World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (March 16, 2016)
Merrick Garland nominated for SCOTUS
President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, is starting to make the rounds on Capitol Hill on Thursday, meeting with two leading Democratic senators as the White House begins its uphill battle to pressure Senate Republicans into giving Garland a hearing and a vote.
After a two-week Senate recess, Garland will also begin meetings with key Republicans, including Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), also on the Judiciary Committee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), leading the effort to stonewall Obama’s nominee, won’t meet with Garland. Still, some GOP senators are wavering. “Between him and somebody that a President Clinton might nominate, I think the choice is clear,” Flake said. The New York Times
Washington condemns N Korea
The U.S. State Department decried North Korea’s sentencing of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor as “unduly harsh” Wednesday, with White House spokesman Josh Earnest accusing the country of using U.S. citizens as political pawns. Warmbier, 21, tearfully confessed to attempting to steal a propaganda banner and was found guilty of subversion.
Before the trial he had said he tried to take the banner as a trophy for a friend, who wanted to display it in a church. The court said Warmbier had tried to “impair the unity” of North Korea’s people “pursuant to the U.S. government’s hostile policy” toward North Korea. Reuters
US Presidential election
Trump warns GOP: Coming off his loss in Ohio to John Kasich Tuesday night, Donald Trump warned Wednesday that if the GOP picks another candidate at the GOP convention because he comes short of the requisite number of delegates, there will be riots. “I’m representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people,” Trump said. While Trump lost Ohio, he swept North Carolina, Florida, and Illinois, extending his delegate lead over second-place Sen. Ted Cruz by 200. Hillary Clinton also had a good night, besting Sen. Bernie Sanders in four primary contests. Missouri remains undeclared, with Trump and Clinton each leading by razor-thin margins and a possible recount pending. The New York Times
GOP debate canceled: Monday’s Fox News debate was canceled after Trump dropped out of it. Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he would not be attending the debate, opting to instead make an appearance before the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC. “I think it’s enough,” Trump said of the exhaustive list of Republican primetime debates. John Kasich responded by saying he would not be at the debate if Trump declined to attend — which would have left Ted Cruz as the sole candidate on the stage. Politico, Mediaite via The Week
IS Lost 22 Percent of Its Territory
Increased military pressure against Islamic State fighters in both Syria and Iraq led to the group losing 22 percent of its territory in the past 15 months, with about half of the loss coming since the beginning of this year.
That is the result of analysis by monitoring group IHS, which said the militants are “increasingly isolated and being perceived as in decline.”
IHS pointed to the area of northern Syria between the Islamic State de facto capital of Raqqa and the Turkish border, where airstrikes from Russia and a U.S.-led coalition combined with Kurdish and Sunni fighters on the ground pushed out the militants and freed key border crossings. VOA News
Trump Presidency a top risk for the world
Its latest ranking of global risks has a sharp economic slowdown in China at the top. That is followed by Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine bringing a new cold war, a corporate debt crisis in emerging markets and the fracture of the European Union.
EIU says it does not expect Trump to win the November election, but that there is a moderate probability he will and a high impact if he does. The group cites his hostility toward free trade, advocacy of the killing of families of terrorists, support for ground troops in Syria and alienation of both China and Mexico that could result in trade wars and fueling terrorist groups. VOA News
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