U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached on a “nationwide cessation of hostilities” in Syria, to begin in one week. During international talks, the major powers agreed to a plan that would deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Syria on Saturday, CNN reports.
The “cessation of hostilities” does not apply to jihadist groups like the Islamic State, Kerry said. A diplomatic source told Reuters that there was not a “deal on the immediate end of Russian bombings, but we have a commitment to a process that if it works would change the situation.” Reuters via The Week
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met for a combative debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday evening, on the heels of Clinton’s blowout loss to Sanders in New Hampshire. In one testy exchange, Sanders reminded Clinton that she’s “not in the White House yet.” Faced with a question about the historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy — she would be the nation’s first female president — Sanders reminded the audience that his election would be a big “historical accomplishment as well.” The candidates also sparred over foreign policy, campaign finance, and race relations. Perhaps the most tense moment of the night came when Clinton said Sanders’ criticisms of President Obama was something she expected from Republicans, with a clearly angry Sanders calling that a “low blow.” The Week
After Bernie Sanders won big in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, both he and rival Hillary Clinton are shifting their focus to the next contests in Nevada and South Carolina, states with many more Hispanic and African American voters. On Thursday, the political wing of the Congressional Black Caucus, known as the CBC PAC, endorsed former secretary of state Clinton. VOA
Albert Einstein’s 100-year-old theory of general relativity has been confirmed by the detection of gravitational waves, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics reported Thursday.
The researchers observed a warp of space-time generated through the collision of two black holes, which marked the first time scientists have detected gravitational waves. The finding could change the way we understand astronomy and the universe. “There is a novel in it — there is no doubt,” said the Institute’s Professor Karsten Danzmann, likening the find to the discovery of the Higgs particle or the determination of the structure of DNA. BBC
Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has embarked on a trip that will take him to Mexico, with a stop in Cuba for a historic meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill.
Kirill is in Cuba for a state visit. The Holy See announced last week that Pope Francis will make a stop at Havana’s José Martí International airport to have a “personal conversation” with the patriarch and sign a joint declaration. Details of the declaration have not been made public.
The Friday meeting is the first of its kind; an effort to heal the 1,000-year-old schism that has divided Christianity between East and West. VOA
A vaccine against the Zika virus could be ready for initial human trials within months and be dispatched to affected regions for large-scale testing in 2017, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of USA, said Thursday.
Fauci expressed guarded confidence in a Zika vaccine being developed in U.S. government laboratories, noting that the work mirrors previous efforts to stop other mosquito-borne viruses, West Nile and dengue. After initial safety trials, determining the vaccine’s effectiveness would be the next step. VOA
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