Top News Stories For Today – Jan 31, 2018
Trump delivers first State of the Union
President Trump gave his first State of the Union address Tuesday, with the theme of “building a safe, strong, and proud America.” He called for national unity, asked Congress to “produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion” for new infrastructure, and detailed his “four pillars” of immigration reform, including a border wall and a path to citizenship for DREAMers. At 1 hour and 20 minutes, it was the third-longest State of the Union address.
Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) delivered the Democratic response, slamming Trump’s first year as “a rebuke to our highest American ideal, the belief that we are all worthy, that we are all equal, that we all count in the eyes of our law, our leaders, our God, and our government.” Politico, The Boston Globe
Trump’s speech gets positive response
Two polls taken right after President Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night found that a majority of viewers had a positive reaction to the speech. In a CBS News poll, respondents approved of the speech, 75 percent to 25 percent. In CNN’s poll, 48 percent of viewers had a “very positive” impression of the speech, 22 percent had a “somewhat positive” reaction, and 29 percent had a negative response.
As with every State of the Union address, the president’s supporters watched in disproportionately high numbers. Trump’s 70 percent net approval is the lowest for a State of the Union address since CNN started asking in 1998. The CBS News poll has a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points; the CNN poll’s margin is ±4.2 points. CBS News, CNN
British PM May arrives in China
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrived in China Wednesday on a visit aimed at boosting economic ties with the Asian giant ahead of her country’s exit from the European Union next year. May began her three-day trip in the central industrial city of Wuhan, before heading to Beijing for talks with Premier Li Keqiang. She is accompanied by a large delegation of 50 British business leaders eager to expand their business in the world’s second largest economy.
The prime minister will meet with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Thursday, before wrapping up her visit Friday in the financial hub of Shanghai. VOA
Taliban threatens 70% of Afghanistan
A BBC study found that Taliban fighters are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan and have full control of 14 districts. Last year, BBC reporters spoke to more than 1,200 people from all 399 districts in the country. They found that since 2014, when foreign combat troops left the country, the Taliban has taken control of places like Sangin, Musa Qala, and Nad-e Ali in Helmand province, where from 2001 to 2014, hundreds of US and British troops died while trying to get it back under government control.
The BBC says that in addition to being in full control of 14 districts, the Taliban is open and active in 263 districts, meaning 15 million people, or half of Afghanistan’s population, live in areas where the Taliban has a regular presence. BBC News
Iranian women protest headscarves law
It’s a powerful image: Iranian women with their heads uncovered holding their hijabs on sticks. Women in Iran have been removing their headscarves to protest the law that forces them to wear a veil in public.
A woman who did this during the recent wave of anti-regime protests was arrested, but she was released this week and the demonstrations spread. The veil law was enacted after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 but has been relaxed in recent months. CNN
Hawaii false missile alert
The employee who set off that false ballistic missile alert in Hawaii this month was fired. Turns out he thought an actual attack was underway when he sent out the warning, which went to cell phones and TV sets and triggered absolute panic in paradise. Another employee was suspended, while a third quit before disciplinary action was taken.
Recommendations from a pair of reports on this fiasco call for better training, stopping practice drills during shift changes and creating more clear confirmation prompts for those sending out an alert. CNN
Rare lunar events in US
Millions of Americans are being treated to a trifecta of concurrent rare lunar events Wednesday morning, the first such overlap in 150 years. The resulting phenomenon, called a “Super Blue Blood Moon,” refers to the moon being a supermoon, blue moon, and eclipsing at the same time. A supermoon is when the moon is closest to Earth, and therefore bigger and brighter than usual.
A blue moon refers to it being the second full moon of the month. “Blood” refers to the red tint the moon gets during a total lunar eclipse. The spectacle is best viewed west of Kentucky, as the moon will set in the east as the eclipse progresses. Watch a live-stream of the Super Blue Blood Moon below. USA Today, BuzzFeed News
Global cancer survival rates improve
A new study published by The Lancet Tuesday shows a tremendous amount of variability in five-year cancer survival rates between countries. Though the study shows cancer survival worldwide is increasing overall, the results shed light on the deep disparities that exist around the globe.
For this study, an international team of researchers reviewed more than 300 cancer registries from 71 countries. From this, it identified 37.5 million patients who had been diagnosed with one of 18 common cancer types, between 2000 and 2014. For the last 15 years, cancer survival has remained the highest in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand as well as in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. These countries have five-year survival rates as high as 90 percent for some cancer types. But unfortunately, this does not hold true around the rest of the world. While the five-year breast cancer survival rate in the US is 90.2 percent, it is only 66.1 percent in India. And though the five-year colon cancer survival rate is 70 percent in Australia, it is less than 50 percent in Russia. ABC
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