March 22, 2018 / 6:28 PM / in a month

REUTERS AMERICA NEWS PLAN FOR THURSDAY MARCH 22

LATEST AND PLANNED U.S. NEWS COVERAGE (ALL TIMES ET)

Top stories as of 2:15 p.m. on Thursday.

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TOP NEWS

Trump sets China tariff plan, edges away from global trade war

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China, although his action was far removed from threats that could have ignited a global trade war. (USA-TRADE/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV, GRAPHIC), moved at 1:18 p.m., by Lesley Wroughton, 471 words) See also: China to respond to US tariffs, resist protectionism - WTO envoy (USA-TRADE/CHINA (UPDATE 2, EXCLUSIVE, PIX), moved at 1:17 p.m., by Tom Miles, 632 words) and EU leaders receive positive news on Trump tariffs (USA-TRADE/EU (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV), moved at 1:24 p.m., by Philip Blenkinsop, 437 words)

U.S. House approves government spending bill despite conservative revolt

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown and fund federal agencies through Sept. 30, despite a revolt by fiscal conservatives worried about what they called runaway spending. (USA-FISCAL/CONGRESS (UPDATE 5, PIX, TV), moved at 1:44 p.m., by Richard Cowan, 842 words) See also: U.S. spending bill would stop employers from pocketing workers’ tips (USA-FISCAL/CONGRESS-TIPPING, moved at 1:34 p.m., by Robert Iafolla, 437 words)

Trump’s lead lawyer in federal Russia probe resigns

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump’s lead lawyer in the U.S. investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election said on Thursday he had resigned. (USA-TRUMP/RUSSIA-LAWYER (UPDATE 2), moved at 12:43 p.m., by Karen Freifeld, 368 words)

House Republicans vote to release Russia report, ending probe

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to release a Republican report on the panel’s Russia probe, the leader of the investigation said, a decision that formally ends the panel’s examination of Russia and the 2016 U.S. election. (USA-TRUMP/RUSSIA (UPDATE 2), moved at 12:56 p.m., by Patricia Zengerle, 469 words)

New York City probes Kushner Cos buildings over possible ‘illegal activity’

A New York City regulator is investigating 13 buildings controlled by a company formerly run by Jared Kushner, a top aide to U.S. President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, over possible “illegal activity” related to work permits, according to public filings. (USA-TRUMP/KUSHNER (UPDATE 1), moved at 9:46 a.m., by Nathan Layne, 312 words)

Investigators scour Texas bomber’s home, searching for a motive

AUSTIN - Federal investigators on Thursday combed through the home of the 23-year-old they say was behind this month’s deadly Texas bombing spree, seeking clues about what motivated his attacks the day after he killed himself in a confrontation with police. (TEXAS-BLAST/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 11:09 a.m., by Jon Herskovitz, 406 words)

Investors, lawmakers, advertisers pressure Facebook over data

WASHINGTON/LONDON - Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s apology for how his company handled 50 million users’ data did little on Thursday to ease investor worries about the cost to fix mistakes and lawmakers’ dismay that his response did not go far enough. (FACEBOOK-CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA/ (WRAPUP 1, PIX, TV), moved at 1 p.m., by Dustin Volz and Kate Holton, 828 words)

WASHINGTON

Thousands to march in U.S. gun protests, but will they vote?

WASHINGTON - As hundreds of thousands of young people protest for stricter gun laws at “March For Our Lives” demonstrations across the United States on Saturday, the Democratic Party and nonpartisan groups plan to register first-time voters. That could be the easy part. (USA-GUNS/VOTE (PIX, TV), moved at 11:47 a.m., by Katanga Johnson, 571 words) See also: U.S. Congress poised to pass modest gun control measures in spending bill (USA-GUNS/, moved at 12:43 p.m., by Amanda Becker and Richard Cowan, 451 words) and Citi sets restrictions on gun sales by retail clients (USA-GUNS/CITIGROUP (UPDATE 1), moved at 12:42 p.m., by Ross Kerber and Nikhil Subba, 292 words)

U.S. weekly jobless claims up slightly; leading indicator rises

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose just marginally last week, suggesting strong job growth in March that should underpin consumer spending. (USA-ECONOMY/ (WRAPUP 2), moved at 12:11 p.m., by Lucia Mutikani, 723 words)

US miners’ union to endorse two more Democrats in coal country

The main U.S. coal miners’ union is set to endorse two Democrats running for Congress in West Virginia, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday - a boost for Democrats trying to win over a constituency that voted heavily for Republican Donald Trump in 2016. (USA-ELECTION/COAL-ENDORSEMENTS (EXCLUSIVE, PIX), moved at 10:13 a.m., by Timothy Gardner and Valerie Volcovici, 734 words)

U.S. Justice Department urges judge to block AT&T-Time Warner merger

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump’s administration urged a federal judge on Thursday to block AT&T Inc’s proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner Inc, saying the deal would hand the company a “weapon” to harm competition and raise consumer prices. (TIME WARNER-M&A/AT&T (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved at 1:23 p.m., by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson, 512 words)

