News You Should Read Today – February 17 – 2016

China deploys antiaircraft missiles in South China SeaChina deploys antiaircraft missiles in South China Sea

Military officials in the U.S. and Taiwan have confirmed that China has deployed advanced surface-to-air missile systems on Woody Island, one of the Paracel Island chain controlled by China for the last 40 years but also claimed by Vietnam and Tawian.

The placement of the anti-aircraft batteries — believed to by China’s HQ-9, with a range of 125 miles — was discovered by civilian satellite company ImageSat International as President Obama was wrapping up an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Rancho Mirage, California, where one topic was de-escalation of tensions in the South China Sea. China both denied having recently placed the missiles on Woody Island and defended its “right to self-protection.” The Wall Street Journal



US Presidential election newsUS Presidential election

Donald Trump The first post-debate poll by Public Policy Polling reveals Trump remains solidly in first place in South Carolina, with 35 percent support and a 17-point lead over the rest of the GOP field less than a week ahead of the state’s Republican primary. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are tied for second with 18 percent apiece. The poll, taken on Feb. 14 and 15, has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points. The Hill



US approves first American factory in Cuba in 5 decadesUS Cuba restore commercial flights

US and Cuban officials signed a pact Tuesday restoring commercial flights between the two nations. The deal, arranged in December, means scheduled air travel between the two nations will be possible for the first time in more than 50 years, when relations worsened during the Cold War.

US airlines must submit Cuban route proposals to the government by March 2. The Transportation Department is expected to make approvals by mid-March, allowing up to 110 round trips between the US and Cuba each day. Time



Apple to oppose iPhone court orderApple to oppose court order

Apple CEO Tim Cook said late Tuesday that the company would oppose a federal judge’s ruling ordering the technology giant to help investigators break into an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino, Calif., shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in December in a mass shooting at a county public health facility. The pair subsequently died in a gun battle with police. An iPhone was recovered from the scene but because investigators don’t know the passcode they have been unable to access the phone’s data.

A court now wants Apple to help the FBI gain that access by giving it “reasonable technical assistance.” Cook said Apple would resist that order. USA Today



Fomer UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali dies at 93Ex UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali dies at 93

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has died at the age of 93. Boutros-Ghali, a veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped forge his country’s peace agreement with Israel, was the U.N.’s sixth secretary-general, serving from 1992 to 1996.

His U.N. tenure was marked by several climactic world events — the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, the emergence of the United States as the single global military power and violent humanitarian crises in Africa and the Balkans.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to his predecessor, recalling that Boutros-Ghali had led the world body during “one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history” and presided over “a dramatic rise in U.N. peace-keeping” missions around the globe.

But Boutros-Ghali’s five years at the helm of the U.N. remain controversial, remembered for his clashes with the United States, which ultimately blocked a second term for him as secretary-general, making him the only single-term U.N. chief. He was replaced by Ghanian Kofi Annan in 1997. VOA

GOP and Dems clash over Scalia's replacementObama challenges Senate to hold hearings on court nominee

President Barack Obama says the U.S. Constitution is pretty clear that when there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the Senate is to consider whomever the president nominates.

Obama told reporters in Rancho Mirage, California, on Tuesday that he challenged anyone to give him a plausible rationale why the Senate would refuse to hold hearings on his choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

He said there was no unwritten law saying a president who is about to leave office because his term is expiring cannot nominate a justice.

Obama said the Supreme Court was the one part of the federal government where Americans would expect elected officials to rise above politics. He said he would do his job until the end of his term and that senators should also. VOA

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