10 things you need to know today: August 27, 2016

Andreas Solaro/Getty Images


1. Italy buries 35 earthquake victims as death toll hits 290
A state funeral was held Saturday for 35 of the victims of this week’s devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy. So far, 290 bodies have been found in Amatrice and nearby towns as rescuers continue to sift through rubble — though after three days there is little hope of locating additional survivors. “Don’t be afraid to bewail your suffering, we have seen so much suffering. But I ask you not to lose your courage,” said Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole at the funeral mass. “Only together can we rebuild our houses and churches. Above all, together we can give life back to our communities.”

Source: NBC News, Reuters

2. Trump fires back on Clinton’s accusations of racism
Donald Trump hit back at Hillary Clinton’s accusations of racism Fridayby releasing a video rehashing the Democratic nominee’s questionable remarks during the 2008 presidential primary, when she faced then-Sen. Barack Obama. The video shows Clinton crediting President Lyndon B. Johnson with bringing Martin Luther King’s civil-rights dream to fruition by passing the Civil Rights Act, rather than crediting King himself for launching the movement. Trump followed the video up with a tweet calling the Clintons the “real predators,” revisiting Clinton’s use of the term “superpredators” when discussing her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Trump’s response is the latest move in an escalating battle between the candidates as they volley accusations of bigotry back and forth; on Thursday, Clinton attacked Trump for his ties to the “radical fringe” of the right.

Source: Politico, Instagram

3. Maine governor says the ‘enemy’ is usually ‘people of color or people of Hispanic origin’
Speaking at a press conference Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the “enemy” his state faces is typically racial minorities. “Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is,” he said, responding to a question about whether Maine police engage in racial profiling in drug arrests. “When you go to war … You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that.” Earlier on Friday, LePage found himself in hot water when he followed up an expletive-filled voicemail to a state lawmaker by saying he’d like to shoot the representative in the head.

Source: The Hill, The Week

4. Federal judge limits enforcement of transgender bathroom law at UNC
A federal judge on Friday placed a temporary injunction on enforcement of North Carolina’s controversial bathroom law, H.B. 2, which requires people to use restrooms matching the sex listed on their birth certificate. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder’s ruling only applies to three transgender people at the University of North Carolina, one employee and two UNC students, who will now be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice on campus. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory stood by the law on Friday, saying it is a “very, very complex issue,” and asking for respectful disagreement. H.B. 2 will face constitutional challenge in court this fall.

Source: NPR, ABC 11 Eyewitness News

5. United States and Russia fail to reach Syria ceasefire deal
The United States and Russia are close to reaching agreement on national ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, but have yet to sign a deal. Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said there are still “a few narrow issues to be resolved” before a lasting accord can be reached. “We don’t want to have a deal for the sake of the deal,” he explained. “We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria.”

Source: NBC News, Reuters

6. French court rules against burkini ban
On Friday, France’s Council of State ruled against the controversial burkini ban, which outlawed a full-coverage swimsuit worn mostly by Muslim women. While the court’s decision only suspends the ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, it has the potential to reverse the estimated 30 bans already installed in other cities and once again allow women to wear the body-covering swimsuits on the beaches. French mayors banned the swimsuit because of “growing terror concerns,” CNN reported, but the court sided with the ban’s detractors, ruling that it “seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms.” The ruling is temporary, however, and a more definitive decision on the ban is still to come.

Source: The Guardian, CNN

7. Donald Trump’s doctor took 5 minutes to declare Trump the healthiest candidate ever
Donald Trump’s personal physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, wrote a letter in December declaring Trump the “healthiest individual ever” to have a shot at the presidency, with “astonishingly excellent” test results. Speaking publicly about the letter for the first time on Friday evening, Bornstein revealed he wrote it in “five minutes” while his limo driver waited outside. As for the remarkably Trumpian style of the note, Bornstein insisted he wrote it himself, but admitted he “might have picked up [Trump’s] kind of language and then interpreted it as my own.” Bornstein also justified his claim about Trump’s unparalleled health by saying all past presidents “are either sick or dead.”