U.S. drops assault charges against 11 of Turkish president’s security team

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors decided to dismiss charges against 11 of 15 members of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security team who had been charged in connection with a street brawl in May 2017 near Turkey’s embassy in Washington. (USA-JUSTICE/TURKEY (UPDATE 1), moved at 11:58 a.m., by Sarah N. Lynch, 318 words)

OTHER U.S. NEWS

Illinois budget deficit soars to $14.6 bln in FY 2017

CHICAGO - Illinois’ general fund budget deficit grew by 52 percent in fiscal 2017 to a record $14.6 billion as political feuding pushed the state deeper into the red, according to a report released on Thursday by the Illinois Auditor General. (ILLINOIS-BUDGET/DEFICIT (GRAPHIC), moved at 1:02 p.m., by Karen Pierog, 293 words)

Southern California on guard as heavy rains raise mudslide risk

LOS ANGELES - Heavy rains in Southern California on Thursday threatened to cause dangerous mudslides in the hills northwest of Los Angeles, after thousands of people evacuated their homes in a region where slides killed 21 people in January. (USA-WEATHER/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 1:27 p.m., by Alex Dobuzinskis, 369 words)

Self-driving car industry confronts trust issues after Uber crash

The fatal accident involving an Uber self-driving car cranks up pressure on the self-driving vehicle industry to prove its software and sensors are safe in the absence of strong government standards, experts in the field said. (AUTOS-SELFDRIVING/UBER-TRUST (UPDATE 2, PIX, GRAPHIC), moved at 11:39 a.m., by Alexandria Sage, Tina Bellon and Nick Carey, 741 words)

MIDDLE EAST

Arab world’s first nuclear reactor delayed again over training - sources

PARIS/SEOUL - The opening of the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear reactor, due to open last year, has been pushed back to 2019 due to training delays, two sources told Reuters. (EMIRATES-NUCLEARPOWER/ (EXCLUSIVE), moved at 9:57 a.m., by Geert De Clercq and Jane Chung, 364 words)

Assad closer to Ghouta victory, as some rebels prepare to quit

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS - The Syrian government moved closer to ending rebel resistance in eastern Ghouta as civilians streamed out of one of its besieged, bomb-battered towns on Thursday and insurgents prepared to surrender another. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-GHOUTA (UPDATE 5, PIX), moved at 11:45 a.m., by Firas Makdesi, Kinda Makieh, Ellen Francis and Angus McDowall, 840 words)

Suspect in Palestinian assassination attempt killed in Gaza shootout - Hamas

GAZA - Hamas said its security forces in Gaza shot dead on Thursday the main suspect behind an attempt to assassinate the Palestinian prime minister. (ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS/ARRESTS (UPDATE 2, TV, PIX), moved at 10:08 a.m., by Nidal al-Mughrabi, 468 words)

Qatar puts 28 people and entities on new terrorism list

DUBAI - Qatar said on Thursday it had placed 28 people and entities on a terrorism list, including several Qatari nationals already blacklisted by rival Arab states who accuse Doha of supporting militants. (GULF-QATAR/SECURITY, moved at 10:30 a.m., moved, by Noah Browning, 384 words)

Sale of Dogan set to tighten Erdogan’s grip over Turkish media

ISTANBUL/ANKARA - Turkey’s Dogan Holding has started talks to sell its $890 million media arm to an unlisted firm seen as close to Tayyip Erdogan, a deal likely to cement media support for the president ahead of 2019 elections. (DOGAN HOLDING-M&A/DEMIROREN (UPDATE 5, PIX, TV), moved at 12:44 p.m., by Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay, 719 words)

Pressure mounts on Macron over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

PARIS - Two rights groups have given the French government two months to halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates or face legal action, adding to pressure on President Emmanuel Macron to scale back support of a Riyadh-led offensive in Yemen. (YEMEN-SECURITY/FRANCE, moved at 10:51 a.m., by John Irish and Sophie Louet, 468 words)

WORLD

Russian agent may have limited mental capacity after nerve attack

LONDON/BRUSSELS - A military-grade nerve toxin attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter may have left them with compromised mental capacity and it is unclear whether they will recover, a British judge said on Thursday. (BRITAIN-RUSSIA/EU (WRAPUP 1, PIX, TV), moved at 2:14 p.m., by Michael Holden and Gabriela Baczynska, 756 words)

“Sacre bleu!” New post-Brexit British passport to be made by Franco-Dutch firm

LONDON - The new blue British passports Prime Minister Theresa May hailed as “an expression of our independence and sovereignty” after Brexit will be made by a Franco-Dutch firm, the boss of the British company which lost the contract said on Thursday. (BRITAIN-EU/PASSPORT (UPDATE 3, PIX, TV), moved at 10:45 a.m., by Costas Pitas, 520 words)

