Top News Stories For Today – Jan 2, 2018
Deadly anti-government protests grip Iran
At least 20 people have been killed in anti-government protests in Iran, including nine overnight Monday, Iranian state TV and semi-official ILNA news agency reported Tuesday. At least 450 others have reportedly been arrested as demonstrators stormed police stations and military bases. The protests, the biggest in the country since 2009, began Thursday, with protesters chanting “death to the dictator” and “death to Khamenei,” the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, despite the government’s threat of an “iron fist” of punishment.
On Sunday, Tehran placed what it says is a “temporary” restriction on access to social media including Instagram and an encrypted messaging app call Telegram. Demonstrators have used both to chronicle and coordinate their efforts this week. The Associated Press, CNN, The Week
North and South Korea
The new year has brought new hope for better relations on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea proposes high-level talks with North Korea as early as January 9 to let the North participate in the Winter Olympics next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has long lobbied for closer relations with the North, also sees the talks as a chance to ease tensions between the two nations. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought up the idea of the North going to the Olympics during his (unusually civil) New Year’s Day address, where he also declared his hope “for (a) peaceful resolution with our southern border.” CNN
Computer outage causes delays in US airports
Holiday travelers headed home hit a serious speed bump on New Year’s Day. An outage of the Customs and Border Protection’s computer systems caused huge lines at airports across the country Monday night for passengers trying to get through passport control. Customs and Border Protection said that “there is no indication the service disruption was malicious in nature,” and the systems were back online after a couple of hours.
At least flying in 2017 was safer than ever. There were no crashes of commercial passenger jets last year, according to a report from the Aviation Safety Network. The 44 people killed in crashes last year died in either cargo planes or small commercial aircraft. Airliner accidents have been on a steady decline for about 25 years, mainly because of advances in technology and changes to pilot training. CNN
Hot tea linked to lowered glaucoma risk
People who drink hot tea daily may be less likely than others to develop glaucoma symptoms, US researchers say. Compared to coffee, soft drink and iced tea drinkers, study participants who consumed a cup or more of hot caffeinated tea daily had 74 percent lower odds of having glaucoma, the study authors report in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
“Glaucoma can lead to blindness, and it would be great if it could be prevented because there is no cure,” said lead author Dr. Anne Coleman of the University of California, Los Angeles. VOA
Trump returns to Washington for high-stakes January
President Trump returned to Washington on Monday night in an upbeat mood after 10 days at his members-only club in Florida, but White House aides are bracing for “the grim reality of 2018,” including slim legislative prospects, a potentially brutal midterm election, an expected exodus of White House aides with no replacements ready, and the ever-present “shadow of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation,” Politico reports.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Congress returns over the next week with a full plate for January, including funding the government, children’s health care, protection for DREAMers, stability of health-care markets, a looming debt ceiling increase, and other contentious and high-stakes issues. Politico, The Washington Post
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