AP-NORC Polls: Americans Pessimistic About Trump, Country

President Donald Trump frequently casts his first year in office as a string of successes and campaign promises fulfilled. But less than a quarter of Americans think Trump has made good on the pledges he made to voters while running for president, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Among Republicans, just half say Trump has kept his promises, which included vows to overhaul his predecessor’s health care law, withdraw the United States from a nuclear accord with Iran and invest millions in new projects to fix the nation’s aging infrastructure. None of those steps have been taken.
“Everything has stalled out,” said Mark Krowski, 37, an independent from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who leans Republican but didn’t vote for Trump last year.


Nigeria: Boko Haram Fighters, Families Arrested

Military authorities say Nigerian soldiers have arrested more than 400 people associated with the Boko Haram extremist group hiding on the islands of Lake Chad, including fighters, wives and children.
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu says the two-week operation netted the largest number of arrests of Boko Haram fighters in recent months in northeast Nigeria. It included air and ground offensives targeting insurgents’ locations.
Nwachukwu says the military arrested 167 Boko Haram fighters, 67 women and 173 children who were family members of the insurgents. The women and children will be handed over to authorities of displacement camps after investigations.
Nwachukwu says another 57 insurgents were arrested during a separate operation in another part of the troubled region.
Boko Haram has been blamed for more than 20,000 deaths during its eight-year insurgency.
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Ukraine Foreign Minister: Russia Does Not Live in a Vacuum, Sanctions...

Ukraine’s foreign minister applauded decisions announced this week by Canada and the European Union (EU) as important in demonstrating the international community’s solidarity with Ukraine and sending a clear message to Russia.
“Look, Russia does not live in a vacuum, sanctions are effective,” Pavlo Klimkin said Friday in an interview with VOA.
EU Council President Donald Tusk announced Thursday that leaders of the organization’s 28 member states were “united on the rollover of economic sanctions on Russia.”
The European Union’s sanctions post constraints for Russia’s access to the coveted EU markets. Initially, they were put in place in 2014 “in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilization of a neighboring sovereign country.” The EU said the sanctions are kept under “constant review” in order that they continue to contribute toward their stated objectives.

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Britain Seeks ‘Bespoke’ EU Trade Deal, Pact With China

British Finance Minister Philip Hammond said Saturday it is likely Britain will want to negotiate a bespoke arrangement for a future trade deal with the European Union, rather than copying existing arrangements like the Canada-EU deal.
The European Union agreed Friday to move Brexit talks onto trade and a transition pact, but some leaders cautioned that the final year of divorce negotiations before Britain’s exit could be fraught with peril.
Summit chairman Donald Tusk said the world’s biggest trading bloc would begin “exploratory contacts” with Britain on what London wants in a future trade relationship, as well as starting discussion on the immediate post-Brexit transition.
No off-the-shelf deal
Speaking in Beijing, Hammond it was probably not helpful to think in terms of off-the-shelf models like the Canada-EU deal.

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Mattis Emphasizes ‘Diplomatically-Led Effort’ In Dealing With Iran

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Washington with deal with Iran through a “diplomatically-led effort,” a day after a top U.S. diplomat said Tehran was supplying weapons to the Huthi rebels in Yemen.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said there was concrete evidence that Iran was supplying arms to the Huthi rebels in violation of UN sanctions during a December 14 news conference held at a Washington-area military warehouse where U.S. defense officials put weapons fragments on display.
Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on December 15 that such evidence did not warrant an expanded military response from Washington.
“It’s the reason Ambassador Haley was there and not one of our generals,” Mattis said. “This is a diplomatically-led effort to expose to the world what Iran is up to.”
Mattis condemned Tehran for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese group Hizballah.

New Kind of Retirement Community: A Little India in Silicon Valley

With people coming from around the world to work in Silicon Valley, some struggle with the best ways to care for their aging parents.
Increasingly, the solution is an “affinity” retirement community, where older people from places like India and China can live near — but not with — their adult children. These communities break from traditional custom that parents and children live together.
“The children are so busy these days, they are all the time working, taking care of their kids, so we do not want to interfere in their lives,” said Asha RaoRane, an Indian national who wanted to move to the U.S. to be near her three daughters who had immigrated to San Francisco.
Her daughters started exploring the idea of a traditional senior retirement community, but were having trouble finding an American community they thought their mother would fit into.