Top News Stories For Today – Oct 16, 2017
US healthcare after Trump ends subsidy payments
Following President Trump’s decision last week to end Affordable Care Act subsidy payments to insurance companies that lowered premiums for low-income customers, senators are moving to introduce new health-care packages aimed at stabilizing the potential turbulence from the executive order.
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have been working on a highly-anticipated bipartisan health-care plan for months, and are expected to introduce it “within days.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is also expected to introduce a more conservative alternative that might have a better shot in the Republican-held House. Overall, Republicans generally support a response to Trump’s executive order: “I think Congress should pass that short-term extension,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “We absolutely have to think about that family around the kitchen table.” The Wall Street Journal, The Week
Death toll in Mogadishu truck bombing tops 300
More than 300 people were killed and 300 others wounded in a truck bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday, Dr. Abdulkadir Adam of the Aamin Ambulance service said Monday. This is believed to be the single deadliest attack ever in the country.
While no terrorist group has claimed responsibility so far, Mogadishu civilians are a regular target of al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked extremist group that seeks to overthrow the Somali government. The attack took place on a busy street two days after the head of US Africa Command visited the Somali president in Mogadishu. Officials believe the death toll could continue to rise. The New York Times, The Associated Press,The Week
Iraq forces seize Kirkuk outskirts
Iraq’s central government forces launched an advance early on Monday into territory held by Kurds, seizing a swathe of countryside surrounding the oil city of Kirkuk in bold military response to a Kurdish vote last month on independence.
The military action was the most decisive step Baghdad has taken yet to rein in the independence aspirations of the Kurds, who have governed themselves as an autonomous part of Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and voted on Sept. 25 to secede. US forces which have worked closely with both the federal forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga to fight against Islamic State called on both sides to avoid escalation. Reuters
California firefighters say they finally ‘turned a corner’
With the winds dying down, fire officials said Sunday they have apparently “turned a corner” against the wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week, and thousands of people got the all-clear to return home.
The blazes were blamed for at least 40 deaths and destroyed some 5,700 homes and other structures. The death toll could climb as searchers dig through the ruins for people listed as missing. Hundreds were unaccounted for, though authorities said many of them are probably safe but haven’t let anyone know. The Associated Press
Catalonia leader Puigdemont ‘unclear’ on independence
The Spanish government has said that the head of the Catalonia region has failed to clarify whether he declared independence last week. In a letter to Madrid on Monday, Carles Puigdemont instead called for negotiation over the next two months. Spain’s Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Mr Puigdemont now has until Thursday to clarify his position.
The Spanish government has warned that Catalonia must revoke the declaration or face direct rule from Madrid. Last week Mr Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence, but halted its implementation to allow negotiations. BBC
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