Trade war talks: US officials due in Beijing
American officials are due in Beijing Monday for talks aimed at easing a trade battle that’s caused both nations’ economies to suffer. President Donald Trump expressed optimism about trade negotiations over the weekend, claiming “tariffs have absolutely hurt China very badly.” After several tit-for-tat tariff increases, leaders agreed Dec. 1 to postpone further hikes, and both governments face pressure to reach a settlement. Chinese economic growth fell to 6.5 percent in the quarter ending in September. Third-quarter U.S. growth was 3.4 percent and unemployment is at a five-decade low.
United bans Fido on long flights
Starting Monday, emotional support animals will not be able to travel on United Airlines flights more than eight hours long. In a statement, the airline noted an increase in on-board incidents with the animals, many of which are not used to spending hours in an aircraft cabin. The airline will also not accept kittens or puppies younger than four months as emotional support animals, in-cabin pets or service animals. United received much attention after rejecting a “support” peacock named Dexter for a flight last year. The airline joins Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines in setting more restrictions on emotional support animals.
It’s Alabama and Clemson (again)
For the third time in four years, it’s Alabama vs. Clemson for the College Football Playoff national championship. The Crimson Tide and Tigers face off Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The mirror-image teams split their first two championship game encounters with Alabama beating Clemson for the 2015 season title, and Clemson topping Alabama to win the 2016 one. If Alabama can pull off another victory against Clemson, Tide coach Nick Saban would surpass legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant for the most titles by a coach in the poll era. Saban and Bryant are currently tied with six. But Clemson’s freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence has reawakened the Tigers’ offense.
A US withdrawal from Syria. Maybe
John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser set to travel to Turkey Monday, said some conditions apply to the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Syria. They include the defeat of remnants of the Islamic State and Turkey’s assurance of safety for Kurdish fighters allied with the United States, Bolton told reporters Sunday. The comments mark the first public confirmation that the drawdown has been slowed, as Trump faced widespread criticism from allies and the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for a policy that was to have been conducted within weeks.