Tag Archives: Thein Sein

10 things you need to know today: May 21, 2013

Apple really doesn't like paying taxes.

Apple really doesn’t like paying taxes.

The Week

1. 91 FEARED DEAD AFTER OKLAHOMA TORNADO
massive tornado killed at least 51 people, including 20 children, as it blasted through Moore, Okla., on Monday. President Obama declared the area a major disaster, qualifying it for federal aid, as rescuers searched through the night for survivors and bodies. A state official said early Tuesday that as many as 40 more people might have died as the twister, with 200 mph winds, cut a two-mile-wide path through the Oklahoma City suburb, wiping out entire neighborhoods and two schools. [USA Today]
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2. SYRIAN REBELS FIRE ROCKETS AT HEZBOLLAH IN LEBANON
Israeli and Syrian troops exchanged fire over their shared border on Tuesday. The skirmish came after Syrian rebels fired rockets at Hezbollah militants in Lebanon on Monday. Hezbollah fighters over the weekend reportedly helped Syrian government forces retake the strategically important border town of Qusair. President Obama called Lebanese President Michel Sleiman to stress his concern about Hezbollah’s involvement, which diplomats say might help turn the civil war into a regional conflict. [Associated PressCNN]
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3. SENATE PANEL SAYS APPLE SAVED BILLIONS WITH TAX SHELTERS
A Senate investigation unveiled Monday accused Apple of using a “complex web” of offshore shell subsidiaries to avoid paying taxes on $74 billion in profits earned overseas between 2009 and 2012. Such schemes are common, but Senate staffers said Apple’s tax strategy was unprecedented in its use of multiple affiliates with no employees or offices. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly plans to forcefully defend the tech giant in testimony before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. [Washington Post]
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4. SECTARIAN VIOLENCE SURGES IN IRAQ
A string of car bombings and suicide attacks killed more than 70 Shiite Muslims across Iraq on Monday. It was the worst single day of sectarian violence since U.S. forces withdrew from the country in 2011. The attacks pushed the death toll from clashes between Shiites, who now rule Iraq, and minority Sunni Muslims to 200 over just the last week, raising fears that the country could be spiraling back into all-out civil war. [Reuters]
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5. GUATEMALAN COURT THROWS OUT RIOS MONTT’S CONVICTION
Guatemala’s highest court on Monday overturned a genocide conviction against former dictator Efrain Rios Montt, 86, who had been sentenced to 80 years for massacres of members of the Maya-Ixil ethnic group in 1982 and 1983. The ruling marked a setback for human-rights activists, who had hailed the May 10 conviction as a blow against impunity. Rios Montt will remain under house arrest, though, and prosecutors will try to re-do the disputed final weeks of the trial. [New York Times]
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6. OBAMA URGES MYANMAR LEADER TO CONTINUE REFORMS
President Obama welcomed President Thein Sein of Myanmar to the White House on Monday in the first visit by a leader from the once-pariah Asian state, also known as Burma, in 47 years. Obama urged Thein Sein to continue allowing democratic reforms. Obama also pointedly said that violent repression against minority Muslims “needs to stop.” Myanmar’s leader responded by saying that the country’s democracy is just two years old, and needs more time to take hold. [New York Times]
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7. MUSHARRAF GETS BAIL IN BHUTTO CASE
Former Pakistani military leader Pervez Musharraf was granted bail on Monday in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case. Musharraf has been accused of failing to provide proper security for the former prime minister after she returned from self-imposed exile in 2007. Musharraf will remain under house arrest, as he faces several other charges, but legal experts said the decision to grant him bail suggested that the military might be exerting pressure to get him out of his legal troubles. [BBC News]
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8. NORTH KOREANS RELEASE CHINESE FISHING BOAT
Gunmen in North Korean military uniforms released a Chinese fishing boat on Tuesday after holding the vessel’s crew for two weeks. The hijacking of the boat, which owner Yu Xuejun said was in Chinese waters, was the latest in a series of incidents that frayed relations between Pyongyang and its increasingly frustrated allies in Beijing, although foreign-policy experts said ransom-seeking rogue border guards — not the North Korean regime — were probably responsible. [Associated Press]
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9. VOLCANO DISRUPTS FLIGHTS IN ALASKA
An eruption from one of Alaska’s most active volcanoes has forced the cancellation of regional flights, local officials said Monday. Pavlof Volcano has been sending ash as high as 22,000 feet, and lava flowing from its 8,261-foot peak is sending up clouds of steam as it hits snow on the mountain’s sides. Commercial airliners, which fly higher than the small planes serving remote fishing towns and villages in the area, still haven’t been affected. [Reuters]
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10. DOORS KEYBOARDIST RAY MANZAREK DIES
Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist for the Doors, died Monday in Germany after a battle with bile-duct cancer. He was 74. Manzarek and Jim Morrison met at UCLA in 1965, and put together the band. Manzarek’s electric organ contributed to the Doors’ music its unmistakable sound. By the time Morrison died in 1971, the Doors had released six Top 10 albums and 15 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Light My Fire,” “Hello, I Love You,” “Touch Me,” and “Riders on the Storm.” [Los Angeles Times]

 

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10 things you need to know today: November 19, 2012

The Week

Obama makes a historic visit to Myanmar, the civilian toll rises in Gaza, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

Israeli soldiers prepare an artillery emplacement overlooking Gaza on Nov. 19.

