Pope Francis calls for end to the death penalty
Speaking to a crowd at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis called for a global ban on the death penalty. “The commandment ‘You shall not kill’ has absolute value and applies to both the innocent and the guilty,” he said.
Hillary beats Bernie in the Nevada caucuses, once again earning her top billing on the Democratic side. Next Democrat caucuses will be in South Carolina. CNN
Since former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) dropped out of the presidential race Saturday night, his robust donor base is already working its way to fellow Floridian Marco Rubio. About 20 Bush donors have reportedly already called Florida lobbyist Brian Ballard, a Rubio supporter who switched over from Bush in 2015. “There’s no doubt that the Rubio campaign and super PAC could use a bump,” Ballard told USA Today. “And it’s clear that it’s going to happen.” Rubio’s campaign raised about $5 million in January. His super PAC raised nearly $2.5 million. USA Today
Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump has emerged as the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination in the U.S. presidential race, but two U.S. senators, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are both claiming they can overtake him when a large group of states votes over the next three weeks. VOA
London Mayor backs British exit from EU
On Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated some concessions for Britain if it remains in the European Union, and on Saturday he announced that Britons will vote on whether to stay in the EU or exit on June 23.
On Sunday, London’s popular mayor, Boris Johnson, dealt an early blow to Cameron’s bid to keep the UK in the EU, arguing in favor of a “Brexit.” Johnson, a Conservative like Cameron, is now considered the de facto leader of the pro-exit camp. Early Monday, the British pound had its sharpest drop against the dollar in 11 months, and also dropped against the euro, plus the betting odds of a Brexit rose 4 percentage points to 33 percent, based solely on Johnson’s endorsement. Reuters
In a sign of solidarity, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to assist the singer during her legal battle against producer Dr. Luke. Swift’s spokesperson, Tree Paine, confirmed the gift to USA Today on Sunday, saying it was offered to “help with any of her financial needs during this trying time.”
In 2014, Kesha (born Kesha Rose Sebert) filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, accusing him of “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally” abusing her for almost 10 years, starting at the age of 18, when she signed onto his record label. USA Today
The latest push to bring at least a temporary halt to the fighting in Syria continues Monday with the United States and Russia trying to convince opposing sides of the conflict to accept a cease-fire proposal.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday a “provisional agreement” had been reached with Russia and could begin within a few days.
Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose ministry said the two powers agreed on the parameters of the cease-fire. Neither diplomat released details of the plan. VOA
Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.
Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty. Associated Press
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