National / International News

What happened to the GOP’s deficit hawks?

The Senate is pushing ahead on a budget vote this week. That framework would move the GOP a step closer to the tax overhaul it has promised. The Senate plan allows for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the decade. Those cuts could blow a $2.4 trillion hole in the budget, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates. There are a few on the right who are sounding the alarm about national deficits and debt. Republican Sen. Rand Paul in an interview today said he is prepared to vote no on the budget if leaders don't agree to cut billions in spending from the plan. But most of the deficit hawks have gone quiet — or are now singing a different tune. Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Warren Gatland: The criticism & hurt that led to bitter end to Lions involvement

BBC - 12 hours 2 min ago
As Warren Gatland's involvement with the Lions comes to a bitter end after a tour he "hated", Chris Jones asks how did it come to this?

Top Stories: Drug Czar Nominee Withdraws; The Dow Tops A New High

NPR News - 12 hours 12 min ago

Also: Islamic State militants are surrounded in Raqqa, Syria; the latest on California's wildfires; and the plague outbreak is getting worse in Madagascar.

Stormzy and J Hus lead the Mobo Awards nominations

BBC - 12 hours 20 min ago
Jorja Smith, Stefflon Don and Mercury Prize winner Sampha are also up for awards.

Craig Shakespeare: Leicester City sack manager four months after appointment

BBC - 12 hours 28 min ago
Leicester City sack manager Craig Shakespeare just four months after he took the job on a permanent basis.

Dow Crosses Another Milestone, Topping 23,000 For The First Time

NPR News - 12 hours 29 min ago

The Dow Jones industrial average topped 23,000 for the first time, crossing another milestone amid better-than-expected earnings reports and concerns that stocks are approaching another bubble.

(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Search Of DNA In Dogs, Mice And People Finds 4 Genes Linked To OCD

NPR News - 12 hours 33 min ago

Scientists looking for genetic factors behind obsessive compulsive disorder looked for clues in the DNA of humans and two animal species. Genes active in a particular brain circuit emerged.

(Image credit: Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)

Undocumented residents not eligible for FEMA cash payments after disasters

Marketplace - American Public Media - 12 hours 37 min ago
It's been almost two months since Hurricane Harvey covered southeast Texas with 50 inches of rain, left hundreds of thousands of residents with flooded homes and disrupted lives. As of October 16, about 870,000 households had applied for direct financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and about 300,000 have been approved. Only U.S. citizens or legal residents are eligible for those direct deposits of relief funds from FEMA. The more than half a million undocumented people living in greater Houston have to find financial relief in other ways.   Ingrid is the name of a Honduran woman who came to Houston 12 years ago, and Marketplace is not using her last name because she has yet to obtain U.S. citizenship. Shortly after arriving, she met her husband and started a family. Like many people in the sprawling apartment complex where she's staying in northwest Houston, she was displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Ingrid found the un-flooded, one-bedroom apartment through a friend. It's where she and her four children — ages 12, 10, 6, and 3 months — will be living for the foreseeable future. She said that on the night that Harvey made landfall in the Houston area, she woke up to the sound of water rushing into her old apartment, and knew they had to get out. “We lost everything that night and tnext day," Ingrid said in Spanish. "We walked to the car and slept there for a while because we didn’t have any other place to stay.”  The flood came at a particularly tough time for Ingrid. Her husband was deported back to his home country of Mexico just a week before the storm hit, after he was stopped for a traffic incident. “My life right now isn’t easy,” Ingrid said.  Ingrid took photos of her flooded apartment before her family fled for safety. They slept in her car for days until they found an un-flooded apartment. Filipa Rodrigues/ for Marketplace After a disaster like Hurricane Harvey, undocumented people like Ingrid are eligible for some government assistance — basically emergency food and shelter. But they can’t get things like FEMA cash assistance — up to $33,000 per household — or low-interest government loans to rebuild homes. If a family is mixed-status, with parents or guardians who are undocumented, but with children who are U.S. citizens, then the household can apply for FEMA funds on behalf of the kids. That's the case with Ingrid, whose children who were born here, so she gave it a shot. “I filled out an application with FEMA but they still haven’t responded," Ingrid said. "They haven’t sent me anything. They’ve told me nothing. I don’t have any idea what happened with that application. I’ve been to various organizations but none of them helped me.” The FEMA application doesn’t require Ingrid to declare her immigration status, but she said she’s still worried about being targeted by immigration authorities if she applies for any aid from the government. Still, she said she's willing to take the risk to help her children. At a pop-up FEMA office down the street, more than 30 people crammed inside to speak with agents, fill out forms and get updates on their application statuses. There were a couple of interpreters inside to help the majority Spanish-speaking people waiting, but the atmosphere was chaotic and everyone seemed frustrated. Right after Harvey hit, nonprofits set up shop in shelters to help undocumented people and Spanish speakers. But with shelters now closed, help is harder to find. A group called United We Dream identified several families in dire need of help, and Ingrid’s was one. They connected her to a nonprofit that raised money online for Hurricane Harvey relief. Dona Murphey is chair of that group, an advocacy organization called Pantsuit Republic. Murphey said she felt great about writing a $5,000 check for Ingrid, but there were some snags. Ingrid doesn’t have a bank account, and no official U.S. identification. Murphey agreed to help her get the check cashed. “So, she took that $5,000 check and went to some check cashing place and they told her, ‘we declined it, but we can’t tell you why.' It bounced in the system and now she’s locked out of the system.” Murphey said she and Ingrid tried ten check cashing stores and none would take it. So Murphey's group took back the check, and, after a week of wrangling, gave Ingrid $5,000 in cash. Murphey said, for her, it underscores the constant challenges for the undocumented community. “Everything that could go wrong, did," Murphey said. "And I think that many of us take for granted that are so easy and take so little time and thought and energy for anybody else is just so impossible for her.  A week or so after our interview, Murphey called with an update about Ingrid. Ingrid let Murphey know that she sent some of the $5,000 cash to Honduras, to pay for a breathing machine for her sick mother. Ingrid also told Murphey she went to a FEMA office in Houston to check on the application for her kids. Ingrid was ill at the time, and said a worker told her to come back when she wasn’t sick. Apparently Ingrid refused to leave, and someone called the police.  Ingrid has given up on getting money from FEMA, Murphey said.  "She said she’s not going back. And she said she doesn’t want anything to do with this, anymore." Murphey said Ingrid will have to rely on friends and charity donations, instead.  related Houston is trying to get buyout offers to homeowners quickly  Disaster rebuilding help is on the way ... eventually Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are causing an insurance adjuster shortage

