Top news stories for today – August 4, 2016
2016 Rio Olympic
Protesters clash with police in Rio Olympic: The Olympic torch arrived by boat in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, the final stop before the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, but not all Brazilians were feeling the Olympic spirit. As Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes carried the torch through his city, hundreds of demonstrators blocked the road in the northern part of Rio, protesting the steep financial cost of hosting the summer games. Police in riot gear used tear gas and pepper spray to clear the road, according to local media reports. The Rio Games have been marred by safety concerns, political unrest, an economic downturn, a doping scandal, the Zika virus, and fears about dangerous pollutants and viruses in the water. Organizers say more than a million tickets languish unsold. BBC News, The Week
US Goalkeeper Solo taunted with Zika chants: US goalkeeper Hope Solo was taunted with chants of “Zika! Zika!” as the US women’s football team played in its Olympic debut in Brazil on Wednesday. Solo, who had previously posted photos of herself on Twitter wearing a hat with mosquito netting, dismissed the chants as fans “having fun”. A number of athletes cancelled their participation in the Games for fear of contracting the mosquito-borne virus. Solo, 35, said she did not notice the chants of “Zika! Zika!” from the 10,000-strong crowd during the game against New Zealand in the city of Belo Horizonte. When she was told about it she said: “I’m glad the fans had fun, and if they had fun at my expense, more power to them.” BBC
Boko Haram split over leadership
The disputed leader of Boko Haram has said he is still in charge of Nigeria’s militant Islamist group despite a statement by so-called Islamic State that he had been replaced. Abubakar Shekau denounced the IS declaration that Abu Musab al-Barnawi was now leader.
Shekau accused al-Barnawi of trying to stage a coup against him. Boko Haram is fighting to overthrow Nigeria’s government and establish an Islamic State in the north.
In the last 18 months it has lost most of the territory it had controlled after being pushed back by an offensive by the forces of Nigeria and its neighbours. BBC
American killed in London knife attack
London police said Thursday that a woman killed during a knife attack in central London’s Russell Square late Wednesday night was American. The evidence, including interviews with the 19-year-old suspect and his family, “increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental-health issues,” said Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
“So far we have found no evidence of radicalization or anything that would suggest the man in our custody was motivated by terrorism.” The suspect is Norwegian of Somali heritage. Five other people — Britons, Americans, and Israelis — were wounded in the attack, but none of their wounds are life-threatening. With strict gun controls laws in Britain, knives are the most common murder weapon. The Guardian, The Associated Press, The Week
More than 30 US troops diagnosed with Zika
The Pentagon announced Wednesday that 33 service members, including one pregnant woman, have contracted Zika virus. All of the infections happened outside of the continental United States, and six relatives of service members have also contracted the virus, the Military Times reports.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has no cure or vaccine, and in pregnant women, can cause microcephaly and other birth defects. The Pentagon said it has been taking “proactive steps for months to help mitigate the threat of Zika,” and has increased mosquito surveillance and control and urges service members to wear insect repellent and to stay away from areas with mosquitos. CBS News, The Week
Foreign tourists attacked in Afghanistan
Suspected militants have attacked a convoy carrying foreign tourists in western Afghanistan, injuring six. Afghan officials told the BBC a group of a dozen travellers were escorted by Afghan army personnel on their way to Herat city when they were ambushed. The tourists included eight Britons, three US citizens and one German. Some travellers reportedly had light injuries and are in hospital. One Afghan driver was also injured in the attack.
Afghanistan’s main roads are notoriously dangerous with militant attacks and kidnappings frequent. The identity of the armed men is unknown, although suspicion will fall on the Taliban, who have stepped up attacks right across the country. Officials say the ambush took place in the Chesht-e-Sharif district, on the road to Herat city and that security reinforcements have been sent to the area. BBC
US Presidential election
Trump made huge fundraising gains in July, closing in on Clinton: On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s campaign announced that it raised $82 million in July along with the Republican National Committee, thanks largely to a windfall of small donations. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Convention raised $90 million in the same month, including $63 million for Clinton’s campaign. The hefty haul for Trump follows an anemic June, when Trump and the RNC raised $52.3 million, mostly from a handful of mega-donors, and May, when Trump reported just $1.3 million in the bank. Trump’s campaign began August with $37 million; Clinton started the month with $58 million. The numbers in both Clinton’s and Trump’s reports are preliminary, and more information will be available when they file their FEC reports by Aug. 20. The Washington Post, The New York Times
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 10 points in Fox News poll: The latest Fox News poll has the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine ticket ahead of Donald Trump and Mike Pence by 10 points, at 49 to 39 percent. This is the first time the Fox News poll included running mates, and last month, Clinton lead Trump by six points. When the Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld is added to the mix, they receive 12 percent of the hypothetical vote, with Clinton earning 44 percent to Trump’s 35 percent. Clinton has gained ground among men, women, whites, young voters, and senior citizens, while Trump is the favorite of white evangelical Christians and whites without a college degree. Pollsters interviewed 1,022 registered votes chosen at random over cellphone and landlines. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters. Fox News
Trump fans ignore biased media: There has been a spate of negative news stories about Donald Trump in the last 48 hours. But Trump enthusiasts have always been ignoring of both the media and the Republican establishment. Loyal Trump supporters do not speak for the entire electorate – or even the entire Republican Party – and indeed, Trump is slipping in the most recent polling. Trump’s own running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, broke with the him and endorsed Ryan, while Trump’s close advisor Newt Gingrich warned that Trump “cannot win the presidency operating the way he is now”. Nevertheless, at Trump’s most recent event in Daytona, Florida, the crowd packed the bleachers behind him as he spoke, as enthusiastic as ever. At least on the surface, all appeared well in Trump country. BBC
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