Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
ABC Top Stories
Subscribe To This Feed

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A growing number of lawmakers are calling for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May to resign after she unveiled her latest Brexit plan in a speech Tuesday.

May said she would bring a package to lawmakers that would include a Parliamentary vote “on whether the deal should be subject to a referendum."

This is the first time government policy gives lawmakers the chance to vote on a second referendum, after the first referendum in 2016 saw the British public vote in favor of leaving the European Union.

To be clear, this does not guarantee a second referendum -- it merely gives lawmakers the chance to vote on whether the U.K. should have another referendum.

If lawmakers reject her deal, May said they risked “no Brexit at all.”

“Look at what this debate is doing to our politics,” May said in her speech. “Extending it for months more – perhaps indefinitely – risks opening the door to a nightmare future of permanently polarized politics.”

The new plan was roundly criticized on all sides.

Margaret Beckett, a prominent supporter of a second referendum on the Brexit deal and a Member of Parliament (MP), described the new plan as a “hotchpotch offer.”

“The prime minister’s last-ditch effort to force through her deal is no more likely to succeed than her previous attempts,” she said in a statement. “Today she tried to spice up the same old deal with a series of supposedly new concessions, but then admitted she had no way of guaranteeing that she could deliver any of them.”

The opposition Labour Party have also said it will vote against the new plan.

Several lawmakers who previously voted in favor of May’s deal, which has been defeated in Parliament three times in 2019, said they would not be voting for it.

Boris Johnson, an MP from May’s own Conservative Party who has announced his intention to run for prime minister should May step down, said that he “will not vote for it.”

MP Dominic Raab, who is also expected to run for the Conservative leadership, said that he “cannot support legislation that would be the vehicle for a second referendum.”

The Scottish MP Ian Blackford said May was “fooling no one but herself” and “her time is up” in Wednesday’s session of Prime Minister’s Questions, the weekly opportunity lawmakers have to scrutinize the government.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said that she had been hearing from more and more lawmakers, including those previously loyal to the prime minister, that “May has to go now.”

May has already said she will resign if the deal is accepted and last week bowed to pressure from her own party to agree to a “timetable for departure” if the deal is defeated.

On Thursday, the U.K. will vote in the European elections -- an embarrassing moment for lawmakers who had promised to leave the European Union on March 29, nearly three years after Britain voted to leave the EU.

After the European elections, the week beginning June 3 will be the next major milestone in British politics, as President Donald Trump will come to visit the U.K. in the same week that the next Brexit vote will be held.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

cbarnesphotography/iStock(BEIJING) -- For most Game of Thrones fans around the world, to quote the show, their watch has ended. But in China, the divisive series finale hasn't been made available.

A hour before the show was due to stream Monday morning in Beijing, as it aired simultaneously throughout much of the rest of the world, HBO's content partner in China wrote on its Weibo account: "Dear users, we are sorry to inform you that because a media transmission problem the sixth episode of the eighth season of 'Game of Thrones' cannot be uploaded, we will notify you of the broadcast time."

In China, the truth is opaque and full of euphemisms.

Westeros may have survived an invasion of White Walkers, but HBO's worldwide hit may have fallen victim to the current trade war between the U.S. and China.

An unnamed HBO spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that China restricted Tencent from airing Game of Thrones due to the trade dispute, telling the news outlet HBO "didn't experience any trouble with the program's transmission."

Han Chaowei, a spokesman for Tencent, told ABC News that the company has no further comment on the issue and that any update will come from their official social media accounts.

Since the weekend, there has been growing Chinese media chatter about a Xian Mei Ling or "Limit/Boycott America Order" coming into effect in the wake of the failed trade talks, with Game of Thrones appearing to be just the latest example.

China previously had an unofficial "Boycott Korea Order" when South Korea deployed a U.S. missile system in 2016. No major K-pop stars, massively popular in China, have been able to perform in Mainland China since then.

