With 2015 set to close, Donald Trump, the perennial frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, commands 39 percent of support from Republican-inclined voters, a CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday has found.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz trails at 18 percent — an improvement since the last CNN/ORC poll in November, but still a distant second to Trump. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio each have 10 percent. Everyone else is in single digits. Trump also has a wide lead on his competition when it comes to questions of the economy, illegal immigration, and ISIS.
Trump has been a constant atop the polls since his ascent to the lead in July, and this new poll marks the first time Cruz stands significantly apart from the other candidates vying for the nomination. CNN
Beatles catalog goes on streaming services
At long last, The Beatles’ entire catalog of music will be made available on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal, and more.
The last remaining holdouts from a time when internet streaming was met with skepticism and suspicion (even AC/DC and Led Zeppelin eventually gave in), surviving Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney have okayed their 13 original albums and four compilations to go live on streaming services as of 12:01 a.m. on December 24.
Now, streaming is the industry sea change too big to ignore. This month, Warner Music Group, one of the so-called big three label groups, said streaming revenue exceeded download revenue for the year. Modern artists, however, have started to resist streaming in certain rarefied cases. Taylor Swift, who helped persuade Apple Music to pay royalties during its free-trial period when she protested publicly, has not made her albums available on streaming services with a free tier.
The Beatles’ music will be available on the free and premium versions of services that have both. The New York Times
A Belgian man has become the ninth person to be arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Abdoullah C., who was born in 1985, was arrested on Tuesday, according to a statement Thursday from the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
The statement said the investigating judge delivered an arrest warrant against the suspect for terrorist murders and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization. CNN
A court in Thailand on Thursday convicted two migrant workers from Myanmar for killing a young British couple on a resort island. Zai Lin and Wai Phyo were sentenced to death. Their lawyers say they will appeal the verdict.
Human rights groups have called for an independent investigation amid widespread allegations that the evidence used to link the two suspects to the killings was insufficient or tainted.
The two suspects from Myanmar had retracted confessions of killing Hannah Witheridge and David Miller on the Thai island of Koh Tao in September, 2014. The defendants, both 22 year-old workers at a bar on the island, were arrested two weeks after the killing. They claim they were tortured into giving confessions, as well as threatened with death by interrogators. Police have denied any coercion.
Reports in the British media said the couple had been in a quarrel with some island residents on the night they were killed. That led to speculation that influential members of the Koh Tao community may have been involved in their deaths.
Hundreds of people are on death row in Thailand but the country has not executed anyone since 2009. VOA
Evangelist Franklin Graham has announced he is abandoning the Republican Party in disgust over the move by the GOP-led Congress last week to pass a budget that Graham said was “wasteful” and provided funding for Planned Parenthood, which he compared to the Nazis.
Graham has previously said he has no faith in any political party, but his apparent renunciation of his Republican affiliation is an indication of anger on the right and the strong interest many disaffected evangelicals have shown in populist outsiders such as Donald Trump.
Graham himself has expressed admiration for Trump, the surprise front-runner in the Republican presidential field, and has voiced support for some of Trump’s more controversial positions — such as his call to ban Muslims from the U.S. — which have drawn condemnation from more mainstream evangelical leaders.
The federal government provides $528 million in funding for Planned Parenthood — about 40 percent of the organization’s annual budget — primarily through payments to Medicaid for health services for low-income Americans. Federal law prohibits funding of most abortions, and Planned Parenthood separates federal taxpayer dollars from those used to provide abortions. Christian Headlines
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