ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
36°
Broken Clouds
H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    36°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 51° L 44°
  • rain-day
    48°
    Afternoon
    Showers. H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Evening
    Cloudy. H 51° L 44°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Pompeo says US diplomats' morale 'good' despite shutdown
Close

Pompeo says US diplomats' morale 'good' despite shutdown

Pompeo says US diplomats' morale 'good' despite shutdown
Photo Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, poses with his local security team before departing Manama International Airport in Manama, Bahrain, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)

Pompeo says US diplomats' morale 'good' despite shutdown

American diplomats are upbeat despite the government shutdown that has left many of them working without pay, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday.

"Morale is good," Pompeo told reporters in Abu Dhabi, one of the stops on his nine-nation tour of Middle East, as the shutdown was set to enter its fourth week. "They understand that there are squabbles in Washington, but their mission remains, their duties continue and they're executing them."

"We're doing our best to make sure it doesn't impact our diplomacy," he said of the longest federal shutdown in American history.

Almost half of the State Department employees in the United States and about one-quarter abroad have been furloughed during the shutdown. With the exception of certain local employees overseas, the rest are working without pay, including those tasked with supporting Pompeo's trip, which has thus far taken him to Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Bahrain.

Pompeo's travels were to continue to Sunday with stops in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He will wrap the tour up on Monday and Tuesday in Oman and Kuwait.

Even with the government closed, Pompeo said he still plans to host all U.S. ambassadors for a previously scheduled conference in Washington next week.

"It's something that we've had teed up for a while," he said. "It is incredibly important that they hear directly from me. It's an important opportunity for me to get in front of 180-plus of my commanders in the field to look them in the eye and describe to them what it is we're doing and how it is I expect them to do that."

Pompeo also defended the presence of his wife on his Mideast tour. Susan Pompeo's travel with her husband has raised the eyebrows of some who have questioned why she is accompanying him during the shutdown. Pompeo called her a "force multiplier" who is looking at issues he might not otherwise have time to deal with.

"With respect to my wife's travel, she is on an important mission as well," Pompeo said, noting that she has visited the families of U.S. diplomats to gauge their quality of life and make suggestions as to how that can be improved. "She is here on a working trip doing her best to do what you would see a military leader's spouse do — trying to help the State Department be better."

"Are our officers living in the conditions that the Pompeo family would be willing to accept? What are their lives like?" he said. He added that she would prepare a report on what she found with suggestions for improvements, similar to what she did with CIA families while Pompeo was head of the intelligence agency.

"All the things that make up the lives of our families who are serving in sometimes very difficult places she gets a chance to get out there to see how they're living and help me understand what it is that we can do to make sure that our team has everything that they need," Pompeo said.