How the GOP tax plan could hurt charities

Marketplace - American Public Media - 12 hours 37 min ago
In its tax framework, the GOP leadership has promised to keep some of the most popular personal deductions, including the charitable deduction. But the value of that deduction could be limited by other changes to the tax code.  To explain, let's start with a tradition that you, dear public radio supporter, are likely familiar with: the pledge drive. A few times a year, member stations around the country ask for donations, often touting their tax deductability.  Of course, people donate money to all causes because they support the mission of the organizations. But doing good isn't the only reason people give. "We know tax incentives are, in fact, really important," said Jeff Moore, chief strategy officer at Independent Sector, which represents nonprofits. The group sponsored research from Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and "one of the really interesting things we found is just how responsive givers are to tax incentive," Moore said. Take tax incentives away, and some folks would give less, billions less, according to that Indiana University study. And that’s exactly what the GOP framework could do — take those tax incentives away. Here's how: The Republicans want to double the standard deduction and eliminate a lot of other write-offs.  related Tax brackets and why you shouldn't fear a raise Why so much of the U.S. tax code is social policy How Americans really feel about taxes "That proposal is likely to greatly decrease the number of taxpayers who itemize their deductions," said Jon Bakija, an economics professor at Williams College. Fewer itemizers means fewer people who get a tax incentive to donate to charity. Under the GOP tax framework, the only people who’d be left to take the charitable deduction would be the wealthiest taxpayers. That raises concerns about the social engineering of charitable giving, Bakija said. "If the rich are more likely to donate to the Heritage Foundation and the middle class is more likely to donate to the Sierra Club, this is going to affect which of those organizations get funds," Bakija said. "It’s not that United Way is for or against tax reform," said Steve Taylor from United Way Worldwide. But the plan as it's been proposed is the wrong way to go about encouraging more giving, he said. "Whether you are wealthy or middle class or low income, that shouldn’t matter if you are taxed on your donations to charity," Taylor said. Many charitable organizations, including his, are pushing for a universal tax deduction for charitable giving, a write-off anyone could take. But that would cost money. And it isn’t currently on the list of tax breaks that Republicans seem most interested in paying for.

Ulster players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to face rape trial

BBC - 12 hours 46 min ago
No date has yet been set for their Crown Court trial, but it is expected to be held early next year.

County Championship: Middlesex unsuccessful with points deduction appeal

BBC - 13 hours 11 min ago
Middlesex lose their appeal against a two-point deduction, confirming their relegation from County Championship Division One.

Royal baby: William and Catherine's third child due in April

BBC - 13 hours 18 min ago
The pregnancy, which has seen the duchess suffer morning sickness, was announced in September.

Senate budget battle likely as vote looms

Marketplace - American Public Media - 13 hours 50 min ago
The Senate is expected to take up a budget framework this week. If it passes, the GOP will be one step closer to the tax overhaul it so desperately wants. President Donald Trump promised yesterday in a Rose Garden press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the tax plan is on track. But the outcome of the pending budget vote is far from predictable. Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Can Congress make consumer data safer?

Marketplace - American Public Media - 13 hours 53 min ago
The Senate Banking committee meets today for another hearing about the Equifax data breach. With the major credit reporting agencies woven deeply into the fabric of our financial system, what can Congress actually do here? Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Mike Samwell death: Stolen car 'driven backwards and forwards' over victim

BBC - 14 hours 14 min ago
Ex-Royal Navy officer Mike Samwell was found with tyre marks on his chest, a court hears.

Kent fire service's Dirty Dancing parody is a hit

BBC - 14 hours 16 min ago
Video encourages people to test their smoke alarms weekly but they are "not expected to do the lift".

Tom Marino, Trump's Pick As Drug Czar, Withdraws After Damaging Opioid Report

NPR News - 14 hours 43 min ago

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., is withdrawing days after reports that a bill he sponsored hindered the Drug Enforcement Agency in its fight against the U.S. opioid crisis.

(Image credit: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

'Pray for Mogadishu' is not trending, but Somalis are mobilising

BBC - 14 hours 44 min ago
Deadly bomb attacks in Somalia kill at least 281 people but there are no hashtags of solidarity

ISIS Makes Last Stand At A Stadium In Raqqa, Its Doomed 'Capital'

NPR News - 14 hours 55 min ago

Arab and Kurdish fighters in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces began their offensive four months ago. Now ISIS fighters are reportedly bottled up in a stadium complex in the city.

(Image credit: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

World Cup play-offs: Northern Ireland drawn against Switzerland

BBC - 15 hours 21 min ago
Northern Ireland will play Switzerland in the World Cup play-offs as they aim to qualify for their first finals since 1986.