Source: The Washington Post, The Hill

8. U.S. economy grew slower last quarter than initially estimated
Initial estimates of the economy’s growth last quarter turned out to be overconfident, new data released Friday shows. The latest gross domestic product figures released by the Commerce Department found the value of goods and services produced last quarter increased at a 1.1 percent rate, down from the 1.2 percent rate initially reported. The report did, however, reveal a higher rate of household consumption and an increase in worker wages, and economists remain optimistic the third quarter will show greater growth.

Source: Bloomberg

9. Obama is creating the world’s largest marine sanctuary off Hawaii’s coast
In 2006, President George W. Bush created a national marine sanctuary off the coast of Hawaii, and now, President Obama is more than quadrupling its size — from 139,800 square miles to 582,578 — making the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument more than 50 times larger than the Hawaiian Islands themselves. The expanded designation will put the biologically rich waters under protection of the Endangered Species Act, prohibiting commercial fishing and drilling, but allowing recreational fishing and traditional Hawaiian activity with a permit. Only Congress can create a national park, but presidents can unilaterally declare national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, and Obama has designated more than 548 million acres of federal lands and water, more than double the amount protected by any of his predecessors.

Source: USA Today, The Washington Post

10. Britney Spears releases ninth studio record
Pop legend Britney Spears released her ninth studio album Friday, the songstress’ first album in three years. Titled Glory, the record is Spears’ first offering since 2013’s much-panned Britney Jean, andEntertainment Weekly describes it as “her most adventurous album in a decade.” The album’s lyrics are sex-heavy and rebellious, perhaps unsurprising given Spears’ most recent project is a multi-year residency in Las Vegas. Glory has been met with mostly positive reviews, if not glowing: As theLos Angeles Times puts it, “For the first time in a decade in a half, feeling Spears’ energy doesn’t register as an act of vampirism.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times

10 things you need to know today: August 26, 2016

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


1. Clinton and Trump escalate harsh attacks
Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the “radical fringe” has taken over the Republican Party under its 2016 presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Clinton said Trump’s recent hiring of Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of hardline online news and opinion outlet Breitbart News, cemented his campaign’s ties with the website and its fans in the white nationalist and anti-immigrant “alt-right.” “The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for the alt-right,” Clinton said. Trump called Clinton’s remarks “smears and lies about decent people,” and repeated his branding of Clinton as a “bigot.”

Source: Time, The Washington Post

2. U.S. patrol boat fires warning shots at Iranian vessel
A U.S. Navy patrol boat, the USS Squall, fired three warning shots into the water near an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessel that had harassed it. The harassment was the latest in a series of provocations by Iran that threaten to escalate, U.S. defense officials said Thursday. The Iranian craft also came dangerously close to another U.S. patrol boat, and a Kuwaiti naval ship. The incident came a day after an Iranian military vessel made a high-speed approach toward a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz in what a U.S. official called an “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuver.

Source: The Washington Post, CNN

3. 11 killed in car-bombing of Turkish police checkpoint
An apparent car bombing killed 11 people and injured at least 70 others at a police checkpoint and headquarters building in Cizre, Turkey, on Friday. Four of the wounded were hospitalized in critical condition. The attack came two days after Turkey sent tanks and special operations into Syria in a bid to drive Islamic State fighters out of a Syrian border town, one of the Islamist group’s last strongholds on the border. State-run media blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party, but no group immediately claimed responsibility.

Source: CNN, Reuters

4. Striking miners kill Bolivian deputy interior minister
The Bolivian government said striking miners kidnapped and killed the country’s deputy interior minister, Rodolfo Illanes, on Thursday. The government was unable to immediately retrieve Illanes’ body, but Defense Minister Reymi Ferreira said it appeared that Illanes had been “savagely beaten” to death after he and his body guard were kidnapped on a highway miners have blocked since Tuesday. The miners are demanding better union representation and the right to work for private companies. Illanes was on his way to talk to the protesters. Two miners were fatally shot in clashes with police, and 100 have been arrested.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC News

