World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (April 12, 2016)
UN to elect new Secretary-General
In the past, secretaries general were chosen behind closed doors, but this year, in another first, the process will be open to public scrutiny. This week, the candidates will be publicly questioned by member states about their qualifications for the top post and their vision for the organization, during two-hour “informal dialogues” in the U.N. General Assembly.
Traditionally, the role of world’s top diplomat is rotated regionally. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is from Asia; his predecessor, Kofi Annan, was from Africa. Eastern Europe is hoping it will be its turn this year and has so far nominated six candidates – from Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Slovenia.
Those vying for the post include the head of the U.N. Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Bulgarian Irina Bukova, New Zealand’s former prime minister Helen Clark, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, former Slovenian president Danilo Türk, current foreign minister of Croatia, current foreign minister of Montenegro, current foreign minister of Moldova, former foreign minister Srgjan Kerim of Macedonia.
The nominating process remains open. Slovakia is expected to put forward its foreign minister, Miroslav Lajcak, by the end of this month, and there has been wide speculation that Argentina will enter its foreign minister, Susana Malcorra. Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd also is tipped to be a possible entrant. VOA
Brazil advances to impeach president
On Monday night, the impeachment committee of Brazil’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, voted to recommend impeaching President Dilma Rousseff on charges that she illegally bolstered state finances with a bank loan while running for re-election.
Rousseff denies the charges. The 38-27 vote was slightly more lopsided than expected, and the full Chamber of Deputies is set to vote on Sunday on whether to send the case to the Senate for trial. Two thirds of the lower house, or 342 deputies, need to approve the impeachment measure for it to pass and move to the Senate; currently, 298 delegates favor impeachment and 120 oppose it, according to the latest tally from Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paolo. The Wall Street Journal, BBC News via The Week
Zika virus is scarier than we thought
Public health officials used their strongest language to date in warning about a Zika outbreak in the United States, as the Obama administration lobbied Congress for $1.9 billion to combat the mosquito-borne virus.
“Most of what we’ve learned is not reassuring,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought.” The mosquito species that spreads Zika is present in 30 states, according to the CDC. The virus is also being linked to more medical conditions that go beyond microcephaly, a birth defect that causes a smaller brain size.
A study released Monday also links Zika to a second autoimmune disorder called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. It resembles multiple sclerosis and involves a swelling of the brain and spinal cord. New studies also show that the Zika virus appears to hone in on brain cells and kill them.
The Centers for Disease Control announced Monday it was providing $3.9 million in emergency Zika funding to Puerto Rico. saying the number of cases there is doubling every week and could reach into the hundreds of thousands. The money will go to increased laboratory capacity. USA Today
Mississippi writers oppose anti-LGBT law
Under the law, businesses can refuse services to same-sex couples, citing religious freedom. “It is deeply disturbing to so many of us to see the rhetoric of hate, thinly veiled, once more poison our political discourse,” the writers argued. Musician Bryan Adams also canceled an upcoming show in the state due to his opposition to the law. Jackson Free Press via The Week
US Presidential election
Trump and Clinton lead in New York: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released late Monday found Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with double-digit leads among likely voters in the April 19 New York primary. Trump leads John Kasich by 33 points, 54 percent to 21 percent, while Ted Cruz is lagging behind at 18 percent. Clinton has a 14-point lead over Bernie Sanders, bolstered by strong support among women, black voters, and older Democrats. The poll also asked about which candidate is a “real New Yorker,” and Trump won that contest, with 41 percent, while 25 percent of registered voters called Brooklyn-born Sanders a real New Yorker and 23 percent said the same of Clinton, a former senator representing New York. The Wall Street Journal, Politico via The Week
Trump’s slogans: In embracing “America First’’ as his guiding foreign policy philosophy, Donald Trump appropriated — spontaneously, it seems — one of the most denigrated political slogans of the last century, and one that evokes an isolationism Trump himself explicitly rejects. During the Republican presidential campaign, Trump also has claimed to speak for “the silent majority,’’ a term coined in 1969 by Richard Nixon’s administration, and adopted Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign theme, “Make America great again.’’ USA Today
Voters more open to Sanders: More Americans said in a new survey released Monday they would definitely vote for or consider voting for Democrat Bernie Sanders than any other candidate left in the 2016 presidential race. The Associated Press-GfK poll surveyed 1,076 people between March 31 and April 4. Twenty-one percent said they would definitely vote for Sanders, and 41 percent said they would consider it. Hillary Clinton, who leads Sanders in the Democratic race, ranked second with a combined 50 percent. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz and John Kasich each had 43 percent, while front-runner Donald Trump ranked last at 35 percent. VOA
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