Things you should know today – September 26, 2015

 

US economyUS economy grew at 3.9 percent in April – June quarter
The U.S. economy grew at an even faster clip in the spring than previously estimated. But that growth likely slowed in the summer, held back by global headwinds and turbulent financial markets. In the Commerce Department report,  the overall economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the April-June quarter, up from a previous estimate of 3.7 percent. The revision in second quarter growth was led by a boost in consumer spending, which expanded at a 3.6 percent rate, up from the previous estimate of a 3.1 percent advance. The stronger result reflected increases in spending on such consumer services as health care and transportation. Overall, the outlook on the U.S. economy for the remainder of the year remains fairly optimistic, supported by continuing job creation, increasing consumer spending, improvements in the housing sector, and solid manufacturing numbers. CNBC

 

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping have a drink after a toast at a lunch banquet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 12, 2014. Obama is on a state visit after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.  REUTERS/Greg Baker/Pool    (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4DTFJ

US and China reach agreements on climate change and cyber security
Visiting president Xi Jinping of China will make a landmark commitment on Friday to start a national program in 2017 that will limit and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. The move to create a so-called cap-and-trade system would be a substantial step by the world’s largest polluter to reduce emissions from major industries, including steel, cement, paper and electric power. China’s economy depends heavily on cheap coal-fired electricity, and the country has a history of balking at outside reviews of its industries. Domestic and external pressures have driven the Chinese government to take firmer action to curb emissions from fossil fuels, especially coal. Growing public anger about the noxious air that often envelops Beijing and many other Chinese cities has prompted the government to introduce restrictions on coal and other sources of smog, with the side benefit of reducing carbon dioxide pollution. The New York Times

 

Pope-Francis 1Pope Francis at the UN, 9/11 memorial and a Madison Square Garden mass
On his last date in New York pope Francis demands UN respect rights of environment over the “thirst for power” in a wide-ranging speech to the General Assembly in which he also called for a ban on nuclear weapons. At an inter-faith service at the 9/11 memorial, the pope hoped that good would come from suffering and condemned “wrongful and senseless loss of innocent lives”. He embraced clerics and members from many faiths, including an Imam and a Rabbi. At a mass for 20,000 people at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden, the pope prayed that New Yorkers would reach out to those who have “no right” to be in the city – the homeless, elderly and immigrants – so they are no longer merely part of the urban landscape. Pope does not like a lot of security, and he is a little tired. The Guardian

 

 

syrian rebelsUS-trained rebels give equipment to al-Qaeda affiliate
A group of US-trained Syrian rebel had surrendered six pick-up trucks and ammunition to the al-Nusra Front this week – apparently to gain safe passage. Congress has approved $500m to train and equip about 5,000 rebels to fight against Islamic State militants. But the first 54 graduates were routed by al-Nusra Front, the military said. Gen Lloyd Austin told US lawmakers last week that only “four or five” US-trained rebels were still fighting.  Pentagon spokesman Cpt Jeff Davis said “Unfortunately, we learned late today that the NSF (New Syrian Forces) unit now says it did in fact provide six pick-up trucks and a portion of their ammunition to a suspected al-Nusra Front (group),”. It happened on 21-22 September. BBC

 

 

supermoonHow to see the supermoon eclipse this weekend
One of the most unusual celestial events in years will be visible across North America and other parts of the world this weekend. Take a look up at the night sky Sunday after dusk to get a look at the supermoon eclipse. According to NASA, anywhere in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and eastern Pacific will see the supermoon eclipse. The earliest signs of Earth’s shadow dimming the moon will begin at 8:11 p.m. Eastern time. The partial eclipse will begin at 9:07 p.m. EDT, as the moon passes directly into Earth’s shadow. The total eclipse will last a little over an hour, from 10:11 p.m to 11:23 p.m. EDT. The last moment of the partial eclipse will pass at 12:27 a.m. This weekend’s eclipse marks the end of a tetrad, or series of four total lunar eclipses set about six months apart. This series began in April 2014. The 21st century will see eight of these tetrads, an uncommonly good run. From 1600 to 1900, there were none. CBS news