Top News Stories for Today

Top news stories for today – June  22, 2016

Britain prepare historic Brexit vote

Britain prepare historic Brexit voteBritain votes Thursday on whether to stay in the European Union or leave, and officials representing the Remain and Leave campaigns are making their final pitches to voters in a fury of events, including a public televised debate in Wembley Arena.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants Britain to remain in the EU, said the polls are “very close; nobody knows what’s going to happen.” Boris Johnson, a member of Cameron’s Conservative Party who’s touring Britain in a helicopter to drum up support for the Leave side, argued in the Wembley debate that “Thursday can be our country’s independence day.” Johnson’s Liberal successor as London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the Leave campaign has “been ‘project hate’ as far as immigration is concerned.” Reuters, BBC News, The Week



Compromise proposal on gun control in US Senate

Compromise proposal on gun control in US SenateOne day after the U.S. Senate blocked four gun control measures, a proposal emerged Tuesday that could ease the partisan furor over the chamber’s failure to act in the aftermath of the attack on an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, America’s deadliest mass shooting.

Forged by a bipartisan group that included some of the Senate’s most centrist members, the measure would deny gun sales to terror suspects who are barred from boarding commercial flights and subject to enhanced security screening at U.S. airports. It also would allow those flagged for terrorist ties to contest the government’s findings and recover legal fees if a judge determines they had been placed on the terror watch list by mistake.

“Our goal is simple and straightforward. We want to make America safer,” said Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who was the proposal’s lead author. “Surely the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino [California] and Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise, a plea for bipartisan action.” VOA



N Korea launches 2 ballistic missiles

N Korea launches 2 ballistic missilesOn Wednesday morning, North Korea test-fired two missiles, the first one widely seen as a failure, crashing into the Sea of Japan about 90 miles (150 km) from the launch site, and the second viewed as a possible success.

The rockets are believed to be medium-range Musudan ballistic missiles, and this would be the fifth failed launch of a Musudan missile since Pyongyang started testing them in April. The second missile on Wednesday reportedly traveled about 250 miles (400 km) into the Sea of Japan, reaching an elevation of 620 miles (1,000 km). In response, South Korea convened an emergency national security meeting and Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani warned that “the threat to Japan is intensifying.” BBC News, AFP, The Week



Rory McIlroy withdraws Rio Olympics over Zika

Rory McIlroy withdraws Rio Olympics over ZikaGolfer Rory McIlroy, 27, announced Wednesday that he would be withdrawing from the Rio Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus.

With golf returning to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years, McIlroy would have represented Northern Ireland in the games. While he confessed the risk of contracting Zika is low, McIlroy is engaged and planning a family. “[It] is a risk nonetheless, and a risk I am unwilling to take,” he said. Zika, which is primarily spread via mosquitos, can also be contracted through sexual contact. Other athletes have also taken measures to protect themselves in Brazil, such as freezing their sperm. The Washington Post, The Week



Nigeria devalues its currency

Nigeria devalues its currencyFor months, President Muhammadu Buhari opposed devaluing Nigeria’s currency, but on Monday, the central bank floated the currency.  It promptly lost 30 percent of its value against the dollar, but the move may have saved Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy, which is poised for a recession.

Keeping the naira strong had drained the country’s foreign reserves and scared off investors, economists say.  Militant attacks on Nigeria’s vital oil infrastructure and the lingering effects of gasoline and foreign exchange shortages have undermined Africa’s largest economy, making a devaluation inevitable.

Yvonne Mhango, sub-Saharan Africa economist at Renaissance Capital, said the devaluation will help the country recover more quickly from the coming slump. VOA

US Presidential election

Hillary Clinton reportedly vetting 3 potential running mates: Hillary Clinton’s campaign has whittled its core list of potential running mates down to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and Clinton officials are currently digging into the background, financial dealings, and policy positions of all three, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing unidentified Democrats. But Clinton officials insist Clinton is considering other potential vice presidents as well, and that more running mates will be vetted in coming weeks. “Those who talk don’t know, and those who know don’t talk,” cautions a senior Clinton official. Clinton won’t unveil her pick until the Democratic National Convention in late July. The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Week

Donald Trump raises questions about Hillary Clinton’s religion: On Tuesday, Donald Trump met with nearly 1,000 conservative Christian leaders in a closed-door conference designed to assuage evangelicals’ concerns about the presumptive GOP candidate. In one video, from the event, Trump tells the crowd they don’t know “anything about Hillary in terms of religion. You know, she’s been in public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no, there’s nothing out there.” If Clinton — a Methodist who has discussed how her faith has influenced her on the campaign trail — becomes president, Trump warned, “it’s going to be an extension of Obama, but it’s going to be worse because with Obama you had your guard up, with Hillary you don’t.” Religion News Service, Time, The Week

Clinton Attacks Trump on economy: Hillary Clinton has portrayed Donald Trump as unfit to oversee the US economy, declaring his “reckless” policies would “throw us back into recession” and boost unemployment. Speaking in the key battleground state of Ohio, Clinton attacked Trump’s business record as an indication of how he would manage the world’s largest economy. Clinton cited multiple bankruptcies and lawsuits alleging fraud against his for-profit educational venture Trump University. “This is not normal behavior. We can’t let him roll the dice with our children’s futures,” she said. VOA

Trump acknowledges struggle to win over GOP faithful: Donald Trump acknowledges he is struggling to win vocal support from Republican officials, but Tuesday voiced little concern that he is badly trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton in fundraising for the November 8 national election. “We have a party that – I mean, I’m having more difficulty frankly with some of the people in the party than I am with the Democrats. Because they just don’t want to come on,” Trump told NBC’s Today show. “They will probably eventually come on. Honestly, if they don’t, it’s just fine. I can win it either way.”

The billionaire real estate mogul and one-time television reality show host assessed his campaign in the hours after new reports showed his campaign had just $1.3 million on hand at the start of June, compared to Clinton’s $42.5 million. VOA

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