World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (May 3, 2016)
Obama speaks about Bin Laden hunting
Obama spoke to CNN television Monday, on the fifth anniversary of the Special Forces operation that killed the world’s most wanted criminal — responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that killed 3,000 people.
The decision to hunt down and kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was a priority from the moment he took office, President Barack Obama says, but whether to actually undertake the mission was heavily debated.
The president said when it came time to decide whether to go forth with the mission, some members of his security team said more intelligence was needed. But Obama said there was good reason to think the terrorist was hiding there. Just seconds before bin Laden was shot dead, Obama said, “Hopefully at that moment, he understood that the American people hadn’t forgotten the some 3,000 people who he killed.”
It was the first time Obama spoke about details of the mission. VOA
Corruption rampant in Mideast and N Africa
In the report released by Transparency International, researchers found that bribes are commonly used to obtain public services, in court systems, and among regional police, as well as for medical services, identity documents, permits, electricity, and water. A majority of respondents felt that corruption is getting worse.
The Berlin-based anti-corruption group surveyed nearly 11,000 adults in 9 countries and found bribery rampant. About half of respondents in Egypt, Morocco, and Sudan said they had paid bribes for public services. People were also interviewed in Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, and Yemen. Surveys in Yemen, which were conducted before Saudi Airstrikes which led to war in March 2015, showed that 77% of citizens said they had to pay a bribe in order to receive public services. VOA
Obama argues for TPP trade pact
The politics were tough when President Obama wrapped up negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim nations last fall, and they have only gotten worse since.
Obama promoted the TPP in a Washington Post op-ed published late Monday, clearly aware of the anti-trade flavor of the presidential race. “Increasing trade in this area of the world would… give us a leg up on our economic competitors, including one we hear a lot about on the campaign trail these days: China.” Obama wrote. “I understand the skepticism people have about trade agreements,” he added later, “but building walls to isolate ourselves from the global economy would only isolate us from the incredible opportunities it provides.” The Washington Post via The Week
UN envoy to relaunch Syria cease-fire
The effort to get Syria’s warring sides to recommit to a cessation of hostilities shifts Tuesday to Moscow where Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is hosting the U.N.’s envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to discuss ways to put the truce back in place.
The cease-fire between pro-government forces and rebel fighters went into effect in late February, leading to a dramatic drop in violence that has slowly eroded as both sides alleged repeated violations. The fighting has been worst around the northern city of Aleppo where government airstrikes and rebel shelling have killed hundreds of people during the past week.
Lavrov’s office said he spoke by telephone Monday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and that they both urged all sides to “strictly observe the cease-fire.” VOA
US Presidential election
Indiana could be final battle ground for GOP primary: On Tuesday, Indiana votes in the Democratic and Republican primaries, but the main drama is between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Campaigning in Indianapolis on Monday, Trump said that if he wins, as recent polls suggest, Cruz should drop out. “Indiana is very important, because if I win that’s the end of it,” he said. “It would be over.” Cruz, also in Indiana, vowed to stay in the race, but appeared to leave a little wiggle room for an exit: “I am in for the distance, as long as we have a viable path to victory.” Indiana has 57 GOP delegates at stake. On the Democratic side, neither Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will be in the Hoosier State on Tuesday. The Associated Press, The Washington Post via The Week
Clinton try to persuade Sanders’ voters: In the coming weeks, Clinton plans to emphasize portions of her agenda that align with Sanders’ chief priorities — especially campaign finance changes and college affordability — while highlighting and fleshing out proposals to boost middle-class jobs and wages in a bid to energize the entire Democratic Party, according to two campaign officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about her plans. USA Today
Cruz debates with Trump supporters: Ted Cruz took a detour from a campaign stop in Marion, Ind., to debate a group of Donald Trump supporters. “This man is lying to you and he’s taking advantage of you,” Cruz told one Trump supporter, who had set up shop across the street from the Mill restaurant, where Cruz was stumping with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary. When Cruz left the restaurant, the protesters greeted him with jeers of “Lyin’ Ted,” one of Trump’s go to attacks on his GOP rival. “You are the problem, politician, you are the problem,” protester Shane Auler told him. USA Today
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