Top News Stories for Today – November 1, 2016
Iraqi forces enter Mosul
Iraqi special forces continued their push into Mosul on Tuesday morning, provoking clashes, heavy shelling, and suicide car bomb attacks from Islamic State militants, who have held the city since 2014. The Iraqi troops have fully taken over the eastern Mosul industrial region of Gogjali, and are attempting to crush the ISIS fighters by moving in from different directions.
“God willing, we will chop off the snake’s head,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said. “They have no escape, they either die or surrender.” Mosul is the last major holdout of ISIS in the Iraqi half of their caliphate; approximately 1.5 million people still live in the city.
The breakthrough comes two weeks after a coalition of Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed Shi’ite militia and US airstrikes, launched the largest military operation in the country since 2003 to clear the city of IS fighters. CNN, Reuters, The Week, VOA
China unveils new stealth fighter
China debuted its J-20 stealth fighter Tuesday at Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai. Two J-20s made a brief appearance in the show’s opening ceremonies, performing a series of maneuvers and generating enough noise to set off car alarms in a nearby parking lot, Reuters reported.
The capabilities of the J-20 remain unknown. The aircraft’s brief appearance Tuesday gave observers little insight into the plane’s stealth, performance or firepower capabilities. And airshow attendees won’t be able to see the fighter on the ground in Zhuhai. The warplane is China’s second stealth fighter. The J-31 was unveiled to the public at the Zhuhai airshow two years ago. VOA
Secret tapes reveal late N Korean leader’s frustrations
A new documentary reveals secret audio tapes of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il talking openly about his frustrations with the country’s propaganda and film production. He is heard speaking freely in a high-pitched voice, in tapes smuggled out of the country in the 1980s by two South Koreans who were kidnapped and held in North Korea.
“The Lovers and the Despot” tells the story of how actress Choi Eun-hee and director Shin Sang-ok were seized by North Korean agents in 1978, and kept in North Korea for eight years, forced to make movies. They made 17 films in captivity, ranging from tear-jerkers to thrillers. With a hidden micro-casette recorder, they recorded some of their meetings with the movie-obsessed leader. Experts say the tapes could even help shed light on Kim’s son, the inscrutable young leader who rules the country today: Kim Jong Un. CNN
More migrants from around the world making way to US border
An increasing number of people from far-flung corners of the world quietly have tried to sneak into US through Mexican border in the last year, according to the Homeland Security Department. The arrests of more than 8,000 people from India, China, Romania, Bangladesh and Nepal between October 2015 and the end of August is offering a new challenge to immigration agents tasked with fully identifying would-be immigrants and quickly deporting people caught crossing the border illegally.
For decades Mexico dominated the discussion on illegal immigration as the country from which most immigrants went to the border illegally. But in recent years the number of Mexican trying to sneak into US has dropped. India and China are now squarely among the top 10 countries of origin for people caught trying to sneak into the United States. More than 7,000 people who claimed to be from Africa have been arrested in Mexico between January and August. Abc News
Clinton camp accuses FBI’s Comey of ‘blatant double standard’: FBI Director James Comey reportedly disagreed with the government’s decision earlier this month to confirm suspicions that Russia was meddling in the US election, a former FBI official told CNBC on Monday, because it was too close to Election Day. The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement on Oct. 7 saying the US was “confident” Russia had directed hacks on American political institutions, including the Democratic National Committee, in efforts “intended to interfere with the US election process.” Comey reportedly argued privately against making the disclosure because of the impending election. On a conference call Monday afternoon, Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said it’s “impossible” to view Comey’s reluctance to name Russian meddling but willingness to tell Congress about the FBI’s Clinton email hunt “as anything less than a blatant double standard.” CNBC, Politico, The Week
Trump leads Clinton by 1 point in new national poll: The consequences of the FBI’s renewed questions about Hillary Clinton’s private email server are making themselves known in the polls, with Donald Trump overtaking Clinton by one point in an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday. In the poll, conducted Oct. 28-30, Trump has 46 percent to Clinton’s 45 percent, marking the first time Trump has taken the lead in this particular poll since May. The results are “well within the survey’s margin of sampling error” of 3 points, ABC News reports. Clinton maintains her lead in other national polls, up by six points in NBC/Survey Monkey polls; RealClearPolitics puts the average at 45 percent for Clinton, 43 for Trump. ABC News, RealClearPolitics, The Week
Justice Department promises quick review of new Clinton emails: The Justice Department pledged Monday in a letter to six members of Congress to make it a priority to quickly review the newly uncovered emails tied to the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. “We assure you that the Department will continue to work closely with the FBI and together, dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik wrote. Kadzik’s promise of speed came amid backlash over FBI Director James Comey’s decision late last week to announce the bureau had found thousands of potentially related emails on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, during the course of a separate investigation into Weiner’s sexting scandal. The FBI obtained a warrant Sunday to search the messages, though Comey has said the bureau “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.” The Washington Post, Politico, The Week
FBI making inquiry into former Trump campaign manager’s foreign ties: The FBI is conducting a preliminary examination into the foreign business connections of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, law enforcement officials told NBC News. A preliminary inquiry is conducted by the FBI when something warrants scrutiny but not yet a full investigation. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid accused FBI Director James Comey of sitting on “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.” In August, it was reported that Manafort was a major player in business dealings with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, including one who had close ties to Putin and was allegedly linked to organized crime. The New York Times also reported that secret ledgers showed a pro-Russian politician in Ukraine paid Manafort $12.7 million in cash. Manafort told NBC News “none of it is true,” and he has never had any ties to Putin or dealt with his government. NBC News, The Week
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