News You Should Read Today – February 26 – 2016

Cambodia requests 2 warships from ChinaCambodia requests 2 warships from China

Cambodian defense officials have requested two warships from China, saying they are needed to help Cambodia defend its maritime territory. Cambodian Navy Admiral Tea Vinh asked for the two modern military vessels during a meeting with Chinese Rear Admiral Yu Manjian. Their talks in Phnom Penh followed joint maritime rescue drills conducted by the countries’ naval forces, which ended Wednesday.

During the exercise, three Chinese ships – two frigates armed with guided missiles and a supply ship – were docked on display at the port of Sihanoukville. “When I went to inspect them, the ships are very good,” Tea Vinh said in a statement.

Meas Tang, a spokesman for the Cambodian navy, said the request was more like a “wish list,” and that it remains unclear whether China will accept such a request. VOA



US Presidential election newsUS Presidential election

Thursday night’s CNN Republican debate was billed as a fight between Donald Trump and his would-be vanquishers, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and it lived up to its billing. Cruz and Trump started out fighting over who would do a better job deporting illegal immigrants and keeping them out, and Rubio was drawn into the conversation, slamming Trump over his use of undocumented immigrant labor on past real estate projects. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson remained mostly on the margins, with Carson at one point pleading for more speaking time by asking, “Can somebody attack me, please?” CNN

Republican front-runner Donald Trump is on a roll, and the Super Tuesday contests on March 1 could turn the GOP presidential nomination race into a rout. Polls show Trump ahead in most of the 12 Republican contests on Super Tuesday. The exception is Texas, where home-state Senator Ted Cruz holds a lead. A stumble by Cruz there on Tuesday could end his White House hopes. VOA

As the Republican presidential primary moves into the American south, white supremacist groups are working to mobilize racists to get out the vote for Donald Trump. On Wednesday, David Duke, the white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, encouraged his radio show listeners to volunteer for Trump’s campaign. “Call Donald Trump’s headquarters [and] volunteer,” he said on the “David Duke Radio Program.” At Trump campaign offices, he said, “you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have.” In Minnesota and Vermont, a white supremacist super PAC called the American National Super PAC has begun circulating a robocall in support of Trump. Huffington Post



At least 4 dead in Kansas shootingAt least 4 dead in Kansas shooting

At least four people — including the gunman — were killed during a workplace shooting at Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas, on Thursday evening. Sheriff T. Walton said during a press conference that the shooting suspect, an Excel employee, was shot and killed.

There are a “number of crime scenes,” Walton said, as there was a shooting in the parking lot and inside the Excel building. Up to 20 people may be injured, and authorities are working on identifying the dead and wounded. Excel Industries manufactures lawn care products. Hesston is about 36 miles northwest of Wichita. The Associated Press



Iranians vote for first time since nuclear agreementIranians vote for first time since nuclear agreement

On Friday, Iranians lined up outside polling places to vote in the first national elections since Iran reached a nuclear agreement with the U.S. and other world powers last year.

At stake are all 290 seats in parliament and 88 seats in the Assembly of Experts, the body of clerics that picks the Supreme Leader and may well pick the successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 76 and has dealt with health problems. Khamenei, a hardliner opposed to Western influence, urged Iranians to vote, saying “turnout in the elections should be so high to disappoint our enemies.” The moderates and reformists led by President Hassan Rouhani would like to use the diplomatic thaw of the nuclear deal to attract Western investment. Reuters

More Americans rising past middle classMore Americans rising past middle class

The middle class has been shrinking in nearly every state in the nation, but in most places, more people have moved up the ladder than down, according to a new Stateline analysis. The upward movement, however, comes with a huge caveat: Families that have risen above the middle class may still be doing worse than they were in 2000 because median income has declined in all but four states, after adjusting for inflation.

“People are shifting out of that middle category to a higher category, but whether they’re better off or not is not as clear,” said Harry Holzer, a Georgetown University professor and the chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Clinton administration.

The “middle class” includes people making between two-thirds and twice a state’s median household income, based on a definition developed by the Pew Research Center. Median incomes vary widely, from $39,680 in Mississippi to $73,971 in Maryland.

(Pew Research Center’s definition adjusts incomes for household size, which the Stateline analysis does not do. The Stateline analysis also does not adjust for differences in the cost of living across states. The Pew Charitable Trusts funds both Pew Research Center and Stateline, which provides daily reporting and analysis on state policy trends.)

To many economists, the shrinking middle class is worrisome regardless of whether more people are rising above that category or falling below it. Either way, the result is more income inequality, which may reduce intergenerational mobility — the ability of children from low-income families to do better than their parents.

These economists argue that rising inequality dampens the demand for goods and services — and harms the overall economy — as affluent households save more and spend less. It also prompts lower-income families to borrow more to sustain their own consumer spending. CNN


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