___

For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown

Read More

News

  • A star athlete at a high school in Douglas County, Georgia, is being held in jail without bond after police arrested him on murder charges. >> Watch the news report here Police arrested Jalen Morgan, 17, on the Alexander High School campus last week because they said he was part of a conspiracy to commit murder in May of last year. Investigators said seven people were involved, and Morgan, along with his cousin LeAndrea Morgan, acted as the lookouts for the crime. “Two of these individuals had pre-existing issues with each other, and they showed up in an attempt to commit this act,” said Sgt. Jesse Hambrick, with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. WSB-TV’s Tyisha Fernandes learned that the intended target for the crime was not the person shot and killed. The documents say that during the robbery, one of the suspects fired a shot at the intended target – Kenneth McClary – but McClary shot back and killed the suspect. Now, all seven suspects are being held in jail without bond. >> Read more news stories  Police arrested the suspects just a few weeks after the slaying, and last week they arrested the Morgan cousins. They've wrapped the case. “These last two were the last two that they expect, and they’re ready to move forward from there,” Hambrick said. Each suspect is facing several charges, and one is accused of being a gang member. Investigators said he's part of the Bloods. They're saying he committed the crime with the intent to maintain and increase his status as a known gang member.
  • Crews are on site this morning to repair damage caused by a MARTA train derailment.  The derailed cars are still stuck on the tracks more than a day after the accident.  MARTA officials say two cars on an out-of-service train derailed around 9 p.m. Tuesday at the airport station, causing train service to stop on the red and gold lines. No passengers were on board and the rail operator was not hurt.  We're at the scene as crews prepare to bring in a giant crane to the scene and we'll have the impact for travelers, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Passengers trying to get to the airport must get off at the College Park station, where a shuttle train and buses are taking people back and forth. The agency is investigating what caused the issue.
  • A Tennessee schoolteacher is accused of sex crimes involving a teen. >> Watch the news report here Jasmine Edmond, 24, was arrested Monday. She is charged with sexual battery by an authority figure. Edmond, who is a teacher at Power Center Academy High School in Memphis, began working at the school in August 2018, according to a letter sent to parents. She taught several different math classes. The alleged incident happened in November 2017, prior to Edmond’s employment with PCA High. She was employed by Shelby County Schools at the time, according to the letter, which was written by PCA High Principal Antonio Ryan. >> On Fox13Memphis.com: Man accused of attacking woman he forcibly held into prostitution, police say Ryan said the school completed a background check on Edmond, but it didn’t show anything about the alleged crime. Edmond is accused of engaging in sexual contact with someone between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the unlawful sexual contact, she 'had supervisory power over (the victim) by virtue of her occupational status and used the power to accomplish sexual contact,' according to the indictment. Edmond was released from jail on bond. WHBQ reached out to both Gestalt Community Schools – which operates PCA High – and Shelby County Schools for comment.  SCS confirmed Edmond was placed on administrative leave on March 27, 2018, to conduct an investigation into the allegations. She did not return to the district.  >> Read more news stories  Below is the statement given by SCS officials regarding her arrest: 'Following the reported allegations, the employee was placed on administrative leave on March 27 so that the District and law enforcement could conduct a thorough investigation. This is standard District procedure. The employee did not return to the school for the remainder of the year and is no longer employed by the District.' Gestalt Community Schools also responded with the following statement: 'We were shocked and disappointed when Jasmine Edmond was arrested. She was a new teacher at Power Center Academy, and we performed a thorough background check last summer, which showed no indication of such behavior. She is currently on administrative leave from Gestalt Community Schools pending further investigation. Although we have no knowledge at this time that her behavior impacted any of our scholars, we are doing our own internal due diligence. We will fully assist the Memphis Police Department with their investigation.' Read more here.
  • Phoenix police are looking for answers after a dead newborn baby was discovered at an Amazon fulfillment center Wednesday. According to KTVK, the body was found about 8:30 p.m. in a women's bathroom at the facility on West Lower Buckeye Road, authorities said. Officials said the baby was inside a garbage can, KNXV reported. >> Read more news stories  Amazon called the incident 'terribly sad and tragic' in a statement. 'We are working with local authorities to support their investigation,' the statement read, according to KTVK. 'The safety and wellness of our team is our top priority.' Read more here or here.
  • With the federal minimum wage of $7.25 cents an hour unchanged for ten years, Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a plan in Congress to more than double that pay rate over a six year period, arguing it’s past time for lawmakers to make it easier for working Americans to earn enough money to support their families. “President Trump isn’t going to stick up for American workers – we Democrats will,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said to cheers at a U.S. Capitol news conference. “No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who will lead the charge for a higher minimum wage in the House as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. “The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 'No American working full time should be living in poverty,' House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott said when introducing legislation to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15. The last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage was in 2007. pic.twitter.com/nypZl0CX7L — POLITICO (@politico) January 16, 2019 “Increasing the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “I believe this legislation would provide a boost to businesses and the broader economy.” While the Congress has not touched the minimum wage since Democrats pushed through an increase in 2007, individual states have taken a different approach, as now 29 states have a higher minimum wage than