Top News Stories for Today – October 16, 2016
North Korean missile launch failed
The United States detected a failed North Korean ballistic missile launch Saturday night, the first such attempt since the isolated Asian nation conducted its fifth nuclear test in September. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday they believe the failed effort was conducted in a northern province with a mid-range Musudan missile.
“We strongly condemn this and North Korea’s other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council resolutions,” said Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross. The launch came a few hours before a US aircraft carrier docked in South Korea after training with the South Korean navy. Associated Press, Military.com, The Week
US Russia resume Syria talks
Syria negotiations resumed between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday following the breakdown of a cease-fire deal the United States and Russia reached in early September.
Joining the conversation this time are foreign ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, regional powers which — like the two major players — find themselves supporting opposite sides of Syria’s civil war. “We’ve asked countries to come, having done some thinking, about a realistic way forward given the differences represented in the room,” said a US State Department official, cautioning that expectations of a quick solution are not prudent. Reuters, Associated Press
China to blast 2 astronauts on Monday
Chinese officials unveiled plans for Monday’s launch of the country’s latest space mission in which two astronauts will be blasted into space and will dock with an orbiting space lab. The Shenzhou 11 spacecraft will be launched at 7:30 a.m., said Wu Ping, deputy director of China’s manned space engineering office, in a televised news conference.
The Shenzhou mission will take off aboard a Long March-2F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northern China. The spacecraft will dock with the Tiangong 2 space station within two days and the astronauts will stay there for 30 days to test the complex’s ability to support their life. They will also conduct medical and scientific experiments, Wu said. VOA
US Destroyer targeted by missiles
A top US admiral says a US warship has again come under fire in the Red Sea from multiple cruise missiles fired from the coast of Yemen. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said the guided missile destroyer USS Mason deployed electronic countermeasures to foil the attack and was not hit in Saturday’s incident –the third such attack on US naval vessels in the area in the past week.
US authorities say neither the Mason nor the amphibious transport USS Ponce was hit in the October 9 attacks, and say the Mason and another US vessel were unscathed by further missile fire on Wednesday. On Saturday, the website Military.com said Richardson, speaking at a ship commissioning in the port city of Baltimore, offered few details of the latest attack and did not say how many missiles were fired. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton labels new WikiLeaks releases a modern ‘Watergate’: WikiLeaks on Saturday published more than 800 additional emails it says were leaked from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The new batch of messages includes additional transcripts of paid speeches Clinton gave to Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs as well as her account of going on an “apology tour” after WikiLeaks published US diplomatic cables that described world leaders in insulting terms in 2010. In response, the Clinton camp has attempted to frame the ongoing email hacks as a modern iteration of the Watergate scandal, suggesting rival Donald Trump is directly involved. “What did Trump know, and when did he know it?” asks a Clinton campaign essay that argues both circumstances should be seen as “effort[s] to steal private campaign documents in order to influence an election.” The Hill, Politico, The Week
Trump calls for drug testing Clinton before next debate: Republican Donald Trump on Saturday proposed mandatory drug tests for himself and particularly Democrat Hillary Clinton in advance of the third and final presidential debate. “Athletes, they make them take a drug test, right? I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate,” he said to cheers at a campaign rally. “Why don’t we do that? We should take a drug test, prior — because I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, ‘Oh, take me down,’ ” Trump continued, feigning exhaustion. The Hill, Associated Press, The Week
Trump says media, Clinton ‘poison’ voters’ minds in ‘rigged’ election: Republican Donald Trump was up and tweeting Saturday morning, arguing allegations of sexual assault from a growing tally of women are underhanded campaign ploys to ensure he is not president. “100% fabricated and made-up charges, pushed strongly by the media and the Clinton Campaign, may poison the minds of the American Voter,” he tweeted, adding, “FIX!” He soon posted: “This election is being rigged by the media pushing false and unsubstantiated charges, and outright lies, in order to elect Crooked Hillary!” Trump previously developed the conspiracy theme Friday, suggesting the accusations are a plot organized by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. Politico, Twitter
WikiLeaks Releases 3 Speeches Clinton Gave to Wall Street giant: WikiLeaks on Saturday released full transcripts of three speeches Hillary Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs executives in 2013, along with comments by her presidential campaign staffers about how to handle challenging issues. According to the emails, her staffers noted potential problems, including her statement to bank executives that “political reasons” factored into passing a law on bank reforms, and Clinton’s flattering her audience by saying people in the banking industry know regulation issues better than anyone else. Clinton has been dogged by accusations from her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and other critics that she is too close to Wall Street and other members of the financial elite. VOA
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- FBI suspects Russia hacked DNC to help Donald Trump