News You Should Read Today – February 4 – 2016

Obama visits to US mosqueObama visits to US mosque

President Barack Obama pressed for unity in America during his first visit to a U.S. mosque as the nation’s leader, telling Muslims “We are one American family.” During remarks Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Obama thanked Muslim-Americans for helping to build the U.S. and make it strong.

He also acknowledged the “hugely distorted” negative view Muslim Americans have had to endure with the rise of terrorism-related violence by Islamist extremists.

Muslims Americans are worried not only about the threat of terrorism, but also about being “targeted or blamed for the violence of the very few,” the president told the group. VOA

 

 

US Presidential election newsUS Presidential election

Rand Paul is ending his campaign to represent the GOP in November’s presidential election after struggling in Iowa. Paul finished in fifth place in the Iowa caucuses with five percent of the vote. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson all finished ahead of the freshman senator. Yahoo

The Republican presidential candidate, who was hosting a reality TV show at this time last year, has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize by a mystery patron, Kristian Berg Harpviken told CNN on Wednesday, confirming an earlier AFP report. Director of the Nobel Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Harpviken said he was “committed to not reveal the nominator’s name. CNN

Almost three-fourths of American Muslims plan to vote in the presidential primaries and the hard-core Republicans among them say they will vote for Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee, according to a new survey from the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The six-state survey found that 73 percent of registered Muslim voters intend to go to the polls in upcoming primary elections and 67 percent of them expect to vote for Democrats. VOA

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, speaking in separate appearances at a CNN town hall here Wednesday night, disputed each other’s definition of “progressive.” Sanders, I-Vt.,responding to a question from moderator Anderson Cooper, said he respects the former secretary of state, but there are issues where she is “just not progressive.” USA Today

 

 

12 Pacific nations sign free trade agreement12 Pacific nations sign free trade agreement

Twelve Pacific region trade ministers signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Auckland, New Zealand, on Thursday — a broad free-trade deal that will cut taxes and trade barriers for nearly half of the world’s economy. Trade Representative Michael Froman signed for the United States.

All the ministers said their goal is to “enhance shared prosperity, create jobs and promote sustainable economic development for all of our nations.” The agreement is considered one of President Barack Obama’s proudest achievements in his seven years in office.

Obama issued a statement saying the deal will bolster American leadership abroad and support good jobs at home. He said he will push U.S. lawmakers to quickly ratify the deal. VOA

 

 

Happy birthday! FacebookHappy birthday! Facebook

Social networking giant Facebook is marking its 12th birthday Thursday by declaring it “Friends Day.” (It marked the day last year, as well.)

Mark Zuckerberg has asked Facebook users to share their stories of friendship and “celebrate the friendships that have made a difference in your life.” Zuckerberg’s prediction for how many users will use the network by 2030: 5 billion of the world’s 7 billion humans. USA Today

US estimates ISIL fighters 20-25K (el-balad.com)US estimates ISIL fighters 20-25K

U.S. intelligence estimates the current strength of the Islamic State’s force in Iraq and Syria is between 20,000 and 25,000 fighters. That compares to an estimated 19,000 to 31,000 fighters more than a year ago, as the U.S.-led bombing campaign against the militants got underway, a senior government official said Tuesday.

The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss the figures before they are formally released, cautioned that the numbers are a rough estimate. The new estimate may partly reflect that intelligence analysts initially overestimated the terror group’s strengths.

Airstrikes also had an impact on the terror group’s strength, however. An estimated 28,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed by the bombings, according to the U.S.-led coalition. Hundreds more have been killed in ground fighting in Iraq and Syria. USA Today

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