World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (May 2, 2016)
Progress on Syria cease-fire
US Secretary of State John Kerry says he is “getting closer to a place of understanding” on restarting a cease-fire in Syria that includes the largest city, Aleppo, where the death toll from air strikes continued to mount Monday.
Kerry met with his Saudi counterpart in Geneva early Monday in a bid to rescue a U.S.-Russian-brokered cease-fire that has nearly collapsed as Syrian forces pound Aleppo with air strikes, inflicting heavy civilian casualties.
U.S. officials say Russia’s cooperation is key to ending the violence and Kerry’s main challenge is securing a commitment from Moscow to get the Syrian government to stop its attacks on Aleppo.
Russia has refused those calls and has justified the attacks as anti-terrorist operations necessary to take out cells of the al-Nusra front and other extremists in the city.The U.S. dismisses that claim and says the attacks have targeted civilians, in violation of the cease-fire. VOA
First cruise from US to Cuba
For the first time in decades, a cruise ship from the United States is on its way to Cuba. About 700 passengers are aboard the Adonia, part of Carnival’s Fathom cruise line, which set sail Sunday from Miami.
The seven-day cruise will feature activities highlighting Cuban culture and will stop in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba. Carnival said the cruise wouldn’t happen unless the Cuban government overturned a ban on letting people born in Cuba arrive in the country by ship, and it was lifted last month; six of the passengers are Cuban. A small group of protesters huddled on a small boat near the Adonia, holding a sign reading, “Castro why do you ask Cubans for a Visa to visit their own country?” CNN
Venezuela clocks set forward
Venezuela has pushed its clocks forward a half hour to save power. President Nicolas Maduro ordered the change to deal with the country’s chronic shortage of electricity. Jorge Arreaza, Venezuela’s science and technology minister, said the change will reduce the night-time use of lighting and air conditioning.
The government has initiated a packet of changes designed to save electricity, including rolling blackouts, a two-day public sector work week, and schools closed on Fridays. Venezuela is now four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
All the changes come as Venezuela is experiencing a crushing recession. The oil-rich country was once awash in money, but oil prices have fallen and so have the fortunes of Venezuela. Maduro increased the minimum wage Sunday, but critics say rampant inflation makes it worthless.
Meanwhile, Maduro is facing calls for his ouster. The opposition says it has two million signatures on a petition from people who want the president removed from office. VOA
Malia Obama to attend Harvard University
President Obama and the First Lady have announced that their daughter Malia will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017, taking a gap year after her high school graduation next month. Malia, 17, is set to graduate from the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington in June.
Malia, along with her parents, has visited at least a dozen colleges over the past year and a half. Both the President and First Lady earned their law degrees at Harvard Law School. The First Lady said in September of 2015 that the family talked over Malia’s college plans “every night.” It is unclear just what Malia will do in the gap year after her father leaves office and the family moves out of the White House.
President Obama told Ellen Degeneres in February that Malia is “more than ready” to “make her own way.” “She’s one of my best friends,” Obama said. “It’s gonna be hard for me not to have her around all the time. But she’s ready to go. You can tell. She’s just a really smart, capable person.” abc News
Craig Wright says he created Bitcoin
On Monday, Craig Wright released evidence purporting to prove that he is “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pseudonymous inventor of digital currency Bitcoin. Wright, an Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur, told BBC News, The Economist, and GQ that he was coming forward reluctantly.
“I have not done this because it is what I wanted,” he said. “It’s not because of my choice.” Wired and Gizmodo claimed that Wright was the Bitcoin founder in December. Wright says he borrowed the last name from 17th century Japanese philosopher and merchant Tomonaga Nakamoto, though he wouldn’t say where Satoshi came from. Bitcoin experts and other computer scientists will sort through Wright’s evidence to see if it holds up. BBC News, The Economist
US Presidential election
Trump leads in Indiana: Donald Trump leads the Republican presidential race in Indiana with 49 percent support among likely voters, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll out Sunday. Ted Cruz sits 15 percentage points behind, with 34 percent support, and John Kasich notched just 13 percent. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders, 50 percent to 46 percent, ahead of Tuesday’s primaries. NBC News
Trump’s China policy: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says the United States cannot “continue to allow China to rape our country,” as he pressed his campaign pledging to reset America’s relationship with the world. Trump has repeatedly framed the trade deficit between the two countries as China taking advantage of the U.S., saying his skills as a deal-maker will erase the imbalance. “We’re going to turn it around,” Trump said Sunday during a rally in the Midwestern state of Indiana. “We have a lot of power with China.” VOA
Sanders Tries to sway superdelegates: Bernie Sanders made a direct appeal to Democratic Party superdelegates to switch their support from Hillary Clinton, as he falls further behind in the pledged delegates needed to win the nomination and faces a self-described “uphill” fight. Superdelegates are party officials who have a vote at the convention in July in Philadelphia, and Sanders cannot defeat Clinton unless large numbers of them defect from her and he wins remaining primaries by large margins. USA Today
Cruz predicts Trump will not get enough delegates: Ted Cruz predicted Donald Trump will fail to amass the delegates needed to clinch the nomination before the party’s convention in July in Cleveland. “It is gonna be a contested convention,” Cruz said on ABC’s This Week program. He said Republicans will coalesce around him if Trump falls short in a first round of voting at the convention. “The reason Donald Trump is so frenetic to say, ‘It need to be over, it needs to be over,’ is that I think Donald knows he can’t earn the support of a majority,” said Cruz. Trump or Cruz would need 1,237 delegates to claim the nomination, and right now Trump has 996 and Cruz has 565, according to the Associated Press delegate tracker. USA Today
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