Top news stories for today – August 9, 2016
Benghazi victim parents sue Clinton
On Monday, two parents of Americans killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hillary Clinton in federal court, alleging that Clinton’s “‘extreme carelessness’ in handling confidential and classified information” while she was secretary of state contributed to the deaths of Sean Smith and Tryone Woods, and that their murder “was directly and proximately caused, at a minimum,” by Clinton’s use of a private server.
The parents, Patricia Smith and Charles Woods, have publicly criticized Clinton before. Clinton responded through spokesman Nick Merrill: “While no one can imagine the pain of the families of the brave Americans we lost at Benghazi, there have been nine different investigations into this attack and none found any evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton.” The New York Times, The Week
Fox News staff feared they were monitored
Before former host Gretchen Carlson accused her boss, now former-Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, of sexual harassment, and before reports started pouring forward about Ailes’ alleged record of improper behavior, the network was infamous for keeping a tight lid on its inner-workings.
The reason for that may have had more to do with fear than loyalty: According to six current and former employees, many Fox News hosts, on-air personalities and producers have long feared that Ailes had tapped their phones and was monitoring their conversations.
Whatever the case, the fear that Ailes was monitoring his staff helps to explain how the organization managed to keep its secrets so close to the chest, and why staffers are now starting to speak more freely following Ailes’ departure. Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CNN
Brazil to vote on Presidential impeachment trial
The Brazilian Senate Tuesday will begin voting on whether or not to begin an impeachment trial of embattled President Dilma Rousseff that could officially hand over power to her former vice president — current interim president — Michel Temer.
Despite predictions that debate could stretch into the early hours of Wednesday morning, it seems increasingly likely that the Senate will vote to try the unpopular leftist president, as a simple majority of Senators is all that is needed.
The Senate suspended Rousseff in May after allegations emerged that she illegally fudged the numbers on the country’s budget to make it seem like a slump in the economy wasn’t as bad as it actually was during her 2014 re-election campaign. Throughout the impeachment process, Rousseff has maintained that she did nothing wrong and called it a coup. VOA
Nagasaki marks anniversary of atomic bombing
Bells tolled in Nagasaki, Japan Tuesday to mark the 71st anniversary of the city’s atomic bombing by the United States, bringing an eventual end to World War II.
Thousands of people stood in silent reflection at the city’s Peace Park as the bells tolled at the precise moment (11:02 a.m. Nagasaki time) an atomic bomb dubbed “Fat Man” detonated over the city just moments after being dropped from an American B-29 bomber. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, with thousands more dying months, even years later from radiation sickness.
The attendees included aging survivors of the August 9, 1945 attack, as well as representatives of over 50 nations, including several nuclear powers.
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged world leaders to “bring together as much of your collective wisdom as you possibly can” to permanently eliminate nuclear weapons, and urged them to visit his city to learn first hand the aftermath of a nuclear attack, using President Barack Obama’s historic visit in May to Hiroshima as an example. Obama was the first US president to visit Hiroshima, which was attacked three days before Nagasaki. VOA
Turkey’s President in Russia to repair ties
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is turning to Russia after having received post-coup criticism from the West. In his first trip since the July 15 putsch, he is in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
“It’s significant for both because both of them have to bargain hard with the West,” said Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a research center focused on domestic, foreign, economic and security policy.
Putin’s concerns are economic sanctions and normalization of relations with the West, Baunov said. Erdogan feels that in the wake of putting down the coup attempt, he has been “criticized too much by the Western politicians, journalists and media. For him to bargain means to show that he can get closer to Russia and alienate himself from the West.”
Erdogan was livid after Western criticism of his massive crackdown on perceived opponents following the coup attempt, and Russia was quick to condemn the insurgents. More than 270 people died during the failed attempt by some elements of the military. Erdogan has blamed a Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in the US for orchestrating the coup. VOA
US Presidential election
GOP Sen. Susan Collins says she cannot support Donald Trump: In a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine cited three specific instances that convinced her she could not support Donald Trump as her party’s presidential nominee: the “mocking of a reporter with disabilities,” “criticism of the grieving parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan,” and Trump’s “repeated insistence” that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, born and raised in Indiana, “could not rule fairly in a case involving Trump University because of his Mexican heritage.” Collins also wrote she will not support “either of the major party nominees.” Earlier in the day, dozens of Republican national security officials signed a letter stating a Trump presidency would “put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” The letter, published Monday in The New York Times, was signed by former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. Trump “continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics,” the letter says, and he “lacks self control and acts impetuously.” CBS News, The Washington Post, The Week
Trump vows his ‘tax revolution’ will be the ‘biggest’ since Reagan’s: Donald Trump ignored 14 interruptions from protesters to present “the biggest tax revolution since the Reagan Tax Reform” during his economic policy address Monday in Detroit. Trump said he plans to greatly simplify the tax code, cutting it down from seven brackets to the House Republicans’ proposed three, and he also proposed an “across-the-board income tax reduction, especially for middle-income Americans.” Trump repeatedly emphasized the importance of keeping jobs and wealth in America by slashing over-regulation, focusing on “trade enforcement with China,” and exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership and possibly even NAFTA. “We are in a competition with the world,” Trump said, “and I want America to win.” DonaldJTrump.com, The Week
50 GOP national security experts oppose Trump: Fifty prominent Republican foreign policy and national security experts — many veterans of George W. Bush’s administration — have signed a letter denouncing Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and pledging not to vote for him. The letter, first reported by The New York Times Monday, warns: “We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”
Its signatories include former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Eric Edelman, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser and has worked closely with Michele Flournoy — a candidate for secretary of defense in a prospective Clinton administration — to forge a centrist group of defense experts on key military issues. It also includes two Homeland Security secretaries under Bush, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank president, US trade representative and deputy secretary of state. The group warns Trump “lacks the temperament to be President.” CNN
Historians insist Clinton, Obama tied together no matter what: For better or worse, Hillary Clinton’s success in November will be closely tied to what people think of President Obama. Fortunately for Clinton, right now the president is more popular than her and Donald Trump. “She will win if Obama is still popular in November. And she will lose if he becomes — for whatever reason — unpopular,” said Larry Sabato, director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. He added that something “has to be big” for Obama’s popularity to drop between now and Election Day, such as “a surprise recession or some very serious domestic terrorism.”
Obama’s approval rating has risen to the low 50s, while Clinton and Trump’s favorability ratings were the same in late July at 37%, according to Gallup. The RealClearPolitics rolling average of polls shows Clinton’s figure has improved to the low 40s since the end of the convention, however, while Trump’s remains in the 30s. VOA
- Brazil cut to 'junk' credit rating by Standard & Poor's
- International study shows gun control actually works
- Leave China, Study in America, Find Jesus