Top news stories for today – August 28, 2016
Italy earthquake 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.” NBC News, Reuters
Maine governor says the enemy is people of color
Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) said “the enemy” in his home state is overwhelmingly made up of people of color. “Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you?” he said at a press conference about suspected racial profiling by police, the Huffington Post reported.
“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. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.”
LePage made headlines Friday when an explicit voicemail that he left a state lawmaker, lashing out after apparent accusations of racism, was released.. The Hill
Turkish airstrikes kill civilians in Syria
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 20 people were killed in the village of Jub-al-Kousa.Fifty people were wounded in the attack in an area controlled by militia allied to the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The Observatory says another air strike killed 15 civilians and wounded 20 others near the town of al-Armana.
Turkish-backed fighters skirmished Saturday with Kurdish forces in northern Syria, pushing the two US allies in the war against Islamic State extremists closer to an all-out confrontation. VOA
Columbia to sign peace accord with rebels
Colombia’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — FARC — are scheduled to officially sign a deal to end half a century of war late next month, officials said Saturday. Authorities did not say who would be in attendance at the official signing. “The solemn date of the signing will be between September 20 and 26, depending on the schedules and the dignitaries who will be in attendance,” Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said.
President Juan Manuel Santos said U.N. headquarters in Bogota or Cuba is being considered as the meeting’s venue. Ahead of the final signing, at least 200 FARC delegates are expected to attend a final gathering of FARC leaders convening on Sept. 13-19 in San Vicente del Caguan – an area where rebels have long held control. VOA
Germany to get 300,000 refugees this year
The head of Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) told a German newspaper that he expected a maximum of 300,000 refugees to arrive in Germany this year. “We’re preparing for 250,000 to 300,000 refugees this year,” BAMF head Frank-Juergen Weise told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
It had widely been believed that 1.1 million migrants entered Europe’s biggest economy in 2015 after fleeing war and poverty in their home countries. Weise said 70 percent of the migrants who had already arrived were fit for employment but added that the majority of them would be dependent on basic social security provisions before they managed to get jobs.
He estimated that about 10 percent of the new arrivals had university degrees, while about 40 percent did not have formal vocational training but did have practical work experience. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton receives first national security briefing as nominee: Democrat Hillary Clinton spent Saturday morning at an FBI office near her home in New York receiving her first classified briefing as a nominee for president. The two-hour meeting came about a week and a half after Republican Donald Trump received a similar intelligence update, attended by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Though such meetings have been used to prepare nominees for a smooth transition into office for more than half a century, opponents of both candidates this election cycle have questioned their respective fitness to receive such valuable information. Associated Press, ABC News
Trump talks immigration issues in Iowa: Donald Trump promised Saturday that he would begin removing “hundreds of thousands of criminal illegal immigrants” from the US on his first day in office. Speaking at an event in the battleground state of Iowa, Trump repeated his trademark pledge to build a border wall, and he offered a new detail of his immigration plan, which has been criticized for being rich in rhetoric but lacking in specifics: He said he would track people who enter the country on visas and ensure they leave when the visa expires. VOA