Top News Stories for Today – Aug 5, 2017
Jeff Sessions announces crackdown on leakers
On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered a firm warning for would-be leakers: “Don’t do it.” Claiming that the Department of Justice has, since January, received almost as many referrals pertaining to classified information leaks as the last three years combined, Sessions announced that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray will oversee all active leak investigations.
He also called for the National Security Division as well as US attorneys to prioritize leak-related cases, and additionally announced that the FBI has created a new counterintelligence unit to track down leakers. The FBI will be devoting increased resources to the cause, Sessions said, declaring: “This nation must end the culture of leaks.” Jeff Sessions, CBS News, The Week
US Economy adds impressive 209K jobs in July
US employers added 209,000 non-farm jobs in July, beating economists’ predictions of healthy gains of around 180,000 jobs and continuing a trend of strong hiring this year. The improvement came after a surge of 222,000 new jobs in June. The unemployment rate edged down to 4.3 percent from 4.4 percent last month.
The improving employment picture suggests that the path is clear for the Federal Reserve to start next month to reduce the massive bond portfolio it piled up to help the economy recover following the 2008 financial crisis. The jobs report helped US stock futures hang onto light gains early Friday, and also pushed the number of jobs created while President Trump has been in office over 1 million. The Washington Post, Politico, The Week
Pakistan’s new cabinet takes oath
Pakistan’s new cabinet took oath Friday, concluding a democratic leadership transition process that was set in motion a week ago when a judicial order ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for concealing assets and plunged the nuclear-armed nation into political uncertainty. Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which dominates the parliament together with its allied parties, swiftly nominated and elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as the country’s new chief executive.
Abbasi, 58, is a close associate of Sharif and was serving as oil minister in the ousted government. Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of office to more than 40 cabinet members, mostly known as staunch Sharif allies. VOA
Toyota and Mazda to build $1.6b factory in US
Toyota and Mazda have announced plans to build a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant in the United States that will create as many as 4,000 jobs. The Japanese automakers said in a statement Friday that the facility would be operational by 2021, but did not specify where it would be built. Mazda plans to build new crossover vehicles for the US market at the plant, while Toyota will produce its Corolla model there.
The move is likely to be seen as a win for President Trump, who attacked Toyota earlier this year over its plans to build a new factory in Guanajuato, Mexico. He threatened to slap a “big border tax” on Toyota cars if the plant isn’t built in the US Toyota had intended to build Corollas — the world’s best-selling car — at the plant in Mexico. On Friday, the Japanese firm said it now plans to produce Tacoma pickup trucks at the plant in Mexico instead of the Corolla. Trump welcomed the news, describing it on Twitter as a “great investment in American manufacturing.” CNN
Myanmar arrests Muslim suspects nearby 6 Buddhists killed
Security forces in Myanmar fired warning shots to disperse Muslim villagers while they were arresting four suspected insurgents in a western region where government troops have been accused of human rights violations against Muslim Rohingya minority, officials said Saturday.
On Thursday, the government said that six Buddhists were killed and two other villagers are missing in Kaigyi village in Maungdaw township, also in Rakhine state. It wasn’t clear who was responsible, but Maj. Zayar of the border guard police headquarters in Maungdaw said they were searching for culprits. The military has launched operations in the northern part of Rakhine since last October, when suspected Rohingya militants killed nine police officers along the border with Bangladesh. VOA
ASEAN urge N Korea to comply with UN
Southeast Asian foreign ministers expressed grave concern Saturday in Manila where at ASEAN summit, about rising tensions on the Korean peninsula stemming from long-range missile tests by North Korea that “seriously threaten” global peace and security. Taking a stronger tone than it has previously on the standoff, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) called for North Korea to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions on its nuclear program and make a positive contribution to regional peace.
Following the foreign ministers meeting is Monday’s annual ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which gathers 27 foreign ministers, including those of Russia, Japan, South Korea, the United States, China and North Korea, to discuss Asian security issues. VOA
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