Top news stories for today

Top news stories for today – September 13, 2016


Obama to veto 9/11 victims bill

Obama urges Americans to unitePresident Obama is expected to veto a bill just approved by Congress to let victims’ families sue Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The bill would let courts waive sovereign immunity claims in cases of terrorism on US soil.

Saudi Arabia denies any link to the 9/11 attackers, most of who were Saudis, and the White House said stripping away sovereign immunity could give other countries an excuse “to haul US diplomats, US service members, or even US companies into courts all around the world.” Supporters of the bill say it will help victims’ families get justice. CNN



Syria’s ceasefire takes effect

Syria's ceasefire takes effectA truce negotiated by the US and Russia took effect in Syria at sundown Monday. The country was mostly calm, but residents of the divided city of Aleppo said that a government helicopter dropped bombs on a rebel-held neighborhood a few hours into the ceasefire, and a rebel group said it had killed four government soldiers in the southern province of Dara’a.

Under the deal, the US and Russia will start collaborative airstrikes against Islamist extremist fighters if the ceasefire holds for seven days. The New York Times, The Week



Taiwan reapplies for UN participation

Taiwan reapplies for UN participationTaiwan has asked its diplomatic allies to send the United Nations secretary-general a letter requesting participation in three U.N. agencies, an unusually aggressive application that answers domestic pressure for more international achievements, but one that is sure to be rejected by China.

The foreign ministry said Tuesday the letter would ask that Taiwan participate in the World Health Organization, the air security-focused International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.Taiwan also wants to join U.N. members in trying by 2030 to reach the body’s Sustainable Development Goals, which cover reductions in extreme poverty and greater climate change controls.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s first U.N. application, the most aggressive in seven years, will inevitably be rejected because of opposition from China. Beijing officials see self-ruled Taiwan not as a country with rights to U.N. membership, rather part of their own territory. They insist China and Taiwan eventually unify despite opinion surveys that show most Taiwanese oppose it.

Taiwan, under the legal name Republic of China, withdrew from the United Nations in 1971 as the much larger China was gaining diplomatic clout. China now has more than 170 diplomatic allies compared to Taiwan’s 22, giving it wide-ranging influence in today’s international body. VOA



Suu Kyi to discuss sanctions change in US visit

Suu Kyi to discuss sanctions change in US visitDe facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Washington Wednesday to discuss whether changes to the US sanctions against the country can help spur much-needed economic growth, a Myanmar official said.

It will be the first US visit by the State Counselor and Foreign Minister since her National League for Democracy (NLD) government assumed office in late March. Myanmar’s democratic transition, after decades of military rule, is considered a major foreign policy success of President Barack Obama’s outgoing administration, which is mulling how it can further support the process in the country also known as Burma.

During her meetings with President Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and leading members of Congress, including Republican Senator John McCain, Aung San Suu Kyi is also likely to address other challenges for her government. VOA



About 200 Zika cases recorded in Thailand

More than 30 US troops diagnosed with ZikaThailand has recorded about 200 cases of Zika since January, the health ministry said on Tuesday, making it a country with one of the highest numbers of confirmed cases in the region. It was the first time Thailand’s health ministry has confirmed the number of Zika cases this year.

The announcement comes a day after health experts called on Thailand to be more transparent in reporting the Zika threat to the public after health officials played down risks from rising infections of the mosquito-borne virus. Health officials have expressed concern that disclosing information on Zika, which is linked to serious birth defects, would damage Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry.

Singapore reported its first locally infected Zika patient on Aug. 27 and since then, the number of reported infections has soared to more than 300. Malaysia and the Philippines have also reported cases. The virus, which is affecting large parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, has been circulating in Asia for years. The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947. VOA

US Presidential election

Clinton didn’t think pneumonia would be ‘that big of a deal’: One day after her campaign revealed she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday that she is feeling “much better.” The diagnosis was announced on Sunday after Clinton was spotted stumbling as she left a 9/11 memorial service in New York City, and Clinton told Cooper she didn’t think it was “going to be that big of a deal. It’s just the kind of thing that if it happens to you and you’re a busy, active person, you keep moving forward.” Clinton said she tried to power through the illness. “Like anyone who’s ever been home sick from work, I’m just anxious to get back out there,” she explained on Facebook. “There’s so much at stake in this election, and we only have 57 days left in this campaign. I want to make each one count.” The Week, Facebook

 ‘Deplorable’ and proud: Some Trump supporters embrace the label: Just days after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton said half of Donald Trump’s supporters make up a “basket of deplorables,” some of those supporters are embracing the label. Among those whom Clinton dismissed as the “basket” cases there is a sense of pride in being insulted by the candidate they despise. A wide variety of “deplorable” merchandise is already available online. On the shopping website Etsy, one can find deplorable T-shirts, key chains, car decals, buttons, pendants, coffee mugs and even a deplorable pocket watch. This Trump supporter sported his deplorable gear at a campaign rally Monday: USA Today

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