinstein, the former entertainment executive embroiled in multiple allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, his cash is not likely to leave a big hole in party coffers.

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that is intended to provide more options for people shopping for health insurance. The president invoked his power of the pen after repeated Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have failed.

"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care."

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So Republicans couldn't quite pull off repeal and replace.

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Shortly before Election Day last year, some helpful-looking posts began popping up on Twitter: No need to stand in line or even leave home, they said — just vote by text!

The messages, some of which appeared to come from Hillary Clinton's campaign, had versions in Spanish, with gay pride flags and other permutations. They were also 100 percent false.

Where did they come from?

A Washington, D.C., judge has significantly narrowed the Justice Department's warrant related to a website used to plan anti-Trump protests during the Inauguration.

Russia’s President turned 65 last week, but Vladimir Putin is not the retiring type. His term in office ends next year, but he’s widely expected to seek re-election and many expect he’ll win another six-year term.

Whilst President Putin was celebrating his birthday, Russian investigators raided the homes of at least five people working for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled oligarch who at one time owned the country’s biggest oil producer — Yukos.

In 1973, CBS reporter Daniel Schorr read a freshly obtained copy of President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list” on air, and found his own name on it.

Now, reporters don’t have to dig at all to know what the president thinks of them.

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The U.S. government has any number of ways to get out its messages - press releases, news conferences, social media. Now, some federal agencies are trying out podcasts. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

President Trump is nominating Kirstjen Nielsen to be the next homeland security secretary, the White House announced Wednesday.

Nielsen would succeed now-White House chief of staff John Kelly in the position if confirmed by the Senate. She currently serves as Kelly's principal deputy chief of staff and was also his chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security.

Stanley Fischer is resigning early as vice chair of the Federal Reserve after three years at the central bank. His term was set to expire next June. Before becoming second in command to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, the former MIT economics professor served as head of the Bank of Israel and as a top official at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Citigroup.

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President Trump visits Harrisburg, Pa., today, where he expects to promote tax cuts.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the "basics" of clean air and water. The EPA's Superfund program manages the cleanup of some of the most toxic waste sites. Pruitt says the EPA will soon name a top 10 list of sites to focus on.

One potential site for that list is the Tar Creek Superfund site in far northeast Oklahoma, where a team of agency officials recently visited.

The past few days have been particularly chaotic, even for a president who seems to thrive on self-created chaos.

There's been a feud with a key Republican senator, a flare-up at a professional football game with President Trump instructing his vice president to walk out when players (on the most activist team in the NFL) knelt during the national anthem, and he even questioned the IQ of his secretary of state.

When Germany's Parliament convenes later this month, members of a far-right party will take seats for the first time since the 1950s. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) came in third in last month's parliamentary elections and promises to raise its voice in the opposition.

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U.S. And Turkey Mutually Stop Issuing Visas

Oct 10, 2017

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California Gov. Jerry Brown defied the drug industry Monday, signing the most comprehensive drug price transparency bill in the nation that will force drug makers to publicly justify big price hikes.

"Californians have a right to know why their medical costs are out of control, especially when pharmaceutical profits are soaring," Brown says. "This measure is a step at bringing transparency, truth, exposure to a very important part of our lives, that is the cost of prescription drugs."

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Being a member of Russia's democratic opposition has long meant coping with failure and irrelevance. In the carefully choreographed public life of Vladimir Putin's Russia, political campaigns lacking the Kremlin's blessing have usually failed.

But in early September, Russian democrats finally had something to celebrate: Almost 300 opposition candidates surprised everyone by winning majorities in 30 of Moscow's 125 local district councils.

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