Top News Stories For Today – Oct 27, 2017
JFK assassination files
Classified government files on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy have finally been released. There was nothing much new. There’s a report in there detailing plans for a CIA-mob plot to kill Fidel Castro. We learn that the FBI got a death threat against assassin Lee Harvey Oswald the day before he was killed. There’s also a CIA memo on a call Oswald had with a KGB officer a few months before the assassination.
Those are interesting nuggets, to be sure, but nothing really earth-shattering yet. More than 2,800 documents were released, so it may take a few days for scholars, journalists and conspiracy nuts to go through it all. President Trump still blocked the release of about 300 files, at the request of spy agencies, so probably, there are still more secrets to be unearthed. CNN
Australia’s deputy PM disqualified from Parliament
Australian Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull at least temporarily lost his governing majority on Friday when Australia’s High Court ruled that his deputy prime minster, Barnaby Joyce, and five other members of parliament are ineligible to serve because they held dual citizenship when elected.
Three of the seven lawmakers implicated in a dual-citizenship flap that began over the summer belong to Turnbull’s governing coalition, which drops to 75 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, from 76 before Joyce’s departure. Joyce renounced his New Zealand citizenship after discovering he was a dual citizen, and he’s eligible to run for his old seat in a Dec. 2 special election. BBC News, The New York Times, The Week
US rabbis demand Israel stop selling arms to Myanmar
More than 300 American rabbis and cantors are petitioning Israel to stop selling weapons to Myanmar, which the U.N. says is responsible for ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims. A separate group of Israeli rabbis has made a similar appeal.
Israel’s foreign minister has “vehemently denied” any involvement in the violence in Myanmar, also known as Burma. But an Israeli official said the government was “reassessing” its weapons sales to Myanmar. VOA
US House narrowly passes budget resolution
The House on Thursday narrowly passed a budget resolution, furthering the GOP’s goal for comprehensive tax reform by the end of the year. The measure passed 216-212, with all Democrats voting against it. The $4 trillion budget for 2018 calls for $1.3 trillion in cuts to all non-Medicare health-care initiatives, plus a $473 billion cut to Medicare itself. Other welfare programs, like food stamps and pensions, would suffer $653 billion in cuts.
The budget, which was approved 51-49 in the Senate last week, additionally allows for Republicans to pass their $1.5 trillion tax cut plan in the Senate with only a simple majority. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said Thursday that Republicans would introduce their tax bill Nov. 1 and begin committee markup Nov. 6. he Wall Street Journal, Vox, The Week
Burundi withdraws from International Criminal Court
Burundi has become the first nation to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Burundi had announced its plan to withdraw a year ago, saying the court focused too much on Africa. Amnesty International immediately reacted, saying Burundi’s withdrawal “does not in any way absolve Burundi of its obligations to end ongoing widespread human rights violations, or to address its abject failure to deliver justice for victims at the national level.”
The rights group said, “The ICC can continue its preliminary investigations regardless of Burundi’s efforts to stop its work by withdrawing from the Court. Even if President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government will not cooperate with the Court, the ICC has ways and means to investigate and persecute the crimes committed.” VOA
US on Opioids crisis
We saw a different side of President Trump while he was declaring the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. In his remarks at the White House, the President personalized his anti-drug message by talking about his older brother’s struggle with addiction. Fred Trump Jr. was an alcoholic and died in 1981 at age 43. Trump said his brother’s untimely death is why he doesn’t drink.
As for the health emergency declaration, it directs federal agencies to give more grant money to combat the epidemic. That’s less sweeping action than many thought Trump had promised. Many expected the President to declare a national emergency, which would have opened up FEMA money to fight the epidemic. But White House officials say FEMA money should be used to fight natural disasters, not health emergencies. CNN
Hundreds of Christian in Iraq forced to flee
Hundreds of Iraqi Christian families who recently returned to their hometown after being displaced for years by the Islamic State were forced to flee again from a town in northern Iraq because of conflict between Iraqi government forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. They were warned by the Iraqi army on Tuesday evening to flee the town because Iraqi forces were planning to retake the Kurdish-controlled town with heavy weapons and shelling on Wednesday after skirmishes and gunfire broke out during the day on Tuesday.
About 1,000 Christian families had settled back into the town, which lies about 20 miles north of Mosul, after it was liberated from the Islamic State a year ago. The town has been viewed as somewhat of a model for the return of Christians to their ancient homeland in the Nineveh Plains. The Christian Post
- Blaming Suu Kyi will not end the Rohingya crisis
- Conspiracy theories in Myanmar's Rohingya crisis
- Growing Asian-American community could influence US elections
- Myanmar, one of Asia’s most abusive armies deploys armed drones