Top News Stories For Today – Feb 2, 2018
South Africa’s water crisis
Cape Town issued new water restrictions as the South African city inches closer to “Day Zero.” Residents aren’t supposed to use more than 13 gallons of water per day (a typical bathtub holds about 80 gallons). City officials fear the city will run out of water on April 16, which they’re calling Day Zero.
Drought, climate change and population growth are blamed for the crisis. Making matters worse: Only about 55% of residents are curbing their water use to daily limits. CNN
Release of Nunes memo
President Trump on Friday will sign off on the release of a four-page memo compiled by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). It will likely be made public sometime during the day. Trump is expected to have no objections to the Nunes memo and request none of the redactions requested by the FBI and other intelligence agencies.
The classified memo, released under a never-before-used House rule, purports to show that the FBI did not identify one of its sources in a FISA warrant, to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as working on a dossier funded indirectly by Hillary Clinton. The FBI and Justice Department have expressed “grave concerns” about the effects and accuracy of the memo. The New York Times, The Washington Post
Sean Hannity advises Trump on Nunes memo
President Trump has been in regular contact with Fox News host Sean Hannity over the past few weeks, with Hannity advising him on how to deal with a controversial memo put together by Republicans that purports to expose corruption at the FBI, The Daily Beast reports.
The FBI and Justice Department have warned that the memo cherry-picks classified information and could harm intelligence gathering efforts, with the FBI even making a rare statement saying it has “grave concerns” about the document’s release. Three people who spoke to The Daily Beast said that during their conversations, Hannity has been pushing Trump to release the memo, echoing comments he’s made on his show, and that Hannity has more sway with Trump than Trump’s aides. The Daily Beast
Polar bears could extinct sooner
Researchers have discovered that polar bears have higher metabolisms than previously thought, which isn’t good news — with receding sea ice, it’s harder for polar bears to find enough food to survive, and there are fears that they might become extinct sooner rather than later.
Researchers from the US Geological Survey and U.C. Santa Cruz studied nine polar bears in Alaska over three Aprils. They found that polar bears have a metabolism that is 50 percent higher than prior estimates, and five of the bears unable to find enough food lost as much as 44 pounds over a 10-day period. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average, and sea ice has declined by about 13 percent per decade since 1979. The Guardian
Fidel Castro’s son suicides
The oldest son of Fidel Castro killed himself. Cuban state-run media said Fidel “Fidelito” Castro Díaz-Balart was 68 and had suffered from depression in recent months. He led Cuba’s nuclear program until a falling-out with his father led to his dismissal. He was the only child of Fidel Castro and his first wife, Mirta Diaz-Balart.
The couple divorced before Castro took power in Cuba. Diaz-Balart’s relatives went into exile, becoming prominent figures in Miami’s anti-Castro exile community. His cousin Mario Díaz-Balart is a Republican congressman in Florida and a staunch critic of the Cuban government. His mother sent Fidelito to visit his father shortly after Castro took over the island. But Castro never returned the boy, leading his Miami relatives to say he had been kidnapped by Castro. When his uncle, Raul Castro, took over as Cuban President in 2008, Fidelito was named as his science adviser. CNN
Afghan alleges Pakistan is Taliban’s headquarters
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani alleged Friday that Pakistan is the “headquarters” of the Taliban. In a nationally televised speech, Ghani demanded the neighboring country take immediate action against the insurgents instead of making pledges. Ghani asserted Kabul has shared with Islamabad a list of individuals who plotted recent attacks in Kabul and expects “practical steps” from Pakistan.
In Islamabad, a Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected allegations the Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani network, have bases in Pakistan and called on the Afghan government to focus on security lapses that led to recent bombings in Afghanistan. VOA
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