the feds. Just last year, voters in Missouri approved raising the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2023; Arkansas voters approved a minimum wage going up to $11 by 2021. “The last time we were in charge, one of the first things we did was raise the minimum wage,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), referring to a 2007 law approved by a Democratic Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. “It was not enough then,” Hoyer said of the $7.25 per hour federal wage. “It is clearly not enough now.” The $15 per hour wage – known by some groups as the “Fight for 15” – certainly has a good chance at getting through the House, now that Democrats in charge; but it faces an uphill fight in the U.S. Senate. Our #FightFor15 Sisters and Brothers welcoming members of Congress to this afternoon's announcement of the #RaiseTheWage Act of 2019. pic.twitter.com/rza7EjsAfP — Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) January 16, 2019 “A living wage for all workers helps business, families, and the economy,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). “The steady increase is good for workers, good for business, and good for the economy,” said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). “No American working full time should live in poverty.” A section-by-section review of the bill can be found here. The actual legislative text is here.
  • In a possible sign of progress toward ending a costly tariff war over Beijing's technology ambitions, the top U.S. and Chinese trade envoys will hold talks in Washington later this month. China's economy czar, Vice Premier Liu He, will travel to Washington for the talks Jan. 30-31, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday. It said he was invited by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Liu's participation reflects involvement at a higher political level than talks earlier this month in Beijing between lower-level officials. No details were released, but economists and business groups said a decision by Liu and Lighthizer to join them would indicate enough progress to require higher-level political decisions. The two sides have imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 percent on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods in the fight over U.S. complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Washington also is pressing China to roll back plans for state-led industry development that its trading partners say violate its market-opening obligations. The Washington talks are aimed at carrying out the Dec. 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to suspend further tariff increases for 90 days while they negotiate, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng. The talks are likely to take up more complex and politically charged U.S. complaints about Chinese economic policy, said Yu Chunhai, a trade expert at Renmin University in Beijing. He said China must insist on a 'bottom line' beyond which it won't go. Chinese officials have suggested Beijing might adjust its industry plans. But they reject pressure to abandon what they consider a path to prosperity and greater global influence. Liu probably will tell U.S. officials 'what China can and can't do,' said Yu. For their part, Chinese leaders want Washington to relax export controls on 'dual use' technology with possible military uses. They say Chinese companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though almost all deals are approved unchanged. 'It can't be denied that China has trade interests,' said Yu. 'Such communication must be made between officials at a higher level.' Chinese exports to the United States held up through much of 2018 despite Trump's tariff hikes but contracted by 3.5 percent in December compared with a year earlier as the penalties began to depress demand. Liu held talks in June in Beijing with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as trade tensions mounted. That meeting failed to produce a settlement and Trump went ahead the next month with his first round of tariff hikes. Liu also made a surprise appearance at this month's talks in Beijing, which financial markets took as a positive sign. Global stock markets rose but then fell back after the meeting produced no agreements. U.S.-Chinese relations are increasingly strained over technology, trade and cyber-spying. An executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Ltd., Meng Wanzhou, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran. This month's talks in Beijing went ahead despite Chinese warnings of severe consequences over Meng's arrest. Economists said that reflected how much importance Xi attaches to restoring access to the U.S. market for Chinese exporters. On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether Huawei stole trade secrets from U.S. companies. The investigation was prompted in part by a lawsuit brought by T-Mobile U.S. Inc. that accused two Huawei employees of stealing technology for a robotic arm used to test mobile phones, the Journal said, citing unidentified sources. The two companies settled their dispute in 2017. The U.S. demands strike at the heart of a state-led development model the ruling Communist Party sees as a great success over the past three decades and is reluctant to give up. Neither side has shown any sign of changing its basic position and economists say the 90-day window is too short to resolve all the conflicts between the biggest and second-biggest global economies. Even if negotiators agree to a deal that resolves some of their disputes, U.S. hardliners might persuade Trump to reject it. A U.S. government statement after the Beijing talks said they focused on Chinese promises to buy more American exports and addressed the need for any deal to be subject to 'ongoing verification' — a reflection of U.S. frustration that the Chinese have failed to live up to past commitments. Trump has complained repeatedly about the U.S. trade deficit with China. China reported Monday its 2018 trade surplus with the United States swelled to a record $323.3 billion. Beijing has sought to defuse pressure for more sweeping changes by emphasizing its growing importance as an import market and promising to open further its auto and some other industries. Lighthizer has pressed Beijing to scrap or change rules Washington says block market access or improperly help Chinese companies. U.S. companies also want action on Chinese policies they complain improperly favor local companies. Those include subsidies and other favors for high-tech and state-owned industry, rules on technology licensing and preferential treatment of domestic suppliers in government procurement. Beijing also faces complaints from the European Union. The 28-nation trade bloc has filed a challenge in the World Trade Organization against Chinese licensing rules it says hinder foreign companies from protecting and profiting from their own technologies.