Online media outlets in China are questioning whether this is the American version of what happened to South Korea's K-pop stars, as official Chinese propaganda has begun turning up nationalist rhetorical heat after President Donald Trump's most recent tariff increase.

Entgroup, which tracks Chinese box office receipts, reported that Avengers: Endgame, released by ABC News' parent company The Walt Disney Co., has been denied a routine theatrical extension despite being a record-breaking hit in China, earning more than $611 million in less a month.

A China Film Distribution Company employee who would only give his surname, Chen, confirmed to ABC News that no extension will be given to the highest-grossing American film in Chinese box office history and that no reason has been given.

Films are usually given a 30-day release window in China and extended based on performances. The three previous Avengers films all were given extensions.

In 2018, prior to the trade war, Infinity War was extended for three months. Endgame, which already has earned almost twice as much at the box office as the entire run of Infinity War, was within striking distance of Wandering Earth, the highest-grossing movie released this year in China. Endgame is scheduled to be pulled from Chinese theaters after Friday.

Other Chinese productions with American connections also have been affected.

A heavily promoted Chinese drama called Over the Sea, I Come to You or Taking My Dad Along to Study Abroad, about a father who tags along with his son when he attends college in America, was due to premiere over the weekend on Zhejiang Satellite TV, one of the most popular channels in China. It was suddenly pulled and replaced without notice.

An employee at Zhejiang Satellite TV's programming department, who would only be identified by his surname, Zhang, told ABC News his company received an order over the weekend from China's Radio and Television Administration in Beijing to pull the show -- no reason was given.

Despite this, a source inside the Chinese Propaganda bureau denied the existence of a "Limit America Order" to ABC News and said that environment has not yet deteriorated to that extent.

Although some fans of the show in China found and shared pirated clips, as of early Wednesday, a 30-second preview still sat as a placeholder for the Game of Thrones series finale on Tencent's website.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Kena Betancur/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a newly released agenda, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tackles an issue that has been a cornerstone of her congressional career -- paid family leave and policies that offer support to working families.

The plan, aimed at parents with young children, is dubbed the “Family Bill of Rights." The plan focuses on a number of areas Gillibrand wants to see changed to make raising children safer and more affordable: pregnancy, fertility treatments, adoption, safe nurseries for newborns, paid family leave, affordable childcare and universal pre-K.

Gillibrand's focus on families isn't new, she's introduced a paid family leave bill every year since 2013.

The push for parent-centric policy has gained popularity as the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have sought to address affordability in raising children.

In February, Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a plan to create government-funded child care centers that would be free for low-income families. Several Democratic candidates, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Cory Booker have called for universal pre-K. Booker, Harris, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Michael Bennet, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar have all co-sponsored Gillibrand’s paid family leave bill.

The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, has taken up the issue as an advisor to her father.

But for Gillibrand, enacting the proposal would make an issue that was a cornerstone of her Senate career a key administrative priority.

“Passing the Family Bill of Rights will be my priority in my first 100 days as president,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a statement. “And I believe it will transform American families and their ability to achieve the American Dream."

Though she did not offer details on an estimated final cost, Gillibrand said she plans to pay for the plan by passing a Financial Transaction Tax. According to the Congressional Budget Office , the tax could yield $777 billion in revenue over the next decade.

The plan calls for equipping hospitals with better resources and standardizing practices to prevent complications and death during childbirth and addressing the racial disparity in maternal mortality rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women die of pregnancy-related deaths at a rate three to four times higher than white women. The plan also calls for increased access to obstetric care in rural areas where women may have to travel further to see a doctor.

Gillibrand’s proposal would aim to make fertility treatments more affordable and mandate that insurance companies cover the cost of fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization for couples who have trouble conceiving naturally.

The Family Bill of Rights would give equal adoption rights to potential parents regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status or religion and offer tax credits to families who adopt.

In her proposal, Gillibrand said she would launch a program that would provide supplies for new parents like diapers, blankets and clothing in a box with a mattress that could be used as a nursery bed. The plan calls for the program to be administered through the Department of Health and Human Services with state organizations.

