The $400 million in cash that the U.S. government gave to Iran was not ransom money, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday. The transfer occurred around the same time that a deal on nuclear energy and the release of four Americans occurred. The, money, said Kerry, was settlement of payment for weapons sold to Iran in 1979 which were never delivered. In addition to the cash payment, $1.6 billion in interest was owed. “The United States does not pay ransom and does not negotiate ransoms,” Kerry told reporters in Buenos Aires, according to the Associated Press.
COULD A NATIONAL ELECTION BE RIGGED?
President Barack Obama pushed back Thursday at Donald Trump’s suggestion that the 2016 presidential election might be “rigged.” The Republican nominee on Wednesday that “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged. I have to be honest.” He referred to Bernie Sanders’ unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination, and to recent decisions by federal courts striking down some ID requirements for voting as evidence of possible fraud. Obama noted that the federal government doesn’t run elections; that job is performed by state and local governments.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is extending her lead in the average of polls as aggregated by the RealClearPolitics website. The last dozen national surveys have Clinton leading Republican nominee Donald Trump. The margins range from one percent (L.A. Times/USC) to 10 percent (Fox News). The average is 5.8 percent in the Democrats’ favor. The FiveThirtyEight.com website, which called all the states correctly in the 2012, puts Clinton’s chance of winning now at 73.3 percent.
ZIKA FEARS TAKING FLIGHT
Concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus have started to bubble up into the political arena. Congress has been unable to agree on an administration proposal for $1.1 billion to fight Zika. The deadlock on The Hills stems from a provision added by House Republicans blocking funding for Planned Parenthood in Puerto Rico. Money for anti-Zika work will run out by Sept. 30, according to the Associated Press.
The Midday report is posted Monday through Friday as staff time permits. Want more national and international news? Go to http://bigstory.ap.org .
Categories: The Wider World