Friday April 14, 2017 5 Top Stories to Start Your Day
It is Easter weekend but finding peace may be difficult for the United States. Increasing tensions between the US, Korea, Syria, Russia and of course, ISIS are making the idea of peace very unlikely. The United States is not looking for war but we will not sit idly by when atrocities like the chemical attack in Syria take place. North Korea is threatening to test a nuclear bomb this weekend, the United States will not allow this threat to humanity to take place.
Here are the headlines for Friday April 14th.
1. On Thursday, United State military forces dropped the country’s biggest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan, in an effort to destroy a system of tunnels and caves used by ISIS forces in Nangarhar province, northeastern Afghanistan. President Trump stated the mission was “another successful job.” The bomb known as “mother of all bombs,” with the weapon is officially known as the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB). The bomb itself is 30 feet long, weighs 21,600 pounds and is packed with 18,000 pounds of explosives. According to Air Force officials, the explosion sent a cloud of dust 10,000 feet into the air and generated a fire blast several hundred yards wide. The huge mushroom cloud could be seen from 20 miles away. As many as 36 suspected Islamic State militants were killed in the strike on Thursday evening, Afghan defense officials said, adding there were no civilian casualties.
2. The United States and North Korea are rattling swords as the leader of North Korea, President Kim Jong-un threatens that the country will be testing a nuclear bomb this weekend. Vice Minister Han Song Ryol stated Friday in an interview with AP, “we’ve got a powerful nuclear deterrent already in our hands, and we certainly will not keep our arms crossed in the face of a U.S. pre-emptive strike,” Han said. “Whatever comes from the U.S., we will cope with it. We are fully prepared to handle it.” NBC News reported Thursday that the U.S. is prepared to launch the strike against North Korea with conventional weapons. The U.S. has two destroyers that can shoot Tomahawk cruise missiles in the area, and that one of the destroyers is located 300 miles from the North Korean nuclear test site. North Korea released a statement Thursday stating that “By relentlessly bringing in a number of strategic nuclear assets to the Korean peninsula, the US is gravely threatening the peace and safety and driving the situation to the brink of a nuclear war.”
3. The Russian connection between the Trump campaign and Russia continues to grow as new information has been released about then candidate Donald Trump’s foreign affair expert Carter Page. According to multiple sources, Page was the target of a FISA warrant which allowed the FBI to investigate Page’s ties to Russia. It is believed that Page acted as a foreign agent for Russia but new registered as such with the government. Page though is denying any type of collusion between himself and Russia. He stated, that the Obama administration for trying to “suppress dissidents who did not fully support their failed foreign policy. It will be interesting to see what comes out when the unjustified basis for those FISA requests are more fully disclosed over time,” said Page, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
4. The Commerce Department announced on Friday that U.S. retail sales fell for a second straight month in March. It was revealed that retail sales dropped 0.2 percent last month. February’s retail sales were revised down to show a 0.3 percent decrease instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent gain. In March, motor vehicle sales fell 1.2 percent, decreasing for a third straight month. Receipts at service stations dropped 1.0 percent, reflecting lower gasoline prices. Also sales of building material stores such as Home Depot, dropped 1.5 percent, most likely due to bad weather halted work at construction sites. There was a bright side with sales at electronics and appliances stores surged 2.6 percent, the largest increase since June 2015.
5. CNN reported Thursday that, “British and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials and other Russian individuals during the campaign and passed on those communications to their US counterparts.” The conversations that were caught were due to the investigation into Russian spies and routine intelligence gathering of Russian agents. The conversations are not what the Trump administration had stated earlier that former President Obama asked British intelligence to “tap” the Trump campaign. The conversations that were collected were done due to regular intelligence gathering by allies of the United States.
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