Trump hits back at Pelosi — President Donald Trump on Friday retaliated against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for suggesting that the president cancel or delay his planned State of the Union address, writing in a letter that he, in turn, was postponing her planned trip abroad, calling it a “public relations event.” Presumably, the president was refusing to provide military transport that is traditionally provided to the House speaker or congressional delegations. In the letter, tinged with sarcasm, he wrote that she could still take the trip if she chose to fly commercial. Pelosi was planning to lead a congressional delegation on a secret visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan with a stop in Brussels.
Los Angeles teachers’ strike — The Los Angeles teachers’ strike entered its fourth day with the district’s 30,000 public schoolteachers still out demanding higher pay, smaller class sizes and more support staff for students. But the union is also using the strike as a way to draw attention to what it sees as the growing problem of charter schools, saying that they siphon off students and money from traditional public schools. This week, just a fraction of the district’s half million students have shown up for school; on Thursday, roughly 84,000 students were in attendance. But district officials say that schools with a larger proportion of the neediest students have had higher attendance rates.
Escort detained in Moscow — A Belarusian escort who claimed to have audio recordings that could link Russia with President Donald Trump’s election was detained in Moscow on Thursday, according to Russian news agencies. Anastasia Vashukevich was deported from Thailand on Thursday after she and seven other defendants — five Russians and two Belarusians — pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation and conspiracy. The Russian news services Interfax and RIA Novosti said three Russian citizens and a female Belarusian citizen were arrested at the airport on charges of inducement to prostitution. If convicted, the four face up to six years in prison apiece.
Trump vows to upgrade missile defenses — President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to reinvigorate U.S. missile defenses in a speech that recalled Cold War-era visions of nuclear adversaries — though he never once mentioned Russia or China, the two world power threats to the United States. Trump’s speech seemed designed to play well with his base, a tough-sounding call to a new generation of arms that evoked Ronald Reagan’s 1983 “Star Wars” missile defense program. But the timing was awkward. His call for billions of dollars in new spending on missile defenses comes as the government is shut down in a dispute over $5.7 billion for a border wall Trump wants on the southwest border.
Deadly car bomb in Colombia hits police academy — A car bomb exploded in front of a Bogotá police academy Thursday morning, killing at least 10 people, wounding 72 and spreading fear about a revival of Colombia’s violent past. There were fears that the casualty figures, reported by the Defense Ministry, could rise. The car bombing rattled nerves in Bogotá, not only for the number of dead, but also for its significance: Such attacks were long the norm in the capital as drug traffickers and leftist guerrillas waged aggressive terror campaigns in the city with car bombs. But it has been years since there was an attack of this kind in Bogotá. No group claimed responsibility.