Top News Stories for Today

World’s top news stories for today from Washingtonian post (May 6, 2016)

N Korea holding party congress

House of Culture in PyongyangNorth Korea is holding its most important political gathering in a generation, where Kim Jong-un will cement his status as leader. The country’s first full congress in decades is being closely watched for any shift in policies or changes in political leadership.

Kim is expected to reassert his nuclear ambitions, amid speculation he will soon conduct a fifth nuclear test. Foreign media have been invited but are not allowed inside the venue. The capital was spruced up ahead of the event and citizens layed flowers in central squares as it got under way. The streets are lined with National and Workers’ Party flags with banners that read “Great comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il will always be with us” and “Defend the headquarters of the Korean revolution at the cost of the our lives”.

It is the seventh meeting of North Korea’s Worker’s Party and the first since 1980, and is being held inside the April 25 House of Culture, now covered in vast red and gold banners and massive images of the current leader’s father and grandfather. BBC



London may elect first Muslim mayor

London may elect first Muslim mayorLondoners will find out Friday if they have elected the first Muslim mayor of any major Western city, after an unusually bitter campaign in which race and religion have proven ugly flashpoints. The race between Labour’s Sadiq Khan, son of a bus driver, and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, son of a billionaire, has seen the latter accused of peddling “vile race politics” in his campaign against his rival.

Khan, a 45-year-old lawyer and member of Parliament, is the London-born son of Pakistani immigrants, and a practicing Muslim in a city where his co-religionists comprise about 12% of the population. Elections were held across the United Kingdom on Thursday, for mayoral positions, local council seats, and parliamentary and assembly seats in Scotland and Wales. The results of the elections are not expected until Friday. CNN



Malaysia is facing bankruptcy

Malaysia facing bankruptcyFormer Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned Thursday the country faces bankruptcy because of an ongoing scandal with the state-owned 1MDB fund. “The government will have financial deficits which may lead to bankruptcy if the (1MDB) loans are not serviced and the principal paid,” Mahathir stated in an online article and social media posts.

The former prime minister said any defaults by the government-owned company would affect Malaysia’s credit worthiness “and the government may not be able to borrow any more in the market.”

Mahathir, prime minister between 1981 and 2003, also renewed his personal criticism of current prime minister Najib Razak, embroiled in the scandal and facing scrutiny over the source of nearly $700 million that ended up in a personal, secret bank account through companies linked to the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, which was initiated by Najib six year ago. VOA



Japan boosts its role in ASEAN

Japan boosts role in ASEANJapan, a longtime supporter of economic development in Southeast Asia, is stepping up its engagement in the region as China has raised its profile in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Tokyo is also enhancing its role in Southeast Asia’s security debates, especially the South China Sea, where it said the disputes need to be settled by the rule of law and without the use of force. Earlier this week, Japan announced a three-year, $6.8 billion program to boost regional infrastructure across the Greater Mekong Subregion, which includes parts of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Speaking at a university in Bangkok, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the Japan-Mekong Connectivity Initiative aims to “create a framework” that supports efforts to improve infrastructure such as bridges and rail networks, human resource development and support for the Mekong River region. VOA



Indian farmers resist warnings on cigarettes

Indian farmers resist warnings on cigarettesIndia’s tobacco industry and tobacco growers are resisting new government rules requiring cigarette manufacturers to print huge pictorial warnings on cigarette packages, saying the stringent measures will impact the livelihood of more than 45 million farmers and lead to an increase in the sale of illegal cigarettes.

In a country where about 1 million deaths every year are blamed on tobacco consumption, the government has ordered that 85 percent of both the front and the back of a cigarette pack be covered with graphic images, such as diseased lungs, to discourage smoking. Current law requires 40 percent of only the front of the package carry such warnings. VOA

US Presidential election

US Presidential election newsPaul Ryan on Trump: House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he is “not ready” to endorse presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, despite saying in March that he would if Trump became the nominee. Ryan, the ranking Republican in government, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that there’s “some work to be done” before he’d feel comfortable supporting Trump. Trump responded by releasing a statement saying he is “not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!” Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also said he won’t back Trump, and added that he won’t be attending the Republican National Convention this summer. CNN, Politico via The Week

Clinton aides interviewed by FBI: The FBI has quietly interviewed some of Hillary Clinton’s top aides over the past few weeks as they pursue their investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, U.S. officials told several news outlets on Thursday. Those interviewed reportedly include Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime adviser, and investigators from the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia hope to interview Clinton herself in coming weeks. The inquiry is focused on the security of Clinton’s server and her handling of classified information, and federal investigators “have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules,” The Washington Post reports. The Washington Post, CNN via The Week

Trump may consider Democrat as running mate: Ben Carson is not interested in being Donald Trump’s running mate, telling The Wall Street Journal on Thursday he would be “a distraction,” and it’s “too important a time in our life.” Carson is helping Trump in his quest to pick a vice president, and he said Democrats may be vetted. “We would consider people who are Americans and who put America first,” he said. In an interview with CNBC, Trump said there is “probably a 40 percent chance” he would choose one of the 16 Republican candidates who ran against him. “I’ve gotten to be friends with a lot of those people, and I guess perhaps enemies with a couple,” he said. The Wall Street Journal via The Week

Trump supports UK’s exit from EU: The UK would be “better off without” the European Union, US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said. He told Fox News the migration crisis had been a “horrible thing for Europe” and blamed the EU for driving it. The Republican said he was not making a “recommendation” but his “feeling” was that the UK should vote to sever ties with the EU in its 23 June referendum. Democratic President Barack Obama expressed support for the UK remaining in the EU last month. Mr Trump, who has emerged as the Republican presumptive nominee for the US presidency, told Fox News: “I think the migration has been a horrible thing for Europe, a lot of that was pushed by the EU.”I would say [the UK] are better off without [the EU], personally, but I’m not making that as a recommendation, just my feeling. BBC

Trump starts fund raising: After largely self-funding his run to the U.S. Republican presidential nomination, billionaire Donald Trump is starting efforts to raise money for his race against the likely Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump said he contributed about $44 million to his monthslong campaign to capture the Republican nomination, while collecting another $12 million in relatively small donations from supporters. But Thursday, he named a campaign finance chief, Steven Mnuchin, chief of a private investment firm, to oversee a national fundraising effort for what could be a billion-dollar campaign. VOA

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