Top News Stories for Today

World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (April 13, 2016)

Panama papers headquarters raided

Panama papers headquarters raidedPolice in Panama have raided the headquarters of the law firm at the centre of a massive data leak. Prosecutors said the operation had been carried out at the offices of Mossack Fonseca in Panama City “without incident or interference”.

The leaked “Panama Papers” have shown how some wealthy people use offshore firms to evade tax and avoid sanctions. The firm has denied wrongdoing. It says it is the victim of a hack and that the information is being misrepresented.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has promised to work with other countries to improve transparency in its offshore financial industry.

 

 

South Korea parliament elections

South Korea parliament elections (www.usanews.com)South Korea’s governing Saenuri party may have lost its majority in parliament after elections aimed at boosting its position, polls suggest. Exit polls forecast Saenuri to retain a slight lead over its opponents but not enough to secure a majority in the 300-member National Assembly.

Voters cast ballots at nearly 14,000 polling stations to elect 253 of the 300 lawmakers. The remaining 47 proportional representation seats are allocated to parties according to the numbers of votes they receive overall.

President Park was hoping a stronger mandate in the assembly would help her to push through labour and economic reforms before her term in office expires in about 20 months’ time. Youth unemployment rose to 12.5% in February, much higher than the South Korean average rate of nearly 5%. At the same time all the main parties have promised measures to reduce poverty among the elderly. BBC

 

 

Global economic growth disappointing

Global economic growth disappointingThe International Monetary Fund says global economic growth has been “too slow for too long” and that this “disappointing” growth rate could worsen. The IMF’s newest World Economic Outlook cuts the global growth forecast two-tenths of a percent to 3.2 percent.

The agency’s researchers also say the U.S., Japanese and European Union economies will grow more slowly than previously estimated.  The study says China is likely to grow slightly faster than previously expected.

The IMF says recent global financial turbulence saw investors growing more worried and more timid, abrupt sell-offs of risky assets, higher interest rates for loans to emerging market nations and sharp falls in prices for oil and other commodities.  Continued “violent instability” in many nations, including Syria, has created a “humanitarian disaster” as millions of refugees seek safety in other nations. VOA

 

 

Thousands of Iraqis flee from Mosul

Thousands of Iraqis flee from MosulJust a few days ago, under cover of U.S. fighter jets roaring overhead and dropping bombs, Arif picked up his family and relatives and ran barefoot out of his village. He and about 6,000 others are now in a small Kurdish-run camp set up in the gravel and mud to take in villagers fleeing Islamic State as the Iraqi army started its push to retake the area south of Mosul.

According to Arif, a former Iraqi military man, and five different men, life under IS is brutal, then unlivable. Jobs were scarce and badly paid or dangerous. Families were running out of money. Desperate for money themselves, IS members were running extortion rackets, ranging from cigarette sales to human trafficking. Anyone affiliated with the Iraqi government, like the former police, had to pay IS a $2,000 “repentance” bond, or be killed, they said. Unable to pay, many just hid in their homes.

IS also offered to smuggle people out — for a fee of anywhere between $300 to $2,000, they said. “It works two ways,” said Ahmed, one of a crowd of some 20 men who wanted to tell their stories, but did not want to give their full names.

“Most IS members get paid 60,000 dinar ($50) a month which is very little, so they use this (smuggling) to get money for themselves,” he said.  Or, when IS in the area was running low on money, they would collectively “raise as much money as they can and then release some of the people.” VOA

US Presidential election

US Presidential election newsNY Daily endorses Clinton: The New York Daily News editorial board has “strongly endorsed” Hillary Clinton in the New York Democratic primary, saying she is “unsparingly clear-eyed about what’s wrong with America while holding firm to what’s right with America.” Clinton’s proposals are “shaped for the world in which we live, not the world in which we might wish to live,” the editorial states. “By any stretch of the imagination — except that of [Bernie] Sanders — they stand as the highflying progressive wish list of a results-driven candidate.” Both Clinton and Sanders met with the editorial board, and they found Clinton to be a “superprepared warrior realist” and Sanders a “fantasist who’s at passionate war with reality.” New York Daily News via The Week

Cruz is natural born citizen: A judge in New Jersey has ruled that Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is a “natural-born citizen” under the US constitution and may run in the state’s primary elections in June. A group of residents had challenged the Texas senator’s eligibility for the presidency. He was born in Canada to a Cuban father and American mother. But Judge Jeff Masin found that Mr Cruz met the constitutional requirements. New Jersey’s Lt Governor, Kim Guadagno, is now expected to review the decision. BBC

Ryan confirms not to run: With the presidential campaign hitting a fever pitch and Donald Trump warning about riots if he’s denied the nomination, some House and Senate Republicans tell CNN that it makes more sense to spend time with voters back home rather than attending Republican convention. Skipping a convention is often a way for moderate members of both parties to put some distance between themselves and a nominee who could alienate supporters in their districts. But even some tea party-aligned conservatives are planning to stay home in 2016. CNN

Fights for delegates: The U.S. contests for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations have turned into contentious fights for delegates to the parties’ national conventions, where the candidates for November’s national election will be picked. Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump is the Republican front-runner, but he complained Monday that party officials have created a “crooked, crooked system” to keep him from winning a first-ballot victory at the party’s July convention in Cleveland, Ohio. VOA

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