Top News Stories For Today – Feb 13, 2018
WH unveils budget and infrastructure plan
The White House unveiled its 2019 budget proposal Monday, which calls for cuts to social programs like Medicaid while boosting military spending and designating money for the border wall. Even with the cuts, “which combine for more than $3 trillion … over 10 years, it would not bring the budget into balance because of the lost tax revenue and higher spending on other programs,” The Washington Post reports.
Also on Monday, the administration released its 55-page infrastructure plan, which proposes leveraging $200 billion in federal spending into $1.5 trillion worth of projects, mostly by asking state and local governments to match the funds by as much as a 4-to-1 ratio. The plans each face long odds in Congress. The Washington Post, The New York Times
ANC decides to remove president Zuma
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party anounced Tuesday that is is “recalling” President Jacob Zuma, or removing him from office. The ANC’s executive committee reached its decision Tuesday after 13 hours of tense discussions and a meeting between Zuma and his deputy and presumptive replacement, Cyril Ramaphosa. Zuma was reportedly given 48 hours to resign and refused.
“We haven’t given him any deadline to respond,” ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule said Tuesday afternoon. “When we recall our deployee, we expect our deployee to do what the organization expects him to do. … I don’t know what will happen. Let’s leave it to President Jacob Zuma.” If Zuma, 75, refuses the party’s order to step aside, he is expected to lose a vote of confidence in Parliament. Reuters, The Washington Post
Gun sales drop sharply in US
One of the great ironies of the Trump presidency has been that gun sales have slumped significantly since the President, a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment, took office. Sales skyrocketed during Barack Obama’s presidency.
The sales slump, combined with legal woes, have caused gun maker Remington to file for bankruptcy. Remington, one of the oldest gun companies in the world, plans to file for Chapter 11. It will stay in business while it restructures its debt. American Outdoor Brands, a major gun manufacturer which owns the Smith & Wesson brand, reported a 90% drop in quarterly profit when compared to the same period last year. CNN
US snowboarder Chloe Kim wins gold
Star snowboarder Chloe Kim, 17, won her first gold medal at the Winter Olympics Tuesday morning in Pyeongchang, after dazzling the judges in the halfpipe competition and earning a score of 98.25. She has been a strong snowboarder for years, but was unable to compete in the 2014 Sochi Games because she did not meet the minimum age requirements. This is Team USA’s third gold medal in snowboarding.
Kim was born in Long Beach, California in April 2000, and her parents are originally from South Korea. She became the youngest woman ever to win an Olympic snowboarding medal. She was selected as Team USA’s flag bearer for the opening ceremony of PyeongChang Olympic. She was nominated for the 2016 ESPYS award for Best Breakthrough Athlete.
World Court elects its first Somali president
Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf has become the first Somali to lead the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands. The 15-member ICJ is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It issues final and binding rulings on disputes between states and advises the U.N. Yusuf, 69, a native of the Somali port town of Eyl, studied at Somali National University, the University of Florence and the University of Geneva. He will be the third African to lead the court.
Yusuf has been on the court since 2009 and had previously served as the court’s vice-president. He will serve a three-year term. VOA
France to reform relations between State and Muslims
French President Emmanuel Macron said his government is preparing to take fundamental steps to completely reform the lives and organizational structures of Muslims in the country. The reforms that will be initiated in the first quarter of 2018 include the fight against Islamic fundamentalism, restructure Muslim organizations and regulate their relations with the rest of the society.
France is a secular country by constitution. The country has a special law since 1905 requiring the separation of church and state, also prohibiting the state from recognizing or funding any religion. Recent debates included amending the current law, but Macron is known to be against the idea. VOA
PyeongChang Olympic top 15 medal stand
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