In our Wednesday news wrap, global markets fell again due to continuing trade tensions between the U.S. and China, though Beijing did say it will abide by a tariff cease-fire. Also, President Trump did not comment on a newly released memo requesting no prison time for Michael Flynn, who served briefly as national security adviser, due to his cooperation with the special counsel's investigation.
Turning now to the day's other news: U.S. markets were closed for the Bush funeral, but overseas markets fell again, on continuing confusion about U.S.-China trade tensions.
On Twitter, President Trump tried to allay the doubts, saying — quote — "Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi Jinping meant every word in their Saturday meeting."
Beijing said today that it will abide by a tariff cease-fire, but it gave no details.
The president was silent today on the news that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has given substantial cooperation to the Russia investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller's office described Flynn's help in a heavily redacted court filing last night. It recommended that he not serve any jail time.
Flynn has admitted to lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin is warning the U.S. against pulling out of a 1987 arms treaty. The Trump administration announced yesterday that it will begin that process in 60 days, if Russia continues its alleged treaty violations.
In Moscow, Putin denied any violations. He said Russia will react in kind, if the U.S. starts building missiles that are now banned.
President Vladimir Putin:
Many other countries, like a dozen, I think, produce such weapons, while Russia and the U.S. have restricted themselves. It looks like the American side have now decided that the situation had changed so much that the U.S. as well has to have such weapons.
And what will our response be? Very simple: We will do the same.
The 1987 treaty aimed to eliminate U.S. and Russian short- and intermediate-range missiles.
The warring parties in Yemen are set to begin peace talks in Stockholm, Sweden tomorrow. Delegates from the Houthis, a Shiite rebel faction, arrived late Tuesday. Members of Yemen's government-in-exile arrived today for the first talks in more than two years. A Saudi coalition of Sunni Arab nations has been fighting the Iranian-allied rebels since 2015.
French President Emmanuel Macron has scrapped a proposed fuel tax hike that sparked the most violent protests in decades. His government initially had said that it would suspend the tax for six months. Tonight, Macron's prime minister said that the tax is now a dead letter, and he called for dialogue with the protest groups.
European police arrested at least 84 suspected mobsters today in raids across Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. They targeted an Italian mafia syndicate known as the 'Ndrangheta and they accused — and accused — it is accused of cocaine trafficking, money laundering and other crimes.
At The Hague, Italy's top anti-mafia prosecutor said the raids are just a small step in taking down the group's vast network.
Federico Cafiero de Raho:
I wanted to underline once again how 'Ndrangheta has cells that operate, cooperating amongst each other, and in a network that covers the whole of Europe. If we think we have dismantled 'Ndrangheta with this operation, we are probably, actually, certainly, we are wrong.
Today's raids followed a two-year-long investigation. In addition to the arrests, police also seized more than $2 million.
There's word that global carbon emissions have reached record new highs in 2018, rising the most in seven years. An international scientific group, the Global Carbon Project, makes that projection based on figures from the U.S., China, Europe and India. The findings mean some of the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord may be nearly out of reach.
Back in this country, Wisconsin's Republican-controlled legislature carried out a promised power play early today. The lame-duck session voted to curb the authority of the next governor and attorney general, who are both Democrats.
Later, governor-elect Tony Evers appeared with the incoming lieutenant governor, attorney general and treasurer.
Gov.-Elect Tony Evers, D-Wis.:
The will of the people been officially been ignored by the legislature. The four of us won those races. The people of Wisconsin expect better from us as leaders, and leaders in the legislature, than to pit people against each other.
Evers urge defeated Republican Governor Scott Walker not to sign the legislation. Otherwise, he said Democrats, they will change challenge the measures in court.
In Georgia, Republican Brad Raffensperger won a runoff Tuesday for secretary of state overseeing elections. Fellow Republican Brian Kemp held the position before being elected governor last month. He has denied using his office to suppress minority turnout. Raffensperger says that he will continue strict enforcement of voter I.D. laws and purges of inactive voters.
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