October 2, 2018

This is VOA news. I'm Tommie McNeil.

U.S. President Donald Trump is calling the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico the biggest treaty in U.S. history to help protect U.S. workers.

The agreement reached late Sunday will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA.

"So we have negotiated this new agreement based on the principle of fairness and reciprocity. To me it's the most important word in trade, because we had been treated so unfairly by so many nations all over the world, but we are changing that."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the North American trade deal simply needed to be fair.

"... it would have to preserve the fundamental principle of the original agreement, which is that when your biggest trading partner is ten times your size, you need rules. You need a level playing field."

Mr. Trump had criticized NAFTA during his 2016 election campaign, calling it the worst trade deal in history. He blamed it for the loss of American manufacturing jobs.

The U.S. Congress is likely to act on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement next year.

Search and rescue teams continued to recover bodies and search for survivors following Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia's Sulawesi region.

Officials fear the death toll could climb into the thousands. Right now 844 deaths are confirmed.

The airport is barely functioning and most power plants have been knocked off-line. Roads are shattered and twisted.

National disaster management spokesperson Purwo Nugroho said several areas need assistance that includes air transportation, tents for refugees, water treatment, generator sets, field hospitals and medical personnel.

This is VOA news.

Senior Trump administration officials insist the White House is not "micromanaging" a new FBI background check of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. This comes as Supreme Court begins its fall term.

Meanwhile, President Trump is reacting to how much Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh talked about beer while testifying last week.

AP Washington correspondent Sagar Meghani.

"I liked beer." Several times during his Senate hearing, Kavanaugh referenced having beers with friends, sometimes too many. "I still like beer."

"... I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer. And he's had a little bit of difficulty."

The president says he it's not something he has to worry about since he is not a drinker.

"It's one of my only good traits," saying he has never had a beer or any other alcohol.

"Can you imagine if I had, what a mess I'd be? I'd be the world's worst."

Sagar Meghani, Washington.

Las Vegas held several memorial services to mark the one year anniversary since a gunman opened fire on a crowd during a country music festival, killing 58 and wounding more than 800.

VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us much has changed [since the including] since then, including the hotel where the shooting occurred.

Mandalay Bay has renumbered its floors to eliminate Paddocks' 32nd floor and his suite will never be rented to tourists. Sidewalks are lined with barriers to prevent vehicles from ramming into crowds.

Restaurants also felt the pain. Ricky and Jen Ruff serve up Filipino food in the shadow of the Mandalay. "Business here dropped far around 20 percent and it dropped because people just want to mourn it."

The same with James Ramos is real estate deals. "It drastically affected the tourism that was coming into town."

But both businesses have since rebounded.

The 58 crosses have moved from the grass at the beginning of the strip to a spot next to 58 portraits of the victims, each painted by a different artist.

Both memorials are breathtaking in magnitude in a city still working to heal and find hope.

That's VOA's Carolyn Presutti reporting.

A week after China recalled its naval chief from a planned U.S. visit denied Hong Kong a port visit from a U.S. naval warship and after its defense secretary could not be made available, the Pentagon canceled plans for U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to visit China.

Tensions are also high over U.S. President Trump's authorization of a $1.3 billion arms [sales] sale to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province, and Mr. Trump's sanctions for Beijing's recent purchase of Russian military equipment.

I'm Tommie McNeil, VOA news.