5. Orlando hospitals decline to bill nightclub shooting survivors
Orlando hospitals that treated survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre, which left 49 victims dead, are not charging the patients for out-of-pocket expenses, according to Thursday news reports. Orlando Regional Medical Center, one of the two hospitals that treated most of the 53 people injured, said it plans to turn to a victims’ fund and patients’ insurance plans to cover the costs. The other facility, Florida Hospital, said it would not even bill victims’ insurance companies. The bills they will absorb total more than $5.5 million.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, The Associated Press

6. Aftershocks hit in Italy as rescuers search for earthquake survivors
Strong aftershocks rattled central Italy’s Apennine Mountains earlyFriday as rescuers continued trying to reach possible survivors from rubble left by this week’s 6.2-magnitude earthquake. The biggest aftershock, measured at 4.7 or 4.8 magnitude, opened new cracks in some crumbling buildings in the devastated town of Amatrice. The first funerals for the 267 people killed in the quake were scheduled for later in the day.

Source: The Associated Press

7. Homeland Security investigates hack against comedian Leslie Jones
The Department of Homeland Security has launched an investigation into the hacking of comedian Leslie Jones’ iCloud account, department officials said in a statement released Thursday. The hackers on Wednesday posted nude photos of the Ghostbusters star, along with personal information and a racist video tribute to the dead gorilla Harambe on Jones’ website. A month ago, Jones faced a barrage of online abuse that led her to briefly leave Twitter. She returned after the site banned Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, whose fans heaped insults on Jones after he wrote a scathing review of the newGhostbusters film.

Source: Fortune

8. Georgia man gets 40 years for attack on sleeping gay couple
A judge this week sentenced a Georgia man, Martin Blackwell, to 40 years in prison for throwing scalding water on two gay men sleeping on a mattress. The attack, which the judge called “soulless,” burned the men so badly that both needed skin grafts. One had to be put into a medically induced coma. Blackwell saw his girlfriend’s son, Anthony Gooden, and his boyfriend, Marquez Tolbert, in Gooden’s mother’s apartment. He then boiled water, and returned to the room to throw it on the couple. “You had so many outs where the voice of reason could have taken over,” Superior Court Judge Henry Newkirk told him.

Source: The New York Times

9. National Park Service celebrates 100th anniversary
The National Park Service celebrated its centennial on Thursday, offering free admission to all 412 parks in the system through Aug. 28. The first National Park was actually designated in 1871, with President Ulysses S. Grant signing the legislation in 1872 to preserve Yellowstone National Park. Then, President Woodrow Wilson signed the law creating the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and… wildlife therein.” Last year, more than 300 million people visited national parks.

Source: Voice of America, USA Today

10. Brazil charges Lochte with filing false report
Brazilian police on Thursday charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, with filing a false crime report. The charge stems from a drunken incident in which Lochte and three teammates were detained by armed security guards at a gas station and made to pay for damaging an advertising poster outside a restroom. Lochte later claimed he had been robbed at gunpoint by men claiming to be police. Lochte, who returned to the U.S. last week before the Rio Olympics closed, got some good news when cough drop maker Pine Bros. signed him to an endorsement deal after he was dropped by Speedo, Ralph Lauren, and two other sponsors.

Source: CNN, NBC News

Are Networks Being Fully Forthcoming About Their Campaign-Paid Contributors?

Are Networks Being Fully Forthcoming About Their Campaign-Paid Contributors?

 Corey Lewandowski appears on CNN’s “OutFront” to comment on the Republican nominee’s potential VP choices.


Last night, Anderson Cooper had an awkward exchange with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, during which the host asked him about CNN’s relationship with former Trump campaign head Corey Lewandowski. Colbert was interested in the impartiality, or lack thereof, that Lewandowski might display because of his continued ties to Trump.

“You all are paying him and Trump is paying him… and he’s on your show doing analysis for a man he still gets cash from?” Colbert asked Cooper.

“Pretty much,” Cooper replied, with a bit of a stutter.

After being asked if Cooper still respects Lewandowski’s opinion, he hedged, saying, “We have people from all the campaigns… I mean, we have campaign surrogates for Hillary Clinton on.”

