Top news stories for today – August 26, 2016
Obama is creating largest marine sanctuary
In 2006, President George W. Bush created a national marine sanctuary off the coast of Hawaii, and on Friday, President Obama is more than quadrupling its size, to 582,578 square miles, from 139,800, making the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument more than 50 times larger than the Hawaiian Islands themselves.
The expanded designation will put the biologically rich and diverse waters under protection of the Endangered Species Act, prohibiting commercial fishing and drilling, but allowing recreational fishing and traditional Hawaiian activity with a permit. Only Congress can create a national park, but presidents can unilaterally declare national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, and Obama has so designated more than 548 million acres of federal lands and water, more than double the amount protected by any of his predecessors. USA Today, The Washington Post, The Week
Bolivian minister killed by miners
The Bolivian government confirmed Thursday night that the country’s deputy interior minister, Rodolfo Illanes, was beaten to death after being abducted by striking miners. Before the government announced the death of Illanes, a radio station director told local media outlets he saw the body.
Earlier Thursday, the government said Illanes, 56, had been abducted and was at risk of being tortured in Panduro, 100 miles from La Paz. The striking miners are asking for changes to laws, including the right to work for private companies and better union representation, and the protests turned violent on Wednesday when a highway was blocked and two workers were shot and killed. The government says 17 police officers were wounded during the clash. Reuters, The Week
Lochte charged by Brazilian police
American swimmer Ryan Lochte was charged Thursday by Brazilian police with filing a false robbery report during the Rio Olympics. In a statement, the police said Lochte will be notified and can decide if he wants to introduce a defense in Brazil, The Associated Press reports.
The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission. Lochte had said that while returning to the Olympic Village from a party August 15, he and three other swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by men with badges. Police say a video instead shows an altercation between the swimmers and armed security guards.
Lochte later said he was intoxicated at the time and the confrontation was caused by his behavior. In Brazil, the penalty for filing a false crime report is up to 18 months in prison. If he does not return to Brazil to face the charge, Lochte could be tried in absentia. The Associated Press
Kerry meets with Russian counterpart
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov began talks in Geneva Friday in an effort to negotiate a peaceful end to the fighting in Syria. Previous rounds of negotiations have failed to produce an end to the conflict in Syria, which is complicated by US and Russian support for opposite sides.
During the meeting with Lavrov, the two sides will try to come to an agreement over military cooperation and information sharing in a bid to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria – something both sides want. VOA
China ups pressure on S. Korea over missile plan
China appears to be intensifying a diplomatic and cultural campaign against a US-South Korean plan to deploy an American missile defense system in South Korea – a system Beijing sees as threatening its security.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed “firm opposition” to the 2017 deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se in Tokyo on Wednesday. It was China’s first direct high-level diplomatic protest to South Korea about the THAAD plan. The two allies said the move is aimed at protecting South Korea and American troops stationed there from North Korean ballistic missile attack.
Chinese television networks also have obscured or deleted images of South Korean K-Pop stars in their programs in recent weeks. Chinese and South Korean media outlets have described the recent expunging of South Korean pop icons admired in China from Chinese television programs as part of an undeclared Beijing policy of punishing Seoul for agreeing to host the US missile defense system. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said earlier this year that her country’s entertainment sector plays an “important” role in boosting South Korean exports and attracting tourists. VOA
US Presidential election
Poll shows Trump down 10: Clinton tops 50 percent, leads trump by 10 points, in the Quinnipiac University National Poll. For the first time in the poll, Clinton is over 50 percent in a head-to-head matchup and Trump is essentially unchanged from the school’s June poll at 41 percent. Trump gets only 52 percent of white voters, 7 points worse than Mitt Romney’s final tally in 2016. Trump also lags Romney and other prior Republican nominees among non-white voters, gaining just 15 percent support.Seventy-four percent of respondents in the poll say that Trump should release his tax returns. Trump is obviously aware of his situation, as he is shaking things up in his campaign, shifting his style and revamping core policies. But perhaps the most ominous number for his candidacy: 90 percent of respondents say their minds are firmly made up. FOX News
If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton the Democrat and Donald Trump the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Clinton or Trump? the Quinnipiac University National Poll
Clinton and Trump escalate harsh attacks: Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the “radical fringe” has taken over the Republican Party under its 2016 presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Clinton said Trump’s recent hiring of Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of hardline online news and opinion outlet Breitbart News, cemented his campaign’s ties with the website and its fans in the white nationalist and anti-immigrant “alt-right.” “The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for the alt-right,” Clinton said. Trump called Clinton’s remarks “smears and lies about decent people,” and repeated his branding of Clinton as a “bigot.” Time, The Washington Post, The Week
Donald Trump meets minority Republican activists: Trump, who trails Clinton nationally among African-Americans 87 percent to 8 percent — and 73 percent to 22 percent among Hispanics — met privately Thursday with black and Latino Republican activists in his New York campaign headquarters to discuss top concerns among minority communities. The meeting’s participants have launched a six-week get-out-the-vote initiative, to train more than 200 door-to-door volunteers to spread the word of Trump’s economic policies, which he calls beneficial to minorities. But according to the VOA news, many minorities insist Trump is just a businessman, and he is too late to convince them. VOA
Clinton links Trump to white nationalist: Hillary Clinton gave one of her strongest rebukes against Donald Trump on Thursday, criticizing him for embracing radical elements of the right and basing his campaign on racism and paranoia. Her speech in Reno marked Clinton’s most aggressive attack on Trump since the Democratic National Convention, as she called Trump a bigot and a subscriber to conspiracy theories, blaming him for allowing the radical right to take over the mainstream of the Republican Party. USA Today
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