Opposition takes win in monumental Myanmar elections
The party of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi claimed victory Monday in virtually every seat in four states where results of Myanmar’s historic parliamentary election were known, signaling a sweep that could give it the presidency and further loosen the military’s stranglehold.
The announcement at the headquarters of the National League for Democracy set off a new round of jubilation among the party’s red-shirted supporters, who already had been celebrating the result of Sunday’s vote.
The United States congratulated Myanmar on the election but noted that more work remains ahead on the country’s road to democracy.
Obama launches personal Facebook page
President Barack Obama launched his own personal Facebook page Monday, in a fresh attempt from the social media-savvy president to spread his message through nontraditional channels.
“President Obama, public figure” casts the president as a regular guy, not a politician. Obama gained more than 200,000 likes in the first three hours his page was live. Obama has long had a Twitter account, and his political campaigns have run a Facebook page under his name for years. “Barack Obama, politician” is still run by an iteration of that political operation, Organizing for Action.
In his inaugural video post, Obama gives a small tour of his “backyard” at the White House, noting he often sees a fox on the grounds, a hawk named Lincoln and other “critters.” Obama then works in a plug for his work fighting climate change and asks for support in trying to “preserve this beautiful planet of ours” for future generations.
SeaWorld to end orca shows by 2017
SeaWorld will end its orca shows at its San Diego park by 2017, its top executive said Monday, saying customers at the location have made clear they prefer killer whales acting more naturally rather than doing tricks.
CEO Joel Manby told investors that the park — where the iconic shows of killer whales doing flips and other stunts debuted decades ago — will offer a different kind of orca experience focusing on the animal’s natural setting and its behaviors, starting in 2017.
Animal rights activists called the move a marketing gimmick and want the company to phase out holding whales in captivity at all.
The Orlando, Florida-based company has seen revenue drop since the 2013 release of the documentary “Blackfish” that examined how orcas respond to captivity, particularly in the case of Tilikum, a killer whale that caused trainer Dawn Brancheau’s 2010 death by pulling her into a pool at SeaWorld Orlando.
Americans shot by Jordanian police officer
A Jordanian police officer opened fire Monday at a regional police training center in the Jordanian capital, killing two Americans, two Jordanians and a South African before being shot dead, the Jordanian government spokesman said.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said at one point that the death toll had apparently risen to eight, but Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momani disputed that figure.
The attack also wounded seven people, including two Americans, three Jordanians and a Lebanese, Momani said.
He said authorities are investigating whether the attacker’s motive was personal or political.
Jordan, a close U.S. ally that has a peace treaty with Israel, has long been seen as an island of relative stability in a turbulent region. Over the past year, the pro-Western kingdom has taken on a high-profile role in the fight against extremists, including the Islamic State group, which controls large areas of neighboring Iraq and Syria.
Russia slammed in doping report, faces possible Olympic ban
Russia’s status as a sports superpower and its participation in track and field events at next year’s Olympics came under threat Monday after a report accused the Russians of widespread, state-supported doping reminiscent of the darkest days of cheating by the former East Germany.
The findings by a commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency were far more damaging than expected. It means that two of the world’s most popular sports — soccer and track and field — are now mired in scandals that could destroy their reputations.
The WADA investigation’s findings that Russian government officials must have known about doping and cover-ups, with even its intelligence service, the FSB, allegedly involved, threatened to severely tarnish President Vladimir Putin’s use of sports to improve his country’s global standing. Russia hosted the last Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 and will hold the next World Cup in 2018.