Cooper was attempting to make the point that campaign representatives were invited onto the networks all the time, to discuss the candidates they work for. This was a side-step, however, away from what Colbert was underscoring: that Lewandowski was not supposed to be a representative of Trump invited to make a one-time appearance on the network; he was instead a contributor being paid by CNN while simultaneously collecting money from the man he was hired to critique — or simply observe, as it happens.

Last month, nearly three weeks after Lewandowski was hired, CNN began to disclose that he was still receiving “severance” from the Trump campaign. Lewandowski later admitted that was still advising the Trump campaign, and continues to work at CNN.

Although Lewandowski’s hiring at CNN seems to run directly contrary to the idea of impartial coverage (especially considering Lewandowski signed a non-disclosure agreement and, knowing Trump, that may include language about disparaging Trump), there are several political “commentators” who regularly appear on networks that have significant ties to major political campaigns.

In fact, a report earlier this year by The Intercept found that networks frequently failed to disclose pundits’ ties to campaigns. The report cited several specific examples, including Stephanie Cutter, who is a political pundit often referred to as a “former campaign official for President Barack Obama,” but who has done work to the tune of over $100,000 for the Clinton campaign through her consulting firm.

Sara Fagen, who generally appears with the tagline “Republican strategist,” regularly appeared on CBNC during the primaries, and neither Fagen nor the network disclosed that the consulting firm she co-founded was paid over half a million dollars by the Bush campaign.

So it’s not just CNN: multiple networks seem to be deliberately keeping viewers in the dark about the true ties between their contributors and major campaigns.

When viewers do find out, however, there is often outrage, as has been the case with the Lewanowski disclosures. TheWaPo report discussed CNN’s attempted reboot of Crossfire, and the heat the network took after having Rand Paul on the show, to whom host Newt Gingrich had given money. At no time was that fact disclosed on the show, of course.

Here’s the network’s response to the Crossfire SNAFU:

Crossfire hosts have never been required to disclose their contributions regarding guests on the show because their political support and activism are there for all to see. It’s obvious they support liberals or conservatives.

A non-response response like that indicates the network believes their viewership is dumb enough to accept it. Although it may be obvious which way a network host or contributor leans, the nitty gritty of funds being directly paid by major political candidates is often purposely obscured.

The responsibility is on the networks first to disclose to viewers that their coverage may be impacted by the presence of paid campaign surrogates, in all instances. The continuing employment of Lewandowski by CNN, however, indicates that networks aren’t concerned with transparency.

Alums accuse Florida Christian school of ignoring student racism after post about ‘N-word’

A Confederate flag display allegedly used for an art show at The First Academy school in Florida. (Facebook)

A Confederate flag display allegedly used for an art show at The First Academy school in Florida. (Facebook)


Instagram post has led to accusations that a Christian school in Orlando, Florida has turned a blind eye to racism and homophobia on the part of students, WKMG-TV reported.

The allegations against The First Academy (TFA) began when New York Daily News columnist Shaun King shared a picture on Facebook attributed to a current white student asking all her “fans” about how to use the “N-word.”

“Is it n**ga or n**ger” the student asked. “I think n**ga is more respectful and [another student] thinks it isn’t supposed to be used as a respectful term. So. Like for n**ger comment for n**ga.”

King then began publishing what he described as emails he received from both First Academy alumni and current students.

“The student body is very racist,” a TFA student said in one post. “They, for example, hang confederate flags from their cars, and place them as their iPhone backgrounds. They even, believe it or not, sculpt them and submit them into TFA art shows.”

The post included a picture of what appeared to be a flag matching that description, as seen below:


King also posted a letter from someone describing themselves as a student at First Academy from pre-K through their sophomore year of high school, who said officials “covered up sexual assault, children bringing alcohol to school and drinking in mid day, severe bullying, inappropriate teachers, failing students, cheating students, harrassment, forced religious beliefs.”

The same person said another student was forced to submit to counseling for being gay under the threat of expulsion.

Another post, from an alumnus identifying himself as a gay man read in part:

… In my last period class this one upperclassman girl exclaimed “oh my god he’s gay!” and the whole class fell silent and the teacher didn’t even do a thing.

This began my spiral into 4 years of hell and me relapsing into depression. I constantly had to keep my sexuality under wraps, the school’s hate filled atmosphere changing my perception on not only my own parents or how the world felt towards me but driving me away from God.

