Top News Stories for Today – November 15, 2016
Trump and Putin agree to improve relationship
President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone conversation Monday that relations between their countries were “unsatisfactory” and vowed to work together to improve them, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The statement said the two leaders discussed combining efforts in the fight against terrorism, talked about “a settlement for the crisis in Syria” and agreed their aides would begin working toward a face-to-face meeting between them. Trump’s office said in a statement that Putin had called to “offer his congratulations” and that the two had discussed “a range of issues including the threats and challenges facing the United States and Russia, strategic economic issues and the historical US-Russia relationship that dates back over 200 years.”
Although Trump’s statement did not mention Syria or other specific issues, it said that he told Putin “that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the People of Russia.” Washington Post
Rudy Giuliani frontrunner to be next secretary of state
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani reportedly is the leading candidate to be President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state. Hawkish former United Nations ambassador John Bolton also remains in contention for the job.
Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich told The Kelly File on Fox News that he believed Giuliani, a former prosecutor with no international experience, was interested in being nominated as attorney general or homeland security secretary, but that he would do well as America’s top diplomat because he is “already known worldwide.” The bottom line, Gingrich said, is: “If Rudy wants it, he’ll get it.”The Week, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press
White nationalists praise Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon
Donald Trump may have angered both Democrats and Republicans alike with his selection of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, but white nationalists are on board. Bannon is the former head of the right-wing website Breitbart, and has been accused by his ex-wife of making anti-Semitic comments (his spokesman has denied the allegations).
Trump was endorsed by the KKK, and former leader David Duke told CNN’s KFile on Monday he believes the appointment is “excellent. I think that anyone that helps complete the program and the policies that President-elect Trump has developed during the campaign is a very good thing, obviously. So it’s good to see that he’s sticking to the issues and the ideas that he proposed as a candidate.” Duke said Bannon is “basically creating the ideological aspects of where we’re going. And ideology ultimately is the most important aspect of any government.” Rocky J. Suhayda, the chairman of the American Nazi Party, told CNN he was surprised Trump chose Bannon, because he thought his “stable of Washington insiders would have objected too vociferously.”The Week, CNN
Russian, Syrian resume airstrikes in Aleppo
Airstrikes are pounding rebel-held eastern Aleppo early Tuesday for the first time in about three weeks, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Russia announced in mid-October that it would halt airstrikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad to give rebels and civilians time to clear out of the rebel-controlled parts of Syria’s biggest city, and Syria refused to allow the United Nations safe passage to deliver aid to the besieged areas.
A Syrian rebel activist tells The Associated Press that fighter jets are dropping barrel bombs and firing missiles in eastern Aleppo. The Observatory also said that Russia and Syria bombed a hospital in Awaijel early Tuesday, killing at least one person, after striking two other hospitals west of Aleppo on Monday. Russia confirmed early Tuesday that it has begun a major offensive in two Syrian provinces, Idlib and Homs, southwest of Aleppo.The Week, Reuters, The Associated Press
FBI reports rise in hate crimes
On Monday, the FBI said that all reported hate crimes rose in 2015, but ones targeting Muslims increased by a worrisome 67 percent over 2014, to their highest number since 2001, when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks sparked a rash of anti-Muslim violence and harassment. The total number of reported hate crimes rose to 5,850 last year, from 5,479 in 2014, and 257 of those incidents were anti-Muslim, versus 154 in 2014 and 481 in 2001.
Hate crimes against black people made up 52 percent of attacks based on race or ethnicity, while 18.7 percent targeted white people and 9.3 percent were aimed at Latinos. Hate crimes against Jews rose 9 percent. The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented more than 200 hate-crime complaints since last week’s election. The FBI statistics rely largely on self-reporting from law enforcement agencies, leading to widespread belief that the actual number of hate crimes is significantly larger.The Week, The Associated Press, USA Today
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