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Paul Ryan rules out ‘lame duck’ congressional vote on Trans-Pacific Partnership

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House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday that he saw no point in bringing up the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal for a vote in any “lame duck” session of Congress later this year after November elections, because “we don’t have the votes.”

“As long as we don’t have the votes, I see no point in bringing up an agreement only to defeat it,” Ryan, a Republican, said in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio.

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Despite both U.S. presidential candidates bashing the 12-country Pacific trade deal on the campaign trail, Obama administration officials have pledged to make a major push in coming months to persuade the Republican-majority Congress to pass TPP.

Backed by dozens of business and industry groups, officials from the U.S. Commerce Department, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and the White House say they are continuing to talk with individual lawmakers about the merits of the deal, including its consequences for U.S. leadership in Asia.

But Ryan said the Obama administration had negotiated a deal that “cost them dozens of votes in Congress,” and said the Democratic president needed to renegotiate some components. The speaker said some agricultural and labor provisions needed fixing, and he also believed the deal would reduce intellectual property rights for biologic drugs and pharmaceuticals.

For U.S. drugmakers the deal could reduce the patent protection period to eight years from the current 12. Senator Orrin Hatch, the influential Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has also raised this as a major problem with the deal.

“They have to fix this agreement and renegotiate some pieces of it if they have any hope or chance of passing it,” Ryan said in the radio interview, but added that he was doubtful this could happen. “I don’t see how they’ll ever get the votes for it.”

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(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)


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Shocking photos document the devastating flooding pummeling San Francisco

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San Francisco was battered by a heavy winter storm on Saturday that caused localized flooding throughout the city.

"A low pressure system off the Northern California coast Saturday hurled bans of strong downpours into the Bay Area, triggering a flood warning for San Francisco," KPIX-TV reported.

"San Francisco Muni officials tweeted that train service between West Portal to Embarcadero Station had been shut down due to flooding. Several streets were flooded in San Francisco’s western neighborhood including knee-high water at 15th Ave and Wawona," the station noted.

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North Korea announces ‘test of very great importance’ occurred at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground: report

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North Korea state media reported on a "successful" test at a missile launch site.

"A very important test took place at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on the afternoon of December 7, 2019," a spokesperson for the Academy of the National Defense Science said.

The spokesperson said the test was "of great significance to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

https://twitter.com/nktpnd/status/1203486463209431041

#UPDATE North Korea conducts a "very important test" at its Sohae satellite launch site, state media reports, as nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain deadlocked https://t.co/abYhRDvBic pic.twitter.com/neCYEQTEhf

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Here’s why Ukrainians are shocked about Rudy Giuliani’s new associate

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President Donald Trump's personal attorney is causing "shock" among Ukrainians for working with Andrey Artemenko, according to new reports.

"In an attempt to exonerate President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani has been working with right-wing media outlet One America News Network (OAN) to produce a television special featuring a string of current and former Ukrainian officials defending Trump’s conduct in withholding military aid to Ukraine and seeking investigations of the Bidens," Law & Crime reported Saturday.

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