Stories by Shannon Vavra

Trump administration releases second round of farmer's aid

John Deere truck seen from above.
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has doled out its second, and last, round of financial assistance to farmers bogged down by retaliatory tariffs from President Trump's trade war with China.

Details: The second round of aid, which Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said "will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year" comes amid a 90-day trade war truce between the U.S. and China. In October, Perdue announced that the administration will not be extending the package, which contains about $4.9 billion in direct payments for some commodity producers, into 2019.

Report: Google’s China plan stymied after privacy debate

Google logo.
Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Google’s search engine project for China, Dragonfly, "effectively ended" after Google’s privacy team found out engineers were secretly gathering people’s searches in China to produce a prototype for a censored search engine and confronted Google executives about it, per a report from The Intercept.

What happened: The engineers were largely moved to different projects or told to stop using those searches from China, which has "stopped progress" on the project, one source told The Intercept. Per Google, many privacy and security engineers have been consulted in the process. Google declined to comment specifically on The Intercept report and pointed to CEO Sundar Pichai's testimony last week on Capitol Hill.

Saudi Arabia blasts Senate for its response to Khashoggi murder

Mohammed bin Salman looks happy.
Photo: Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry condemned the Senate on Monday for its votes last week to pull U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's ongoing civil war and blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, stating the nation rejects "any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature."

The big picture: The Senate votes broke markedly with the official position of the Trump administration, which publicly stood behind Saudi Arabia with a controversial statement from President Trump last month despite a CIA report linking MBS to Khashoggi's death. Saudi Arabia referenced this break in its statement, saying it hopes it "is not drawn into domestic political debates in the United States of America, to avoid any ramifications on the ties between the two countries that could have significant negative impacts on this important strategic relationship."

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