“Congress moves closer to deal to avert government shutdown”
The U.S. Congress was moving closer to crafting a deal to avoid shutting down at the stroke of midnight on Friday, but the details and even broad strokes of an agreement were still murky.
Some lawmakers are optimistic they can hammer out a budget bill to take the government to the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, while others see Congress putting a short-term spending resolution in place for a week, while talks continue. Either way, the pressure is mounting to come up with a plan before Friday night. If lawmakers do not have one, funding for many federal agencies will abruptly stop and millions of government workers will be temporarily laid off. Many policy makers are nervous about a repeat of 2013, when the government was shuttered for 17 days.
On Monday President Donald Trump eased up on demands to include funding for a southern border wall in any budget pact, clearing a major obstacle in the negotiations.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told CNN late on Tuesday that the Trump administration had also informed Democrats on Monday it would move discussions on building a border wall to September, when the government must negotiate the budget for its next fiscal year.
Democrats said they were worried Republicans could try to attach language limiting family-planning funds, and Schumer expressed concerns about attempts to undo Wall Street reforms enacted after the 2007-09 financial crisis.
“In Warning to North Korea, US Releases Video of Overnight Minuteman III ICBM Launch ”
As reported on Tuesday evening, overnight the US Air Force conducted a test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM from Vanderberg Air Force base near Lompoc in California, in what was a clear signal of nuclear deterrence aimed squarely at North Korea.
Col John Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, who oversaw the launch of the long-range missile, said that «Team V is once again ready to work with Air Force Global Strike Command to successfully launch another Minuteman III missile. These Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of our national nuclear force and to demonstrate our national nuclear capabilities. We are proud of our long history in partnering with the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron to execute these missions for the nation.»
As Vanderberg confirmed overnight, the missile launch was conducted as planned, and was successful, with the ICBM travelling approximately four thousand two hundred miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
“France election: Macron heckled by pro-Le Pen workers”
Ms. Le Pen upstaged her centrist rival earlier by turning up to speak to the workers as he met their union representatives a few miles away.
Mr. Macron, who is far ahead in opinion polls, is in Amiens, his home town, amid accusations of complacency. He got another boost when former President Nicolas Sarkozy endorsed him.
François Fillon, the candidate of Mr. Sarkozy’s own, centre-right Republican party, was knocked out in the first round, leaving uncertainty over how party supporters would vote in the second.
Opinion polls taken since the first round on Sunday suggest Mr. Macron, candidate of the “En Marche (On The Move)” movement, will easily beat Ms. Le Pen, who has temporarily stood down as leader of the National Front.
This was a neat publicity coup for Marine Le Pen. As Emmanuel Macron was holding talks at the local chamber of commerce, the National Front leader made an unannounced visit to the picket line at the Whirlpool factory where she was greeted with enthusiasm by many of the striking workers. Mr. Macron retorted that Marine Le Pen was cynically exploiting the situation for political ends and that it was more important to work out a long-term solution for the factory than to score cheap points in front of the cameras.
“Twitter stock surges on surprise user growth”
Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) added 9 million monthly active users in the first quarter of this year, shattering Wall Street estimates and helping to send the stock up more than 10% in early trading Wednesday. The social network now has 328 million monthly users. That still puts it well behind rivals like Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Instagram, but nonetheless shows reignited growth.
In the U.S., Twitter’s overall userbase increased by 3 million last quarter — or about as much as it grew in all of 2016. Overall, the number of global users checking Twitter daily grew 14% from the previous year, signaling greater engagement on the platform.
Twitter credited the surprise uptick in new users to tweaks made to its news feed and notifications as well as marketing and some seasonality. Notably not mentioned in the earnings release: having a new president who just happens to love the platform. On a conference call with analysts, Twitter CFO Anthony Noto hinted at the positive impact all the political chatter may be having on user engagement. «There is some evidence that we benefited from our new and resurrected users following news and political accounts in Q1, particularly in the U.S.,» he said.
While the user growth is welcome news for the company, it still faces an uphill battle to turn around its business.