Top news stories for today – June 30, 2016
Obama get high marks in Pew survey
A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows President Barack Obama continues to get largely favorable reviews throughout much of the world in the final days of his presidency. Fifteen of the 16 countries surveyed in Europe and Asia expressed confidence in Obama’s ability to handle world affairs, although he has not received universal praise on the world stage during his two terms in office.
International ratings for Obama were higher than they were for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was criticized for foreign policy issues and the spread of anti-American sentiment in many parts of the world. The survey found Obama’s election in November 2008 sparked a revival of America’s global image, particularly in Western Europe.
Pam Chasek, professor of international relations at Manhattan College in New York City, told VOA that Obama’s approach toward other countries is dramatically different from those of his predecessors. She characterized it as, “Let’s try the use of diplomacy and soft power rather than shoot first and ask questions later.”
North American leaders warn isolationism
During the first North American Leaders’ Summit hosted in Canada in more than a decade, President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto warned against isolationism and “demagogues” feeding on immigration and economic fears.
“The integration of national economies into a global economy, that’s here,” Obama said. “That’s done.” The trio said advanced countries need to focus on higher wages and standards of living, which will have global benefits.
Obama also spoke at the Canadian House of Commons, and championed the “extraordinary alliance” between the US and Canada and called Donald Trump’s nativist mentality “a threat to the values that we profess, the values we seek to defend.” He received several standing ovations, and at the end of his speech, some lawmakers chanted, “Four more years! Four more years!” The Associated Press, The Week
US airstrikes near Fallujah kill 250 ISIS
On Wednesday, a series of US led airstrikes hit a convoy south of Fallujah, Iraq, killing an estimated 250 Islamic State militants, US officials told Reuters. If that body count is confirmed, this attack would be one of the most damaging and deadly against ISIS so far.
The airstrikes came one day after suicide bombers attacked an airport in Istanbul, killing 42 people. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but ISIS is the prime suspect. Reuters, The Week
After Fallujah, Iraq gears up to rid Mosul
Riding high on Iraq’s victory over Islamic State fighters in Fallujah, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confidently said the northwest city of Mosul would be next. But as Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul is almost 10 times larger than Fallujah and has 10 times the population.
Military officials warn it will be a much tougher battle. Humanitarian agencies are worried it will be a much bigger humanitarian disaster. And echoing the UN’s concerns over reports of serious human rights abuses against civilians displaced from Fallujah, Sunnis are worried that sectarian abuses in Mosul could be even worse. VOA
US Presidential election
McConnell is still having hard time with Trump: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still having a hard time saying whether Donald Trump is qualified for the presidency. “Trump clearly needs to change, in my opinion, to win the general election,” McConnell told Time Warner Cable News’ NY1 in an interview. He said he has told Trump: “‘You’re a great entertainer. You turn on audiences. You’re good before a crowd. You have a lot of Twitter followers. That worked fine for you in the primaries. But now that you are in the general, people are looking for a level of seriousness that is typically conveyed by having a prepared text and Teleprompter and staying on message.’ ” USA Today
Clinton, Obama to make first joint campaign appearance on Tuesday: Hillary Clinton and President Obama will hit the campaign trail together for the first time in 2016 on Tuesday in Charlotte, the Clinton campaign announced Wednesday. In a statement, the campaign said the president and the presumptive Democratic nominee “will discuss building on the progress we’ve made and their vision for an America that is stronger together.” Obama was originally scheduled to make his first joint appearance with Clinton at a rally in Green Bay, Wis., on June 15. However, that event was canceled following the mass shooting in Orlando three days earlier. The president endorsed Clinton on June 9. USA Today
- 67 percent of Americans support Obama's executive actions
- A Safer World, Thanks to the Iran Deal
- Britain and the European Union after Brexit
- Fact check for Donald Trump's tax plan