Missing from Trump’s grand Navy plan: skilled workers to build the fleet
President Donald Trump wants to build dozens of new warships in one of the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy, but interviews with ship-builders, unions and a review of public documents highlight major obstacles to that plan. The initiative could cost nearly $700 billion in government funding, take 30 years to complete and require hiring tens of thousands of skilled shipyard workers - many of whom don’t exist yet because they still need to be hired and trained, according to the interviews and the documents reviewed. Reuters’ Mike Stone reports.
Russia buys a warm welcome in Venezuela
Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has offered Russian counterpart Rosneft a 10 percent stake in a joint venture in the country’s Orinoco Belt extra-heavy crude area, five industry sources said, in a sign of the Latin American nation’s dire economic situation and Moscow’s growing muscle there. Reuters’ Alexandra Ulmer and Marianna Parraga report exclusively.
Trouble rises in Venezuela’s bakeries
Venezuela this week arrested four bakers making illegal brownies and other pastries as President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government threatens to take over bakeries in Caracas as part of a new “bread war.” Maduro has sent inspectors and soldiers into more than 700 bakeries around the capital this week to enforce a rule that 90 percent of wheat must be destined to loaves rather than more expensive pastries and cakes.
Trump sends coal to Appalachia
Trump's budget proposal proposes eliminating funding for economic development programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears of another letdown on the heels of the coal industry’s collapse. Some people there consider this a betrayal to the president's promises to help coal miners. Reuters' Valerie Volcovici reports from Paintsville, Kentucky. See more Reuters budget coverage here. here
Moldova sees Russian plot to derail money-laundering probe
Some Moldovan officials say members of Russia’s security apparatus are humiliating officials from their former Soviet state as they travel to or through Russia. The primary aim, four top Moldovan officials told Reuters’ Matthias Williams, is to derail a Moldovan probe into a Russian-led money laundering operation that funneled $22.3 billion of Russian money through the Moldovan financial system between 2011-2014.
Mexican migrants look north, far north, to Canada
As Trump seeks to crack down on undocumented immigrants in the United States, about half of whom are Mexican, there are some nascent signs that more Mexican migrants see a future in Canada, which in December eased travel for visitors from Mexico. Canadian government data shows a tripling of Mexicans seeking to travel to Canada in the three months since the visa requirement was shelved. Reuters’ Gabriel Stargardter and Lizbeth Diaz visit a migrant shelter in Reynosa to talk to migrants, while Anna Mehler Paperny reports from Toronto.
Reuters photo of the day
Migrants on Chios
At the Souda municipality camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Chios, Greece. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis