Top news stories for today – August 29, 2016
Colombia’s historic ceasefire takes effect
A ceasefire between Colombia’s military and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country’s largest rebel group, took effect early Monday, potentially marking a permanent end to five-decades of fighting.
The two sides last week signed a historic peace deal at the end of talks in Havana. “Never again will parents be burying their sons and daughters killed in the war,” FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko, said. “All rivalries and grudges will remain in the past.” The Washington Post, The Week
NASA ends year-long Mars simulation
A team of six people have completed a Mars simulation in Hawaii, where they lived in near isolation for a year. Since 29 August 2015, the group lived in close quarters in a dome, without fresh air, fresh food or privacy.
Experts estimate that a human mission to the Red Planet could take between one and three years. The Nasa-funded study run by the University of Hawaii is the longest of its kind since a Russian mission that lasted 520 days. Having survived their year in isolation, the crew members said they were confident a mission to Mars could succeed.
The team consisted of a French astro-biologist, a German physicist and four Americans – a pilot, an architect, a journalist and a soil scientist. The experiment dealt with the human element of exploration. Whilst conducting research, the six had to live with limited resources, wear a space-suit when outside the dome, and work to avoid personal conflicts. BBC
Merkel: EU should not close doors to Muslim migrants
It is “unacceptable” for some European Union members to close their doors to refugees just because they are Muslims, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday. German officials say they expect to grant entry to as many as 300,000 migrants throughout all of 2016. They are mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, where their lives are in danger from war and Islamic terrorism.
Merkel wants a quota system for the 28-member European Union to accept would-be immigrants. Several EU members, particularly those in the east with pro-nationalist leaders, oppose any plans to take in any migrants from the Mideast and South Asia, while others oppose quotas.
A new poll shows about half of all Germans oppose a fourth term for Merkel as chancellor. She has not yet decided if she will run again next year. VOA
Beyoncé wins Video of the Year
Other winners include DNCE (Best New Artist); Drake for “Hotline Bling” (Best Hip Hop Video); Calvin Harris for “This is What You Came For,” featuring Rihanna (Best Male Video); and Fifth Harmony for “All in My Head,” featuring Fetty Wap (Song of Summer). Britney Spears, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj performed and Rihanna received the Video Vanguard Award. Several members of the US Olympic team, including swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Simone Biles, presented awards. Los Angeles Times, The Week
US Presidential election
Donald Trump to give immigration speech Wednesday in Arizona: Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he will make a speech about immigration Wednesday in Arizona. Last week, he postponed a speech he was planning to make in Colorado on the topic. Early in his campaign, Trump said he would build a wall between the US and Mexico and deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. On Wednesday, he said “there’s no amnesty, but we work with them,” adding that his policies “could certainly be softening, because we’re not looking to hurt people.” The next day, he told Anderson Cooper there’s “no path to legalization unless they leave the country,” and his plan is not “a softening. I’ve had people say it’s a hardening, actually.” Twitter, The Week
Donald Trump appealing for black support at mostly white rallies: Donald Trump is making repeated appeals for support from African-American voters at the unlikeliest of venues, at rallies where almost all the voters are white. Trump made his latest pitch for black votes Saturday at a political rally in the Midwest farm state of Iowa, telling the largely white crowd that he blamed decades of Democratic policies for the “deplorable conditions in many of our inner cities.” He has called Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in the November 8 presidential election, a bigot for not improving the plight of blacks and Hispanics. VOA
Trump campaign bombs in Virginia evangelical Christian college: Trump’s VP nominee railed against Clinton in Northern Virginia on Saturday afternoon—but he chose to do it at an evangelical Christian college with a history of anti-Trump sentiment. Students protested outside, while inside students stood in silent protest until they were ejected mid-speech. The protests and poor attendance at the speech at Patrick Henry College illustrate the challenges that Trump has appealing to evangelical Christians, especially younger ones, who are turned off by his tone, his campaign ideas and his personal history—and are not at all assauged by his choice of Pence for his running mate.
Meanwhile, outside Patrick Henry College, nearly 20 students and alumni from the predominantly conservative school demonstrated against Pence and Trump, to make the point that the Christian college did not support the Republican ticket. The Daily Beast
- A stunning prediction of climate science — and basic physics — may now be coming true
- Boeing reveals new material that is 99.99% AIR and could lead to new generation of planes and spaceships
- God is Still Not Dead in America
- Hyperloop firm shows off the magnetic tech that will help it move at 760 mph