Top News Stories for Today

Top news stories for today – June 3, 2016

Terrorist attacks dropped in 2015

Terrorist attacks dropped in 2015On Thursday, the US State Department issued its 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism, an annual assessment of the global terrorism landscape and how the US dealt with it. The report, compiled by University of Maryland researchers, shows that terrorist attacks fell by 13 percent in 2015 versus 2014, and terrorism deaths fell 14 percent, to 28,300, mostly due to a drop in deaths and attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

Terrorist attacks and deaths actually increased in a handful of countries last year, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, and 55 percent of all attacks took place in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria. BBC News, State Department



5 US soldiers killed in truck overturns

5 US soldiers killed in truck overturnsAt least five Army soldiers were killed Thursday when their truck overturned in a creek near Fort Hood in Texas. Three soldiers were rescued and hospitalized in stable condition. Another four are missing.

The incident occurred at a creek crossing that had experienced flash flooding previously. Texas has been hit with severe flooding from thunderstorms in recent days. Also on Thursday, a Navy Blue Angels pilot was killed in a training crash, and an Air Force Thunderbirds pilot ejected safely in a crash following a flyover at the Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado. CBS News, The Week



Major Powers meet for Mideast peace talk

Major Powers meet for Mideast peace talkUS, European and Arab diplomats meeting in Paris Friday are hoping to find enough common ground to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

French President Francois Hollande called on Israel and the Palestinians to “make the courageous choice of peace,” as he opened the peace conference. “The discussion on the conditions of a lasting agreement between Israelis and Palestinians must take into account the whole of the region,” he said. Hollande went on to say international powers should play a key role in facilitating the peace process, but ultimately it would be up to the two sides to work out their differences.

Washington’s response to the French effort has been tepid, with Secretary of State Kerry agreeing to attend simply to listen to ideas proposed by France and others. Kerry told reporters he would possibly be open to holding an international conference later this year with Israeli and Palestinian representatives in attendance, but cautioned that the talks are just getting started, and that such a meeting is far from set in stone. VOA



Muhammad Ali hospitalized

Muhammad Ali hospitalizedBoxing legend Muhammad Ali has been hospitalized for a respiratory issue and is in fair condition, his family spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. Ali, 74, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, previously was hospitalized in January 2015 with a urinary tract infection. He also was hospitalized in December 2014 with pneumonia. In recent years, Ali has largely stayed out of the limelight.

Ali was born as Cassius Clay and in 1960 won an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight. In 1964, he defeated Sonny Liston by KO in the seventh round and became the World Heavyweight Champion. It was also the year he converted and joined the Nation of Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali.

In April 1967, as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction into the US Army. The World Boxing Association then stripped him of his world title. On June 20, 1967, Ali was convicted in federal court of violating Selective Service laws and sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000. He stayed out of prison as his case was appealed.

In 1990, Ali met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad to attempt to negotiate the release of Americans held hostage in Iraq and Kuwait. Additionally, in 2011, Ali publicly appealed to Iranian officials for the release of captive hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.

One of the most powerful images of Ali came in 1996, when he lit the torch at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. In 2005, Ali was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. CNN

US Presidential election

Trump believes Judge Gonzalo Curiel disqualified: Donald Trump believes that the judge presiding over civil lawsuits against Trump University should be disqualified based on his ancestry, telling The Wall Street Journal that US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel has “an absolute conflict” in presiding over the litigation since he is “of Mexican heritage” and a member of the La Raza Lawyers Association, a nonprofit that supports Latino lawyers. The presumptive Republican nominee has vowed to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and said Curiel’s background must be mentioned because “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrant parents. Trump has also called Curiel a “hater of Donald Trump” and a “total disgrace.” he Wall Street Journal, The Week

Violence erupts outside another Trump rally: Protesters punched and threw eggs and water bottles at Donald Trump supporters outside a rally in San Jose, California, on Thursday in the latest in a series of violent clashes at Trump campaign events. Protesters also snatched signs and “Make America Great Again” hats from Trump backers. Several people were arrested. Some protesters at the event waved Mexican flags and criticized Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. A week ago, chaos erupted outside a Trump rally in Albuquerque. A month earlier there was a similar outburst in Costa Mesa, California. The Associated Press, The Week

Clinton sharply criticized Trump: Hillary Clinton called Republican rival Donald Trump dangerous and unqualified for the presidency in a blistering foreign policy speech Thursday in San Diego, California. “He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility,” Clinton said. “This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes.” Trump “doesn’t understand America, or the world,” she said. “It’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.” VOA

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