Top News Stories For Today – Oct 26, 2017
Thailand begins final goodbye to King Bhumibol
A ceremony in an ornate throne hall Thursday morning began the transfer of the remains of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej to his spectacular golden crematorium in the royal quarter of Bangkok after a year of mourning for the monarch Thais hailed as “Father.”
Three separate and intensely solemn processions involving thousands of troops, a golden palanquin, a chariot and a royal gun carriage will move the royal urn representing Bhumibol’s remains from the Dusit Maha Prasad Throne Hall to the crematorium. The journey along a 1.2 mile route will take at least three hours and is being watched by tens of thousands of mourners dressed all in black and broadcast across the country. VOA
Opioid crisis a public health emergency
On Wednesday night, President Trump told reporters that he is “going to have a big meeting on opioids” Thursday, and White House officials tell USA Today that Trump will order the Health and Human Services department to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency, a step short of the national emergency he promised to declare in August and again last week.
Trump said the order would give the federal government the “power to do things that you can’t do right now,” and White House officials said the renewable 90-day order would give states more flexibility to spend the $1 billion for opioid treatment Congress approved last year, plus tap other funds. Trump’s opioid commission had recommended a more robust national emergency declaration. USA Today, The Associated Press,The Week
Bipartisan health bill would reduce deficit by $3.8 billion
Analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released Wednesday found that the recently unveiled health-care bill written by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) could cut the US deficit by $3.8 billion over the next decade. The bipartisan proposal likely wouldn’t have a significant effect on health insurance premiums, the CBO estimated, but neither would the bill drastically reduce the number of citizens with health-care coverage.
All 48 Senate Democrats support the Alexander-Murray proposal, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday, and he also said the bill would “pass overwhelmingly” in the House. Alexander said he has 12 Republicans onboard as well, which would give the bill the 60 votes it would need to pass the Senate. Reuters,The Week
Kenya presidential election
Kenyans are voting today for a new president for the second time in three months, in an election that the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, is boycotting — a move that essentially guarantees victory for President Uhuru Kenyatta. Odinga called on his supporters to skip the vote too.
This election is being rerun because Kenya’s Supreme Court invalidated Kenyatta’s August 8 victory, citing irregularities, following charges by Odinga that the results were electronically tampered with. But then Odinga turned around and dropped out of the race, saying no electoral reforms had been implemented for the October vote. Turnout today is expected to be low, and police have fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in Kisumu, where the opposition has strong support. CNN
JFK assassination documents to be released today
Thursday is the deadline Congress set 25 years ago for the release of the remaining government files on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President Trump, who can withhold some of the documents if he decides they compromise government sources or methods, teased the release again on Wednesday, tweeting: “The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow.
So interesting!” The CIA has been urging Trump to withhold some information, while scholars and conspiracy theorists — including longtime adviser Roger Stone — are pushing Trump to release every scrap of information. The Associated Press,The Week
Trump campaign and WikiLeaks connection
In an email last year, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics firm hired by President Trump’s campaign, told a third party he had contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about how he could help him release some of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, The Daily Beast reports, citing two people familiar with the congressional investigation into ties between Trump associates and the Russian government.
Nix’s email indicates that Assange refused the offer, saying he worked alone. If Nix’s claims are true, this is the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Assange. Assange told The Daily Beast “an approach by Cambridge Analytica” was rejected. It is unclear if Assange or anyone else has access to Clinton’s deleted emails. The Daily Beast
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