Top News Stories for Today

World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (March 2, 2016)

Scott Kelly returns to Earth after a year in spaceScott Kelly returns to Earth after a year in space

Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA, and Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 11:26 p.m. EST. Russian recovery teams will help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after their stay in space.

Kelly and Kornienko launched to the space station on March 27, 2015, for their one-year mission. The pair’s return on March 1 marks the end of 340 days aboard the space station and almost 143 million miles during their time in space, roughly the same average distance between Earth and Mars.

With Kelly, Kornienko and Volkov landing in Kazakhstan, Kelly has logged 520 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-103 in 1998. Kornienko has spent 516 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 23/24 in 2010. Volkov arrived at the station on September 4 and has spent 548 days in space on three flights, the first of which was in 2008. NASA



US Presidential election newsUS Presidential election

Donald Trump dominated Super Tuesday, winning GOP presidential contests in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. Ted Cruz notched victories in Alaska, Oklahoma, and his home state of Texas, while Marco Rubio was declared the winner in Minnesota. John Kasich finished in second place in Massachusetts and Virginia, but otherwise, he and Ben Carson failed to crack the top three in any Super Tuesday contest. Trump now leads the total delegate race with 285, followed by Cruz at 161, and Rubio at 87. To win the GOP nomination, a candidate needs 1,237. Politico, The New York Times via The Week

Hillary Clinton swept Super Tuesday contests in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders won the Democratic caucuses in Minnesota and Colorado, and presidential primaries in his home state of Vermont and also in Oklahoma. Clinton now leads the overall delegate race 544 to 349, not including superdelegates who have pledged (non-binding) support to a candidate. A candidate needs 2,383 delegates to win the nomination. The New York Times via The Week

At his Super Tuesday press conference in Palm Beach, Florida, Donald Trump, following a string of dominant primary victories, vowed to make the Republican Party and the country “more unified.” “I am a unifier,” the billionaire said, adding that he’d already expanded the GOP tent. Marco Rubio, however, later warned on NBC News that the nomination of Trump would mark the “end of the modern conservative movement and the end of the modern Republican Party in a very devastating way.” ABC News, NBC News via The Week



Senate GOP rebuffs Obama on SCOTUS nominationSenate GOP rebuffs Obama on SCOTUS nomination

Senate Republican leaders visiting the White House on Tuesday told President Obama in blunt terms that there’s no chance his Supreme Court nominee will receive hearings this year.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Obama what he’s been telling reporters and constituents: that the next occupant of the Oval Office should be the one to fill the court vacancy.

The meeting was brief, providing another sign that neither side is backing down in the partisan battle over replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia. The Hill



Bin Laden predicted ‘Islamic State’ would failBin Laden predicted ‘Islamic State’ would fail

Osama bin Laden predicted the demise of the Islamic State (IS), warning before his death that any effort by jihadists to declare a caliphate before defeating the West would be doomed to fail. The insight is one of several emerging from 113 newly declassified documents, part of a trove found by U.S. Navy SEALs during the 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the al Qaida leader was killed.

Written in Arabic and translated by U.S. intelligence, the notes and letters portray a hands-on administrator who had grown increasingly paranoid while struggling to keep the terror organization he founded from falling apart.

“The movement is nothing like unified. It disagrees with itself all the time,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said of the documents, most of which date from 2009 to 2011. “You got to see the mess it was behind the scenes.” VOA

Europe’s migrant crisisEurope’s migrant crisis

The European Union is preparing to spend hundreds of millions of euros on humanitarian aid, as Greece struggles to cope with an influx of migrants. Under plans to be submitted on Wednesday, EU funds could be deployed within Europe in the same way they are used to help crises outside the bloc.

The UN has warned of a humanitarian disaster caused by a build-up of migrants on Greece’s borders. Thousands of asylum seekers remain trapped on the border with Macedonia. The plan to be submitted by the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, means EU aid agencies would for the first time work directly with the UN and other groups inside Europe, rather than disbursing money to individual member states.

EU officials said the aid plan would allocate 300m euros (£233m; $325m) this year to help any EU state deal with the migration crisis. In all, 700m euros would be made available over three years. However, BBC Europe correspondent Chris Morris says that even if such funding can be deployed quickly, the EU also needs to stem the flow of new arrivals. That would mean better co-operation with Turkey, he adds. BBC

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