Top News Stories for Today – March 29, 2017
UK triggers Brexit with letter handover
Theresa May has signed the letter that will formally begin the UK’s departure from the European Union. Giving official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk later.
May’s government will now lead divorce negotiations with the EU, and in March 2019, Britain will leave the EU, deal or no deal. The EU in coming days will come up with draft negotiation guidelines, and EU leaders will meet without May on April 29 to adopt a common negotiating stance. BBC News, The Associated Press
Voters’ confidence in Trump decline
Voters have less confidence in President Trump’s ability to do his job following the Republican Party’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week. In a Politico/Morning Consult survey taken entirely after the GOP withdrew their bill, just 26 percent of voters felt “very confident” in Trump’s ability to serve as commander-in-chief, compared with 36 percent who are not confident “at all.”
Trump’s declining approval rating was steeper with Republicans and independents than Democrats. In particular, the support of self-identified Trump voters shrank from 90 percent last week to 84 percent this week. Overall, 38 percent of voters strongly disapprove of Trump, compared with 23 percent who strongly approve. Politico, The Week,
Myanmar’s NLD facing crucial test in by-election
Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) is facing a crucial test in regional by-elections, with voters getting their first chance at the polls to judge the government’s economic performance since taking office in 2015. The 19 seat by-elections lie mostly in NLD strongholds for seats vacated largely by incumbents who joined the government in ministerial posts.
The by-elections come amid concerns over the slower pace of economic progress. Myanmar’s economic growth slid in 2016 to around 6.5 per cent, down from international banking houses’ forecasts of over 8.0 per cent. But the World Bank, in a January report, said it remained confident of recovery in 2017. The slower growth in 2016 was linked to consumer dampening inflation, exchange rate volatility, structural constraints and a “lack of clear economic policy” with declines in investment flows, including the impact from a slowing China economy. VOA
Tom Perez requests all DNC staffers resign
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has requested all DNC staffers submit their letters of resignation by April 15, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the organization. While turnover isn’t unusual when a new chair takes over, Perez’s complete house-cleaning signals how drastically he plans to reorganize the Democratic Party.
Perez was elected in late February to replace interim chair Donna Brazile, who filled the position after former chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) stepped down just before the Democratic National Convention last summer. NBC News reported the “top-to-bottom review process” is intended to discern “how the party should be structured in the future,” after it was pummeled in the 2016 elections. The DNC declined to comment. NBC News, The Week
Bob Dylan finally agrees to accept Nobel Prize
Bob Dylan will finally accept his Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm this weekend, the academy has announced. The American singer was awarded the prize in October but failed to travel to pick up the award, or deliver the lecture that is required to receive the 8m kroner ($900,000) prize.
The academy said it would meet Dylan, 75, in private in the Swedish capital, where he is giving two concerts. He will not lecture in person but is expected to send a taped version. If he does not deliver a lecture by June, he will have to forfeit the prize money. BBC
Challenges loom for Trump on climate
Opponents of President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap his predecessor’s climate change policies say they will organize a public campaign and pursue legal avenues to challenge it. California and New York issued a joint statement saying they would continue the fight against climate change. Environmental groups have hired a host of lawyers to challenge Mr Trump’s move that boosts fossil fuel production. Mr Trump said he wanted to end “job-killing regulations”.
The governors of New York and California summed up opponents’ views by saying Mr Trump’s stance was “profoundly misguided and shockingly ignores basic science”. Whatever the US chooses, the EU, India and China say they will stick to their pledges made in Paris. On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said: “No matter how other countries’ policies change, as a responsible large developing country, China’s resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not.” BBC