Top news stories for today – August 7, 2016
A suspicious bag discovered in Rio
“Security forces telling us on ground they exploded a suspect bag,” said BBC reporter Andrew Cropper. “Area is just behind spectator seating after finish line of road race at Copacabana beach.” The location has been cordoned off, but no one was injured and the Games have not been interrupted. Independent, Daily Mail, The Week
First gold medal of Rio goes to American
The 19-year-old student of West Virginia University is at her first Olympic Games, and she triumphed over two Chinese athletes, silver medalist Du Li and bronze medalist Yi Siling, who took gold in 2004 and 2012 respectively. Thrasher’s gold is the third time an American woman has won this event and the first time since 2000. USA Today, Reuters, The Week
Philippine officials linked to drug trade
The president of the Philippines has released a list of more than 150 judges, mayors, lawmakers and military personnel he says are linked to the illicit drug trade. Rodrigo Duterte revoked the gun licenses of anyone on the list and advised them to turn themselves in by Monday for an investigation to clear their names.
The controversial leader, in his nationally televised address Sunday, also ordered police and military personnel that had been assigned to protect some of those on the list to withdraw back to their units. Since Duterte took office at the end of June, his war against drugs have left hundreds of suspected drug dealers dead and thousands more arrested, while hundreds of thousands have turned themselves in to authorities. VOA
Russian buildup troops along Ukraine border
Russia’s steady buildup of military forces along its border with Ukraine is raising concerns that Moscow, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and then began backing separatists in eastern Ukraine militarily — including with Russian troops — may be considering an overt military campaign against its southwestern neighbor.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in televised remarks last week that the military had created four new divisions, nine brigades and 22 regiments since 2013 and deployed them in the Southern Military District, adjacent to southern Ukraine, as well as in Russia’s restive North Caucasus region.
In an interview with the newspaper Vedomosti, Russian military expert Ruslan Pukhov noted that along with reactivating the 1st Guards Tank Army in Russia’s Western Military District, near its border with northern Ukraine, Moscow plans to form two other armored groups for deployment near the Ukrainian border. VOA
Japan protest Beijing over disputed maritime
Chinese coast guard vessels, air patrols and fishing fleets have re-asserted their disputed maritime claims in two distant areas Saturday, despite last month’s ruling by an international tribunal that their territorial claims in the South China Sea have no legal basis.
Japan filed a protest against China Saturday after saying it saw at least six Chinese coast guard vessels and more than 200 fishing boats near Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China also claims these islands, which it calls the Diaoyu.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry demanded that the ships leave the area, stating that three of the coast guard vessels were armed with what appeared to be gun batteries. Beijing responded by reiterating its position that the islands are “China’s inherent territory.” On the same day, China announced that it has conducted a combat air patrol over the disputed South China Sea to improve its fighting ability. VOA
US Presidential election
Donald Trump finally endorses Paul Ryan, senators after a week’s delay: Republican nominee Donald Trump finally endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan at a rally in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin Friday night. Trump also endorsed Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), saying as president he will need “a Republican Senate and a House to accomplish all of the changes that we have to make.” Earlier this week, Trump criticized all three high-profile lawmakers, suggesting he felt no obligation to endorse despite leading their party. Meanwhile, Ryan said earlier on Friday his endorsement of Trump is not “a blank check” and “of course” he would take it back should Trump cross an unstated line. Reuters, Politico
Trump attends fundraisers, rally in New England: Donald Trump appeared at private fundraising events and a public rally in the northeastern United States on Saturday, making his first visit to New Hampshire since the pivotal primary election there in February, which he won by a wide margin. The Boston Globe reported that Trump attended two fundraisers in Massachusetts, in resort areas on Nantucket Island and on Cape Cod. Donors were expected to contribute $2,700 or more to attend the gatherings, one of which was at the home of Bill Koch, brother of Charles and David Koch, well-known and well-heeled donors to Republican causes. VOA
Trump win share drops lowest in months: People with money on the line are increasingly betting against a Donald Trump victory in November, and the value of a “Trump win” share has dropped nearly 25% since the Republican convention, according to the prediction market PredictIt. Back in May, when Trump clinched the Republican nomination, traders in the PredictIt market were paying 43 cents for a “Trump win” share that would pay $1 if he was elected president in November. The day the Democratic convention opened in Philadelphia, that number had dropped to around 38 cents, and as of Aug. 3, the price of a Trump win share closed at 29 cents. USA Today
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