Senate to vote on competing proposals to reopen government -- but still no end in sight to shutdown
- Washington (CNN) - The Senate is set to hold a pair of test votes on competing proposals to reopen the government on Thursday -- and both are expected to fail with no clear consensus between Democrats and Republicans over how to end the longest shutdown in US history.
- First up will be a vote on a Republican-backed proposal that would allocate $5.7 billion for President Donald Trump's long-promised border wall.
- The decision to allow votes on measures that are not certain to receive the bipartisan support needed to pass Congress and be signed into law by the President marks a shift for McConnell, who had previously said repeatedly after the shutdown started that he would not take up legislation related to the funding impasse unless it was clear it would be able to pass Congress and be signed into law by the President.
CNN Poll of Polls: Trump approval takes a hit mid-shutdown
- CBS News released a poll Wednesday showing Trump with 36% approval, his lowest of all polls this month.
- With Trump's approval on the downswing, the polls are also showing people blame him for the shutdown; in each of the four polls that asked respondents to place blame, majorities said blame lies with the President, while about a third in each poll cited Democrats in Congress as primarily responsible.
- Half in the CBS News poll said that they want Democrats in Congress to agree to a budget that includes wall funding and two-thirds want Trump to agree to the budget without the wall.
- Perhaps the worst news for the President, around half said that Pelosi is doing a better job handling negotiations over the partial shutdown than Trump (35% in the CBS News poll said he's doing a better job).
Suspect in bank shooting that left five dead quit his job two weeks ago
- Zephen Xaver, 21, allegedly took hostages at a SunTrust Bank in Sebring on Wednesday afternoon and opened fire before barricading himself in the building, police said.
- Investigators spent hours collecting evidence at Xaver's home and talking to people who know him Wednesday night, according to CNN affiliate Bay News 9.
- Sebring Police and Highlands County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the scene.
- The suspect eventually surrendered to the SWAT team at the bank.
- Josh Xaver, an Indiana resident who described himself as the suspect's father, said he's "heartbroken for the victims." In a phone interview on Wednesday, the elder Xaver said his son moved to Florida about a year ago.
- Xaver was employed as a correctional officer trainee at Avon Park Correctional Institution and resigned two weeks ago, according to Patrick Manderfield, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections.
Dozens of wild horses die in Australia's heatwave
- The Central Land Council (CLC), a body that advocates for Aboriginal people in Central Australia, said in a statement Thursday that it had to euthanize more than 50 more horses near the waterhole because they were close to death.
- Temperatures in Alice Springs hit 42 degrees Celsius (89.6 Fahrenheit) for 14 consecutive days and counting, a new record for the area, according to the country's Bureau of Meteorology.
- Health warnings were issued across New South Wales last week advising people to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, minimize physical activity and keep hydrated.
- Australia's wild animals are increasingly suffering from the high temperatures, with more than million fish reported dead and washed up on the banks of Murray-Darling river basin across the southeast, and colonies of bats falling from trees in Adelaide, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
Twitter’s CEO keeps substituting talking for doing
- Imagine a world in which Dorsey believed, and acted as if, Twitter had to get every single thing right.
- Google and Facebook set new records for lobbying spending last year, Ben Brody reports.
- But the donations also put the firms in company with some of the event’s other sponsors, which included three groups known for their work attacking climate change science and trying to undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
- Facebook has announced changes to how it handles and communicates violations of its policies around the publishing of fake news and misinformation, with the goal of preventing publishers that operate large networks of pages and groups from skirting bans.
- But the decision isn’t altruistic: Supporting Wikipedia is also a shrewd business decision that will likely benefit Google for years to come.
- Like other tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, Google already uses Wikipedia content in a number of its own products.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10+ leaked yet again in new pictures
- The latest images come from German tech site AllAboutSamsung, and show what looked to be the Galaxy S10 and S10+ from the front, back and sides.
- From previous reports, we’re expecting Samsung to be announcing at least three new Galaxy S10 devices at its Unpacked event on February 20th, ranging in size from 5.8-inches to 6.4 inches.
- Some rumors have even suggested there will be a fourth Galaxy phone: a 6.7-inch, six-camera 5G “anniversary” device that will supposedly rounding out the line-up.
- More excitingly, Samsung should also be giving us a look at a “fully functional” version of its foldable phone.
- The company gave us a brief glimpse of this device last November, but since then we’ve seen teases of more operational foldable phones from rivals like Xiaomi.
- We’re certainly ready to see more, and will have all the news for you come February 20th.
Venezuelan president Maduro to speak at Supreme Court after US backs his opponent
- The head of the National Assembly declared himself acting president Wednesday as anti-government protests rocked Venezuela and just weeks after the start of Maduro's second term in power.
- On Wednesday, hours after President Donald Trump officially recognized Guaido as the country's legitimate president, a defiant Maduro appeared before supporters to accuse the United States of backing an attempted coup.
- Guaido and his supporters have accused Maduro's government of "usurping power" and called for new elections.
- Prior to his dramatic swearing-in before throngs of supporters in the capital Caracas, Guaido, 35, said the day marked the beginning of an unstoppable movement to restore independence and democracy to the troubled nation.
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the United States would support Guaido as he carries his duties as president and decides the status of the country's diplomats in Venezuela.
Democrats are rejecting Trump's immigration deal for 3 glaring reasons, and it shows just how far apart the 2 sides still are
- A bitter stalemate between President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats is expected to hit a new low on Thursday, as the Senate prepares to vote on two dueling bills to end the government shutdown.
- The GOP bill is fashioned from a plan introduced by Trump on Saturday, which the president billed as a "common sense compromise." The measure would open the government, secure funding for the border wall, long-promised to his base, and make limited concessions on extending temporary protections for Dreamers and other immigrants.
- The proposed bill would limit the pool of eligible Dreamers to the roughly 700,000 immigrants who currently have DACA protections, rather than the estimated 1.8 million who potentially qualify.
- But as more details came out about the proposal, Democrats argued that the GOP bill was not even close to a compromise and designed to fail in order to make Trump appear to be offering concessions.
China finally grants a game license to Tencent
- Tencent has finally come out of a prolonged freeze on game approvals as Beijing granted licenses to two of its mobile games this month.
- According to a notice published by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on January 24, Tencent is one of nearly 200 games assigned licenses in January.
- China resumed its game approval process in December after a nine-month hiatus during which it worked to reshuffle its main regulating bodies for games.
- However, it left Tencent, the country’s biggest game publisher, and runner-up NetEase off its first batch of approved titles.
- NetEase also scored its first post-freeze license this month.
- Despite the thawing, industry experts warn that approving will come at a much slower rate than before as regulators look to more closely monitor game contents, putting the burden on game developers and publishers to decipher new industry rules.
US Navy sails warships through Taiwan Strait
- Diehl "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit" that was "in accordance with international law," US Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr.
- The approximately 110-mile-wide strait, which separates the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, is seen as a potential geopolitical flashpoint should Beijing ever seek to take the island of Taiwan by force.
- America's top naval officer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, met with his Chinese counterparts earlier this month, with Chinese military officers raising the issue of Taiwan, according to a report on the Chinese military's English-language website.
- Following his China visit, his second as chief of naval operations, Richardson said the US Navy would continue to send warships wherever international law allows.
- Earlier this month, China's President Xi Jinping called on Taiwan to reject independence and embrace "peaceful reunification" with China in a conciliatory speech that nevertheless took a hard line on the island's political sovereignty and freedoms.