Friday morning news: February 3, 2023
The U.S has agreed to send longer-range bombs to Ukraine, the Philippines granted U.S. troops access to four more of its military bases, the Pentagon has been tracking what it believes to be a Chinese spy balloon over US airspace, the FBI is reportedly planning to search former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home and his Washington office for classified materials, Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan opened the 71st annual national prayer breakfast, Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar is officially off the House Foreign Affairs Committee
For WORLD Radio, I'm Kent Covington.
Ukraine » After months of agonizing, the U.S has agreed to send longer-range bombs to Ukraine.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin:
AUSTIN: We’re focused on providing Ukraine the capability it needs to be effective in its anticipated counteroffensive in the spring.
The new weapons will have roughly double the range of anything the U.S. has provided thus far.
That’s part of a $2 billion aid package that the White House is expected to announce today.
For months, U.S. officials have hesitated to send longer-range systems to Ukraine out of concern that they could be used to target inside Russia, which could further escalate the conflict.
Meantime, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters Thursday:
LEYEN: Russia must be held accountable in courts for its odious crimes.
Von der Leyen announced that an international center for the prosecution of the crime of aggression in Ukraine will be set up in The Hague.
U.S.-Philippines » Austin also spoke about the U.S. military’s growing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
That after the Philippines granted U.S. troops access to four more of its military bases.
AUSTIN: We will continue to work along side our allies and train and ensure that we maintain credible and ready forces.
The United States also recently reopened its Solomon Islands embassy in the South Pacific. China accused the U.S. of provocation and of undermining stability in the region.
Chinese weather balloon » But at the same time, the Pentagon has been tracking what it believes to be a Chinese spy balloon over U.S. airspace. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The balloon is the size of three large buses and U.S. officials reportedly decided not to shoot it down due to risks of harm for people on the ground.
A senior defense official said Thursday that the U.S. has “very high confidence” it is a Chinese high-altitude balloon and it was flying over sensitive sites to collect information. Those sites include one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields in Montana.
The Pentagon says it has taken steps to ensure it did not collect sensitive information.
The incident comes as Secretary of State Tony Blinken is set to make his first trip to Beijing, likely this weekend.
For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Pence home search » The FBI is reportedly planning to search former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home and his Washington office for classified materials.
Pence’s attorney said only weeks ago that documents marked as classified had been recovered at his residence, following a search by his team. Representatives for Pence say they do not believe any more classified documents will turn up, as they have already thoroughly searched the areas themselves.
The FBI on Wednesday concluded a search of President Biden’s Delaware vacation home looking for more classified documents, but found none at his beach house.
National Prayer Breakfast » Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan opened the 71st annual national prayer breakfast on Thursday.
WALBERG: God, our Heavenly Father, thank you for your reconciling love demonstrated so perfectly in the Spirit of Jesus.
Members of Congress, government officials, and other guests attended the gathering at the Capitol to pray for the nation’s leaders and policy makers.
Participants heard speeches from two pastors and from President Biden, who called for unity in Washington.
BIDEN: My prayer for this prayer breakfast is we start to see each other again, look at each other again.
Every president has attended the annual gathering since Dwight D. Eisenhower first spoke at the event in 1953.
Ilhan Omar » Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar is officially off the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Republicans voted to oust her from the panel Thursday in a party line vote.
Republicans cite past remarks from Omar, which members of both parties criticized as antisemitic.
But on the House floor today, Omar was defiant.
OMAR: My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term.
On that point, she and Republicans agree. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters Omar will still be allowed to serve on other committees.
McCARTHY: We just do not believe when it comes to Foreign Affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that she makes. She shouldn't serve there.
McCarthy also barred two other Democrats from the House Intelligence panel. But they too are free to serve on other committees.
I’m Kent Covington. For more news, features, and analysis, visit us at wng.org.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.
Please wait while we load the latest comments...
Please register, subscribe, or log in to comment on this article.