Top News Stories for Today – Aug 21, 2017
Total solar eclipse
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.
Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality. NASA
US Navy destroyer collide with tanker near Singapore
The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said 10 sailors are missing and five others hurt after the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and a tanker collided early Monday in the waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca.
The destroyer sustained damage on its left rear side. The ship is based in Yokosuka, Japan, and has 23 officers, 24 chief petty officers, and 291 enlisted sailors. On Sunday night, Trump tweeted out his “thoughts and prayers” to the sailors on the destroyer; earlier, when he was asked about the collision upon returning to the White House, Trump said, “That’s too bad.” The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Week
Trump expected to up US troop levels in Afghanistan
In a nationally televised address on Monday night, President Trump will lay out his new strategy for the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, and the strategy is expected to include sending over several thousand more US troops. There are currently about 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan as part of the 13,000-strong NATO force that’s training and advising the Afghan military, plus another 2,000 or so US troops conducting counterterrorism operations.
Trump gave Defense Secretary James Mattis the authority in June to deploy up to 3,900 more troops to Afghanistan, but Mattis has declined to do so without a broader strategy in place. On Sunday night, Mattis told reporters, “I am very comfortable that the strategic process was sufficiently rigorous and did not go in with a preset position.” The New York Times, Axios, Theweek
GOP committees paid Trump-owned entities $1.3 million this year
So far this year, Republican committees have paid close to $1.3 million to companies owned by President Trump, new Federal Election Commission records show. The Washington Post analyzed the records, and found that at least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties, and the Republican Governors Association have spent more than $473,000 combined at hotels or golf resorts owned by Trump, and his companies have received $793,000 from the Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign committee.
These payments have helped properties like Trump’s private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, which otherwise lost business because of Trump; in response to his reaction to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, 10 of the 16 galas and dinners planned for next winter at the club have been cancelled. The Washington Post, Theweek
Trump sends mixed messages in Boston response
President Trump responded on Twitter Saturday afternoon to the Boston counter-protest against a rally with ties to the white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. In his first two tweets on the subject, Trump praised Boston police and said the crowd seemed to contain “many anti-police agitators.”
Then, later Saturday, he took a more positive view of the counter-protest, thanking demonstrators for “speaking out against bigotry and hate” and lauding them for helping America heal. Boston police arrested 33 people at the counter-protest Saturday, which was estimated to have as many as 40,000 people denouncing the “Boston Free Speech” rally, which drew about 20 people. Though a few counter-protesters were arrested for throwing debris at officers, Boston’s police commissioner said injury and property damage were minimal because “99.9 percent of the people here were for the right reasons.” CBS News, The New York Times, Theweek
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