Top News Stories for Today – April 19, 2017
White House certifies Iran nuclear deal
Just before a midnight deadline on Tuesday, the Trump administration informed Congress that Iran is living up to the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal brokered under former President Barack Obama, and was thus eligible for extended sanctions relief.
During the 2016 campaign, President Trump was a vocal critic of the deal, negotiated between Iran, the US, and five other world powers to freeze and roll back Iran’s nuclear program, but he had given mixed signals on his intentions since taking office. In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certified Iran’s compliance, but said the Trump administration is undertaking an interagency review of the deal, led by the National Security Council, to see if it is “is vital to the national security interests of the United States.” The Associated Press, The Week
Fox News discussing Bill O’Reilly’s departure
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that Fox News is preparing to part ways with star Bill O’Reilly, and a final decision could come within the next dew days. CNN’s Brian Stelter had reported Tuesday evening that a person with knowledge of the situation said Fox News and O’Reilly have been discussing his leaving the network soon.
People close to the O’Reilly Factor host pushed back against the report, except for one friend who said he probably won’t return. Earlier in the day, New York’s Gabriel Sherman reported that the Murdoch family, which runs Fox News and owns The Wall Street Journal, is split on whether to keep O’Reilly on the air. In recent weeks, it was reported that Fox News and O’Reilly paid five women who accused O’Reilly of harassment and verbal abuse $13 million, and more women have come forward alleging O’Reilly sexually harassed them. CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Week
Gunman kills 3 in California
Police arrested Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, on Tuesday for the murder of three people in downtown Fresno, California, on Tuesday morning. Muhammad allegedly shot two people at a Catholic Charities office and a third person while firing 16 rounds over two minutes at four locations.
Muhammad, who is black, has a history of advocating black separatism, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, and authorities believe he committed a hate crime, not an act of terrorism. “This is solely based on race,” Dyer said. All three of his victims were white men. Muhammad is also wanted for the murder last week of a white security guard outside a Fresno motel. Los Angeles Times
US murder rate increased
US murder rate has risen over the past two years, driven mostly by violence in a few large cities, a study released Tuesday said. The report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law showed the national murder rate rose 10 percent in 2015 and an estimated 7.8 percent in 2016.
Baltimore, Chicago and Houston accounted for almost half of the increase in murders, the study said. In 2014-16, killings in Chicago accounted for 29 percent of the national murder rate spike, while killings in Baltimore and Houston each made up 10 percent of the rise. The authors based the 2016 numbers on preliminary FBI data from the first half the year. Even with the recent spike in murders, America’s murder rate still remains near the bottom of a 25-year decrease, and the study authors note: “Today’s inner cities’ are safer than at almost any point in the past.” VOA
US intercepts 2 Russian bombers off Alaska’s coast
US military says it intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off Alaska’s coast. Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said a pair of F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted the Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on Monday.
North American Aerospace Defense Command monitors air approaches to North America and defends the airspace. Fox News said Tuesday that the Russian planes flew within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of Alaska’s Kodiak Island. It said the American jets escorted the Russian bombers for 12 minutes. The bombers then flew back to eastern Russia. VOA
Ex-NFL player Hernandez commits suicide
Hernandez had been accused of the fatal shooting of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a Boston nightclub in 2012, one month before he signed a $40m contract extension with the Patriots. He was given life sentence without parole. Massachusetts Department of Correction officials confirmed his death on Wednesday. BBC
Malaysia Airlines to sign up for satellite tracking service
More than three years after its flight MH370 vanished with 239 people aboard, the airline has become the first to sign up for a service that will track its entire fleet with satellites. Malaysia Airlines struck a deal with a group of aviation industry firms to monitor the flight paths of its aircraft anywhere in the world, including over “oceanic, polar and remote regions,” according to a statement.
The new partnership — with Aireon, FlightAware and SITAONAIR — will ensure the airline has access to space-based tracking data for every minute of a flight’s journey. The new system is expected to come online next year. CNN
Trump pushes ‘Buy American, Hire American’ policy
The order, which Trump signed after delivering his remarks, looks to bolster protections for certain American-made goods and calls for a review of the H-1B visa program for skilled workers, with the goal of reforming the program, senior administration officials said. Trump said the order would “aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.” CNN
- 8 Ways to Reduce Cholesterol Naturally
- A Safer World, Thanks to the Iran Deal
- A U.S. Strategy beyond the Cold War
- Diplomacy Wins in Iran