Trains, flights grounded as strikes challenge Macron across France

PARIS - Tens of thousands of nurses, teachers and other public sector workers joined forces to march against French President Emmanuel Macron’s reforms on Thursday, causing widespread travel disruption and bringing brief clashes with police in some cities. (FRANCE-REFORM/PROTESTS (UPDATE 3, TV, PIX, GRAPHIC), moved at 11:33 a.m., by Ingrid Melander and Caroline Pailliez, 591 words)

Catalan secessionists likely to fail again to elect new regional head

BARCELONA - Catalan secessionist parties are likely to fail for a third time to elect a new regional head on Thursday after the far-left group CUP said it would abstain in a vote of confidence. (SPAIN-POLITICS/CATALONIA, moved at 1:23 p.m., by Sam Edwards, 407 words)

Tip on illicit exports triggers probe at Swiss arms group

ZURICH - Swiss federal prosecutors searched state arms group RUAG on Thursday after a whistleblower flagged unauthorised arms exports, the company said. (SWISS-ARMS/ (UPDATE 2), moved at 12:25 p.m., by Michael Shields and John Revill, 240 words)

Secret buyers of luxury properties in Britain face jail in new crackdown

LONDON - Frontmen who help wealthy investors from Russia and other states use foreign shell companies to hide the ownership of luxury London properties face up to two years in jail and unlimited fines, Britain’s government said on Thursday. (BRITAIN-PROPERTY/TRANSPARENCY (PIX), moved at 10:40 a.m., by Andrew MacAskill, 366 words)

FEATURE

Youngsters swap gangs for boxing in Colombia’s Medellin slums

MEDELLIN - As a pink dusk settles on this poor hillside slum in the city of Medellin, 19-year-old Esteban Arrieta skips and shadow punches with a small group of budding boxers in a bare classroom. (COLOMBIA-CITIES/VIOLENCE (FEATURE, PIX, VIDEO), moved at 10 a.m., by Anastasia Moloney, 1227 words)

HEALTH AND SCIENCE

More preemies developing motor impairments

More than one-third of extremely premature and underweight babies have cerebral palsy or other motor impairments that can make it hard for them to do basic things like ride a bike or use a fork, an Australian study suggests. (HEALTH-PREEMIES/MOTOR-IMPAIRMENTS, moved at 11:45 a.m.,by Lisa Rapaport, 645 words)

Patient information might end up in hospital recycling

The move to electronic health records comes amid laws in most places requiring patient personal information to be protected, but it may also be creating a new risk to patient privacy, Canadian researchers say. (HEALTH-PRIVACY/PAPER-RECORDS, moved at 11:28 a.m., by Carolyn Crist, 728 words)

Austrian lawmakers vote to hinder smoking ban in restaurants and bars

VIENNA - Austria’s lower house of parliament voted on Thursday to scrap an impending ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, backing the coalition government despite opposition from health campaigners and opposition parties. (AUSTRIA-POLITICS/SMOKING, moved at 12:57 p.m., by Francois Murphy, 358 words)

ENTERTAINMENT AND LIFESTYLE

UK’s Prince Harry and fiancee Meghan invite 600 guests to wedding

LONDON - Britain’s Prince Harry and his American fiancee Meghan Markle have invited 600 guests to their wedding in May although who is on the list is not being revealed yet, his office said on Thursday. (BRITAIN-ROYALS/WEDDING-INVITATIONS (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 12:11 p.m., by Michael Holden, 432 words)

Afrin, the movie, premieres days after Turkish army storms Syrian town

ISTANBUL - Days after Turkish forces captured Afrin, hundreds of people gathered at a cinema in Istanbul this week for the premiere of a film about commandos battling militants in the Syrian town. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-AFRIN-FILM (PIX), moved at 10:31 a.m., by Ali Kucukgocmen, 320 words)

Oasis of calm in shattered region, Dubai steps out as art hub

DUBAI - As traditional centres of modern Arab art in Damascus and Baghdad have imploded amid disastrous wars, the sheeny city-state of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has stepped into the vacuum as a major hub for art sales. (DUBAI-ART/ (TV, PIX), moved at 9:39 a.m., by Noah Browning, 459 words)

BUSINESS AND MARKETS

Wall St trims losses as Trump talks tariffs, but eases trade war fears

U.S. stocks slid on Thursday, but were off session lows, after President Donald Trump said he planned to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, but his action was far removed from threats that could have ignited a global trade war. (USA-STOCKS/ (UPDATE 4), moved at 1:58 p.m., by Sruthi Shankar, 545 words)

China’s CEFC investigation hits $9 billion Russian oil deal

LONDON - Chinese conglomerate CEFC had already started paying for a stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft when the economic crime police took its chairman away, halting the $9.1 billion deal in its tracks, according to three sources close to the matter. (ROSNEFT-CEFC/ (UPDATE 1), moved at 12:47 p.m., by Dmitry Zhdannikov, 543 words)

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