World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (March 6, 2016)
Pope condemns Yemen attack
The Vatican secretary of state said in a condolence message on Saturday that the pontiff “prays that this pointless slaughter will awaken consciences, lead to a change of heart, and inspire all parties to lay down their arms.” Officials and witnesses in Yemen said gunmen on Friday stormed a retirement home run by a charity established by Mother Teresa, moving room to room handcuffing the victims before shooting them in the head.
Yemen’s war has killed at least 6,200 civilians and injured tens of thousands of Yemenis, and 2.4 million people have been displaced, according to U.N. figures. CBS news
Cuba, EU close to new bilateral agreement
Cuba and the European Union are close to a deal on a new bilateral agreement, which would improve relations that have been chilly for decades. Cuban and EU officials made the announcement Friday after two days of talks and two years of negotiations. The agreement, while not yet complete, will cover politics, commerce and aid.
Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters the agreement could be ready by the March 10-11 visit to Havana by the European Union’s foreign policy head, Federica Mogherini. That visit by Mogherini will immediately precede the visit to Cuba by President Barack Obama, the first U.S. president to visit the island since 1929. VOA
US Presidential election
GOP Super Saturday: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz handily won the Kansas and Maine Republican caucuses on Saturday, but Donald Trump won Kentucky and Louisiana, the most delegate-packed state of the Super Saturday contest. During a victory speech that turned into a press conference, Trump called on Marco Rubio, who came in third in most of the Saturday contests, to exit the race, saying, “You have to be able to win, and he has not been able to win.” Trump said he would “love to take on Ted one-on-one.” In his victory speech, Cruz also called on rivals Rubio and John Kasich to drop out, saying, “if we’re divided, Donald wins.” NBC News, CBS News via The Week
Democrat Super Saturday: Hillary Clinton won a dominating victory in Louisiana, the state hosting the only primary of Super Saturday, by an almost 50-point margin. Rival Bernie Sanders had a big night of his own, notching victories in the Democratic caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska. Sanders’ wins, however, are likely not enough to dramatically cut into Clinton’s formidable delegate lead over the Vermont senator, after the former secretary of state swept the South on Super Tuesday. The Democratic primary race continues Sunday in Maine. CNN, Politico via The Week
Cruz wins straw poll: The voters at the Conservative Political Action Conference have spoken, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) winning the CPAC straw poll. CPAC says 2,659 attendees participated in the annual poll, and 40 percent chose Cruz as their first choice for president, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with 30 percent, Donald Trump with 15 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 8 percent. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky won the straw poll.
Iranian billionaire sentenced to death
Iranian billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani has been sentenced to death for corruption, justice officials say. He was arrested in December 2013 after accusations that he withheld billions in oil revenue channelled through his companies. He denies the allegations. Zanjani was convicted of fraud and economic crimes, a judiciary spokesperson said at a press briefing. Two others were also sentenced to death and all were ordered to repay embezzled funds. The ruling can be appealed.
One of Iran’s richest men, Zanjani had been blacklisted by the US and EU for helping Iran evades oil sanctions in place at the time. He had acknowledged using a web of companies in the UAE, Turkey, and Malaysia to sell millions of barrels of Iranian oil on behalf of the government since 2010.
Before his arrest, Zanjani had claimed international sanctions were preventing him from handing over $1.2bn still owed to the government. But at his recent trial, prosecutors claimed he still owed the government more than $2.7bn in oil revenue. He was taken into custody a day after President Hassan Rouhani ordered his government to fight “financial corruption”, particularly “privileged figures” who had “taken advantage of economic sanctions”. BBC
Panic has gripped Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, after a confidential letter from the country’s defense minister leaked to social media stating that Boko Haram terrorists had arrived in the city. The letter from Joseph Beti Assomo to top military officers called for vigilance and additional deployment of troops to ministerial buildings and public areas, such as markets, churches and schools. Military officials said the leak occurred because of lapses in their information system.
In light of the information, some residents have decided to lie low. Businesswoman Belinda Tatah said that when she heard Assomo had urged the military to stop a possible terrorist attack in the capital, she decided to avoid all public places and gatherings.
The letter called for increased security at government buildings, army barracks, military hospitals and “crowded” public places. It also called for collaboration between the public and vigilante groups. Diplomatic missions, including the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, urged expatriates to exercise caution. VOA
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