Top News Stories for Today

Top news stories for today – July 1, 2016

First fatal crash in self driving car

First fatal crash in self driving carAn investigation is underway regarding a fatal crash in Florida last month involving a tractor trailer and a Tesla Model S that had the autopilot feature deployed. Tesla says this is the first known fatal crash of its kind involving the Model S.

In a statement, Tesla said the vehicle was driving on a divided highway with the autopilot on, when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied,” the statement said.

The victim was killed after the car went under the tractor trailer, a police report said. The autopilot function can slow the car down when approaching potentially dangerous curves, park the car, and change lanes. Regulators are expected to release guidelines later this summer for driverless cars. The Wall Street Journal



Austria cancels Presidential election results

Austria cancels Presidential election resultsOn Friday, Austria’s Constitutional Court annulled the results of May’s presidential runoff election, in which independent Green Party–backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated far-right nationalist Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer by less than 1 percentage point.

The ruling, which cited allegedly improper handling of the mail-in ballots that tipped the election to Van der Bellen, ordered a new election, giving Hofer another shot to become the European Union’s first far-right head of state. Hofer and his Freedom Party campaigned against immigration and economic hardship of the working classes. Until the next election, probably in September or October, President Heinz Fischer will be replaced by a triumvirate made up of Hofer and two other parliamentary officials. BBC News, Reuters



China Sea dispute drives India to export missile

China Sea dispute drives India to export missileIndia’s plans to sell advanced missile systems to countries like Vietnam got a boost this week after New Delhi joined an exclusive global club of countries controlling the export of missile technology. Security analysts say membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) will also give India more leverage to overcome Chinese resistance in New Delhi’s bid to join another another elite group controlling nuclear commerce; the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

One of the main weapons system India is set to export is the supersonic cruise BrahMos missile being produced by an Indo-Russian joint venture. The missile has a range of about 290 km and can be fired from land, sea and submarine.

Besides Vietnam, other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia have also expressed interest in the BrahMos missile as they seek to improve their defense preparedness amid growing disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea. VOA



Asia braces for rising protectionism from US and Europe

Asia braces for rising protectionism from US and EuropeExport dependent countries in Asia are growing increasingly concerned that the growing populist anger in the US and Europe against perceived unfair trade policies could lead to a global economic slowdown.

“Rising protectionism could throw sand in the wheels of the global trading system and so start to gum it up,” said Frederic Neumann, a managing director of the HSBC Bank’s Asian economics research in Hong Kong.

Voter frustration with the job losses in industrialized countries due to globalization and free trade policies have been prominent issues in both the recent Brexit vote in Britain to leave the European Union and the US presidential election.

The major East Asian economies reacted with short-term economic stabilizing measures to the market volatility ignited by the Brexit vote. South Korea ordered increased government spending. China adjusted the value of its currency and Tokyo said it is considering similar measures if the value of the Japanese yen continues to rise. VOA

US Presidential election

Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie at the top of Donald Trump’s VP short list: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are the leading candidates to be Donald Trump’s running mate, The Washington Post reports. Five unidentified sources tell the Post that both men have been asked by the attorney managing Trump’s vetting process to answer a questionnaire and hand over everything from tax records to personal files to books and articles they’ve written. The sources said at least half a dozen other people — including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — are also being looked at as viable options. Gingrich, who reportedly has the support of fellow Trump backer Ben Carson, as recently as Sunday said no one from the Trump campaign ever called him to discuss running. The Washington Post, The Week

Loretta Lynch in Clinton email probe: US Attorney General Loretta Lynch will announce on Friday that she will not override a decision made by prosecutors and the FBI director about whether or not to bring charges over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Prior to the announcement, Lynch, a political appointee, could have overruled the investigators’ decision. While reportedly having considered such a decision for months, Lynch was backed into the announcement after drawing heavy criticism for a private meeting with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. The FBI is expected to make its recommendation in the coming weeks. The New York Times, The Week

The Brexit earthquake isn’t just British: Americans by an overwhelming 4-1 margin agree that the UK’s vote to leave the EU was a sign of anger and dissatisfaction that can be seen in other countries, including the United States, according to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll. Just 16% call it an isolated referendum. “I think it is an indication of a broader feeling among people around the world, where they are feeling more and more helpless about controlling things in their own countries,” says Sandra Lueder, 68, of Cheshire, Conn., who plans to vote for Donald Trump. She was among those surveyed. “I do happen to believe the refugee crisis and immigration were important components of things that people were unhappy about.” USA Today

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