Top News Stories for Today – May 19, 2016
EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed
Egypt says that EgyptAir Flight 804, en route from Paris to Cairo, crashed in the Mediterranean early Thursday morning, shortly after entering Egyptian air space. The airplane, an Airbus A320, was carrying 66 passengers and crew, including three security personnel, with 30 of the passenger from Egypt, 15 from France, and the rest from Europe, the Middle East, and Canada.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said it was too soon to say if a technical malfunction or terrorism was to blame, but said “we cannot rule anything out.” French President Francois Hollande also said Thursday that “information confirms, alas, that this plane has crashed.” French aircraft have joined Egyptian and Greek planes and ships searching for any survivors or wreckage. The Associated Press, CNN
Russia wades Into South China Sea dispute
Russia is set to finalize an agreement with ASEAN countries including controversial references to maritime navigation and militarization of the South China Sea, a draft of the accord obtained by VOA Khmer shows.
According to a draft of the Sochi Declaration, dated May 7 and marked as the agreed text, Russia is moving toward a “strategic partnership for mutual benefit” covering security, trade, social, health and environmental issues.
The engagement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations is seen as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand Moscow’s influence in the region. It comes as President Barack Obama is due to visit Vietnam.
The U.S. leader is expected to arrive less than two weeks after the USS William Lawrence conducted freedom of navigation exercises in disputed waters, sailing within 12 nautical miles of the China-occupied Fiery Cross Reef. China’s Foreign Ministry called the warship’s actions a threat to regional peace and stability. VOA
New dinosaur species discovered in USA
A retired nuclear physicist made a big discovery in the badlands of Montana, USA: A previously unknown dinosaur species that lived 76 million years ago. Its scientific name is Spiclypeus shipporum, and paleontologists say it is closely related to the Triceratops — both had horned faces and head frills.
The dinosaur ate plants, weighed up to four tons, and was approximately 15 feet long. “I found it accidentally on purpose,” Bill Shipp, the man who found the fossils in 2005, told The Associated Press. “I was actually looking for dinosaur bones, but with no expectation of actually finding any.” Details on the discovery were published in the journal PLOS ONE. The Associated Press via The Week
Federal Reserve will raise interest rate
The Federal Reserve made it loud and clear in their minutes released Wednesday that “it likely would be appropriate” to raise interest rates in June, assuming the economy recovers enough from the winter to justify the move.
“While they haven’t made a decision to move in June, they certainly want people to understand that it certainly is a possibility,” said economist Stephen Stanley. The economy hasn’t yet appeared to show the strength the Fed would want to raise rates, but as Dennis Lockhart of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta noted, “the markets are certainly more pessimistic than I am.” After keeping rates stable for years, the Fed raised them slightly in December 2015, but has so far postponed plans to raise them further as economic turmoil from China and oil prices have shaken global markets. Bloomberg, The New York Times
Rescued Nigerian girl reunited with mother
Nigerian military officials are debriefing the first schoolgirl to be rescued since Boko Haram militants carried out an infamous mass kidnapping in northeast Nigeria more than two years ago, officials told VOA.
Amina Ali was among nearly 300 girls abducted when members of the Islamist militant group stormed the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in April 2014. Many escaped immediately after the kidnapping, but over 200 remain missing. Amina Ali was reunited with her mother in her home village Mbala, where the two had a joyful reunion Tuesday before they were taken to a military camp to be debriefed.
Exact details of her rescue remain unclear. Army spokesman Sani Usman said Nigerian soldiers rescued the girl in a village called Baale, near the town of Damboa. Usman told VOA’s Peter Clottey that the army has been debriefing Amina Ali at a military base in Damboa. He said she was found with another individual when she was rescued. The man, suspected of being a Boko Haram militant, is being questioned at the same base, he said. VOA
US Presidential election
Trump leading Clinton in Fox poll: A new Fox News national poll released Wednesday shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head match, with a 45 to 42 percent edge. Fox News says Clinton led Trump 48 to 41 percent in the same poll last month. When it comes to women, Trump has a 14-point deficit, with Clinton winning 50 to 36 percent. Trump wins with a wider margin among men: 55 to 33 percent. Clinton has a 90 to 7 percent lead among blacks and 62 to 23 percent lead among Hispanics, with Trump making up the difference with a 55 to 31 percent lead among whites. Trump’s lead among white women is 9 points and among independents is 16 points. Fox News says that overall, “the voters feel the candidates lack honesty, empathy, and strong moral values, and they’ll say anything to win.” The poll was based on interviews with 1,021 random people over the phone, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. Fox News
Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees: Donald Trump has released a list of 11 potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, following the vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Trump’s list includes Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado, Raymond Gruender of Missouri, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, and Don Willett of Texas. In March, Trump said his nominees would be people “everybody respects, likes, and totally admires” as well as “great conservative judges, great intellects, the people that you want.” The Associated Press
Trump quick to call EgyptAir crsah a terrorist attack: While authorities say it’s too soon to determine what caused EgyptAir Flight 804 to crash into the Mediterranean, Donald Trump is already jumping to the conclusion that it “looks like yet another terrorist attack.” On Thursday morning — just hours after the plane carrying 66 passengers and crew disappeared en route from Paris to Cairo after entering Egyptian air space — Trump fired off this tweet: “Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!” Authorities have confirmed that the plane did indeed crash, though they are unsure whether it was due to terrorism or a technical malfunction. The Week
A GOP senator spent the end of his life apologizing to Muslims for Trump: Before he died May 4 from complications stemming from pancreatic cancer and a stroke, former GOP Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah asked his wife, Joyce, and son, Jim, if there were any Muslims in his hospital. If so, he wanted to “go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologize to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump.” The Week
Tensions rising among Democrats: After Tuesday’s Kentucky and Oregon primary, Clinton remains on track to clinch the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, perhaps as early as June 7. But Sanders has given no sign of giving up, and tensions between the two campaigns are on the rise, raising fears among some Democrats that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee. VOA
Trump and Clinton disclose finances: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have disclosed their personal finances, with documents showing both U.S. presidential hopefuls earning millions of dollars, albeit at different levels. In documents released Wednesday to the Federal Election Commission, Trump reported earned income of $557 million and a $190 million increase in business revenue over the past 17 months. Trump’s disclosure contains a list of investments in more than 550 business ventures and income from dozens of sources.
Tuesday’s filing shows Clinton earned more than $5 million in royalties from her book “Hard Choices” and an estimated $1.5 million in speaking fees before she began her presidential campaign. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, earned more than $5 million through last November through speaking engagements and from banking, technology and other corporate interests. Most of Hillary Clinton’s wealth, valued between $5 million and $25 million, is held in a Vanguard 500 Index Fund and a separate JP Morgan Custody account. VOA
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