Top news story for today – May 14, 2016
World’s oldest person dies
The world’s oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, died Thursday night in New York at the age of 116.
Jones had reportedly been ill for 10 days preceding her death at the public housing facility for seniors in Brooklyn where she’d been living for more than three decades. Jones, who was born in 1899, was the last living American born in the 1800s. She said her key to a long life was surrounding herself “with love and positive energy” and never drinking or smoking. The world’s oldest person alive is now thought to be Emma Morano, a 116-year-old Italian woman. Time, The Independent
Hezbollah blames IS in commander’s death
The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claims that Islamist extremists are responsible for the shelling death of its top military commander Mustafa Badreddine near Syria’s Damascus airport Friday. Hezbollah announced Badreddine’s death Friday before holding a military funeral for the commander later on in the day.
In a statement released Saturday, the group said it launched an investigation and found that “the explosion which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri (Sunni extremist) groups in the area.”
Hezbollah fighters carried the coffin of Badreddine through the streets of southern Beirut Friday in a funeral procession. VOA
Buddhist monk killed in Bangladesh
An elderly Buddhist monk has been hacked to death in a remote region of Bangladesh, officials said. The body of Mong Shwe U Chak, 75, was found early Saturday in an isolated temple in a village 350 kilometers southeast of Dhaka, the capital. Police say they do not know the motive for the killing of the monk, who lived alone.
The Daily Star, a Bangladeshi newspaper, reported “panic spread among the locals” following news of the slaying. The monk’s son told The Star his father “did not have any enmity with anyone in the area.”
Jyotirmoy Barua, a human rights lawyer, told the French news agency AFP that U Chak had received anonymous death threats, “but nobody took it seriously.” VOA
ISIS declares state of emergency
“We have seen this declaration of emergency in Raqqa, whatever that means,” Col. Steve Warren, the spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, told reporters Friday. “We know this enemy feels threatened, as they should.”
Media reports have indicated that ISIS is moving personnel around the city and trying to put up covers in certain areas to shield potential targets from airstrikes and ground attacks. CNN
Rising of the Bin Laden’s son
One of Osama bin Laden‘s sons could be expanding his role as a terrorist spokesman, with al Qaeda this week releasing another video that features his voice.
On Monday, an audio recording surfaced in which Hamza bin Laden calls for unity among jihadi militants in Syria, who currently fight under competing banners ranging from ISIS to al Qaeda. He also calls for jihad against Israel and its American backers to “liberate” Palestine, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
It is his second such recording in less than a year, and could represent an effort by al Qaeda to capitalize on the impact of the bin Laden name. Hamza bin Laden is believed to be in his early or mid-20s, and could represent al Qaeda’s next generation. CNN
US Presidential election
Trump backs off Muslim ban: Donald Trump on Friday told Fox & Friends “everything is a suggestion” when it comes to his policy ideas. “Everything I say right now, I’m not the president. Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it’s a suggestion,” Trump said, backtracking on his earlier, incendiary call to ban Muslim immigration to the United States. This comes after Trump’s senior policy adviser Barry Bennett faced off with former Romney adviser Dan Senor on CNN on Thursday. As Bennett explained that Trump was referring to the need to get Congress on board with his policy ideals, Senor reminded Bennett that “words matter” when it comes to politicians’ promises. “Oh please, this ‘words matter’ stuff,” Bennett replied, “This is ridiculous.” Fox & Friends, The Washington Free Beacon via The Week
Sanders may seek modifying superdelegate system: An unnamed senior adviser to Bernie Sanders told Buzzfeed News that the Vermont senator may seek to modify or eliminate entirely the Democratic Party’s superdelegate system. Even if Sanders can’t clinch the nomination, he’ll likely have enough support heading into the Democratic National Convention to push for significant changes in his party, and the adviser said he may have to choose between “feel-good changes to the platform and fundamental changes to the nominating process.” The superdelegate system has been a source of considerable frustration to Sanders supporters, as have the party’s committees, about which Sanders addressed his frustrations in a letter to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz last week. BuzzFeed via The Week
Trump will not declare tax return: Not only will Donald Trump not release his tax returns before an audit is completed, he also won’t reveal what tax rate he pays. “It’s none of your business,” Trump told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday when asked what percentage of income he pays in taxes. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee repeated that he won’t release his returns until an ongoing audit is completed, and that may or may not happen before the November election. USA Today
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