On Thursday morning, King wrote that the school “is going to need serious legal representation” based on the letters he had received.

“I’m sure as they read this, they know full well what I’m talking about,” he said. “They have to.”

Officials with the school, which is affiliated with the First Baptist Church or Orlando, have not responded to King’s allegations aside from the issue involving the post with the anti-black slur. According to WKMG, officials took “disciplinary action” against the students involved but did not specify how they were punished.

“Have we been doing enough? The answer is no,” school president Steve Whitaker said in a statement. “However, we will continue to learn from this experience and are committed to the necessary and important work to grow as a school community in this area of racial reconciliation.”

Apple is reportedly working on its own version of Snapchat

Apple is reportedly working on its own version of Snapchat

Image Credit: Getty Images


Apple is reportedly making a foray into social media. According to Bloomberg, Apple is “starting to develop a video-sharing app that allows users to record video, apply filters and drawings to the media.” Sound familiar? These features strongly resemble Snapchat.

The new app, which is unnamed in the report, is “designed to be used mostly with one hand” and will allow users to shoot, edit and upload videos in under one minute. Users can share this media with contacts — presumably iOS only — and send clips to “existing social networks.” Twitter is the example given, and prototype designs allegedly utilize Instagram’s square-shaped video, which could hint at the photo-sharing app’s involvement, as well.

Apple is reportedly working on its own version of Snapchat
Apple’s alleged social media app will resemble Snapchat
Source: Carl Court/Getty Images

Bloomberg adds that Apple’s new social media app is being developed by the team responsible for Final Cut Pro and iMovie. This suggests an emphasis on video editing, but sources close to the project maintain it will be “simple” and appeal to users familiar with Snapchat and Instagram.

Apple is reportedly shooting for a 2017 release date, but the report warns the app could be “killed if it doesn’t meet the company’s timetable and expectations.”

iOS 10, which is coming this fall, includes a number of features inspired by Snapchat. Larger emojis, handwritten messages, stickers and drawing ink on videos and photos are all coming to iMessage. Apple appears to be joining Instagram on a mission to “borrow” from Snapchat.

Aric Suber-Jenkins

West Virginia AG Spokesperson Fired For Her Role in White Supremacist Video


YouTube Screenshot


In the six-minute video, which features several women dressed in white tank tops, Bowe repeatedly makes the case that a “white genocide” is occurring, citing immigration and forced assimilation of whites.

“Throughout elementary school, junior high, high school and college, I was told that my race, the white race, was the cause of all the world’s problems,” Bowe said in the video that was also posted by the Gazette-Mail.

On her Facebook page, which was cited by the Gazette-Mail, Bowe apologized her involvement in a “project,” which she claimed she had never seen finished earlier in the week.

“Unfortunately, I did not view the finished edit – my understanding of the project was not the reality of the completed product or the malice intentions of its creators. And while this action cannot be undone, I am working with all of my power to remove the content,” she said. “I have prayed and mourned about this and I hope others can find the grace to hear my heart. I offer my most sincere apologies. Please know that I am TRULY sorry.

See More

UH-OH: Sarah Palin Sounds Ready To Declare WAR On Trump

UH-OH: Sarah Palin Sounds Ready To Declare WAR On Trump

Featured image via YouTube


Sarah Palin has stepped out of the shadows and sent a warning shot across Donald Trump’s bow. Largely silent for most of the election since she endorsed Trump some months ago, Palin is speaking out after Trump made comments that have been interpreted as a change in his anti-immigration position.

While there’s no actual concrete policy shift, and just comments made on cable news, Trump has said he could back away from his proposed plan for a mass deportation of undocumented immigrants.

That has angered Palin, who went on the record with the Wall Street Journal.

In recent days, Mr. Trump has shifted away from calling for mass deportation of illegal immigrants to suggesting some could stay if they paid back taxes.

“If Mr. Trump were to go down a path of wishy-washy positions taken on things that the core foundation of his support has so appreciated, and that is respecting our Constitution and respecting law and order in America, then yeah, there would be massive disappointment,” Mrs. Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2008, said in a telephone interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Parts of that message we heard in the last week are clearly not consistent with the stringent position and message that supporters have received all along.”

