Top News Stories for Today – November 29, 2016
Trump picks Tom Price as HHS secretary
Donald Trump has picked Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), an orthopedic surgeon and loud critic of the Affordable Care Act, to be secretary of health and human services, Trump’s transition team announced Tuesday.
Price is a six-term congressman and chair of the House Budget Committee who has helped draft several bills to replace the ACA. In a statement, Trump called Price the “ideal choice” because he is a “tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy.” While campaigning, Trump said he would repeal and replace the ACA, but following a meeting with President Obama after the election, Trump said he would instead keep some of the elements of the law, and amend it as opposed to get rid of it all together. The Washington Post, Talking Points Memo
Plane with a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia
On Monday night, a chartered plane carrying nine crew members and 72 passengers, including members of the Chapecoense Brazilian soccer team, crashed as it approached Jose Maria Cordova Airport in Medellin, Colombia.
Colombian police said early Tuesday that at least 75 people died in the crash. Among the survivors, at least three were players for the Chapecoense team. The plane crashed in the mountainous area of La Union, about two dozen miles away from the airport. The soccer players were scheduled to play in the Copa Sudamerica finals Wednesday against Atletico Nacional, in their team’s first ever final in a major South American club competition; the game has been suspended. The mayor of Medellin, Federico Gutierrez, called the crash a “tragedy of huge proportions.” CNN, Reuters,
S. Korean leader offers conditional resignation amid scandal
South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she’ll resign — if parliament arranges the technical details — in her latest attempt to fend off impeachment efforts and massive street protests amid prosecution claims that a corrupt confidante wielded government power from the shadows.
Opponents immediately called Park’s conditional resignation offer a stalling tactic, and analysts said her steadfast denial that she has done anything wrong could embolden her enemies. The country’s largest opposition party, the Minjoo Party, said it would not let Park’s “ploy to avoid impeachment” interfere with a planned vote on impeachment that could take place this Friday or the next. Associated Press
Thailand’s parliament names new King
Thailand’s parliament on Tuesday named Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as the new king, completing a formal step for the heir to take the throne following the death of his father last month. Pornpetch, National Assembly president, said he would formally invite Vajiralongkorn to take the throne, the 10th in the Chakri dynasty, which was founded in 1782. He did not say when that would happen.
Vajiralongkorn’s father, the much-revered Bhumibol Adulyadej, who took the throne in 1946, died on Oct. 13 at age 88 after many years of ill health. In 1972, Bhumibol had designated Vajiralongkorn – his second child and only son – to be his successor.
The nightly royal news has frequently shown his three sisters carrying out official duties at home and abroad, while his activities are usually personal and unpublicized, outside of the occasional tabloid story in the country he is visiting. He has spent significant time in Germany, where he maintains several residences. VOA
Cyber Monday sets online sales record
Online sales rose by more than expected on Cyber Monday, jumping by 10.2 percent over a year ago to hit a record $3.39 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Earlier estimates had forecast a slightly lower total, $3.36 billion.
Analysts had expected web sales to suffer due to decisions by many stores to start offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts days before Thanksgiving, instead of starting the day after, to kick off holiday shopping early. That strategy helped push Black Friday online sales up by 22 percent to $3.34 billion, which was a record until Cyber Monday came around and narrowly beat it. Reuters, CNET, The Week
Record number of boat migrants reach Italy in 2016
A record number of migrants have reached Italy by boat from North Africa in 2016, according to official data, as pressure on Italy’s shelter and asylum systems grows. As of November 28, some 171,299 boat migrants had reached Italy’s shores, the Interior Ministry said, compared to the previous record of 170,100 for all of 2014.
There is no sign of a let-up in people crossing. Some 1,400 more migrants were rescued from rubber and wooden boats attempting to cross the central Mediterranean during Monday, Italy’s coast guard said. In the past three years, Italy has recorded nearly half a million migrant arrivals. Many have fled war, poverty or political oppression. VOA
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