Top News Stories For Today – Oct 30, 2017
Russia investigation indictment
We could see the first arrests in connection with the ongoing Russia investigation today, and that could be, to put it mildly, a game changer. On Friday, a federal grand jury in Washington approved the first charges.
This has caused some unease in Washington, as the consequences of such charges could cause an array of complications even if no arrests are made. At the very least, it’ll make it harder for Trump and his team to pass off the investigation as a Clinton- or Democrat-led smear campaign. At worst, any arrests that are made could be the first move in dismantling the President’s inner circle. CNN
Saudi women to allowed attending sports events
Starting next year, Saudi women will be able to attend sports events at three stadiums across the country, as part of the kingdom’s efforts to improve women’s rights. Last month hundreds of women were allowed to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh, used mostly for football matches, in a one-off event to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s national day.
The ultra-conservative kingdom, which has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, has long barred women from sports arenas by strict rules on segregation of the sexes in public. The announcement follows one last month which will allow women to drive starting next June. VOA
2 Navy SEALs under investigation
Two members of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six are under suspicion of being involved in the death of an Army Green Beret last June in Mali, US officials told CNN Sunday. The New York Times reports Army Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar was found dead in his room at a US government compound near the American embassy in Bamako, Mali.
A military examiner has ruled his death a homicide, CNN says, and the Times reports he was strangled. Melgar was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group, which operates in northwest Africa. The four American service members killed in an ambush earlier this month in Niger were part of the same group. CNN, The Week
Anti-independence rally in Catalonia
Hundreds of thousands of anti-independence protesters rallied in the Catalan capital of Barcelona yesterday after Madrid took unprecedented measures to quash the region’s bid to split from Spain.
The protest comes as tensions spiked following the Catalan Parliament’s vote Friday to declare unilateral independence.
Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has urged his supporters to pursue “democratic opposition” to the moves by Madrid, which have included dissolving the region’s government and calling snap elections for December 21. CNN
Puerto Rico cancels power contract
The governor of Puerto Rico announced Sunday that at his request, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s board will cancel a controversial $300 million contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings, a tiny company from Montana hired to rebuild power lines on the island following two destructive hurricanes.
The deal drew scrutiny because Whitefish Energy secured the contract while only having two full-time employees, and is from the same town as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke has denied any wrongdoing, and Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló said while he has not found anything improper about the deal, it has become “a distraction.” Much of the island remains without power, and repairs are estimated to cost at least $1 billion. The New York Times, The Week
France women rally to protest sexual harassment
Hundreds of women took to the streets of Paris and 10 other French cities to protest against sexual harassment in the wake of the scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. As the #metoo campaign erupted across the United States, a similar campaign unfolded across France under the hashtag #balancetonporc or #squealonyourpig. As in America, French women have begun naming and shaming their attackers.
Since it started, several prominent figures have been targeted in French assault claims, including a lawmaker in President Emmanuel Macron’s party, a judge on France’s equivalent of reality show “America’s Got Talent” and Oxford professor Tariq Ramadan, a leading lecturer in Islamic studies. French-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s, has also been hit with new abuse claims. VOA
The recent drought in the Western region of the United States, and the hurricanes and floods along the Gulf Coast are extreme weather events on just one continent. “There is no doubt that part of this is climate change,” said Bill Patzert, oceanographer and research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Winters are warmer. Snow packs come later. They leave earlier. Droughts have tended to be more intense especially here in California.”
Scientists say while climate change cannot be blamed for every weather event, it is definitely a factor. “It changes the odds. So the odds of heat waves are greater. The odds of stronger hurricanes are greater. The odds of more intense droughts and floods are greater,” said Richard Somerville, distinguished professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. The human impact of more extreme weather is also intensified. VOA
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