Top News Stories for Today – April 12, 2017
Rex Tillerson’s Moscow visit gets off to tense start
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday morning, amid growing US-Russia tensions over Syria and other issues. Lavrov said Russia has “seen very alarming actions recently with an unlawful attack against Syria,” and considers it “of utmost importance” the US refrain from “similar actions in the future.”
Tillerson acknowledged the “sharp differences” between Russia and the US, adding “We both have agreed our lines of communication shall always remain open.” Russia has not said whether Tillerson will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his two-day visit. On Wednesday, Putin said Russia’s working relationship with the US “most likely has degraded” since President Trump took office. The Associated Press, USA Today, The Week
Iran’s former President to run presidential election
Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday stunned the country by unexpectedly filing to run in the May presidential election, contradicting a recommendation from the supreme leader to stay out of the race.
Ahmadinejad’s decision could upend an election many believed would be won by moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers. Though Rouhani has yet to formally register, many viewed him as a shoe-in following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recommendation in September for Ahmadinejad to stand down and conservatives’ inability to coalesce around a single candidate. VOA
US strike force deployment is signal to N. Korea
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Vinson and accompanying ships, including guided missile destroyers and aircraft squadrons, are expected to arrive in Korean waters near the April 15 birthday of the late Kim Il Sung, founder of the communist nation. Because of the significance of the date, many experts think the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea might be provoked into launching its sixth nuclear test. VOA
ISIS suspect arrested in Germany
German police have detained a suspect with “Islamist links” following a bomb attack on the bus of the Borussia Dortmund football team. Prosecutors also said the three explosive devices used contained metal strips. The federal prosecutors, who usually lead terror investigations, have taken over the probe.
They are also investigating a letter found at the scene of the attack in Dortmund. Lead prosecutor Frauke Koehle said: “Two suspects from the Islamist spectrum have become the focus of our investigation. Both of their apartments were searched, and one of the two has been detained.” BBC
UK’s Daily Mail to pay US first lady damages
The UK’s Daily Mail newspaper has agreed to pay damages and costs to the first lady of the United States over an article about her modelling career. The newspaper had reported allegations that Melania Trump once worked as an escort, but later retracted its article. The story was published during the US election campaign last year.
Mrs Trump accepted damages and an apology from the newspaper at London’s High Court. She filed her lawsuit in February, seeking damages of $150m. The amount accepted by Mrs Trump was not disclosed in court. However, reports suggest the payout was closer to $3 million, including legal costs and damages. BBC
United airline fiasco
A passenger (Asian doctor), was dragged, bloodied and screaming, up the aisle and off a plane by authorities at Chicago O’Hare International Airport on Sunday when he refused to give up his seat on a United (UAL) flight to Louisville, Kentucky. The airline needed to free up seats to transport commuting crew members.
The story didn’t end there. On Monday, passenger videos of the incident started to go viral. United CEO Oscar Munoz made matters worse by issuing a widely-ridiculed apology for “having to re-accommodate … customers.” He later doubled down in a letter to employees, defending the airline’s actions and describing the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent.”
The incident is now under investigation. Public relations experts were shocked by how United dealt with the fallout. United airline has lost $250 million in market value. Rival airlines are trying to cash in over this incident. Royal Jordanian ribbed United with a tweet. “We are here to keep you #united,” it said. “Dragging is strictly prohibited.” The words were accompanied by an image of a no smoking symbol. The company was mocked in the social media. CNN
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