World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (March 31, 2016)
Obama to host nuclear security summit
President Obama will host his fourth and final nuclear security summit in Washington this week with tons of loose nuclear material still not sufficiently secured and still potentially accessible to terrorists or other individuals with malicious intentions.
The White House says that while it is impossible to quantify the likelihood of a nuclear attack by extremist groups, there are 2,000 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium with civilian and military programs around the world.
For the first time, the summit will include a special session on how to ensure that groups like Islamic State do not get their hands on nuclear materials. The biennial event Thursday and Friday will include delegations from more than 50 nations who will discuss evolving nuclear threats and ways to prevent them.
Russia has declined to attend the final summit, saying the gatherings have played out their role. Olga Oliker, CSIS Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program, said Moscow’s absence is linked to strained ties following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. VOA
Assad’s optimistic tone on peace talk
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is striking an optimistic tone about the prospects of peace talks aimed at ending his country’s five-year-long civil war.
Speaking with Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency Wednesday, the embattled Syrian president said the international talks in Geneva should result in a government that includes both opposition representatives and officials loyal to his regime.
The U.N. has been conducting Syrian peace talks in Geneva in hopes of ending the Syrian civil war that has left 300,000 or more people dead, created millions of refugees, and obliterated the country’s economy. VOA
US Presidential election
Trump reverses stance on abortion: Donald Trump is taking back a statement he made about abortion Wednesday during an MSNBC town hall, when he said that if abortion is ever outlawed in the U.S., there has to be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions illegally. Later, Trump released a statement saying the “issue is unclear and should be put back into the state for determination. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times.” After that, Trump released an additional statement clarifying his new position. “If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” he said. “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.” Bloomberg Politics
Cruz leads in Wisconsin poll: Ted Cruz has passed Donald Trump in Wisconsin with just under a week left until the state’s primary, a new poll from the Marquette Law School found. The survey, released Wednesday, shows Cruz leading the Republican pack for the presidential nomination at 40%, with Trump trailing at 30% and John Kasich at 21%. The race on the Democrats’ side remains close, the poll found, with Bernie Sanders at 49% and Hillary Clinton at 45%. USA Today
Rubio tries to stop Trump: In an unprecedented move, Marco Rubio has asked party leaders of 21 states and territories not to release the 172 delegates the Republican won during his now-defunct presidential campaign. If state parties agree to let Rubio keep the delegates he won, that effectively blocks Trump from gaining their support between now and the Republican convention in July. Rubio’s 172 delegates represent more than half of 323 unbound delegates that could essentially be up for grabs between now and July, NBC News explains. And if not getting those 172 delegates keeps Trump from reaching a majority of 1,237 by the convention, then a second vote for the nomination could take place in which essentially anyone — i.e. not Trump — may win. USA Today
Chinese tourists to international increase
China’s transition to a consumption-led economy is boosting the global tourism industry. The number of international tourists from China rose 53 percent in 2015 from the year before, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, a London-based nonprofit that researches global tourism.
Over the last five years, the number of Chinese travelers doubled to 120 million people; one in ten international travelers is now from China.
The number of tourists into China also grew, but slightly, at just 2.2 percent in 2015. Tourism supported 65 million jobs in China, and made up 7.9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. Nearly 57 million foreign travelers came to China that year, spending more than $57 billion. VOA
Vietnam elects first Chairwoman of Parliament
Vietnam’s parliament on Thursday elected Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan as its chairwoman, making her the first woman to lead the Communist-dominated legislature. Ngan, 61, won 95.5 percent of the votes, the National Assembly said on its website.
Ngan rose from director of the finance department in her home province of Ben Tre in the southern Mekong Delta to vice chairwoman of the assembly five years ago. Her appointment was widely expected when she was re-elected to the powerful Politburo at the Communist Party Congress in January. VOA
DC Metro rail service could suspend up to 6 months
Washington, D.C., was pretty unhappy when the Metro commuter rail was shut down for just over 24 hours on March 16. On Wednesday, Metro’s top officials warned that much bigger closures are likely coming, with entire lines closed for up to six months for repairs and upgrades. Metro board Chairman Jack Evans, who is also a D.C. Council member, and General Manager Paul Wiedefeld wanted to impress on regional stakeholders the need for more financing from the federal government and suburban counties, but most of the attention focused on the proposed delays. Wiedefeld says he will come to a decision on maintenance closures in four to six weeks. The Washington Post
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Related articles from around the web
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- Syrian Opposition Needs to Pursue Realistic Goals In Peace Talks (cfr.org)
- The Russians are not to be feared (sott.net)