Israeli soldiers prepare an artillery emplacement overlooking Gaza on Nov. 19.

1. OBAMA MAKES HISTORIC MYANMAR VISIT
On Monday, President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar, aiming to encourage the country, also known as Burma, to continue implementing democratic reforms and shake off the international isolation that came with decades of military rule. Obama met with both President Thein Sein, a former junta member who has presided over reforms since taking office in March 2011, and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Obama, who has sent the first U.S. ambassador in 22 years to Myanmar and eased sanctions, said he had come to “extend the hand of friendship,” adding that “the flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished.” The visit comes as part of a three-day Southeast Asia trip aiming to demonstrate Obama’s commitment to the region in a bid to counter China’s rising influence. [New York Times]
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2. ISRAEL’S GAZA ASSAULT TAKES MOUNTING TOLL
Israel’s air strikes continued for a sixth day in the densely populated Gaza Strip on Monday, pushing the civilian toll to 91. After warning that it would step up strikes on the homes of suspected Hamas activists, Israel fired missiles on Sunday that destroyed a two-story house, killing 11 people, mostly women and children. Israel says its campaign is focused on hitting “terror sites” used by Islamist militants who have been firing rockets into Israel, and President Obama has backed Israel’s right to defend itself. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is traveling to neighboring Egypt, which is trying to broker a peace between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza. [Washington Post]
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3. GLOBAL STOCKS LIFTED BY FISCAL CLIFF TALKS
Stock markets rebounded around the world early Monday thanks partly to apparent progress made in talks between President Obama and congressional leaders on avoiding the fiscal cliff. There was a global sell-off last week as investors became increasingly worried that gridlock in Washington would prevent Congress from reaching a deficit reduction deal that would avert $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to hit on Jan. 1, potentially sending the U.S. economy back into recession. But the mood shifted after congressional leaders left a Friday meeting at the White House expressing confidence they could reach an agreement. [Reuters]
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4. PETRAEUS HIRES LAWYER
Former CIA director General David Petraeus has hired a high-powered Washington lawyer, Robert Barnett, to help him map out a future following the exposure of his career-ending extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Barnett is best known for his work negotiating book deals for the nation’s biggest political stars, including President Obama and former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Politico reported that no Petraeus book is in the works, though. Petraeus, who testified Friday before congressional committees on the deadly Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, is under investigation by the CIA, the Justice Department, and Congress. [Reuters]
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5. ACTIVISTS PROTEST KEYSTONE PIPELINE
More than 3,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., on Sunday to urge President Obama to reject the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Mitt Romney had vowed to approve construction of the 1,700-mile pipeline, saying it would be a huge job creator, but Obama has dismissed pressure from Republicans to rush the matter, saying the administration needed to take sufficient time to assess the potential for environmental damage and other problems from the pipeline, which would extend from Alberta, Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. [CNN]
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6. SOLDIER FACES CHARGES FOR IRAQ RAMPAGE
A U.S. soldier will face charges Monday for a 2009 shooting spree in Baghdad that killed five fellow U.S. servicemen. The arraignment hearing is a step toward a trial that could result in the death penalty. Sgt. John Russell is accused of five counts of premeditated murder in a case that military leaders said may have been triggered by combat stress. Russell’s lawyer has said his client could face execution “because the Army’s mental health system failed him.” [Reuters]
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7. ROMNEY LATINO SURROGATE REJECTS “GIFTS” CLAIM
One of Mitt Romney’s top Latino campaign surrogates, Carlos Gutierrez, expressed outrage on Sunday over the former GOP presidential candidate’s assertion that minorities voted for President Obama because he gave them “gifts,” such as health-care reform and college-loan interest forgiveness. “I was shocked. And frankly I don’t think that’s why Republicans lost the election,” Gutierrez told CNN. “I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn’t belong.”
[Huffington Post]
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8. WALMART COUNTERS BLACK FRIDAY STRIKE
In a rare move, Walmart has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in a bid to stop a union-backed group from staging protests against the company on Black Friday, the launch of the holiday shopping season and the discount chain’s busiest day of the year. The group, known as OUR Walmart, is planning to demand better pay and benefits for Walmart workers by staging demonstrations online and outside hundreds of Walmart stores. [New York Times]
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9. FINAL TWILIGHT FILM RULES BOX OFFICE
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 steamrolled the competition at the box office, grossing $141 million in its opening weekend. The fifth and final film in the wildly popular vampire franchise easily swept past Skyfall, which last week posted the best debut ever for a James Bond film. (Skyfall hauled in $41.5 million over the weekend). Breaking Dawn — Part 2 boasts the eighth highest-grossing opening ever, and the fourth highest of 2012, but it fell just short of New Moon‘s 2009 record ($143 million) for best Twilight opening weekend. [TV Guide]
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10. BIEBER RULES MUSIC AWARDS
Teen superstar Justin Bieber dominated Sunday night’s American Music Awards, winning favorite pop/rock artist and album awards as well as the ceremony’s top prize, artist of the year. The night’s most flashy performance came from Korean rapper PSY and MC Hammer, who teamed up to perform the South Korean pop star’s viral hit Gangnam Style. Still, the 18-year-old Bieber, who performed solo and with Nicki Minaj, came out the big winner. “I want to say this is for all the haters who thought I was just here for one or two years,” Bieber said. “I feel like I’m going to be here for a very long time.” [Associated Press]

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