World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (March 16, 2016)
N Korea sentences American
North Korea’s highest court sentenced an American tourist to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion on Wednesday, weeks after authorities presented him to media and he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.
Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was convicted and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea’s Supreme Court. He was charged with subversion under Article 60 of North Korea’s criminal code. The court held that he had committed a crime “pursuant to the U.S. government’s hostile policy toward (the North), in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist.”
North Korea regularly accuses Washington and Seoul of sending spies to overthrow its government to enable the U.S.-backed South Korean government to take control of the Korean Peninsula. FOX 13
US eases Restrictions on Cuba
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would allow individuals to travel to Cuba for “people to people” educational trips and lift limits on the use of American dollars in transactions with Cuba, wiping away stiff restrictions on travel and commerce as President Obama prepares to make a trip to Havana next week.
The actions are some of the most significant regulatory changes the Treasury and the Department of Commerce have made on the way toward normalization that Mr. Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba announced in December 2014. They come days before Mr. Obama will land in Cuba, the first visit by a sitting American president in 88 years and a marquee element of his foreign policy. The New York Times
US Presidential election
Super Tuesday GOP: Donald Trump won the Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina on Tuesday, but John Kasich took the Ohio primary. Trump’s win in Marco Rubio’s home state forced the senator to drop out of the presidential race Tuesday evening. In Missouri, with 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Trump and Ted Cruz are neck-and-neck, 40.8 percent to 40.6 percent. Kasich is in third place with 10 percent. Since Trump and Cruz are separated by less than 1 percent, Cruz can seek a recount. NBC News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch via The Week
Super Tuesday Democrat: Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primaries in Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and North Carolina on Tuesday. She also pulled ahead of Bernie Sanders in Missouri, where less than 2,000 votes separate the candidates; Clinton leads Sanders 49.6 percent to 49.4 percent, with 99.9 percent of precincts reporting. Since Clinton and Sanders are separated by less than 1 percent, Sanders can seek a recount. The New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch via The Week
Rubio drops out: Marco Rubio is dropping out of the presidential race after losing the Florida primary to Donald Trump and failing to unite the Republican establishment against the billionaire front-runner. The child of Cuban immigrants, Rubio’s parents worked menial jobs like bartending and hotel cleaning to provide for their children. His stump speech drove home the message that Americans should leave their children better off than they were, and warned that dream was slipping away. CNN
IS Commander Omar the Chechen has died
The United States says that a top Islamic State commander known as Omar the Chechen has died from injuries he suffered a week ago when an American airstrike targeted him in Syria.
U.S. defense officials at first said that Omar al-Shishani, a fierce battle-hardened warlord with a thick red beard, had been killed along with 12 other Islamic State fighters in the attack on a meeting of jihadists. Later, they said he survived the airstrike but died Monday.
Shishani, the nom de guerre for Tarkhan Batirashvili, had a reputation as one of Islamic State’s most capable commanders, with the U.S. having put a $5 million bounty on his head. U.S. officials described him as the “equivalent of the secretary of defense” for the jihadists. VOA News
Argentina sank a Chinese vessel
Argentina’s coast guard says it sank a Chinese fishing vessel that was fishing in a restricted area off the South American country’s coast. The Argentine coast guard open fired, and eventually sank the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 vessel after detecting it illegally fishing within the country’s exclusive economic zone, officials said Tuesday.
First, according to a statement from the Argentine coast guard, warning shots were fired. The Chinese vessel, Argentine authorities said, responded by turning off its lights and deliberately trying to crash.
Four people on board — three crew members and the captain — were rescued by Argentina’s coast guard. China said that the other 28 crew members who’d been on the Chinese vessel were saved by Chinese fishing vessels nearby. Argentina’s foreign ministry and the Chinese consulate have been notified, the coast guard said.
Mexico City issues ozone alert
The Mexican capital, once known for its high smog levels, has managed since 2002 to keep its ozone levels within recommended boundaries, and since 2005 it has managed to keep harmful air particles under control as well. But Mexico City authorities say a recent high pressure system combined with intense sunlight has contributed to elevated pollution levels.
Mexico initially dealt with its pollution issue by discouraging use of cars more than 8 years old, resulting in less traffic on city streets. But a court recently relaxed that rule and experts say traffic has gotten worse. VOA News
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