1. President Obama is in Vietnam today and has announced the total elimination of our embargo against communist our former enemy. He says such a move will normalize relations with Vietnam and eliminate a “lingering vestige of the Cold War”.
Obama said the United States is eager to boost trade with the middle-class of Vietnam. He is pushing for a twelve nation Transpacific Trade Agreement that Congress doesn’t want to pass and that faces strong opposition from all the 2016 presidential candidates.
2. Mullah Achtar Monsouron, the leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan, was killed Saturday in an airstrike. His killing its feared will bring a halt to the peace talks that had been going on between Afghan leaders and the Taliban.
3. Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban said Sunday on “Meet The Press) he has zero interest in being a third-party candidate. But then added that he would “absolutely” consider being either Donald Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s Vice President.
Cuban also said that maybe he will run for president in 2020 or 2024.
4. The Church of Scotland has voted 339 to 215 to allow its gay ministers to marry. The vote also means church ministers will now be able to register same-sex civil partnerships or solemnize same-sex marriages themselves.
In a confusing statement, leaders of the Church of Scotland said that this new law within their church “doesn’t compromise the Church’s traditional view of marriage as a union between one man and one woman”.
5. Ahmad Karimpour, a senior advisor to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards elite al-Quds Force, told the semi–official Fars News Agency reporters yesterday that if the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave the order to destroy Israel, the Iranian military could do it in eight minutes.
Khamenei has continually threatened that Iran will annihilate Israel.
6. In an unrelated story, this past Thursday Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon abruptly resigned. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t disappointed. In fact, it fit in with the Prime Minister’s changing of his guard.
On the way to the door after Yaalon resigned, he hollered at Netanyahu that as defense minister he had lost faith in the Prime Minister’s decision-making and in his morals.
All of this is happening at a moment when Israel is coming very close to the end of a ten year 30 billion dollar package from the United States. It is the largest amount of money we give to any foreign country and Netanyahu is asking America to raise that figure to 40 billion dollars for the next decade.
The Prime Minister says if Obama doesn’t give Israel that money, he is certain the president who replaces him will.
7. At least 65 people have been killed during several explosions in Syria, in Tartus and Jableh. Both cities are strongholds of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The killings involved two car bombs that exploded several minutes apart in jampacked bus stations in both cities. And in Jableh, a hospital and the electric company were struck. The Islamic State has claimed they carried out the “successful” killings and destruction.
8. Austrian Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has emerged victorious from Sunday’s run-off election against the Green Party candidate Alexander van der Bellen by a vote of 51.9% to 48.10% – a vote sending shockwaves all over Europe.
The European Union will see its first-ever far-right head of state. Polling showed a tight race between Hofer and Greens-backed Alexander Van der Bellen, who ran as an independent. Then the majority broke through.
Candidates from both centrist parties were eliminated in April in the first round of voting, the first time that’s happened since World War II.
The losing candidate’s platform stood for “direct democracy, nonviolence, ecology, solidarity, feminism and self-determination”. The winning candidate opposed all these things.
Hofer ran on a platform of “Austria first,” and is against forced multiculturalism, globalization and mass immigration.
Hofer stunned the media and many of the people in Austria by carrying a Glock gun very openly in all of his rallies, calling it the “natural consequence” of immigration.
University of Linz Economics Professor Frederich Schneider explained what Hofer’s victory means for Austria and in many parts of Europe. Professor Schneider said “The shift to the right comes from the refugee crisis on one side and from the euro crisis on the other, from the dissatisfaction with the European Union.”
Hofer winning Austria’s presidency absolutely signals that drastic changes will be made to current Austrian policies. It is a historic moment in Austrian politics.”
In another evaluation of Hofer’s victory, Arnold Kammel, the director of the Austrian Institute for European Policy and Security in Vienna said “The victory of Mr. Hofer will be some kind of sign for this kind of anti–establishment, anti-traditional party movements in Europe that have been on track of taking over the current politics, which have posed some challenges not only from Austria, but for Europe as well.”
Previous to Austria, there have also been far right advances in France, Sweden, Holland, Finland, Norway and Greece, who have a feeling of being taken over by illegal aliens and to have many other complaints about what is happening when the left leads.
90,000 aliens entered their border this year, all of them intending to stay – that’s more than 1% of Austria’s 8 point 6 million population. Hofer has promised the people “You will be surprised what can be done by a president.”
9. Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, the president of Egypt, has sent a submarine that belongs to Egypt’s Oil Ministry to the side of the tragic air crash of EgyptAir Flight-804 in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to search for the cockpit voice and flight data recorders that would be contained in its black boxes.
The final words of the pilot sounded extremely normal and not at all rattled. He said “This is 0-7-2-5 Padova control.(Then he said something unintelligible) 8-0-4. Thank you so much. Good day, er, good night.”
There are signs that smoke had come from the lavatory and permeated the plane. But we’ll just have to wait to see what actually happened.
10. Just in case you didn’t hear this over the weekend, it is no exaggeration to say that when Nyquist was beaten by Exaggerator at Saturday’s Preakness, and millions of dollars were lost. Of course, millions of dollars may have been won as well.
In fact, Nyquist wasn’t even second; he was third. Cherry Wine was second.
Tragically, in earlier races at Preakness Saturday, two horses died. One was the winner of the first race, Homeboykris. No one knows why, including the veterinarians who examined her, but she keeled over on her way back to the barn.
Then during the fourth race the four-year-old filly Pramedya broke her left front cannon bone and had to be euthanized on the track.
Jockey Daniel Centeno broke his collarbone when Pramedia fell.
And finally… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Three mayors walk into an elevator…and then what happened? Well, this actually did happen last Thursday night and for forty minutes it was no joke.
The mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bill Peduto, along with the mayor of Millvale and the mayor of Leetsdale, stepped onto a Westin Hotel in Allegheny. The door closed and nothing happened. They just stood there looking at each other in great wonder.
Mayor Peduto said “It really wasn’t that bad. We all liked each other so we just stood there and waited. There were others with us in the same elevator and they joined in the conversation.”
Finally, one of the other passengers was able to make a cell phone connection that led to the summoning of a maintenance crew and first responders who used walkie-talkies.
The mayor said “The biggest thing that happened besides getting help was that we took a great selfie to honor the occasion.”