Similar programs are already in effect in Ohio, Alabama, New Jersey and Texas.

A national paid family and medical leave program would be created under the plan and every child would be auto-enrolled in CHIP at birth and offered access to Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment program. Parents would be able to opt out.

Gillibrand’s plan also calls for creating universal pre-K programs and expanding access for children with disabilities. Parents would receive a bigger tax credit for child care costs under the plan. It would cover up to 50 percent of $12,000 in qualifying childcare.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Southern Plains were hit hard over the past two days with 56 reported tornadoes, 230 damaging storm reports and almost 9 inches of rain in Oklahoma.

There have been three deaths reported due to the storm, including a woman who died in Perkins, Oklahoma, after driving around a barricade and getting washed away by floodwaters.

Flash flood alerts stretch from Montana to Missouri on Wednesday morning with flood warnings mostly in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

The storm system that brought all the severe weather and flooding to the Plains on Tuesday will not move much, so it could bring more severe weather, including tornadoes, from Oklahoma to Missouri.

Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; and Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri, are all at risk Wednesday for damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

On Thursday, part of the storm system moves into the Northeast and brings a chance for severe weather for New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The biggest threat will be damaging winds, but we can’t rule out a few tornadoes.

At the same time, yet another storm system will move into the Plains from the west with more severe weather from Texas to Missouri, including damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes.

More rain is expected in the Plains and parts of the Midwest over the next couple days, with some areas in Kansas and Missouri getting an additional 4 to 6 inches of rain and possible flooding.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE

Miami 5 Detroit 4, 11 Innings
LA Dodgers 7 Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City at St. Louis 8:15 p.m., postponed

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Oakland 5 Cleveland 3
NY Yankees 11 Baltimore 4
Toronto 10 Boston 3
Texas 5 Seattle 3
Houston 5 Chi White Sox 1
Minnesota 8 LA Angels 3

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado 5 Pittsburgh 0
Chi Cubs 3 Philadelphia 2
NY Mets 6 Washington 5
Cincinnati 3 Milwaukee 0
San Francisco 4 Atlanta 3
San Diego 3 Arizona 2

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS, GAME 4

Toronto 120 Milwaukee 102

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
St. Louis 5 San Jose 1 (St. Louis wins series)

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Walt Disney Studios(HOLLYWOOD) -- We've still got three days to wait before Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin opens, but a lucky few got to see it at Tuesday night's world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

Will Smith stars as the Genie in the film, the role originally made famous by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated original. On the purple carpet, Smith told ABC Radio he’s thrilled that two years of work is finally ready for us to see.

"This is a beautiful night, it's been a long time coming," said Smith. "Two years to get here, and I'm on this red carpet with a movie that I love and I'm excited to have the world see it."

Smith said he's equally excited about the updates made to the new Aladdin, compared to the original.

"I would say the number-one that I'm proud of is the additions to the Princess Jasmine character," Smith enthused.  "The idea that her character wants to rule -- that added such a new flavor to the interactions between Jasmine and Aladdin."

Smith added, "And then the new song, 'Speechless,' I think is the greatest accomplishment of this movie."

Aladdin -- also starring Mena Massoud in the title role, Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, opens Friday, May 24 from Disney, parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Dalton Johnson knew that his phone would be ringing off the hook.

Every time Alabama lawmakers or courts move on a bill that chisels away at abortion rights, patients call in with questions for the Alabama Women's Center, one of the three clinics that provide abortions in the state, which is owned by Johnson.

That happened in 2013, when lawmakers required that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and again in 2016 when they banned a second trimester method known as dilation and evacuation, and barred abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of public elementary and middle schools. All of those laws -- which are known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws -- were later blocked in court.

"It happens every time one of these TRAP laws happens," Johnson told ABC News. "There's always a flood of calls: 'Are you guys still open?' 'Can I get my procedure done?'"

