Top News Stories for Today

Top News Stories for Today – October 18, 2016


American troops involving in retaking Mosul

After Ramadi Iraq sets sights on MosulIraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Sunday that a military operation by Iraqi troops, Kurdish peshmerga, and allied forces backed by the US-led coalition is now underway to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. A US military official also confirmed Monday that certain American special forces troops — joint terminal attack controllers, who are tasked with directing airstrikes — are on the ground assisting the effort.

ISIS has been in control of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, for more than two years, and it is their last major stronghold in the country. The operation has been in the planning stages for months, and more than 25,000 troops are taking part, The Associated Press reports. Residents were warned in advance of the offensive, and the U.N. said at least 1.2 million people might be affected, an “enormous” humanitarian impact. BBC News, The Guardian US, The Week



Russian halted airstrikes on Aleppo

Russian halted airstrikes on Aleppo Russia says its forces and those of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have stopped bombing the northern Syrian city of Aleppo ahead of a “humanitarian pause” planned there on Thursday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the announcement in televised comments Tuesday, saying the halt in airstrikes went into effect at 10 a.m. local time.

Thursday’s halt in fighting is designed to allow civilians to leave the battered city, along with people who are sick or wounded and rebels who want to get out. Russian Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said there will be two corridors by which people can leave Aleppo and that the pause will be in effect from 08:00 to 16:00. US and some European states have accused Moscow and Syria of committing atrocities in Aleppo, but Russian officials deny that. VOA


European Leaders to discuss Ukraine peace plan

European Leaders to discuss Ukraine peace planLeaders from Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine will gather Wednesday in Berlin to discuss further action on the Minsk peace plan, which was meant to end the violence in Eastern Ukraine. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement on Tuesday that German President Angela Merkel invited the foreign leaders to “discuss the next steps” needed to insure peace in the region.

The decision on the Wednesday meeting came after sporadic communication between the four sides over the past week and, according to Seibert, isn’t expected to produce any kind of breakthrough. VOA



Kurdish report early success in Battle of Mosul

Kurdish report early success in Battle of MosulIraqi and Kurdish forces say they have retaken a number of villages outside the northern city of Mosul, as they press an offensive to reclaim control of the area from Islamic State militants. The operation, backed by airstrikes from a US-led coalition and involving Sunni tribal forces and Shi’ite militias, went on for its second day Tuesday with the fighting still located outside of Mosul itself.

Kurdish President Masoud Barzani said the first day of fighting freed 200 square kilometers. He declared “Mosul will be liberated,” and added that his fighters are doing their best to keep the city from becoming like war-battered Aleppo, Syria. VOA

US Presidential Election

Clinton pushes into red states weeks before the election: Hillary Clinton’s campaign is looking to make a last minute push in deep red states such as Texas, Utah, Arizona, and Georgia as the Democrats become more and more comfortable with their odds of winning the general election in November. The campaign has already prepared to launch an ad in Texas, and Chelsea Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and First Lady Michelle Obama will all be appearing at rallies in Arizona on Clinton’s behalf. While winning any of the red states’ electoral votes remains an uphill battle, it is one the campaign is willing to fight due to a desire both to support fierce down ballot races as well as rout Donald Trump in the general election, doing away with any suspicions of “rigging.” The New York Times, Time, The Week


Melania Trump says Billy Bush ‘egged’ Donald Trump into ‘boy talk’: Melania Trump broke her silence Monday about the recently released hot-mic video where her husband Donald Trump talked with Billy Bush about forcing himself on women in 2005. “It was many, many years ago,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “He’s not the man that I know.” She said she was “surprised” by the words her husband used, but argued he was “egged on from the host to say dirty and bad stuff” and making “boy talk” with Bush. Cooper pointed out that Trump was 59 at the time of the incident. Several women came forward last week and accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, and Melania Trump said they were “all organized from the opposition. Did they ever check the background of these women?” She said to accuse anyone “without evidence is damaging and unfair.” Billy Bush was officially dropped by NBC on Monday because of his participation in the video. CNN, NBC News, The Week


Billy Bush out at the Today show: Billy Bush is no longer a host on NBC’s Today show, a network senior vice president announced Monday. Earlier this month, Bush was suspended from the show after a video tape from 2005 surfaced, featuring Donald Trump telling Bush, then a host on Access Hollywood, that he groped and kissed women without their consent because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” Bush, who was heard laughing and joking with Trump, released a statement after the tape leaked, saying he was “embarrassed and ashamed” by the conversation. On Monday, he released a new statement, saying, “I am deeply grateful for the conversations I’ve had with my daughters, and for all of the support from family, friends, and colleagues. I look forward to what lies ahead.” NBC News, The Week