News you should read today – November 9 – 2015

In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party says it has won 70 percent of votes (Photo ZUMA Wire)In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party says it has won 70 percent of votes
Preliminary results for Myanmar’s first free nationwide election in 25 years will be announced Monday afternoon, with a spokesman from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) saying the party has won about 70 percent of the votes already counted in Myanmar’s 14 states.

The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said out of 30 million eligible voters, an estimated 70 percent cast their ballots, and close to 10,000 election monitors from around the world observed polling stations. Since 2011, the military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) has been in power, and under a constitution written by the army, Suu Kyi cannot become president, as she has foreign family members (her late husband was British, and she has two British sons).

The constitution also reserves 25 percent of parliament seats for the army, meaning the NLD needs 67 percent of all contested seats for a majority; if this happens and a government is formed, it will be the first one democratically elected since the early 1960s. Former ruling party chair and house speaker Shwe Mann has already conceded defeat in the Bago region. The Guardian, The Associated Press



Sierra Leone declared Ebola-freeSierra Leone declared Ebola-free
The World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free in a ceremony Saturday, marking 42 days with no new cases of the deadly virus.

Since March 2014, more than 11,300 have died of Ebola, with West Africa hit hardest. Liberia is also Ebola-free, but Guinea is not. “People are happy, but also, many are depressed because they lost their families,” a National Ebola Response Center spokesperson said of the celebration in Sierra Leone.

In Sierra Leone, the hardest hit of any nation during the Ebola outbreak, nearly 4,000 people died from the disease; altogether 14,000 were infected. The outbreak has so far killed more than 11,300 people across the world.The New York Times, Reuters



Pope Francis condemns Vatican leak (Photo The Star)Pope Francis condemns Vatican leak
Pope Francis condemned the leaking of Vatican documents to journalists in his first public comments since officials said Monday two people were arrested on suspicion of doing so. “This sad fact will certainly not distract me from the work of reform that is moving ahead with the help of my aides and the support of all of you,” Francis told the crowd Sunday at St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican arrested a high-ranking Catholic Church official and a laywoman who served as a public relations specialist, both of whom had been part of a commission tasked with advising the pope on financial matters in 2013. In what Francis called a “deplorable act,” they allegedly leaked documents to two journalists, who used the information in books that paint the Vatican in an unflattering light. Reuters, The Associated Press



This could be the next iPhoneThis could be the next iPhone
Apple could offer a third new iPhone option next year, releasing an iPhone 7, an iPhone 7 Plus and a smaller iPhone 7 … mini?

Some iPhone customers are complaining that the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones that Apple introduced in 2014 are too difficult to use with one hand or fit into their pockets. Many prefer the four-inch iPhones that Apple made in 2012 and 2013.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is more often right than wrong with his Apple predictions, has forecast that Apple will release a new, four-inch iPhone in 2016. “As there is still demand for a four-inch iPhone, we believe Apple will upgrade this product line,” he said in an analyst note this week. “We predict Apple will mass-produce this new four-inch iPhone in the first half of 2016.” CNN



Afghan President Condemns BeheadingsAfghan President Condemns Beheadings
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the beheading of a group of civilians by Islamic State militants in a southern region, scene of recent deadly clashes between rival Taliban factions. Local police in Zabul province reported Sunday that IS fighters brutally murdered seven people, including three women, in the Khake-e-Afghan district.

President Ghani said in a statement Monday he “condemns in the strongest terms the beheading of civilians, especially women and a child…and considers that atrocious act a sign of desperation and defeat of the enemies of the people of Afghanistan.” Afghan officials say the IS militants kidnapped the victims, members of Shi’ite Hazara ethnic group, more than a month ago from the neighboring Ghazni province.

The president said in the statement that he will hold “an extraordinary security meeting” Monday to seek ways for tracking down and punishing the perpetrators of this atrocious crime.” VOA


Summit With Chinese Leader Spotlights Unmet Expectations in Taiwan (photo AP)Summit With Chinese Leader Spotlights Unmet Expectations in Taiwan
Presidents from Taiwan and China moved to cement goodwill at a first-ever meeting Saturday. But little applause emanated from Taiwan, which is China’s political and military rival of nearly seven decades. Taiwanese say seven years of closer ties have brought few tangible benefits, such as economic growth or a homeland safe from war.

China has claimed sovereignty over a reluctant, self-ruled Taiwan since the 1940s. Icy relations began to improve in 2008, as the two sides worked out a series of agreements bridging the two economies. Today in Taiwan, where the economy shrank in the third quarter of this year, people wonder where the benefits are.

Taiwan’s President Ma told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping he was worried about China’s missiles and that people at home were frustrated that China was blocking Taiwan’s foreign relations. Beijing is recognized by 170 states, compared to Taiwan’s 22, a gap that lets China keep Taiwan from developing its diplomacy.

Liu Yi-jiun, a public affairs professor at Fo Guang University in Taiwan, said Taiwanese wanted progress Saturday when the two presidents met for the first time, after two years of planning. “We had a high expectation, because in the past 66 years, these two highest leaders never met. Politically, economically, concession was promised coming out of the meeting. But until the last minute, the last second, we just don’t see anything coming out,” said Liu. VOA