Myanmar Holds Historic Election
Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi joined millions of her fellow citizens Sunday in casting her vote in the country’s first relatively free election in a quarter of a century. The National League for Democracy (NLD) secretary-general was surrounded by hundreds of supporters and journalists at the polling station near her home at the Basic Education Primary School #3 in Bahan township in Yangon.
She did not speak or acknowledge the crowd as her bodyguards made a path for her to the ballot box where pandemonium erupted as photographers and television cameramen jostled to capture the scene. All polls were to have closed across Myanmar at 16:00 local time Sunday (09:30 UTC) after 10 hours of voting, which saw an approximate 80 percent turnout, according to election officials.
The chief European Union election observer in the country, Alexander Lambsdorff, was upbeat early in the day, but added the election was not free of “flaws or shortcomings.” The EU team plans to remain in Myanmar for a week during the post-balloting process. VOA
Netanyahu, Obama look to move past Iran deal row
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama meet Monday to put aside their rocky personal relationship and move past the Iran nuclear deal with multi-billon-dollar talks on defense.
The two have not met since October 2014, and deep disagreement over the July accord between Iran and major world powers provoked bitter exchanges between the traditional allies both before and after it was reached. Netanyahu has also faced pressure, including from the United States, to renew peace efforts after a wave of violence that began in October raised fears of a new Palestinian uprising.
Obama and Netanyahu are known to have testy personal ties, not least because of the right-wing Israeli premier’s courting of Republicans — the US president’s opponents — including in a speech to Congress in March not coordinated with the White House. But analysts say the two seem determined to turn the page with a businesslike meeting and signal that the two countries’ long-lasting alliance remains unshakeable. AFP
Clinton, Sanders clash at Democratic forum
Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley butted heads Friday night at a candidate forum — not technically a debate — in South Carolina. Both of Clinton’s opponents criticized her for being slow to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama rejected Friday.
“Unlike some other unnamed candidates, the issue of Keystone was kind of a no-brainer,” Sanders said. “It never made sense to me from day one.” In her answers to host Rachel Maddow, Clinton focused on criticizing police brutality against black people and contrasting herself with Sanders on gun control, where the Vermont senator has taken a more conservative stance.
Though the South Carolina primary is still months away, Clinton has a major lead in the state, garnering the support of 71 percent of likely primary voters and 80 percent of black Democratic voters. The Washington Post, The New York Times
Oil company defaults are coming
The U.S. shale oil boom lured tons of prospectors in recent years. Oil companies of all hues loaded up on massive amounts of debt to fund rigs and fancy new drilling equipment.
The problem is the companies were banking on oil prices closer to $100 oil when they took on the debt. Now oil is around $45 and no one is expecting prices to hit $100 any time soon. What that means is the likelihood of unpaid debt has gone up for many companies.
“Energy has been really treacherous. There are going to be a lot of defaults,” R. Matthew Freund, chief investment officer of USAA Investments, told CNNMoney. CNN
1 Dead, at Least 24 Still Missing After Brazil Dams Burst
A reservoir holding tons of iron ore waste burst Thursday, followed by a second dam holding water. A huge river of mud and sludge poured downhill, wiping out Bento Rodrigues and flooding other towns. One death was confirmed and at least 24 workers and residents of several small towns were missing. Only about 600 people live in Bento Rodrigues, in Brazil’s central Minas Gerais state.
The mine that was the source of the dam burst belongs to Samarco, which assured residents that the sludge is not toxic. Environmental officials will conduct tests, however. Samarco said mine operators detected a tremor shortly before the dam burst, but an exact cause of the disaster is unclear.
The search for more than 20 people missing after a dam break buried the tiny Brazilian village of Bento Rodrigues in mining waste was suspended for the night late Saturday. VOA
Christie and Huckabee Won’t be on Main Stage in next GOP Debate
Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee have not made the cut to be on the main stage in the next Republican debate. ABC News reports that both Christie and Huckabee are averaging 2.25 percent in the polls. The rules for the November 10 debate state that, to participate, candidates must average 2.5 percent or higher in the polls.
The eight candidates who will be on the main debate stage are Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. The candidates who will be in the earlier debate are Christie and Huckabee, as well as Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum. Some candidates did not average high enough numbers in the polls to be part of either debate. Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore did not qualify for either debate, and Gilmore has not qualified for any of the previous debates.
Some have commented that there are too many Republican candidates. The New York Times Matthew Dowd notes that Republicans fall into one of four categories: “the establishment, Tea Party folks, libertarians, and social conservatives,” and no one has been able to unite these four, thus there are many candidates who fall under the title “Republican.” Christian Headlines
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