Support from Palin undoubtedly helped Trump during the primaries, especially when she had previously been associated with more traditional conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz.

But since then she has been on the backburner. He has done few campaign events with her, and she did not receive a speaking slot at the Republican Convention in Cleveland. When asked about the apparent snub, Trump made the bizarre claim, “It’s a little bit difficult because of where she is. We love Sarah. Little bit difficult because of, you know, it’s a long ways away.” Palin has previously spoken at conservative events like CPAC on the east coast without any transportation problems.

By Oliver Willis

Jeb Bush Comes Out Of Hiding To Call Trump ‘Abhorrent’ And ‘Disturbing’

Jeb Bush Comes Out Of Hiding To Call Trump ‘Abhorrent’ And ‘Disturbing’

attribution: none


During the GOP primary campaign, Donald Trump spent a lot of time calling Jeb Bush “low-energy,” but the former Florida governor was fired up on Thursday when he slammed the Republican nominee’s recent behavior, specifically on the subject of immigration.

In an exchange on Rita Cosby’s ‘Election Central’ radio program, Bush talked about Trump’s verbal waffling on immigration – even though his actual policy remains unchanged – and said it’s impossible to know what Trump’s views really are.



Bush said:

I can only say that whatever his views are this morning, they might change this afternoon, and they were different than they were last night, and they’ll be different tomorrow. So I can’t comment on his views because his views seem to be ever changing depending on what crowd he’s in front of. Sounds like a typical politician, by the way…all the things Donald Trump railed against, he seems to be morphing into. 

I don’t know what to believe about a guy who doesn’t believe in things. I mean he doesn’t … this is all a game. He doesn’t … his views will change based on the feedback he gets from a crowd, or, you know, what he thinks he has to do. Life is too complex. For me, I couldn’t do that. I have to believe what I believe, and if it’s popular, great, if it’s not, I try to get better at presenting my views. But shifting my views because, because it’s political to do it? That’s what politicians do in this country, that’s what Trump is trying to do right now. I find it abhorrent.

What Donald Trump has been doing lately is try to have it both ways.

He ridiculed Jeb Bush during the primary campaign for his stance on immigration, but he’s now trying to adopt Bush’s (low-energy?) tone, all while sticking closely to the same policies that his anti-immigrant base will applaud.

Trump claims to be the only non-politician in the race, but his behavior certainly indicates that he is doing political backflips to avoid losing any more support than he already has against Hillary Clinton.

Trump knows he is losing, so he’s trying to con his way back into the race. If Jeb Bush’s statements are any indication, his waffling isn’t doing a very good job of winning back disaffected, moderate Republicans.


10 things you need to know today: August 25, 2016

Carl Court/Getty Images


1. Death toll rises after Italy earthquake
Rescuers rushed Wednesday to reach people trapped in rubble following the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck central Italy. The death toll from the quake reached at least 247, but it was expected to rise. More than 1,000 people have been displaced, and emergency-response officials ordered residents not to sleep in the mostly destroyed historic town of Amatrice on Wednesday night, as regular aftershocks posed an ongoing danger.

Source: CNN, BBC News

2. Trump calls Clinton ‘a bigot’
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump escalated his criticism of Hillary Clinton in his bid to win more support from minorities, calling his Democratic rival “a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future.” Clinton responded by saying that Trump has questioned President Obama’s citizenship, “courted white supremacists,” and been sued for housing discrimination in minority neighborhoods. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream,” Clinton said.

Source: CBS News, CNN

3. 13 killed in attack on American University of Afghanistan
Several gunmen, some reportedly wearing explosive vests, attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul on Wednesday, killing 13 people, including seven students. Students pinned down by the militants were seen jumping from second-story windows to escape the gunfire and explosions. Afghan security forces surrounded the walled school compound and exchanged fire with the militants.

