Final debate for GOP field was held yesterday in North Charleston, South Carolina.
- Cruz defended a controversy over his campaign finances in 2012, alleging bias in the media
- He said Mr. Trump embodied “New York values”, adding “not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan – I’m just saying”
- Trump defended his call for a halt on Syrian refugees, saying they were a “Trojan horse” bringing in people who would harm the US
- He came under fire from Florida Governor Jeb Bush for proposing a ban on Muslims coming to the US
- Florida Senator Marco Rubio said Mr. Obama would confiscate every gun in the US if he could
- The candidates bickered over how to respond to China’s impact on the US economy
The Trump-Cruz standoff over Cruz’s birth in Canada highlighted the debate early on. Trump continued to question whether Cruz can be president because of it — an allegation most legal experts have refuted.
Rubio said Christie supported President Obama’s agenda on education and guns and even “wrote a check to Planned Parenthood” — charges Christie rejected. “This is the difference between being a governor and being a senator,” Christie said.
Bush again took on Trump over his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., arguing it would stop Arab nations from joining a coalition to defeat the Islamic State. “Sending that signal makes it impossible,” Bush said.
Rubio was among several candidates who criticized Trump for threatening to impose tariffs on Chinese goods — tariffs that would be paid by American consumers, the Florida senator said.
The Fox Business Network debate had promised to be a crucial moment for Ben Carson. Carson’s campaign has lagged amid a staff shake-up and troubles addressing complex policy issues. He appeared to do little Thursday to change that.
Even further behind were three candidates who faced off earlier Thursday: former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky refused to join that debate. BBC USA Today
Defense officials from China and South Korea have held their first meeting since North Korea’s nuclear tests a little over a week ago. Representatives from both countries met Friday in Seoul.
Yoon Soon-gu, South Korean Defense Ministry’s director general on international policy met with Guan Youfei, Chinese Ministry of National Defense foreign affairs office director to discuss counter measures to North Korea’s nuclear tests.
North Korea has received an onslaught of international condemnation for what it said was a “successful” hydrogen bomb test. On Wednesday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye called on China to use its influence over North Korea to force it to end is nuclear program.
The United States also wants China to exert more pressure on North Korea to press it to give up its nuclear program. China is North Korea’s most important ally. Trade between the two countries totaled $6.4 billion in 2014. The U.S. says China could pressure North Korea by cutting energy to the country and restricting trade. VOA News
An official in Sierra Leone said a corpse has tested positive for the Ebola virus, just a day after the World Health Organization declared an end to the outbreak in West Africa. The WHO said in a statement Friday that it confirms the Ebola case in Sierra Leone, which was detected in the body of a woman who became ill and died earlier this month.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization announced an end to the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, meaning all three countries at the epicenter of the West African outbreak were considered Ebola-free. This is the third time Liberia has been declared Ebola-free. The first declaration came in May 2015, but the disease recurred twice since then, with the latest outbreak in November.
This was the first time all three nations that hosted the outbreak — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — had all been Ebola-free at the same time. Sierra Leone had been declared Ebola-free on November 7 and Guinea on December 29.
More than 11,000 people died and 28,500 were infected during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa that began in December 2013. VOA News
Ali was 16 years old and badly malnourished. Workers for UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, met him in a makeshift hospital in the Syrian city of Madaya. The city is controlled by rebels and under siege by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Its people are starving.
The UNICEF team screened the children they found in the hospital. They found 22 children under the age of 5 suffering from malnutrition, according to a statement Friday from Hanaa Singer, the organization’s representative in Syria. They also found six children between the ages of 6 and 18 suffering from severe malnutrition. One of whom was Ali. And, in front of their eyes, Ali died.
The starvation here is no act of God — not the result of drought or flooding or crop failure. This famine is man-made. And it is drawing international condemnation. The use of starvation as a weapon in Syria is “a war crime,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday. CNN
Céline Dion‘s husband, René Angélil, dies
René Angélil, the husband of and mentor-manager who helped make Canadian singer Céline Dion a mega star, has died after a years-long battle with throat cancer. He was 73.
The news was confirmed on Dion’s website Thursday where a statement announced Angélil died at their home in Las Vegas “after a long and courageous battle against cancer. The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment; more details will be provided at a later time.”
Dion, 47, told USA TODAY in August, after months of caring for her dying husband, that she promised him she’d be there until the end, to support “the only boyfriend I’ve ever had.” Dion met Angélil when she was 12, and he later became her manager and, in 1994, her husband. They have three children: René-Charles, 14, and 5-year-old twins, Nelson and Eddy.
Born in Montreal of Syrian and Lebanese descent, Angélil started out as a pop singer in the 1960s in French Canada’s largest city. Later, he turned to artist management, and in 1980 discovered Dion when her brother sent him her demo tape. The two began a relationship in 1987, when she was 19 and he was 45. They got engaged in 1991 and in married in Montreal’s Catholic basilica at the end of 1994. VOA
Police in Indonesia on Friday said that two of the attackers who struck the country’s capital Thursday were previously jailed for terrorism offences. Police named one of them as Afif Sunakim, who was handed a seven-year prison sentence for attending a militant camp, the BBC reported.
Two civilians — a Canadian and an Indonesian — were killed, along with the five attackers, in the incident in Jakarta Thursday, which was claimed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Some 20 people were injured.
At least three bombs exploded near a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta, and gunmen attacked a police post and other locations, authorities said. Indonesia police on Friday arrested three men on suspicion of being linked with the attackers and said they recovered an ISIL flag from the home of one of the assailants, the Associated Press reported. USA Today
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