Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.
Wisconsin cranberries on European Union target list for retaliation tariffs: Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "Wisconsin cranberries have joined Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the European Union’s list of products that could be slapped with tariffs in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Europe is the largest export market for U.S. cranberries, and Wisconsin is the world’s top producer. On Wednesday, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem confirmed that U.S. cranberries, bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice are now on a list of high-profile products facing counter-measure tariffs. The list has been circulated among EU member states for approval. The threatened sanctions come in response to Trump’s pledge to place a 25% tariff on foreign steel, and a 10% tariff on foreign aluminum, to support the U.S. steel and aluminum industries that have been hard hit by cheap imports. The U.S. ships more than 95 million pounds of cranberries a year to countries in the European Union. Nearly 40% of the crop is exported, and in some years, Wisconsin has accounted for more than half the world's supply of cranberries. For cranberry growers, the threat of tariffs in the EU's 28 countries comes at an especially bad time, with growers awash in too much fruit and low prices." Read more.
A constitutional amendment might be the final nail in coffin for state treasurer: Dylan Brogan of Isthmus writes: "Wisconsin State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk wants to be fired on April 3. The Republican supports an amendment on the ballot that will ask voters if the office of state treasurer should be eliminated from the state constitution. The position has been around since Wisconsin’s territorial days, but Adamczyk says it no longer serves a purpose. 'Just about all the [treasurer’s] duties have been moved to other agencies and there hasn’t ever really been a push to move them back,' says Adamczyk, who campaigned on eliminating the treasurer's office and was elected in 2015. If the amendment passes, he adds, it would save taxpayers money and be a 'symbolic victory for smaller government.' Jack Voight, also a Republican, served as state treasurer from 1995 to 2007. Although he doesn’t support the amendment, Voight agrees with Adamczyk that the treasurer has been rendered all but obsolete by the Legislature. 'There’s almost been a conspiracy over the years by the Legislature and the governor to transfer financial duties of the treasurer to agencies controlled by the governor,' Voight says. 'They’ve chipped away all the duties and now the treasurer has almost nothing to do. Adamczyk has only made it worse by not taking his oath of office seriously.'” Read more.
Charles Koch blasts Trump's steel and aluminum tariff plan: Louis Nelson of Politico writes: "Billionaire conservative megadonor Charles Koch slammed President Donald Trump’s announced plans to impose fresh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in a Washington Post op-ed, arguing that such policies would do far more harm than good for the U.S., both economically and culturally. 'Just as the United States benefits from the ideas and skills that opportunity-seeking immigrants bring with them, free trade has been essential to our society’s prosperity and to people improving their lives,' Koch wrote in his op-ed, published online Wednesday night. 'Countries with the freest trade have tended to not only be the wealthiest but also the most tolerant. Conversely, the restriction of trade — whether through tariffs, quotas or other means — has hurt the economy and pitted people against each other.' Trump has long pushed a protectionist trade agenda that has put him at odds with the orthodoxy of his own party, which has typically been supportive of free trade policies. The president, who pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal upon taking office and has threatened to do the same with NAFTA, has argued that the U.S. has long allowed other nations to take advantage of it in international trade and his policies, including tariffs, will level the playing field." Read more.
Trump lawyer obtained restraining order to silence Stormy Daniels: Jim Rutenberg and Peter Baker of the New York Times writes: "President Trump’s lawyer secretly obtained a temporary restraining order last week to prevent a pornographic film star from speaking out about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump, according to legal documents and interviews. The order, issued by an arbitrator in California and reviewed by The New York Times, pertained to the actress Stephanie Clifford, who had been paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 election in what she calls a 'hush agreement.' In recent weeks, she had prepared to speak publicly about Mr. Trump, claiming his lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, had broken the agreement. The details of the order emerged on Wednesday after the White House’s spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Mr. Trump’s lawyer had won an arbitration proceeding against Ms. Clifford, who goes by the name of Stormy Daniels. Ms. Sanders’s statement put the White House in the middle of a story that Mr. Trump and his lawyer had been trying to keep quiet for well over a year. The turn of events created the spectacle of a sitting president using legal maneuvers to avoid further scrutiny of salacious accusations of an affair and a payoff involving the porn star." Read more.
Storm moves up East Coast dumping snow, knocking out power: The Associated Press reports: "The second major storm in less than a week moved up the East Coast early Thursday, dumping heavy snow and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses from Pennsylvania to New England. Some places saw more than 2 feet of snow by late Wednesday. Montville, New Jersey, got more than 26 inches from the nor'easter. North Adams, Massachusetts, registered 24 inches and Sloatsburg, New York, got 26 inches. Major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor saw much less. Philadelphia International Airport recorded about 6 inches, while New York City's Central Park saw less than 3 inches. The storm made traveling treacherous. Thousands of flights across the region were canceled. It was not much better on the ground. Members of the Northeastern University women's basketball team pushed their bus back on course after it was stuck in the snow outside a practice facility in Philadelphia. The Huskies were in the city to compete in the 2018 CAA Women's Basketball Tournament. The team posted a video of the feat on its Twitter account." Read more.
Russian spy: Attack was 'brazen and reckless', says Amber Rudd: The BBC reports: "The attempted murder of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, using a nerve agent was a 'brazen and reckless attack,' Amber Rudd has said. Both Mr Skripal and his daughter are still critically ill after being found collapsed on a bench in Salisbury city centre on Sunday. Counter-terrorism officers are working to find the origin of the nerve agent. A police officer, who was in intensive care, is now 'stable and conscious,' Wiltshire's chief constable said. Addressing the House of Commons, the home secretary said the attack was 'attempted murder in the most cruel and public way.' Ms Rudd told MPs it was an 'outrageous crime,' adding that the government would 'act without hesitation as the facts become clearer.' She refused to speculate on whether the Russian state might have been involved in the attack, saying the police investigation should be based on 'facts, not rumour.' However, she said the government was committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice 'whoever they are and wherever they may be.'" Read more.