Source: The New York Times

4. Iranian ships intercept U.S. destroyer
Four Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels “harassed” an American destroyer, the U.S.S. Nitze, near the Strait of Hormuz this week, a U.S. official said Wednesday. Two of the Iranian vessels ignored repeated warnings and came within 300 yards of the Nitze in a“high-speed intercept” that was “unsafe and unprofessional,” and could have escalated, the official said on condition of anonymity. The incident was the latest in a series of tense situations in the region, including Iran’s brief detention of 10 U.S. sailors in January.

Source: Reuters, CNN

5. Colombia reaches peace deal with rebels after decades of war
The Colombian government reached a historic peace deal with rebel leaders in Havana on Wednesday. “We do not want there to be one more victim in Colombia,” the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also known as FARC, said in a joint statement. Under the deal, FARC will lay down its arms, and its leaders will probably avoid prison. The agreement, if it holds, will mark the end of the longest running conflict in the Western Hemisphere after five decades of fighting that left 220,000 Colombians dead.

Source: USA Today, The Washington Post

6. 4 die in Myanmar earthquake
At least four people died Wednesday when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Myanmar, also known as Burma. The quake damaged at least 171 brick pagodas out of about 2,200 pagodas, and 10th- to 14th-century Buddhist temples and pagodas in the historic city of Bagan, one of the country’s top tourist destinations. The quake was centered fairly deep — about 52 miles — underground, which helped limit its surface damage.

Source: Los Angeles Times

7. Obama creates national monument in Maine
President Obama created a new national monument in Maine’s North Woods on Wednesday in a move intended to honor the National Parks Service’s centennial. “This designation will build on the robust tradition of growing the park system through private philanthropy, and will reinforce the need to continue protecting our great outdoors as we enter the second century of the National Park Service,” the White House said in a statement. The formation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument ends a controversial effort by Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby to give the land to the government for a new national park.

Source: The Washington Post

8. French authorities consider whether burkini bans are legal
France’s highest administrative authority, the Council of State, is holding a hearing Thursday to consider whether local bans on the full-body burkini are legal. Rights groups have called bans imposed this summer in several towns discriminatory, and religious tensions have risen in recently days after police have been photographed forcing Muslim women in burkinis to partially disrobe on public beaches. Aheda Zanetti, the swimsuit’s Lebanese-Australian inventor, said sales have skyrocketed since the bans took effect. A decision on whether to overturn the policies is expected within 48 hours.

Source: Time, The New York Times

9. Potentially habitable planet discovered near Earth’s solar system
Researchers have discovered the closest potentially habitable planet to Earth, according to findings published Wednesday in the journalNature. The planet orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, about 25 trillion miles — or 4.25 light-years — away from Earth. It is too distant to be visible to the naked eye. Few details are known about the planet, other than that it is a little more massive than Earth and completes a trip around its star every 11 Earth days. Its temperatures would be mild enough for any water on the planet to be in liquid form.

Source: Nature, NPR

10. U.S. Soccer suspends Hope Solo for 6 months
U.S. Soccer suspended women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo for six monthson Wednesday following an outburst against the Swedish team during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Sweden defeated the U.S. 4-3 on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, and Solo, 35, said because they focused on defense rather than offense, they were “a bunch of cowards.” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said Solo’s comments were “unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our National Team players. Beyond the athletic arena and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.”

Source: The Associated Press, BBC News


10 things you need to know today: August 24, 2016



1. Powerful earthquake devastates Italian mountain towns
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit central Italy on Wednesday, killing at least 37 people. The quake struck at a shallow depth of just over six miles, magnifying its impact. The worst damage was reported in the town of Accumoli near the epicenter and about 65 miles northeast of Rome, and in the nearby mountain towns of Amatrice and Arquata del Tronto, which were left largely in ruins. “The town is no more,” Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said. “I have an appeal to make: We have access roads to the town cut off and people under the rubble, help us.”

Source: BBC News, CNN

2. Obama promises help on visit to flooded Baton Rouge neighborhoods
President Obama toured flood-ravaged neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday, pledging to provide federal aid needed to help clean up and rebuild. “What I want the people of Louisiana to know is that you’re not alone in this, even after the TV cameras leave,” Obama said. He brushed off criticism from Republicans, including presidential nominee Donald Trump, that he should have cut short his summer vacation to visit last week, saying his focus has been on getting Louisiana the federal resources it needs. “This is not a photo-op issue,” he said.

