Top News Stories For Today – Jan 26, 2018
India and ASEAN seek closer maritime ties
With an eye on China, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of southeast Asian nations agreed during a summit in New Delhi to strengthen maritime ties. The event marks the first time that New Delhi is hosting such a large group of foreign leaders at the annual parade that showcases its military strength.
Several countries at Thursday’s summit are locked in territorial disputes with China. Observers say China’s aggressive attitude in these disputes is prompting India and ASEAN to reach out to each other. Beijing has expanded its coast guard and military presence in the South China Sea, and claims almost the whole South China sea its own. Southeast Asian countries also worry about whether they can continue to rely on the United States for their security. There is a perception in the region that America might be retreating, that America is unwilling to hold up to its role as security guarantor. VOA
N. Korea exported coal via Russia
North Korea shipped coal to Russia last year which was then delivered to South Korea and Japan in a likely violation of U.N. sanctions, three Western European intelligence sources said. The U.N. Security Council banned North Korean exports of coal last Aug. 5 under sanctions intended to cut off foreign currency Pyongyang needs to fund its nuclear weapon and long-range missile programs.
But the secretive Communist state has at least three times since then shipped coal to the Russian ports of Nakhodka and Kholmsk, where it was unloaded at docks and reloaded onto ships that took it to South Korea or Japan, the sources said. VOA
Trump denies he tried to fire Mueller
Last June, President Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but backed off after White House Counsel Don McGahn refused to ask for Mueller’s dismissal and threatened to quit, four people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times. Other news organizations have corroborated the report.
Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump obstructed justice, learned about Trump’s directive while interviewing current and former senior White House officials in recent months. Trump told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday that the reports are “fake news, folks. Fake news. Typical New York Times fake stories.” The New York Times, The Associated Press
Kentucky school shooting
Fifteen-year-old Bailey Holt called her parents after the shooting at Marshall County High School, in what would be one of the last acts of her life. Her mother said Bailey “couldn’t say anything” during the call and there was nothing but “chaos” in the background.
Bailey died at the school, one of two students killed in this week’s shooting. Her parents called her a “perfect daughter” who wanted to be a nurse. Authorities haven’t ID’d the 15-year-old suspect in the shooting, who is charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault. Classes resume at the school this morning. CNN
South Korea hospital fire kills at least 41
At least 41 people have died in a fire that broke out at a hospital in South Korea. The death toll is expected to rise. More than 70 people were injured in the blaze, 10 of them critically. Firefighters said the fire broke out early Friday in the emergency room of Sejong Hospital in the city of Miryang, about 300 kilometers south of Seoul, and spread quickly.
Reports say around 200 patients were inside the building and a nearby nursing home at the time. The Korean Herald said all 94 nursing home patients were evacuated safely. VOA
WH proposes citizenship path for DREAMers
The White House delivered an outline of its proposal on immigration to members of Congress on Thursday, and it includes a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million undocumented young people brought to the United States as children.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller went over the proposal with congressional staffers, and said it was crafted in a way to ensure the 60 Senate votes necessary to break a potential filibuster. The proposal also calls for $25 billion for border security, including building parts of a wall along the US-Mexico border; the end of a diversity visa lottery system; and the scaling back of family-based immigration. On Wednesday, President Trump said he was open to a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers. USA Today
GOP Meehan won’t seek re-election
Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) said Thursday that he would not run for re-election this fall because a sexual harassment settlement he paid to a much younger longtime female aide would cause the campaign to “devolve into an ugly spectacle of harsh rhetoric.”
Meehan spelled out his decision in a letter to his campaign chairman, saying the harassment case had “become a major distraction” and would overshadow “vital issues” if he launched a re-election campaign. Meehan reportedly confessed romantic feelings for the woman after learning she had developed a serious romantic relationship with another man. Philadelphia Inquirer
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