Monday News: Soft targets


TRUMP SEEKS TO BOLSTER HIS POLL NUMBERS BY UNDOING DACA PROGRAM: President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay, people familiar with the plans said. The delay in the formal dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, would be intended to give Congress time to decide whether it wants to address the status of the so-called Dreamers legislation, according to two people familiar with the president's thinking. But it was not immediately clear how the six-month delay would work in practice and what would happen to people who currently have work permits under the program, or whose permits expire during the six-month stretch.

THOUSANDS IN NORTH CAROLINA WILL BE AFFECTED BY DACA ROLLBACK: The end of the program would impact thousands of students and workers in North Carolina and last week Duke University President Vincent Price sent a letter to Trump regarding the proposed changes in the program. “As president of Duke University, home to over 14,000 students and 37,000 employees representing a great diversity of backgrounds, I urge you not to repeal or otherwise undermine the DACA program,” the letter read in part. “Ending DACA protections threatens to undermine this commitment for the many young people who have worked very hard to be here and have so much to offer the common good.” In 2013, there were about 17,000 DACA applicants in North Carolina, according to the Brookings Institute. Data from the Department of Homeland Security shows that there have been roughly 27,000 DACA applications approved in North Carolina from the inception of the program through late 2016.

TRUMP RESPONDS TO NK NUKE TEST BY INSULTING CHINA AND SOUTH KOREA: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis responded to North Korea’s latest nuclear test by saying threats to the United States and its allies “will be met with a massive military response.” Mattis spoke at the White House on Sunday following a meeting with President Donald Trump and national security advisers. He says any response will be “both effective and overwhelming.” Trump raised the stakes Sunday in an escalating crisis over North Korea’s nuclear threats, suggesting drastic economic measures against China and criticizing ally South Korea as he convened his national security team to consider the North’s latest provocation: its most powerful nuclear test.

CHINA BRISTLES AT TRUMP'S THREAT FOR TRADE SANCTIONS: China on Monday criticized President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off U.S. trade with countries that deal with North Korea and rejected pressure to do more to halt the North’s nuclear development. Trump issued the threat after North Korea on Sunday exploded a thermonuclear device in its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The threat was seen as a warning to China, North Korea’s main trading partner and only major ally. A foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, criticized Trump’s stance as unfair to Beijing. “What is definitely unacceptable to us is that on the one hand we work so hard to peacefully resolve this issue and on the other hand our interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardized,” Geng said at a regular news briefing. “This is unfair.”

KENTUCKY'S LAST ABORTION CLINIC UNDER ATTACK BY ANTI-CHOICE GOVERNOR: Its survival on the line, Kentucky's last abortion clinic is bracing for a pivotal legal showdown with health regulators and the state's anti-abortion governor that could determine whether Kentucky becomes the first state in the nation without an abortion clinic. The licensing fight, set to play out in a Louisville federal courtroom starting Wednesday, revolves around a state law requiring that EMW Women's Surgical Center have agreements with a hospital and an ambulance service in the event of medical emergencies involving patients. State regulators defend those conditions as "important safeguards" to protect women's health. The clinic in downtown Louisville counters that the requirements lack any "medical justification" and amount to an unconstitutional barrier to abortion.