News You Should Read Today – January 29 – 2016

US presidential election newsUS Presidential Election news

The GOP presidential field debated Thursday night at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. During both the Fox News-sponsored undercard and prime-time debates, the candidates slapped at Donald Trump, who boycotted the prime-time debate because Megyn Kelly was a moderator, as well as President Obama and Hillary Clinton. There were some clashes between the candidates as well, with Marco Rubio saying Ted Cruz was “willing to say or do anything for votes,” and Jeb Bush calling out his rivals for not going after Trump more. Trump held a separate event of his own Thursday night, which he said raised $6 million for veterans. The Week

Fact Check: FOX News moderator Megyn Kelly played several video clips that appeared to show Florida Senator Marco Rubio changing his position on immigration. He was asked to reconcile his opposition to granting amnesty for undocumented immigrants in the United States, a position he held during his 2010 Senate bid, and his sponsorship of a bill in the Senate in 2013 that would grant those people a path to U.S. citizenship.

Fact Check: Rubio and Cruz both admonished the Obama administration; Rubio accusing the president of reducing the size of the military and Cruz saying Obama has “dramatically degraded” the military. But, the amounts spent on weapons modernization are about the same as they were during former president George W. Bush’s term, The Associated Press reported.

Fact Check: Regarding the fight against IS, Cruz accused President Barack Obama of “not arming the Kurds.” But, according to AP, the U.S. has allocated a substantial amount of weapons and other military equipment to help the Kurds fight the Islamic State group, and is sending the aid. However, under a deal with the Iraqi government, the materials are required to be sent to the Iraq government, which then doles out the resources to both Iraqi and Kurdish troops.

Fact Check: Regarding the Affordable Care Act, Cruz reiterated several common refrains heard during the campaign, that it is a “job-killer” and that people “have lost their health insurance, have lost their doctors, have seen their premiums skyrocket.” But, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said earlier this month that the U.S. unemployment rate was holding steady at 5 percent. When Obama signed the health care law in March 2010, the nation’s jobless rate was 9.9 percent. The economy has added more than 13 million jobs over that period. The number of Americans without coverage reached a historic low of 9 percent in 2015, according to the government’s National Health Interview Survey. More than 16 million people have gained coverage since 2013, before the law’s big coverage expansion got under way, the AP reported.

Fact Check: Even though he wasn’t on stage with his fellow Republican candidates, Trump made his own accusation regarding the U.S. trade deficit with China. “China, this year in trade, will make over $500 billion in terms of our trade deficit. $500 billion. That’s no partnership, and I’m a free trader. I love free trade. But we have to use our head. And we use political hacks to negotiate with the Chinese,” he said, according to the AP. However, AP reported that Trump should re-check his numbers. Trump appeared to be referring to the total U.S. trade deficit with every country in the world — which totaled about $508 billion in 2014. VOA News



Stocks surge on Japan's negative rates surpriseStocks surge on Japan’s negative rates surprise

It’s the last trading day of January and it’s off to a positive start thanks to a surprise move by Japan’s central bank.

Japan goes negative, markets go positive: The Bank of Japan is stepping up its efforts to push the country’s struggling economy forward by taking interest rates to minus 0.1%, and will go even lower if needed. In theory, negative rates encourage consumers to save less, and borrow and spend more. They can also weaken a country’s currency, helping exporters.

Unsurprisingly, the yen dropped sharply versus all major global currencies on Friday. The interest rate move pushed Japan’s key stock market index up by 2.8%.

The interest rate move in Japan is having ripple effects around the world. U.S. stock futures are rising by about 1% as investors cheer the latest official effort to pump free money into the financial system. European markets are also rising by about 1% to 2%. And all Asian stock markets closed the week with gains. CNN



Apple recalls power plugs over electric shock riskApple recalls power plugs over electric shock risk

Apple company is recalling millions of power adapters because they could cause an electric shock.

Apple said on Friday the two prong wall plug adapters affected were designed for use in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Argentina and Brazil.

The plugs in question were shipped between 2003 and 2015 with Macs and other Apple devices, and were also included in the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. In very rare cases, the adapters may break and create a risk of electrical shock if touched, the company said in a statement.

“Customer safety is always Apple’s top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to exchange affected wall plug adapters with a new, redesigned adapter, free of charge,” Apple said. The adapters affected have four or five characters or no characters on the inside slot where it attaches to an Apple power cord, the company said. CNN



Zika virus spreading rapidlyZika virus spreading rapidly

The explosion of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the Americas comes as tens of thousands of people are poised to descend on Brazil later this year for the Olympics, possibly making the international games a springboard to transmit the virus around the world when visitors return home.

Dr. Beth Bell of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told VOA “For most people, the Zika virus is not a problem. It can cause mild, flu-like symptoms, but the virus can also cause babies to be born with a serious condition called microcephaly.”

Zika virus has been tentatively linked to 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil, a condition that results in abnormally small heads and brains in newborns. There is no treatment for microcephaly. VOA News



Central African Republic children 'abused by EU troops' - UNCentral African Republic children ‘abused by EU troops’ – UN

The UN says it has new allegations of child sex abuse by European troops in the Central African Republic (CAR). A number of girls aged between 14 and 16 have alleged they were raped by Georgian members of the EU’s operation Eufor, the UN says. Meanwhile a seven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy said they were abused by French troops.

The troops were sent to stem violence between Christian militias and largely Muslim rebels. The rebels seized power in March 2013 – in response, the militias took up arms against them.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place near a camp for displaced people near Bangui Airport in 2014 but only came to light in recent weeks during interviews with a UN team. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said he was “extremely alarmed” at the continuing allegations against peacekeeping troops. BBC

Ancient Babylonians 'first to use geometry'Ancient Babylonians ‘first to use geometry’

Sophisticated geometry – the branch of mathematics that deals with shapes – was being used at least 1,400 years earlier than previously thought, a study suggests. Research shows that the Ancient Babylonians were using geometrical calculations to track Jupiter across the night sky.

Previously, the origins of this technique had been traced to the 14th Century. The new study is published in Science. Its author, Prof Mathieu Ossendrijver, from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, said: “I wasn’t expecting this. It is completely fundamental to physics, and all branches of science use this method.”

The Ancient Babylonians once lived in what is now Iraq and Syria. The civilisation emerged in about 1,800 BC. BBC

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