Since the state Senate passed a bill last week that would criminalize providing abortions, without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, the "phone's been ringing nonstop," Johnson said, especially since Gov. Kay Ivey went on to sign it.

The signing of that Alabama bill came a week after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a so-called "heartbeat" ban. This week, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he'd sign a "heartbeat" ban in Louisiana should it pass the state legislature.

None of these bills have gone into effect, and the Georgia and Alabama bills are both facing legal challenges. Abortion remains legal in all 50 states, and no state has a functioning six-week abortion ban.

The sometimes convoluted procedures for how laws are approved and then challenged in court, coupled with the charged language used by politicians and advocates on both sides of the issue, has at times left patients misinformed.

Employees at abortion clinics in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana told ABC News they are receiving non-stop calls from patients, mostly with the same concerns: has abortion been outlawed, has the clinic closed its doors, should appointments made for the future be pushed sooner? One Alabama clinic got a call from someone asking “will they get locked up, will they be charged of a crime" if they got an abortion.

The sometimes convoluted procedures for how laws are approved and then challenged in court, coupled with the charged language used by politicians on both sides of the issue, has at times left patients misinformed. It is not the case, for example, that any state has passed an outright abortion ban, or that abortion has been outlawed once a "heartbeat" is detected, around six weeks of a pregnancy. IF NO THAT, WHAT HAS HAPPENED???

Amanda Kifferly, vice president for abortion access at The Women's Centers, told ABC News she's concerned about how these laws are potentially raising the stigma around abortion, and making patients feel like "it's actually a criminal experience."

"We don't want people to feel like they have to break a law in order to get safe care," she said.

Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said that after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a so-called "heartbeat" ban, "there was a lot of media headlines speculating about the impact of the bill and speculating about criminalization of women, and what we started hearing was a lot of fear."

It got to the point where Planned Parenthood Southeast set up an automated message on their call line just to say abortion is still legal and their doors are open.

"We want to make sure everyone in this country knows what's going on," said Fox. "But at the same time, I don't want a single person to be feeling scared and alone and abandoned, and thinking about doing something, when they can come in and get something safe and legal."

Some health care providers are putting information on their websites and on social media, and they're also relying on advocacy groups and funds, like the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama and the Southeast division of Access Reproductive Care (ARC), to help educate the public with accurate information.

While employees at clinics and other health care providers say they are happy to answer questions, they worry about the patients who are not calling. Providers worry about what patients will do to attempt to self-manage if they think they can't come in for an abortion, which is a safe medical procedure with a very low rate of complications when performed under proper conditions.

"I'm not sure what we can do beyond educate when we have them on the phone," said Kathaleen Pittman, who runs the independent clinic Hope Medical Group for Women in Louisiana.

Advocates also worry that the bad press generated by the restrictive laws could impact recruitment of qualified doctors to states like Georgia and Alabama, which have among the highest rates of maternal mortality in the country. Dr. Lisa Haddad, who is affiliated with the Emory University School of Medicine in Georgia, told ABC News she knows of one doctor who held off on making a decision to take a position in the state because of restrictive laws.

"We know that it's going to influence attracting individuals from coming to the state -- a state that has huge gaps in maternal care," Haddad said. For her part, Haddad has noticed she's been "more self-aware" recently, especially since anti-abortion protesters at George's capital were carrying guns.

Johnson, in Alabama, said the bill there is "just one more thing to discourage physicians coming to the state, especially physicians in women's health," on top of an overall health care system that is generally lacking. Alabama is ranked 46th out of the 50 states in health care, according to U.S. News.

Add to that, Johnson said, "When you're [discussing] placing jail time on physicians making health care decisions that are best for their patients, that's scary."

Chad Jackson of the West Alabama Women's Center told ABC News that he sometimes wonders if he will still have a job in six month. But he said he is even more concerned about "what the women will do once the doors close," should the Alabama ban actually go into effect.

Still, Jackson said the clinic has no plans to close.

"We are still open, we are still providing safe and secure terminations," Jackson said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services