World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (April 26, 2016)
US Senators want more military aid for Israel
A bipartisan group of 83 US senators has called on President Barack Obama to complete a new security agreement with Israel that would include increasing the $3.1 billion the United States now provides in annual military aid.
That money is allocated through a 10-year agreement that expires in 2018. Negotiations on a new pact are ongoing, with Israel believed to be seeking an increase to at least $4 billion a year. The senators did not specify how much they think Israel should receive, but said they “stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement.”
The letter, dated Monday, cites a number of militant threats facing the US ally, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, al-Qaida and Islamic State in Syria, and militant Islamic groups in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. It also highlights Iran’s support for many of those groups and its recent ballistic missile tests as immediate threats to Israel’s security. VOA
N Korea preparing missile launch again
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency says North Korea is preparing a second launch of a new, powerful mid-range missile capable of reaching U.S. military installations in the Pacific. Yonhap says it learned from an unidentified government official that the military “is picking up signs which indicate” that the North will launch the Musudan “in the near future.”
But a spokesman for South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the ministry had no such intelligence to confirm Yonhap’s story.
The Musudan is based on an old Soviet submarine launched ballistic missile design that the North converted to be fired from a mobile land-based launcher. It has a range of anywhere between 3,000-4,000 kilometers, which includes the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. VOA
Chernobyl still leaks radiation after 30 years
Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when an explosion at the power plant near the town contaminated a wide area and sent radiation clouds across the globe. During the catastrophe, two people died immediately, while 29 more died within weeks. It is estimated thousands more have died from cancers and other illnesses in the ensuing years.
More than 200 tons of uranium are still inside the reactor site, fueling fears that new radiation leaks could occur in the area, which is already considered to be unsafe for at least the next century. International donors on Monday pledged an additional $99 million in aid toward completing a newer, safer fuel storage facility for Chernobyl.
The reactor is now a huge construction site, with cranes towering over the remains of the power station. The radiation levels still set off danger warnings, three decades after the explosion. Around 7,000 workers are still decommissioning the site. The staff is large so that the workers can limit their radiation exposure. VOA
90% of Americans pray for healing
When Americans experience health problems, they don’t just rely on doctors and medications. A new study found that most Americans have turned to prayer to heal themselves and others. The study found that about nine out of 10 Americans have relied on healing prayer at some point in their lives, with most of them praying for other people’s health and well-being more than their own.
“It was very surprising,” said the study’s author, Jeff Levin, professor of epidemiology and population health at Baylor University. “I was expecting that some proportion of the population would be involved in this, but I wasn’t expecting the numbers to be this high.”
The study (PDF) suggests that prayer may be one of the most widely used forms of medical treatment among Americans, rather than just a “fringe activity,” Levin said. However, the study notes that most of those who use prayer for healing do so in conjunction with regular medical care. CNN
US Presidential election
5 states vote today: On Tuesday, five states — Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Maryland — vote in Republican and Democratic primaries. Donald Trump is widely expected to win all five states, though a quirk in how Pennsylvania apportions its 71 GOP delegates means 54 of them will be free to support any candidate at the convention. Democrat Hillary Clinton is expected to beat Sen. Bernie Sanders in most of the states; all but Rhode Island are closed primaries, where only registered Democrats can vote. Clinton, Sanders, and groups supporting them have spent the bulk of the $13.9 million in advertising in those five states. Clinton and Sanders will be vying for 384 delegates, while Trump and rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich will be fighting over 172 delegates. The Associated Press via The Week
Cruz-Kasich alliance falling apart: On Sunday, Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced an agreement to try to stop shared rival Donald Trump from winning the GOP presidential nomination outright, but it appears that the details make for a pretty toothless alliance. The plan is for Kasich to cede the pivotal Indiana primary to Cruz and for Cruz to return the favor in Oregon and New Mexico. But even as Cruz said in Indiana on Monday that “Kasich has decided to pull out of Indiana to give us a head-to-head contest with Donald Trump,” Kasich told a rally in Philadelphia that his supporters in Indiana “ought to vote for me.” And Cruz told allies in private talking points not to endorse tactical voting. The New York Times, The Washington Post via The Week
Fox News to interview Trump: Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly will sit down with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for a special airing on Fox May 17. Megyn Kelly Presents will be her first primetime special for the Fox broadcast channel. “I look forward to a fascinating exchange — our first sit-down interview in nearly a year,” Kelly said in a statement. Trump has lashed out at Kelly several times since she asked him during the first Republican debate last year about derogatory comments he made about women. He has questioned her reporting skills, called on people to boycott her show, and referred to her as “sick” and the “most overrated person” on television. Variety, Twitter via The Week
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