Top news stories for today – July 5, 2016
At least 215 killed in Iraq bombing
The death toll from a Sunday truck bombing in central Baghdad has risen to at least 215, officials said Monday, with 175 injured and 81 bodies burned so badly they will need DNA testing for identification.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, its third major attack in recent days. The bombing targeted a busy shopping district and was believed to be the deadliest single bombing in the Iraqi capital in at least seven years. It fueled calls for a crackdown on ISIS terrorist cells, and overshadowed the government’s recent success regaining control of Fallujah, near Baghdad, from ISIS forces. Reuters, CNN, The Week
Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter’s orbit
Nearly five years after its launch, NASA’s Juno spacecraft achieved orbit around Jupiter late Monday. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, scientists received a signal from the spacecraft at 11:53 p.m. Eastern time announcing it was in orbit.
The largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter was likely the first planet formed after the sun and scientists say it could “hold the keys to understanding the origin of the solar system,” The New York Times reports. “We have a chance with Juno to go back and study the planet in its own right,” James L. Green, director of planetary science at NASA, said during a news conference. Its scientific instruments were turned off before it arrived at Jupiter, and will be turned back on in two days. On Aug. 27, the spacecraft will get its first up-close look at the planet. The New York Times, The Week
China confirms air confrontation with Japan
China’s defense ministry confirmed that Chinese and Japanese fighter jets had a confrontation over disputed waters in the East China Sea last month, adding to concerns that such close encounters could lead to mishaps that threaten regional stability.
The two Chinese jets were only carrying out a routine patrol when two Japanese fighters approached at high speed, Beijing said Monday. The Chinese pilots took “tactical measures” before the Japanese planes fled, its statement said. No details on the measures were given. Yohei Haneo, a spokesman for the Japanese defense ministry, on Tuesday denied the Japanese fighters took any provocative actions during the encounter, saying the jets were scrambling against Chinese aircraft.
The June 17 encounter took place near a set of barren islets claimed by both countries, called Diaoyu islands by Beijing and Senkaku islands by Tokyo. China in 2013 set up an air defense identification zone that covers the islands and overlaps with Japan’s claim of air space for defense. VOA News
Super bacteria discovered in Brazil
A group of Brazilian scientists have detected a drug-resistant bacteria growing off the shores of some of Rio de Janeiro’s most stunning beaches, one month before they’re due to host the 2016 Olympic Games. According to lead researcher Renata Picao, the “super bacteria” entered the city’s waterways when sewage coming from local hospitals got channeled into the bay.
“We have been looking for ‘super bacteria’ in coastal waters during a one year period in five beaches,” Picao told CNN, during a visit to her lab. “We found that the threats occur in coastal waters in a variety of concentrations and that they are strongly associated with pollution.”
The news comes as Rio prepares to host hundreds of thousands of athletes and tourists during next month’s 2016 Summer Olympic Games. CNN
Brexit fuels Hungary’s anti EU fire
Hungary will hold a referendum in the coming months on whether to reject German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mandatory quota plan that would force Hungary and other EU members to accept a share of refugees. The leading opposition party in Hungary is the far-right, Russian-backed JOBBIK party, whose leaders see Brexit as a boost for the migration referendum, and more broadly, the anti-EU movement.
US Presidential election
Obama hits the campaign trail with Clinton today: President Obama will make his first appearance on the campaign trail Tuesday at a joint rally with Hillary Clinton in Charlotte, North Carolina. Arriving together on Air Force One, the one-time political foes will emphasize party unity in the battle against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. Democrats are hopeful that Obama’s positive approval ratings, which sit at 50 percent, will give Clinton’s numbers a boost. Obama will emphasize his transformed relationship with Clinton and her “strength of character” to combat some voters’ impressions of Clinton as untrustworthy, Reuters reports. Next up, Clinton will appear with Vice President Joe Biden on Friday. Time, Reuters, The Week
Clinton’s lead over Trump narrows to 5 points: Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has narrowed to five percentage points, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, in a groundbreaking presidential election that is sparking feelings of alarm for most voters. The nationwide survey shows a sharply polarized electorate that believes the country is headed in the wrong direction, feels less safe living in US than they used to, and gives negative ratings to the both presidential candidates. Sixty-one percent report feeling alarmed about the election, swamping the 23% who are excited. Few are bored: Just 9%. USA Today
Priebus says Republicans need to unite more than ever: As the head of a party turned upside down by its nominating fight, Reince Priebus says Republicans need “more than ever” to have a unifying convention this month. “Given the drama that we’ve had … I think now, more than ever, the role of the convention to assist in the unification of the party is going to be extremely important,” Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. No convention in the past few decades has generated the kind of uncertainty this one has, thanks to an unconventional and polarizing nominee, lingering resistance to Donald Trump within the party, the decision of some party figures to stay home, the decision of some corporate sponsors to stay away and the possibility of unruly protests in the streets. USA Today
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