Top News Stories for Today – June 15, 2017
Trump under investigation for obstruction of justice
The special counsel overseeing the probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election is looking at whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed officials.
In a pivotal shift in the investigation that has riveted Americans like no other in decades, senior intelligence officials have agreed to be interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, the Post said. The interviews could come as early as this week, the Post said. AFP
Trump urges unity after baseball shooting
In a statement Wednesday following the GOP congressional baseball practice shooting in Virginia, President Trump urged Americans to “take a moment today to cherish those you love” and to remember the similarities that bind us together. “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” Trump said.
“We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.” He also told Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was among those injured in the attack, that he has “the prayers … of an entire nation” behind him. ABC News, The Week
Fed raises interest rates
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time in three months Wednesday, bumping the benchmark rate by one quarter-point. Wednesday’s rate hike shows Fed officials “forged ahead with an interest-rate increase and additional plans to tighten monetary policy despite growing concerns over weak inflation,” Bloomberg noted.
The Fed’s inflation target is 2 percent; the core consumer price inflation mark as of Wednesday was 1.7 percent. The Fed additionally signaled Wednesday that it would raise rates one more time in 2017 and three times in 2018, each time likely by a quarter-point. Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg, The Week
Amendment on Russia Sanctions approved by Senate
The US Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved an amendment that would strengthen sanctions against Russia as a punishment for its campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The provision also would require congressional review if the White House decides to relax, suspend or terminate sanctions already in place.
The bipartisan agreement came in the form of an amendment to legislation the Senate already is considering on sanctions for Iran. That legislation is expected to have strong support when it goes to the full Senate, and then would have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized the new sanctions while testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. VOA
Broccoli found to reduce blood sugar in diabetics
A compound found in broccoli appears to be at least as effective as a widely used drug to treat diabetes, according to Swedish researchers who think the ingredient could be a safe alternative for lowering blood sugar. It turns out the green vegetable contains a chemical, called sulforaphane, that appears in clinical trials to work as well as metformin at reducing blood sugar levels in diabetics.
That could be good news for a significant percentage of the 300 million Type 2 diabetics around the world who cannot take metformin, a first-line therapy, because of potential kidney damage and stomach upset. VOA
Aftermath of London high rise fire
A number of Scottish local authorities are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of high-rise buildings following the tower block fire in west London. Fife Council said it was starting a review of specifications for future projects and existing cladding used on buildings. Edinburgh is to review fire safety and evacuation procedures in all blocks.
Seventeen people have been confirmed dead, but police have warned that this number will rise. People have been desperately seeking news of missing family and friends. Thirty-seven people remain in hospital – 17 of whom are in a critical condition. Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the fire that engulfed a west London block of flats, killing at least 17 people. London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton has said the search of Grenfell Tower will be a “very long process”. At a media briefing, she said parts of the building needed structural support to allow a search, adding that dogs would be used in the first instance. BBC
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