Top news stories for today – July 26, 2016
FBI investigating Russia for DNC email hack
Evidence is mounting that the two Russian intelligence agencies behind hacks at the White House and the State Department last year are also responsible for the release of 20,000 stolen Democratic National Committee emails last week, which revealed some party officials were acting with a bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary race.
The New York Times reported Monday that the FBI is investigating the breach, and researchers say there’s evidence the documents were accessed by computers with “Russian language settings.” However, it remains unclear how WikiLeaks may have obtained the documents for release, and whether the hacking was done at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who supports Donald Trump.
Japan knife attack kills 19
A former employee of a center for the disabled in a Tokyo suburb broke into the building and killed 19 people with a knife early Tuesday, local officials said. The suspect, Satoshi Uematsu, 26, went on a rampage around 2:20 am in Sagamihara, a town an hour west of Tokyo. Twenty-five people were reported wounded, all but one of them seriously.
Just half an hour after the attack, Mr. Uematsu turned himself in at a nearby police station and was charged with attempted murder. Additional charges were expected. The attack was the worst mass killing in Japan in decades. The country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
All of the dead, nine men and 10 women, were residents of the center. They ranged in age from 18 to 70 and were found in both buildings on the site. The New York Times
Zika could infect millions in Americas
As the Zika viral epidemic continues across the Americas, it’s projected that 93.4 million people in total could become infected before the epidemic burns itself out. According to a new model developed by US, English and Swedish researchers, 1.6 million women of childbearing age could contract Zika from infected mosquitoes.
Experts say women who are infected with Zika during the early months of their pregnancy are at highest risk of giving birth to babies with microcephaly. Babies born with microcephaly have small heads and brains, causing mental and physical disability, seizures and sometimes death.
Experts say not every pregnant woman infected with Zika will give birth to a child with severe birth defects, but the number of newborns born with the birth defect could nonetheless be significant. The Zika projection model, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, is the most comprehensive estimate to date for Zika spread. VOA
US-backed forces almost retake Manbij
US-backed Syrian forces are closing in on Islamic State (IS) militants inside the town of Manbij in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo. Fighters with the Manbij Military Council, which is allied with the anti-IS Syrian Democratic Forces, said they are now in control of the majority of the city and their operation to liberate the town would be completed soon.
According to local fighters, nearly 80 percent of the city has been cleared of IS militants. The campaign to liberate Manbij began nearly eight weeks ago, when the anti-IS forces advanced toward the city from several fronts with the help of US-led coalition airstrikes.
Indian girl dies after second rape
A 14-year-old girl died Sunday in another case of a lower-caste woman allegedly being raped by the same man twice in India. The victim was kidnapped in May by the same suspect who allegedly attacked her in December of last year, according to a police report filed by her parents, a senior Delhi police official told CNN.
The suspect was reportedly out on bail while he awaited trial for his first rape of the teenager. The girl belonged to the Dalit caste, Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women told CNN, traditionally regarded as “unclean” and the lowest of the low. Her parents told police she had been forced to drink chemicals by her alleged attacker. She died on Sunday after being admitted to hospital in June after falling ill. The suspect was re-arrested following her death, police said.
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, more than four Dalit women are raped every day, with 2014 statistics saying crime against Dalits rose 19%. In many of the cases, these crimes are committed by upper caste perpetrators. CNN
US Presidential election
Sanders gives full-throated Clinton endorsement at convention: Boos greeted the opening of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, but when Bernie Sanders took the stage at primetime to say “Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” he was met with thunderous applause. First Lady Michelle Obama also gave a stirring endorsement, saying, Clinton “never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out.” Earlier in the evening, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) reprised his former career as a comedian to skewer Republican nominee Donald Trump. He was later joined by comedian Sarah Silverman, who needled Sanders supporters who won’t support Clinton, saying, “You’re being ridiculous.”
Democrats aimed to project the image of a party united behind Clinton, but the task was made tougher after a batch of internal Democratic National Committee emails leaked late last week, showing some party officials were biased against Clinton’s opponent, Sanders. The leak prompted DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation Sunday. The Associated Press, Sun Sentinel
Michelle Obama- When they go low, we go high: Michelle Obama cast the presidential race as one between a positive role model for children — in Hillary Clinton — and a damaging one — in Donald Trump — in her speech on the Democratic National Convention’s opening night. The first lady never mentioned Trump by name, but leveraging her popularity, she made a rare, if not unprecedented, foray into partisan politics to knock the Republican nominee. And in a shot at Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, she discussed raising her children in a White House that was built by slaves. “Don’t let anyone tell you that this country isn’t great. This right now is the greatest country on earth,” the first lady said. “To understand the journey she’s taken as a reluctant conscript on the public scene, to come here and command that stage the way she did tonight was extraordinary — and I think did for Hillary Clinton what no one else has done to this point,” said David Axelrod, a top Obama strategist on the 2008 campaign and now a CNN political commentator. CNN
Democrats link Russia, email leaks and Trump: As Democrats try to contain the fallout over an embarrassing email leak, many in the party are trying to shift the focus toward a familiar foe: Russia. Top Clinton officials on Monday took the extraordinary step of accusing Russian hackers of trying to interfere in the U.S. election by releasing the Democratic National Committee emails. Some veteran party strategists and ex-Clinton aides suggest the Clinton campaign will continue to use the issue to raise questions about Trump’s links to Moscow. VOA