Source: USA Today, The Wall Street Journal

3. Turkey deploys tanks against ISIS in Syrian border town
Turkey sent tanks and special forces across the border into Syria earlyWednesday in a push to drive Islamic State fighters out of the Syrian border town of Jarablus. The offensive, backed by U.S. warplanes and special forces advisers, marked Turkey’s most significant involvement yet in Syria’s civil war, now in its sixth year. Turkish warplanes and artillery hammered ISIS targets in THE area, one of the Islamist group’s last strongholds along the border, before the ground forces went in. Turkey also hopes to stop Syrian Kurdish rebels from extending their self-proclaimed autonomous Kurdish region.

Source: The Associated Press

4. North Korea launches missile toward Japan
North Korea on Wednesday launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, the South Korean military said. The missile reportedly came down at sea in Japan’s air defense identification zone. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the test “an impermissible and outrageous act that represents a grave threat to the security of Japan.” The incident came two days after South Korea and the U.S. started annual joint military maneuvers that the North condemned as a step toward invasion.

Source: Reuters, The Associated Press

5. FBI investigates hacking attempt against New York Times
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. security agencies are investigating cyberattacks that targeted reporters at The New York Timesand other news organizations, federal officials said Tuesday. The hackers are believed to have been working for Russian intelligence as part of a broad series of security breaches that also targeted Democratic Party accounts. The Times said hackers targeted is Moscow bureau but there were no indications that they managed to breach the system’s security.

Source: CNN, Reuters

6. Clinton surges to 12-point lead over Trump in new poll
Hillary Clinton extended her lead over Donald Trump to 12 percentage points in a national Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, was backed by 45 percent of likely voters polled. Thirty-three percent supported Trump, the GOP nominee, while 22 percent said they would not vote for either of them. In a four-way race, Clinton had 41 percent, Trump had 33 percent, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson had 7 percent, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein had 2 percent. In early August, Clinton’s lead over Trump in the same poll ranged from 3 to 9 percentage points.

Source: Reuters

7. Trump open to ‘softening’ his immigration proposals
Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday that he was open to “softening” his position on illegal immigration. The Republican presidential nominee vowed in the primaries to deport all 11 million of the undocumented immigrants estimated to be in the U.S. Trump has been losing ground in polls, and he has launched a push to win over minority voters to broaden his appeal. In a town hall meeting, Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked Trump whether he was open to making exceptions for some immigrants, as his new campaign chief has suggested. “There certainly can be a softening,” Trump said, “because we’re not looking to hurt people.”

Source: Politico

8. Labor board rules working graduate students are university employees
The National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday that private-university graduate students who teach and serve as research assistants qualify as school employees. The 3-to-1 decision gives them the right to join or form unions, overturning a 2004 Brown University ruling in which the board said giving grad students union rights ran counter to the purposes of graduate education, because students in many programs have to teach and participate in research projects to earn their degrees. Universities argued that changing working students’ status would shift their relationships with their schools, changing it from educational to economic.

Source: The Washington Post

9. EpiPen maker faces backlash over soaring prices
Criticism is mounting against drug maker Mylan over massive price increases for its EpiPen injectors, which are used to quickly treat severe allergic reactions. The average wholesale price of EpiPens has increased by nearly 500 percent since 2009. The steady, steep increase has been thrust into the spotlight this week as parents are stocking up on EpiPens as they send their kids back to school and are being hit with high deductibles, prompting public criticism of the company by members of Congress, doctors, and consumers.

Source: USA Today, The Washington Post

10. Clinton gets fundraising windfall from Hollywood
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel hosted a star-studded fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at their Hollywood Hills home on Tuesday, helping the Democratic presidential nominee raise $3.36 million, based on attendance figures and ticket prices reported by the campaign. The $33,400 per person luncheon added to a Clinton fundraising blitz in California that has brought in $11 million so far. Clinton had her best month so far in July, raising $52.3 million, compared to Republican rival Donald Trump’s haul of $36.7 million, also his best month to date.

Source: CNN, Variety