World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (April 19, 2016)
Dozens dead in Kabul suicide bombing
On Tuesday, central Kabul was rocked by a large explosion outside the headquarters of an elite Afghan security agency, similar to the U.S. Secret Service, killing at least 28 people and wounding more than 200 others.
Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, says an explosives-filled vehicle exploded outside the gates of the security agency and a group of gunmen then attacked the compound. “One armed terrorist was shot and killed by security forces and the gun battle is still underway with an unknown number of other terrorists,” Sediqqi said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which Al Jazeera calls the biggest in the Afghan capital since 2001. Al Jazeera, The Associated Press via The Week
Recapturing Mosul from IS
U.S. President Barack Obama says he expects that by the end of the year conditions will be in place for Iraqi troops to eventually recapture the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State militants. In a CBS News interview aired Monday, Obama stressed the need to support the Iraqi forces who are doing the ground fighting.
“We’re not doing the fighting ourselves, but when we provide training, when we provide special forces who are backing them up … when we are gaining intelligence, working with the coalitions we have, what we’ve seen is that we can continually tighten the noose,” said Obama.
Earlier Monday, during a visit to Baghdad, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the U.S. is providing more than 200 additional troops and several Apache attack helicopters to assist Iraqi forces in retaking Mosul. VOA
Death toll rises in Ecuador quake
Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa visited the northeastern town of Portoviejo Monday for a firsthand look at the devastation caused by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. He says rebuilding from Saturday’s powerful earthquake that killed at least 413 people will cost billions of dollars.
The government says it will draw down on $600 million in credit from several multinational lenders, including the World Bank, to finance its emergency response efforts. The economy of the small South American member of OPEC is mired in recession due to plunging prices on the global oil market.
The quake, Ecuador’s worst natural disaster in more than half a century, injured more than 2,500 people and left thousands homeless. The death toll includes three Cuban doctors, a Catholic missionary nun from Northern Ireland, two Canadians and one U.S. national. VOA
US protests China’s military jet in South China Sea
China’s apparent landing of a military jet on a man-made island in the disputed waters of the South China Sea drew a protest from the U.S. military Monday. The Chinese military aircraft landed on Yongshu Reef, also known as Fiery Cross Reef, to give emergency assistance to three severely ill civilian workers, said Lu Kang, spokesman with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The three construction workers were airlifted Sunday to a hospital on Hainan island, according to Xinhau, the Chinese state-run media.
But U.S. officials had some questions. “We’re aware that a Chinese military aircraft landed at Fiery Cross Reef on Sunday in what China described as a humanitarian operation to evacuate three ill workers,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told CNN in a statement. “It is unclear why the Chinese used a military aircraft, as opposed to a civilian one.”
The United States, along with the Philippines have voiced continued concern over China’s establishment of man-made islands in portions of the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest sea lanes for commerce, in areas claimed by the Philippines and thousands of miles from the Chinese mainland. There has been particular apprehension over Fiery Cross Reef — one of China’s man-made islands in the Spratly Island chain — after the Chinese constructed a runway long enough to accommodate large military aircraft. CNN
US Presidential election
New York votes today: The presidential candidates are making final pitches to New York voters ahead of the state’s crucial primaries on Tuesday. The frontrunners, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, are heading into the contest with double-digit polling leads. Still, Trump rivals John Kasich and Ted Cruz can win some of the state’s coveted 95 GOP delegates if they keep Trump below 50 percent statewide, and in some of the state’s 27 congressional districts. Clinton rival Bernie Sanders will look for a stronger-than-expected showing to preserve momentum gained in a string of recent wins. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times via The Week
Hundreds protesters arrested: Approximately 300 protesters were arrested Monday after marching on the U.S. Capitol with a list of demands and calling themselves Democracy Awakening, according to U.S. Capitol Police. Resembling the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group is protesting “big” and “dark” money in politics. Its stated goal is “Coming together to awaken a democracy that is accessible to all and is not beholden to big money interests.” The group says this is a necessary act of civil disobedience that will mark this generation. VOA
9/11 or 7/11?:The Republican front-runner mistakenly referred to the convenience store chain 7-Eleven when speaking of the September 11, 2001, terror attack on the World Trade Center. “It’s very close to my heart because I was down there and I watched our police and our firemen down on 7/11, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down, and I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action,” Trump said. “I saw the bravest people I’ve ever seen, including the construction workers, including every person down there.” USA Today
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