Top News Stories for Today – May 17, 2016
The five-year-old war in Syria is the focus of diplomats Tuesday in Vienna where the 17-nation International Syria Support Group (ISSG) is meeting to discuss stalled political talks, difficulties in maintaining a cease-fire deal and uneven U.N. results in delivering humanitarian aid.
The cease-fire, which went into effect at the end of February, brought a dramatic drop in overall violence in Syria, but that progress has slowly eroded.
The United States and Russia are trying to use their influence to convince competing sides to stand by the agreement as they also try to support peace talks that have so far made little progress. Both countries are part of the ISSG. But while Russia has backed the Syrian regime, the U.S. has been supporting the moderate opposition. VOA
Canada wildfire continues to rage
A wildfire that destroyed whole sections of Fort McMurray earlier this month has forced workers to leave all camps up to Fort MacKay, around 54 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. The evacuation order was initially ordered for all camps up to Ruth Lake, around 26 kms north of the city. That evacuation order was expanded at 10 p.m. on Monday.
A fire travelling at 30 to 40 metres per minute was heading north towards Tower Road, on the west edge of Fort McMurray, as of 2:30 p.m., according to a news release from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. It’s expected to slow later Monday night, officials said. CBC News
US Supreme Court failed to resolve on a major case
The ideologically deadlocked Supreme Court on Monday failed to resolve a major case involving the Obamacare law’s mandatory birth control coverage, telling lower courts to reconsider the matter after tossing out their rulings favoring President Barack Obama.
With four conservative justices and four liberals, the court did not rule on the merits of the legal challenge by nonprofit Christian employers who objected to the 2010 healthcare law’s requirement that they provide female workers with medical insurance paying for contraceptives.
The court’s action avoided a possible 4-4 split that would have affirmed the lower-court rulings. The justices, shorthanded following February’s death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, threw out seven rulings by federal appeals courts around the country that had backed the Obama administration. The justices handed at least a short-term victory to the religious employers, primarily Roman Catholic organizations. Reuters
Buffett buys Apple
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett appears to be giving the slumping Apple stock a vote of confidence. The company he runs, Berkshire Hathaway, bought just over 9.8 million shares in the tech giant, according to regulatory papers released Monday. The average price paid was $109 a share.
Apple shares are down 14 percent so far this year, and Buffett himself has already taken a loss on the purchase as shares are currently valued at just over $90. The shares did get a 2 percent bump in early trading Monday on the Buffett news. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton vs Sanders: Kentucky and Oregon are holding primaries on Tuesday, and Hillary Clinton has been campaigning in Kentucky for the past two days, fighting hard for a win to build up momentum going into the final contests against Bernie Sanders. She already has a wide lead in pledged delegates. Polling is limited, but one recent poll out of Oregon, with 61 Democratic delegates at stake, put Clinton ahead, but her campaign seems to have decided that Kentucky, with 55 delegates, is a better bet. “I’m excited about the primary tomorrow, but we’ve got to turn a lot of people out,” Clinton said at the Lone Oak Little Castle restaurant in Paducah, Kentucky. Oregon Republicans are also voting; the state conducts its election entirely by mail. The New York Times, International Business Times
Trump trails Clinton by just 3 points: Donald Trump is hot on Hillary Clinton’s heels, narrowing the gap behind her to a mere three percentage points according to a new national poll by NBC News/SurveyMonkey. Just last week, Trump trailed by five points, but now Clinton leads by only 48 percent to his 45 percent. Still, Clinton has an edge with minority voters, dominating Trump with a 75-point margin among black voters and a 37-point margin among Hispanics. Despite Trump’s boasts that he’d be “really good for women,” they also tend to favor Clinton while white and male voters side with Trump. Politico
Fox’s Megyn Kelly to interview Trump: The much-discussed sit-down between Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and Republican presidential contender Donald Trump will be broadcast at 8 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, and Kelly is trying to set appropriate expectations for her first Megyn Kelly Presents special. In addition to Trump, Kelly interviewed actors Michael Douglas and Laverne Cox, and O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert Shapiro. But it is the Trump interview that everyone is focusing on, including Kelly. “I feel like a lot of people in the country wanted to see that sit-down,” she said on Monday’s Late Show. “The one thing that I really wanted to talk to Trump about was temperament, and I think that’s the theme of the interview you’re going to see tomorrow.” The New York Times, The Late Show via The Week
Trump feuds with Cameron over Muslim ban: Donald Trump says he may end up having a bad relationship with British Prime Minister David Cameron after he called Trump “divisive, stupid and wrong” for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. Britain and the United States have what they call a “special relationship,” but Cameron’s office Monday refused to retract his earlier comments about Trump. The British leader has said that anyone who wins a major political party presidential nomination in the United States deserves “respect.” VOA
Kasich says No for Trump’s VP: On serving as Trump’s running mate, Kasich said: “No, I’ve not changed my mind on that. … It would be very hard for me, unless he were to change his views and become a uniter, for me to get in the middle of this thing. I have to see him move to uniting. If he doesn’t, I’m undecided at this point,” Kasich told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday, in his first interview since suspending his Republican campaign for president nearly two weeks ago. “Frankly, my wife and my daughters have watched this. And if I were to turn around and endorse him, they’d be like, ‘Why, Dad?’ ” USA Today
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