Top News Stories for Today

Top News Stories for Today – November 16, 2016

Russia to withdraw from the International Criminal Court

Russia to withdraw from the International Criminal CourtRussian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to remove Russia from the International Criminal Court on Wednesday after mounting criticism of his airstrikes in Syria and annexation of Crimea. The court rules on offenses including genocide and crimes against humanity.

Putin’s decision comes on the heels of the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approving a resolution that condemns Russia for its occupation of Crimea; French President Francois Hollande also called Russia’s bombings in Syria “war crimes” last month. Putin had signed the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court, in 2000, although the Kremlin had never ratified the agreement. “The International Criminal Court has not justified hopes placed upon it and did not become a truly independent and authoritative judicial body,” a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said. The Week, The Independent, The Associated Press



Boris Johnson offering ‘impossible’ Brexit vision

Boris Johnson offering 'impossible' Brexit visionBoris Johnson is offering Britain a vision of life outside the EU that is “intellectually impossible”, a leading European finance minister has said. The foreign secretary reportedly told a Czech paper the UK was likely to leave the EU customs union post-Brexit – but still wanted to trade freely after.

However, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, said such an option “doesn’t exist” and was “impossible”. Number 10 said a decision on membership of the customs union had not been made. Mr Johnson reportedly told the Czech newspaper Hospodarske Noviny he did not believe the UK would remain in the EU customs union after Brexit. BBC



Trump’s White House transition effort plagued by delay, disarray

How President Trump would governDonald Trump’s preparations to assume the White House have been plagued by disarray and personnel issues in the week since he won the presidential election. Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who was serving as a national security adviser to Trump’s team, suddenly departed the effort Tuesday amid reports that he was being forced out by other team officials; it was also reported Tuesday that defense and foreign policy official Matthew Freedman had been ousted from the transition team.

Additionally, Trump’s decision last week to replace New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with Vice President-elect Mike Pence as head of the transition team has dramatically slowed the process, as Pence — who took the helm with less than 80 days until Trump is set to be sworn into office — did not sign the legal paperwork required to allow Trump’s team to begin collaboration with President Obama’s aides until Tuesday. On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted that the process is “very organized,” and only he knows who the finalists for cabinet positions are.The Week, The New York Times, Politico



Harry Reid urges Trump to dump Steve Bannon

White nationalists praise Trump's appointment of Steve BannonIn his first Senate floor speech since Election Day, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that in order to prove he does want to bring the country together, Donald Trump must rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior adviser.

Bannon is the former head of right-wing Breitbart News, and his appointment energized people like former KKK leader David Duke. Bannon is a “champion of white supremacists,” Reid said, and by naming him as a top aide, Trump is not sending a “message of healing.” He urged Trump to “take responsibility” and “rise to the dignity of the office — president of the United States — instead of hiding behind your Twitter account. Show America that racism, bullying, and bigotry have no place in the White House or in America.” Time



Republicans expected to shore up congressional leadership positions

Republicans expected to shore up congressional leadership positionsSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to be re-elected Wednesday to the top leadership job by the Senate Republican Conference. The vote comes one day after Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was unanimously chosen for another term as House speaker by his Republican colleagues.

The new Congress convenes in January and a final vote on House speaker will take place at that time. House Democrats, meanwhile, postponed their leadership elections after some members asked for more time to analyze the results of the election. USA Today



JetBlue flash sale drops many routes below $100 round trip

JetBlue flash sale drops many routes below $100 round tripPlanning to travel on JetBlue? Wednesday could be the day to book. The airline is having a two-day flash sale, which ends at 11:59 p.m. JetBlue’s sale includes a variety of routes, with some one-way fares listed as low as $34 each way.

Travel is good through March 9, though there are several blackout dates and some other fine print. If you’ve been hoarding vacation days, even outside of the JetBlue sale it could be a great time to plan a trip. These are some other amazing flight deals for early December. USA Today

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