DAN FOREST SAYS PLANNED PARENTHOOD WAS CREATED TO DESTROY BLACK PEOPLE: Community leaders in Raleigh are divided over comments made by Lt. Gov Dan Forest during a speech at a church on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Republican candidate for governor took aim at Planned Parenthood, claiming it originated to ‘destroy the entire black race.’ He has made no secret of his Christian beliefs over the years, including his opposition to abortion. Speaking to a group of black ministers in Fayetteville on Monday, he said he was glad the holiday honoring the civil rights leader combined issues of justice with life. "There’s no doubt that, when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire black race," he said. "That was the purpose of Planned Parenthood. That’s just the truth. That’s not just some bloc on the side. That was the purpose when that organization was created."
DEM U.S. SENATE CANDIDATES TALK ABOUT HEALTH CARE AT FORUM: Asked about health care, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham said he would build on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option. He also said he supports Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. State Sen. Erica Smith didn’t answer the question directly. “We get caught up in labels,” she said, “This is not about left or right. This is about wrong and right.” Last year, she said she would build on the ACA, better known as Obamacare. But if Medicare for All is the only option, she said “would not vote against it.” Trevor Fuller, a Mecklenburg County commissioner, said he wants universal health care. “Medicare for all is the closest model we have,” he said. The Senate forum was one of several on a busy program that included candidates for the state House and Senate and lieutenant governor. Because of the format, Senate candidates didn’t have time to answer many questions nor respond to the same ones.
RALEIGH CONSIDERING BOND REFERENDUM FOR DIX PARK IN THE RANGE OF $150-$250 MILLION: Local residents may soon have to pay more green for Raleigh's green spaces, including the planned Dix Park. Raleigh officials are considering putting a parks bond on the November ballot and are weighing three options: $150 million, $200 million and $250 million. A sizable chunk of the bond money in each of the three options, from $49.5 million in the smallest package to $150 million in the largest, would go toward converting the former Dorothea Dix Hospital property south of downtown into what planners envision as a "destination park" for the region. The first phase includes a land bridge across Western Boulevard to connect to Pullen Park and constructing "The Gateway," a welcome plaza with gardens and a playground. City officials are working with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce to poll residents on the various proposals before the City Council makes a final decision on what to put before voters.
TRUMP THREATENS TARIFFS ON EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AT DAVOS: President Trump renewed his threat to put hefty tariffs on European cars Tuesday at the World Economic Forum, promising hardball tactics if trade negotiations do not go his way. As part of this push Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Italy and Britain could face U.S. tariffs if they pursue taxes on large technology companies such as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google. French President Emmanuel Macron agreed in recent days to delay a similar tax to avoid Trump’s tariffs. The threatened tariffs were evidence of the growing rift between the United States and Europe, on clear display as leaders from the two continents appeared to be talking from different scripts. Trump insisted on discussing a new trade deal, while European leaders kept emphasizing action on climate change and cooperation. After 70 years of being largely hand in hand in promoting democracy and capitalism around the world, the United States and Europe are now at odds over trade, climate change, taxation, privacy, Iran and defense funding. And Trump continues to try to use tariffs to pressure European leaders to meet his demands.
SENATE REPUBLICANS BACK MCCONNELL'S PLAN TO BLOCK WITNESSES AND DOCUMENTS: Standing in the well of the Senate, the Democratic House impeachment managers urged senators to reject proposed rules from the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, that would delay a debate over witnesses and documents until the middle of the trial, with no guarantee that they would ever be called. “If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents, the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead manager. He said Mr. McConnell’s proposal was tantamount to saying, “Let’s have the trial, and maybe we can just sweep this all under the rug.” But Republicans were unpersuaded and, just before 2 a.m. Eastern, voted along party lines, 53 to 47, to ratify Mr. McConnell’s trial plan. As adopted, the resolution would pave the way for oral arguments against Mr. Trump to begin as soon as Wednesday. They rejected 10 other amendments by the same margin. An 11th Democratic proposal, to lengthen the timetable for the prosecutors and defense to file trial motions, gained the support of one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, but still failed.