World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (April 17, 2016)
Obamas report income tax
President Obama and the first lady reported a combined income of $436,065 on their 2015 tax returns, nearly a 10 percent dip from the previous year and the lowest amount since the president took office.
The Obamas paid $81,472 in taxes, for a federal tax rate of 18.7 percent, the White House reported Friday in its annual disclosure. The federal income tax filing deadline is Monday.
The first familymade about $41,000 more in 2014, but the Obamas’ income has fallen since peaking early in his tenure at $5.5 million, buoyed by earnings from his two books, “Dreams From My Father” and “Audacity of Hope.” The Washington Post
At least 77 killed in Ecuador earthquake
The death toll from the powerful earthquake in Ecuador has risen to 77. Hundreds are injured. The U.S. Geological Survey said the shallow 7.8-magnitude quake struck late Saturday along the South American country’s coast.
It was felt 170 kilometers away in Quito, the capital, where it knocked out electricity and cell phone coverage in several neighborhoods. In Quito, buildings swayed for about 40 seconds, causing people to rush into the streets. A bridge collapsed in the port city of Guayaquil. In Manta, the airport was closed after the control tower was damaged.
Vice President Jorge Glas said the toll is likely to rise as reports from around the country continue to come in. Rescue crews are struggling to get to the sparsely populated fishing ports and tourists beaches where the earthquake struck Saturday night. “It’s very important that Ecuadorians remain calm during this emergency,” Glas said. VOA
Another Russian jet incident in Baltic Sea
The statement from the U.S. European Command said the incident occurred Thursday in international airspace and at no time did the American plane cross into Russian territory. A U.S. military spokesman told CNN that the jet “performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers” as it flew as close as 15 meters to the plane.
Days ago, Russian fighter jets flew very close to the USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Baltic Sea. The crew aboard the warship was dumbfounded to see the apparently unarmed SU-24 planes fly as close as 9 meters from the destroyer — close enough to create a wake in the water. VOA
Search for Japan earthquake survivors intensifies
The search for survivors of two powerful earthquakes that struck the south-western Japanese island of Kyushu has intensified. Rescuers used improved weather on Sunday to fly helicopters to the worst-affected areas as tremors continued.
Concern is also growing for nearly 250,000 homeless people. At least 41 people were killed in Thursday and Saturday’s quakes and it is feared that dozens of people could still be trapped under rubble. The BBC’s Robin Brant says fears persist that another big quake may further damage houses already weakened.
About 2,000 people were treated for injuries and nearly 200 are said to be in a serious condition. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he will increase the number of troops participating in the rescue effort to 25,000 while accepting a US offer of air transportation in the rescue efforts. BBC
US Presidential election
Cruz wins in Wyoming: Texas Senator Ted Cruz continued Saturday to erode front-runner Donald Trump’s lead in the Republican presidential campaign, taking all 14 delegates at stake at the Wyoming state party’s convention in Casper. Cruz also was Wyoming’s top candidate at the county conventions last month, when he took nine of the 12 available delegates. VOA
New York election: In New York City, opinions on the U.S. presidential candidates are as diverse as the city itself. Some New Yorkers are pro-Donald Trump, like Jane Jimenez. “I think he’s a good businessman and I think, financially, we need someone with that type of experience,” she said. New Yorker Sharon Simpkins on the other hand, is not a big fan. “Trump? Forget it. We’re not gonna talk about him,” she said.
But at a rally this past Wednesday in Washington Square Park, there was no mistaking who brought everyone out. A reported crowd of 27,000 showed up to support Bernie Sanders, brandishing homemade signs and proudly sporting “Bernie 2016” stickers. Among the crowd were many young, first-time voters like New York University student Azza Awad. VOA
Sanders in Vatican: Sen. Bernie Sanders said it was a “real honor” to meet briefly in the Vatican on Saturday with Pope Francis, who chuckled afterward than anyone who viewed the “polite” chat as meddling in politics should “look for a psychiatrist.”
The Vermont independent, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said he told the pope in their five-minute chat that he appreciated the leader of the Catholic Church’s message about the need for more economic justice and morality globally. After all, Sanders has repeatedly made the same point, at least about income inequality and other inequities in the U.S. USA Today
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