Top News Stories for Today

Top news stories for today – June  23, 2016

Britons vote historic Brexit referendumBritons vote historic Brexit referendum

At 7 a.m. in London on Thursday, polls opened in the momentous referendum on whether the UK should remain in the European Union or leave. Almost 46,500 people in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar are eligible to vote in the Brexit referendum, just the third nationwide referendum the UK has ever held.

Polls close at 10 p.m. in Britain, and the Electoral Commission says the final results should be in “around breakfast time” on Friday. Polls are very tight, and the Brexit issue has sharply divided Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron, leading the Remain campaign, says EU membership makes Britain safer and wealthier; the Leave side argues that quitting the EU will restore UK sovereignty over several issues, notably immigration. BBC News, The Associated Press, The Week



GOP adjourn House until July for gun vote

Democrats push for gun controlAt 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans gaveled the House back into session, pushing through a partisan bill to fund the fight against the Zika virus and voting to adjourn until after July 4, thus ending a 16-hour sit-in by Democrats demanding a vote on a Senate bill that would prevent certain suspected terrorists from purchasing a gun.

As of 3 a.m., Democrats were still giving speeches. More than 100 House Democrats participated in the sit-in, waving photos of victims of gun violence and livestreaming their protest after House Speaker Paul Ryan ordered the C-SPAN cameras turned off. “Democrats can continue to talk, but the reality is that they have no end-game strategy,” said AshLee Strong, Ryan’s press secretary. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of leaving town “in the middle of the night in a cowardly fashion.” The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Week



Guantanamo detainee transferred to Montenegro

Guantanamo detainee transferred to MontenegroA 37-year-old Yemeni man who spent 14 years detained at Guantanamo Bay has been transferred to Montenegro, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi was brought to the facility in January 2002, accused of being one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards in Afghanistan.

In December 2014, a review board decided al-Rahabi was no longer a major security threat to the United States, and recommended his transfer. President Obama wants to close Guantanamo down before he leaves office in January, and plans to speed up transfers and bring the inmates to U.S. maximum security prisons. With the transfer of al-Rahabi, just 79 detainees remain at Guantanamo. Reuters



Lightning strikes kill 66 in India

Lightning strikes kill 66 in IndiaAt least 66 people were killed by lightning in India in a 24 hour period Tuesday and Wednesday. Forty-six deaths were in the northern state of Bihar, where 22 more were left injured. Twenty more were killed in the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh.

Authorities say the death tolls are likely to rise as reports continue to come in from rural areas. Farmers are most often the victims of lightning strikes in India, which are common in the monsoon season. India receives 80% of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season, generally between June and September. VOA

US Presidential election

Hillary Clinton unveils endorsements from notable Republicans: On Thursday, the Hillary Clinton campaign is expected to announce endorsements from more than 50 business leaders, including several notable Republicans. The list features Democratic supporters like Google’s Eric Schmidt, Warren Buffet, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, and Barry Diller, but also Republicans like AT&T Service’s Jim Cicconi and Dan Akerson, a former top executive at GM and Nextel. Cicconi, who served in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, said that while he’s supported every GOP nominee since Gerald Ford, “this year I think it’s vital to put our country’s well-being ahead of party … Hillary Clinton is experienced, qualified, and will make a fine president. The alternative, I fear, would set our nation on a very dark path.” The Wall Street Journal

Trump leaves campaign trail to check golf courses in Scotland: Donald Trump is flying to Scotland to check on his golf courses Thursday. The trip comes during one of Trump’s worst weeks of the campaign season thus far — he’s lost his campaign manager, been obscenely outmatched in fundraising, and plunged in the polls. Despite being in the UK in the midst of the Brexit vote, Trump has no plans to meet with any politicians. The move is alarming to some Republicans looking for signs of their nominee’s commitment to the campaign over his own business interests. “I’m not sure what the purpose of this trip is,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) confessed. The Associated Press, The Week

Former Ford, Bush National Security Adviser Scowcroft endorses Clinton: Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser to two Republican U.S. presidents, on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump, in a snub of the Republican Party’s likely nominee by a prominent member of its security wing. “The presidency requires the judgment and the knowledge to make tough calls under pressure,” the Republican elder statesman said in a statement. “I believe Hillary Clinton has the wisdom and experience to lead our country at this critical time.” VOA

Trump, Clinton sharpen attacks during campaign rallies: Donald Trump unleashed a scathing attack on Hillary Clinton Wednesday, saying “may be the most corrupt person ever” to seek the US presidency, while Clinton responded in equal measure, calling his charges “outlandish lies.” In his most pointed broadside yet against Clinton, Trump accused Clinton supporting US policies overseas that led to “death, destruction and terrorism” while serving as the country’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, and then enriching herself by making millions of dollars from speeches after leaving office. VOA

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