Top News Stories For Today – Nov 8, 2017
Democrats win governor races in Virginia, New Jersey
Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has won the Virginia gubernatorial race. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Northam has 53.9 percent of the vote, versus 45 percent for Republican Ed Gillespie. The polls had suggested a tighter race, after a contentious, racially charged campaign by Gillespie. Democrats also won Virginia races for lieutenant governor and attorney general.
In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy, a former executive at Goldman Sachs and ambassador to Germany, is projected to defeat Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in that state’s governor race. He will be replacing deeply unpopular Gov. Chris Christie (R), and a Murphy win gives Democrats total control of New Jersey’s government. NBC News, The Week
Myanmar rejects UN criticism over Rohingya crisis
Myanmar says criticism by UN over its handling of the Bengali, also known as Rohingya, refugee crisis could “seriously harm” negotiations with neighboring Bangladesh to repatriate the 600,000 Bengali who fled across the border to avoid a brutal military crackdown.
The U.N. Security Council released a statement on Monday expressing its “grave concern” over reports of human rights violations and abuses carried out by Myanmar’s military in Rakhine State, and urged the government to rein in the military. Myanmar government issued a statement in response Wednesday, saying the Security Council ignored the fact that “the issues facing Myanmar and Bangladesh can only be resolved bilaterally.” The statement said negotiations with Dhaka “have been proceeding smoothly and expeditiously.” VOA
Maine voters approve ObamaCare in referendum
On Tuesday, voters in Maine approved a first-of-its-kind referendum to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, going over the head of Gov. Paul LePage (R), who has vetoed five previous attempts to take the ObamaCare expansion. Assuming the state legislature doesn’t step in, Maine will become the 32nd state to expand Medicaid.
Supporters of the referendum outspent opponents, and organizers are already pushing similar referenda in some of the remaining 18 states, mostly controlled by Republicans, that have declined the ObamaCare program, 90 percent of which is funded by the federal government. In Maine, 80,000 more low-income adults will now qualify for Medicaid, adding to the more than 11 million people covered under the ObamaCare expansion program. The Associated Press, Politico, The Week
Trump urges world leaders to isolate North Korea
Before arriving in China on Wednesday, President Trump addressed the the South Korean National Assembly, warning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the nuclear weapons he’s acquiring are “not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger.” Trump called on world leaders to “isolate the brutal regime of North Korea.”
A lengthy portion of his speech was dedicated to detailing what life is like in North Korea and South Korea, and he also touted his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and the South Korean golfers who visit. Before his speech, Trump planned on visiting the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, but couldn’t fly there due to bad weather.
Today Trump is making the big stop on his Asian tour — China. The President and first lady, accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, toured the Forbidden City and watched an outdoor opera performance there. Trump will also be the first foreign leader to dine there since the founding of modern China. After a few days there, the President moves on to Vietnam and the Philippines.
Saudi Arabia anti-corruption sweep
Riyadh’s lavish Ritz-Carlton Hotel is reportedly a posh prison for some of the Saudi royals swept up in a corruption investigation. At least 17 Saudi princes and top government officials have been detained in the sweep, and some of them are said to be held at the five-star hotel, which usually hosts the world’s top executives, not detainees. Bookings at the hotel are unavailable for the rest of this month, people buzzed on social media about hotel guests being forced out over the weekend, and the gates to the hotel are currently closed.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud ordered the anti-corruption sweep, but some observers say it’s really just a bid to consolidate power. CNN
USA is the only country out of Paris agreement
Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, so that leaves only one country that’s not signed on to it — the United States. In June, Trump said he was pulling the United States out of the landmark climate pact, hoping to renegotiate and get a better deal.
Trump’s decision sparked massive outcry around the world. The United States trails only China as the world’s worst emitter of carbon dioxide, according to the European Commission’s emissions database. CNN
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