Top news stories for today – May 31, 2016
Iraqi pushes back ISIS in Fallujah
On Monday, Iraqi counterterrorism forces, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, started to push into Islamic State–held Fallujah, capturing about 85 percent of the city’s southern Nuaimiya area. At dawn on Tuesday, ISIS launched a counterattack, two officers with the special forces told The Associated Press, and Iraqi forces repelled the four-hour assault.
ISIS used tunnels and snipers to attack Iraqi forces, and sent out six car bombs, the officers said, but the explosives-laden vehicles were destroyed before they reached Iraqi troops. There are an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah, and on Tuesday the Norwegian Refugee Council aid group warned that “a human catastrophe is unfolding in Fallujah.” The Associated Press, The Week
Chad’s former president sentenced to life in prison
The trial in the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal began last July. Habre was accused of ordering the killings of 40,000 people during his rule from 1982 to 1990, and other human rights crimes. Habre denied the charges, and refused to recognize the legitimacy of the court. It was the first example of a leader being tried in another country’s courts for human rights crimes. Agence France-Presse, The Week
N Korea missile launch likely failed
North Korea attempted to launch a missile Tuesday, although it appeared to be unsuccessful, South Korea’s military said. One missile was test-fired from the eastern city of Wonsan at 5:20 a.m., the South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
It appears to be the latest in a string of missile tests as the country tries to advance its weapons program in defiance of the international community and its closest regional ally, China. Local media reports suggested it was a intermediate-range Musudan missile; if confirmed, it would be the fourth time North Korea has tried and failed to launch this type of missile. CNN
Dramatic rise of migrant death toll
More than 2,500 migrants have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe so far in 2016, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced Tuesday. In 2015 by contrast 1,855 people had died in the first five months of the year.
Most the migrants making this journey are from Nigeria and Gambia, as most Syrians, Afghans, and Iraqis continue to take the Turkey-Greece route, according to the UNHCR.
Just during the past week an estimated 880 migrants died migrants and refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean. Humanitarian organizations have circulated a photo of a German rescue worker holding a drowned baby to persuade European authorities to take action on this ongoing tragedy. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton just 2 points ahead of Trump: Donald Trump only trails Hillary Clinton by two points nationally, a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday reveals. Clinton leads the presumptive Republican nominee just 47 percent to 45 percent — a narrow edge just barely outside the poll’s 1.2-point margin of error. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) boasts a 12-point lead over Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, 52 percent to 40 percent. Politico, The Hill The Week
Trump in the Republicans: Donald Trump clinched the 1,237 delegates needed to become the Republican presidential nominee Thursday — a feat that seemed almost impossible just a few months ago. Now, despite the wishes of the Republican establishment, Trump is working to remake the party in his own image. Trump’s no-holds-barred style and high-energy delivery attracted a record number of voters to cast ballots in the Republican primary race, but the same qualities that rocketed Trump to the nomination have created a rift between party elites and the voters who support him. VOA
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