Top news stories for today – August 27, 2016
US economy slower last quarter
Initial estimates of the economy’s growth last quarter turned out to be overconfident, new data released Friday shows. The latest gross domestic product figures released by the Commerce Department found the value of goods and services produced last quarter actually increased at a 1.1 percent rate, down from the 1.2 percent rate initially reported.
The report did, however, reveal a higher rate of household consumption and an increase in worker wages, indicating that some of the sluggishness caused by falling government spending was offset by increased personal wealth and consumer spending. Economists remain optimistic the third quarter will show greater growth. Bloomberg
Kerry, Lavrov say new Syria agreement close
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the situation in Syria had “dramatically deteriorated” since the “brief oasis of calm” following a cessation- of-hostilities agreement, and he promised that the US and Russia were close to a new agreement on a more durable arrangement.
Kerry spoke in Geneva after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. They discussed ways to agree on military cooperation and information sharing in a bid to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria — something both sides want.
Kerry said he and Lavrov agreed that there was no military solution to the Syrian situation. He said the past few weeks of talks had been “fair, diligent, productive” and that the remaining “technical issues” would be worked out in the next few days, to “overcome the deep mistrust on all sides.” VOA
UN condemns N. Korea missile launch
The UN Security Council has unanimously condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch. The strong denunciation was backed by China, North Korea’s main ally. The 15-member Council said late Friday in a statement drafted by the United States that it would “continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures.” The statement did not say what those measures might be.
The statement was approved after several rounds of negotiations with China, which has not agreed to previous drafts, expressing concern of an increase in tensions in the region.
North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch Tuesday was fired from a submarine. The missile flew toward Japan. It was North Korea’s first successful launch from a submarine and the most recent in a string of such tests and launches over the past few months in defiance of UN resolutions. VOA
Rakhine Nationalists reject Annan’s commission
The creation of a commission led by foreigners with no background knowledge or capacity to understand the circumstances in Rakhine state would undermine the rights of all of Burma’s ethnic groups, as well as Myanmar’s sovereignty, said Arakan National Party vice chairperson Aye Nu Sein.
She said it was not necessary to form another commission, since the administration of former President Thein Sein had created a Rakhine affairs investigating commission. Members of the former ruling party and a splinter group from democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party also released a statement rejecting the Annan commission. VOA
US Presidential election
Trump fires back on Clinton’s accusations of racism: Donald Trump hit back at Hillary Clinton’s accusations of racism Friday by releasing a video rehashing the Democratic nominee’s questionable remarks during the 2008 presidential primary, when she faced then-Sen. Barack Obama. The video shows Clinton crediting President Lyndon B. Johnson with bringing Martin Luther King’s civil-rights dream to fruition by passing the Civil Rights Act, rather than crediting King himself for launching the movement. Trump followed the video up with a tweet calling the Clintons the “real predators,” in which he revisits Clinton’s use of the term “superpredators” when discussing her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Trump’s response is the latest move in an escalating battle between the candidates as they volley accusations of bigotry back and forth; on Thursday, Clinton attacked Trump for his ties to the “radical fringe” of the right. Politico
Donald Trump doctor admits writing health note in five minutes: Donald Trump’s doctor has said he spent just five minutes on a letter endorsing the Republican candidate’s health, while Mr Trump’s car waited outside. “In the rush I think some of those words didn’t come out exactly the way they were meant,” Dr Harold Bornstein told NBC News. Dr Bornstein’s letter said Mr Trump, 70, would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”. He said he “picked up” the candidate’s own “kind of language” when writing it. Two weeks before the note was written, Mr Trump tweeted to say he had “instructed my long-time doctor to issue, within two weeks, a full medical report”, adding that it would “show perfection”. Mr Trump later highlighted the endorsement from Dr Bornstein, who faced questions about its exaggerated tone. BBC
Trump to lay out immigration policy: Donald Trump is expected to lay out his position on immigration in a speech next week in Arizona. But right now, very little is clear about Trump’s immigration policy, other than the fact that he has hinted at a “softening” on his position on undocumented immigrants, while at the same time saying he would not be flip-flopping. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Thursday, Trump didn’t clarify whether he still supported forcibly deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, although he did suggest any solution would take time and that securing the border would be his first priority. He also said he would only support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants who first left the US and returned. CNN
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