In our news wrap Friday, President Trump has canceled a scheduled trip to London to open the new American embassy, citing displeasure at its new location. A British lawmaker said threat of mass protests was the real reason for canceling. Also, the U.S. ambassador to Panama says he is resigning because he can no longer serve under Mr. Trump.
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And in the day’s other news- President Trump declined again to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, despite his fierce criticism of the pact. But he warned this is a last chance, and he did reimpose some targeted sanctions on individuals and businesses in Iran.
We will have a look at the Iran deal controversy later in the program.
The president has canceled a scheduled trip to open the new United States Embassy in London. In an overnight tweet, he complained that the U.S. got a bad deal on the finances and location. He didn’t mention calls for mass protests of any visit, but a British lawmaker who represents the area near the new embassy says that is the real reason for the cancellation.
Marsha de Cordova:
I think Donald Trump has chosen not to come to London and come to Battersea to open the embassy because he’s scared. He’s scared at the hundreds of thousands of people that will be here peacefully protesting against his visit because of his racist and his misogynistic views.
The president blamed the Obama administration for the embassy deal, but the decision and arrangements were made under President George W. Bush.
The U.S. ambassador to Panama says he is resigning because he can no longer serve under Mr. Trump. John Feeley is a career diplomat. According to Reuters, his resignation letter says that he took an oath to serve, even when he disagrees with a president’s policies. But, he says, “If I believed I could not do that, I would be honor-bound to resign. That time has come.”
Feeley’s decision came before Mr. Trump’s comments from yesterday.
They are still searching tonight for mudslide victims in Southern California, but hope is starting to run out. Seventeen people have been killed ages 3 to 89. Today, a river of mud covered the 101 Highway, as rescue crews scoured the debris. At least five people are still believed to be missing.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is a big step closer to ending her country’s prolonged political deadlock. Merkel’s conservative ruling party and a center-left party agreed today on a framework for formal coalition talks. In Berlin, the chancellor acknowledged pressure to form a government, given the elections took place nearly four months ago.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (through interpreter):
In the long time since the federal elections, we have seen that the world is not waiting for us. We are convinced that we need a new awakening for Europe and have developed the corresponding ideas for this between the party chairmen.
The framework deal includes pledges to strengthen the European Union and curtail the number of migrants entering Germany.
There is word that the MeToo movement fighting sexual harassment and assault is beginning to make a stir in China. A Beijing university announced last night that a prestigious scholar has been ousted. It cited multiple allegations of sexual misconduct made by several women.
Women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to attend a soccer match at a sports stadium yesterday for the first time. But it came with restrictions, they had to sit in designated family sections. They also used separate entrances. It is one of a series of small steps to give Saudi women greater rights.
Back in this country, President Trump underwent his first physical examination today since taking office. He spent much of the afternoon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Then he departed for a weekend at his Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.
And Wall Street had another healthy day, after retailers reported strong holiday sales. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 228 points, almost 1 percent, to close at 25,803. The Nasdaq rose 49 points, and the S&P 500 added 18.