Top news stories for today – July 14, 2016
Theresa May appoints her government
Shortly after new British Prime Minister Theresa May was confirmed by Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, she began appointing her cabinet members. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, a leader of the Leave campaign during the Brexit vote, has been appointed foreign secretary in what marks a big return after his failure to succeed David Cameron as prime minister.
Philip Hammond, the former foreign secretary, replaced George Osborne as chancellor and will lead financial operations, while May appointed Amber Rudd, formerly energy secretary, to succeed her as home secretary. Michael Fallon will remain defense secretary, replacing Liam Fox, who will assume the newly created job of international trade minister. MP David Davis will fill the new role of secretary of state for exiting the European Union. BBC, The Guardian, The Week
Iran nuclear deal, after one year
One year ago, exhausted diplomats from Iran and a group of six world powers emerged from a meeting at a luxury hotel in Vienna, Austria with what they had been seeking for nearly two years: a comprehensive agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting harsh economic sanctions. Today the pact is in effect with clear results on its major components, but there are lingering suspicions on both sides that the other may take advantage and not live up to their responsibilities.
After getting legislative approval, the agreement of deal went into effect in January. Iran removed thousands of centrifuges that had been used to enrich uranium and shipped out the vast majority of its existing stockpile. World powers lifted their sanctions, unlocking billions of dollars for Iran and paving the way for new business opportunities there. Last month, US aerospace giant Boeing announced a tentative deal to sell 100 jets to Iran’s state-owned airline.
President Barack Obama called it the world’s best “means of ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon,” while the diplomats involved pointed to the negotiations as an example of how countries can peacefully resolve their differences.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini praised the agreement as a path to “a new chapter in international relations” that uses diplomacy to overcome decades of tensions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that while the pact was not perfect, it was an important achievement and represented a foundation for a new diplomatic beginning. VOA
ACLU suing Baton Rouge Police Department
The ACLU of Louisiana and other local groups have filed a lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Police Department, claiming police violated the First Amendment rights of protesters who gathered peacefully in the days after last week’s deadly officer-involved shooting of Alton Sterling.
The suit alleges that officers used excessive force and physical and verbal abuse to break up the protests, WAFB reports, and also made wrongful arrests. “People were injured by police officers and some of them denied medical care as a result of these arrests and it all came from the police showing up at what was the conclusion of a very peaceful event in riot gear really looking like they were ready to pick a fight,” Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said.
Over the weekend, police in Baton Rouge arrested about 200 demonstrators. WAFB
EU Chief blasts new British cabinet picks
Theresa May became Britain’s new prime minister Wednesday and immediately put together her Cabinet to start the tough job of extracting Britain from the European Union. According to Schulz, the Cabinet picks were designed more to solve internal party political issues than to promote the national interests of Britain.
In a surprise choice, May named former London Mayor Boris Johnson as her foreign secretary. Johnson led the campaign to drop out of the EU. He angered and frustrated many Brits who voted to remain, along with other European leaders who believe Britain made a great mistake.
May also appointed other Brexit supporters to major Cabinet posts, including former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as finance minister and Amber Rudd to May’s old job of home secretary. VOA
IS commander finally killed
The Aamaq News Agency said Wednesday that Abu Omar al-Shishani, also known as “Omar the Chechen,” was killed in the town of Shirqat while trying to “halt the military campaign” against the self-declared caliphate’s Iraqi capital of Mosul.
US and coalition forces had targeted Shishani numerous times, including in an airstrike on March 4 in al-Shaddadi, Syria. “It’s our assessment that that was a successful strike and that he was killed in that strike,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at the time.
Until now, IS repeatedly denied claims Shishani had been killed. Pentagon officials said they were aware of the Aamaq report of Shishani’s death in Shirqat, but that they could neither confirm nor deny it. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton, Trump tied in new national poll: Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers have taken a noticeable hit since FBI director James B. Comey called her use of a private email server “extremely careless.” Although the FBI ultimately recommended no charges against her, Clinton has lost her lead on Donald Trump nationally and is tied with him, 40 points to 40 points, in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. A whole 67 percent of voters now say they do not believe Clinton is honest or trustworthy, a number that has spiked five points since before the FBI’s recommendation. Trump also faces massive amounts of distrust, at 62 percent, but his number has stayed constant throughout his various controversies and fact-checks. The New York Times, The Week
Republican National Convention preliminary speakers list leaked: The Republican National Convention will feature appearances from nearly every member of the Trump family, several of Donald Trump’s former rivals, sports stars, and billionaires, according to The New York Times, which obtained a copy of the speaker roster and confirmed it with two people with direct knowledge of the convention planning. The speakers include Rudy Giuliani, Melania Trump, several of Trump’s children, Newt Gingrich, Sen. Ted Cruz, tech investor Peter Thiel, Sen. Joni Ernst, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Tim Tebow, and Donald Trump himself. Trump aides say the presumptive Republican nominee is still inviting people to the event, and the list could change at any moment. The New York Times, The Week
Trump sues former campaign aide: Donald Trump is suing a former campaign aide for $10 million, alleging that the ex-staffer breached a confidentiality agreement. Sam Nunberg, who was fired late last summer from the campaign after racially charged Facebook posts of his surfaced, is the former aide being sued. Nunberg’s lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg, told CNN Wednesday that Nunberg is being accused of “violating certain confidentiality provisions by talking about Donald Trump after he was no longer associated with the campaign.” CNN
Clinton says Trump has ‘ugly, dangerous’ message on race relations: Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump’s campaign represents “an ugly, dangerous” message that poses a threat to U.S. democracy, in a speech at the Old State House in Springfield, Ill., on Wednesday, billed as a major address on healing race relations. Clinton repeatedly cast Trump as contemptuous and ignorant of the U.S Constitution, hostile to women and minorities and so unstable that he might even use the powers of the presidency — including the IRS and the military — to pursue his own personal vendettas. VOA
With days to go, GOP convention struggles with $6 million shortfall: Just days before the Republican Party’s national convention opens in Cleveland, organizers remain $6 million short of their $64 million fundraising goal for the four-day political extravaganza. The Cleveland host committee has collected $51 million in cash and another $7 million through in-kind donations as it grapples with boycott calls by activist groups, the loss of taxpayer funding for the event and deep skepticism about Donald Trump, the GOP’s nominee-in-waiting, from some of the party’s leading figures. The controversy over Trump’s unorthodox candidacy has had “some effect” on fundraising, said David Gilbert, president and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee Inc., the nonprofit group responsible for underwriting the convention, which opens Monday. USA Today
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