GOP debate for White House race
The Republican presidential candidates met in Boulder, Colorado, on Wednesday evening for their third primary debate. The event quickly became quite combative, with CNBC moderator John Harwood.
Donald Trump and Ben Carson, with no political experience, were under attack from the start. Ohio Governor John Kasich condemned their “fantasy tax plans” and added: “We can’t elect someone who doesn’t know how to do the job.” Mr Bush urged Mr Rubio, once his protege, to resign from the Senate because of his poor voting record. The media were also in the firing line – Texas Senator Ted Cruz got the night’s biggest applause when he attacked the hosts, CNBC for stirring confrontation.
The main headline of the evening comes from Jeb Bush. He needed to energies his troubled campaign tonight, and he failed abysmally. Mr Trump denied his economic plan was a “comic-book version” of a presidency campaign. Mr Rubio touted his humble upbringings and said he would fight for struggling. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the government “stole” Social Security taxes. Mr. Trump called gun-free zones “target practice” for the mentally ill, he denied calling Mr Rubio the “personal senator” of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, although the description is on his own website. Carly Fiorina accused Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton of hypocrisy because every single policy of hers is “bad for women”. BBC
House GOP officially nominates Paul Ryan for speaker
Republicans officially nominated Paul Ryan as their candidate for speaker of the House Wednesday, following weeks of uncertainty as to who would step up to lead the party in the face of current House Speaker John Boehner‘s unexpected resignation. Ryan easily defeated the other candidates in the running for speaker, garnering 200 votes. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) earned 43 votes, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) earned one vote.
Ryan’s nomination is expected to be ratified by the full House on Thursday, just a day before Boehner is scheduled to leave Congress. Politico
Nepal elects first female president
Bidhya Devi Bhandari, a women’s rights activist, has been elected the first female president of Nepal. She is the second person to serve in the mostly ceremonial role since Nepal abolished the monarchy in 2008.
The 54-year-old is a longtime political activist in a male-dominated society, and plans to champion minority and women’s rights. She is the vice-chairwoman of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) and was defense minister from 2009 to 2011. BBC News
UN: North Korea believed to earn a fortune from forced labor overseas
The United Nations says Kim Jong Un’s regime is believed to be pocketing huge sums from tens of thousands of its citizens who are sent abroad to toil in forced labor conditions.
The laborers are made to work as long as 20 hours a day without enough food and under constant surveillance, according to a new report from Marzuki Darusman, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea. He told a news conference Wednesday that the practice has become more visible in recent years and that “the numbers have grown.” The overwhelming majority of the workers are employed in North Korean allies China and Russia, according to the report. But the rest are spread across a range of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. CNN
US Official Concerned About Religious Freedom in China
A U.S. official testifying before Congress has called for the U.S State Department to re-designate China and other countries that violate human rights and religious freedom as “countries of particular concern” in its annual reports.
Robert George, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan federal government commission, told a Congressional panel Wednesday he believes China and some other countries have made no progress in safeguarding religious freedoms during the past year.
He urged the U.S. State Department to list the worst offenders of religious rights. “We’ve recommended that the following eight countries be re-designated: Burma [Myanmar], China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan,” George said. VOA
International Players Seek Consensus on Syria as Talks Begin
International talks on Syria’s future are set to begin Thursday in Vienna, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling the summit the “most promising” opportunity in years to end the country’s four and a-half years of “nonstop horror.”
Senior diplomats from the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey will participate in the informal talks Thursday. On Friday, the summit will expand to include representatives from other nations, including Iran, one of Syria’s top international backers. The talks notably will not include members of either the Syrian government or the main groups trying to overthrow it. VOA
Russia builds undersea cables
Has Russia declared war on the Internet? Not exactly, but the Russians seem to be showing a lot of interest in the undersea cables on the East Coast that carry Internet service as well as other vital communications between the U.S. and Europe.
Last month, a Russian military ship set off alarm bells when it suddenly crossed the Atlantic and moved down the East Coast near the areas where some of the cables are located. Naval intelligence says the ship has the capability to cut the cables. So will the Russians do it? U.S. officials say no, the Russians only want to let us know that they could do it. CNN
- Hillary Clinton slams Republicans on ‘multiculturalism’ (mashable.com)
- Shameful Lehman Brothers legacy taints Jeb Bush, John Kasich (msnbc.com)
- Michigan Senate leader endorses Kasich for president (sfgate.com)
- Walker exits 2016 presidential race (scooprocket.com)
- GOP wants to broaden appeal; will candidates get in the way? (newsday.com)