In our news wrap Thursday, President Trump canceled a January pay raise for the roughly 2 million civilian workers in the federal government. Also, the president told Bloomberg News that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will keep his job at least until November's elections. Trump has repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe.
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And in the day's other news. The roughly two million civilian workers in the federal government will not be getting a pay raise in January after all. President Trump today canceled an across-the-board raise of 2.1 percent, plus additional increases in areas with higher costs of living. The action doesn't affect plans for a military pay raise of 2.6 percent.
The president also says that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will keep his job, at least until November's elections. Bloomberg News is reporting that Mr. Trump gave that assurance in an interview today. The president has repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
China today dismissed a call for U.S. sanctions over a crackdown on Muslims. A group of U.S. lawmakers made the appeal in a letter to the Trump administration. They cited reports of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims being held involuntarily in detention camps in Xinjiang province.
We will look at the plight of the Uyghurs later in the program.
In Syria, there are growing sign that the military may soon attack the country's last opposition enclave. The target is Idlib province, and Syria's foreign minister says the regime will — quote — "go all the way" unless the rebels surrender.
In Geneva today, the United Nations Syria envoy warned that the lives of three million people are in jeopardy.
Staffan de Mistura:
While we are aware that efforts and discussions are taking place to avoid the worst-case scenario, one cannot ignore that miscalculations may indeed occur, leading to unforeseen escalations. And we are all very much concerned.
Syria's ally Russia announced that it will begin major naval exercises on Saturday just off the Syrian coast.
Back in this country, Michigan State University said today that it has been cleared of mishandling a sexual abuse scandal. The school released a letter from the NCAA saying a review found no rules violations. Michigan State has denied that it covered up for former sports director Larry Nassar — or sports doctor, I should say, Larry Nassar.
He is now serving up to 175 years in prison for assaulting hundreds of girls and women.
At Ohio State University, investigators say now at least 145 people have accused a former school doctor there of sexual abuse. Richard Strauss allegedly groped scores of male athletes and other students over two decades. He committed suicide in 2005.
In Encino, California, a man was arrested today on charges of making death threats against employees of The Boston Globe newspaper. Federal prosecutors say Robert Chain made more than a dozen threatening calls to The Globe newsroom this month. That is after the paper organized editorials and papers nationwide promoting freedom of the press and pushing back on President Trump's attacks on the news media.
And on Wall Street, stocks fell on fears that the U.S. will impose new tariffs on China next week. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 137 points to close below 25,987. The Nasdaq fell 21 and the S&P 500 slipped nearly 13.
Still to come on the "NewsHour", the U.S. Justice Department weighs in on Harvard's admissions policies; exposing China's crackdown on a Muslim minority; a look at how Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has ruled on business issues; and much more.