Top news stories for today – May 27, 2016
Obama visits Hiroshima
Barack Obama on Friday paid tribute to the “silent cry” of the 140,000 people killed by the world’s first atomic bomb attack and sought to renew attention in his unfulfilled vision of a world without nuclear weapons, as he became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima.
“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Obama said, after laying a wreath, closing his eyes and briefly bowing his head before an arched monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park that honors those killed on Aug. 6, 1945, when US forces dropped the bomb that ushered in the nuclear age. The bombing, Obama said, “demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.”
Obama did not apologize, instead offering, in a carefully choreographed display, a reflection on the horrors of war and his hope that Hiroshima would be remembered as the beginning of a “moral awakening.” As he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stood near an iconic bombed-out domed building, Obama acknowledged the devastating toll of war and urged the world to do better.
Bomb survivor Kinuyo Ikegami, 82, paid her own respects at the cenotaph on Friday morning, well before Obama arrived, lighting incense and chanting a prayer. Tears ran down her face as she described the immediate aftermath of the bomb. Han Jeong-soon, the 58-year-old daughter of a Korean survivor, was also at the park Friday.
Obama’s visit is a moment 71 years in the making. Other American presidents considered coming, but the politics were still too sensitive, the emotions too raw. Jimmy Carter visited as a former president in 1984. The Associated Press
G 7: Global growth the urgent priority
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthiest economies called global growth their “urgent priority” and expressed concern about North Korea, Russia and maritime disputes as their summit in Japan came to a close Friday.
G-7 leaders called on North Korea to comply with U.N. regulations and cease all testing of nuclear weapons, missile launches and other “provocative actions.”
The group condemned Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, deeming it illegal. The G-7 leaders warned of “further restrictive measures” to raise the cost on Moscow, but added that sanctions could be lifted should Russia meet certain criteria, such as fully respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Without explicitly mentioning China, the final declaration promised its aid in settling heated territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China has aggressively built up islands despite claims of neighboring countries. VOA
Raqqa civilians flee airstrikes
US led coalition warplanes carried out intense airstrikes Tuesday on Raqqa, the de facto Syrian capital of the Islamic State group, a monitoring group said, continuing days of air-raids that appear to be aimed at demoralizing jihadist fighters before an offensive by Kurdish-led forces on villages to the north of the city.
The airstrikes appear targeted mostly on IS defensive positions on the outskirts of the city. This may be to try to avoid civilian casualties, although civilian deaths have been reported.
Raqqa political activists have been warning that IS is using civilians as human shields, spreading fighters and their weaponry around civilian areas and housing militants in residential blocks. VOA
Antibiotic-resistant bug found in US
A person has been diagnosed with a bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort for the first time in the US, according to a study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.
The case could be a sign that “the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bacteria can become resistant due to overuse of antibiotics in medicine and food production. USA Today, The Week
US Presidential election
Trump wants to debate Sanders for charity: Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said Thursday that he would accept a challenge to debate Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders, but only if the event raised $10 million for charity. Earlier in the day, Trump had said he was “just kidding” when he agreed on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live to debate Sanders before the June 7 California primary. Sanders’ campaign manager pressured Trump, telling him not to “chicken out.” Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, said the Trump-Sanders debate proposal was “not serious.” Politico, Deadline, The Week
More colorful America undeniable game-changer: The growing ethnic and racial diversity of America has profound implications for the country’s politics, and some say it is already reflected in this year’s presidential campaign season. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center published in February, nearly one-in-three eligible voters on Election Day (31 percent) will be Hispanic, Asian, black or another racial or ethnic minority, up from 29 percent in 2012. VOA
Delegate count for Trump: Donald Trump has officially clinched the US Republican presidential nomination, according to a delegate count by The Associated Press. His last remaining challengers from the onetime 17-candidate Republican field dropped out of the race against Trump in early May, and AP says he is now assured of a majority of delegates — 1,237 — at July’s national Republican convention. He is likely to win hundreds more convention delegates in the last state presidential nominating contests June 7. VOA
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