Top News Stories for Today – October 19, 2016
ISIS using civilians as human shields
Iraqi forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters are inching closer to Mosul, Iraq, where US officials say Islamic State militants are using civilians as human shields. The operation to recapture Mosul, the last ISIS stronghold in the country, began Monday, and the US-backed coalition said ISIS has fled from 10 villages on the road to Mosul.
It’s believed that 5,000 ISIS fighters remain in the city, and experts think there are about 700,000 people still living there as well. Residents told Reuters ISIS fighters are blocking people from leaving and in some cases directing them to buildings they believe will be targeted by air strikes. The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said as many as 200,000 people will need shelter over the next few weeks. President Obama said there are “plans and infrastructure” in place to deal with a humanitarian crisis. BBC, The Week
Russian hacker linked to US attacks arrested
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with Czech police, arrested a Russian citizen in Prague on Wednesday in connection with attempted cyber-attacks against the United States. Last week, the Obama administration formally accused the Russian government of hacking US institutions in an attempt to influence the upcoming presidential election, though police gave no indication the arrested man was connected with the election hacking claims.
Without going into further detail, Czech police spokesman David Schon said the aim of the operation was a Russian citizen and that it was carried out successfully.The statement said a Czech court will decide whether the suspect is extradited to the United States, though no timetable was given. VOA
WikiLeaks founder Assange’s internet access restricted
Ecuador’s government admitted Tuesday that it had “temporarily restricted” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet access at its London embassy after the site published documents from Hillary Clinton’s US presidential campaign. A foreign ministry statement said that while it stands by its decision in 2012 to grant Assange asylum, it does not interfere in foreign elections. Leftist President Rafael Correa’s government said it was acting on its own and not ceding to foreign pressures.
The Foreign Ministry didn’t specify how Assange’s internet access had been restricted; it said only that the curbs wouldn’t affect WikiLeaks’ journalistic ability. WikiLeaks, in tweets Tuesday morning, alleged that US Secretary of State John Kerry had asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing documents about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. State Department spokesperson John Kirby categorically denied the assertion. VOA
Pakistan’s Chinese-built 3rd nuclear reactor
Pakistan has connected its new, largely Chinese-built nuclear reactor to the national grid as part of broader plans to overcome long-running crippling power shortages. The facility is located at Chashma, a town in the central province of Punjab, where China has constructed two other nuclear reactors, known as Chashma-1 and Chashma-2. They went into operation in 2000 and 2011 respectively, supplying 600 megawatts of electricity to the grid.
The so-called Chashma-3 project, with an installed capacity of 340 megawatts, was inaugurated “on trial basis” this past Saturday, according to a spokesman for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). VOA
US Presidential Election
Trump wants to reform congress: Donald Trump has proposed instituting term limits on members of Congress as part of a multi-pronged package he says will clean up American politics. US presidents are constitutionally limited to two terms in office. There is no such limit on members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, many of whom stay in office for repeated terms. In the 2012 election, more than 90 percent of incumbents won re-election. VOA
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton to square off in final debate: For the third and final time, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off Wednesday night in a presidential debate, this time at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Clinton is heading into the final debate with a sizable lead in the national polls and is well-positioned in key swing states. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will moderate the 90-minute debate, and the topics are supposed to include immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots, “fitness” to be president, and the national debt. The debate will be broadcast live on all major TV networks, and you can also stream the debate on Facebook or Twitter. The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Week
Clinton heads into final debate with solid 9-point lead over Trump: Heading into Wednesday’s final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton is holding a solid lead over Donald Trump in the polls. In a Bloomberg Politics survey released Wednesday morning, Clinton has opened up a 9-point lead over Trump among likely voters, 50 percent to 41 percent in a two-way race, or 47 percent to 38 percent in a four-way contest including Gary Johnson (8 percent) and Jill Stein (3 percent). In the last Bloomberg Politics poll in September, Clinton and Trump were tied at 46 percent apiece. “This poll shows movement toward Clinton with all the right groups it takes to win — including men and those without a college degree,” says pollster J. Ann Selzer, who conducted the poll. A Fox News poll released Tuesday night was slightly better for Trump — it showed him trailing Clinton by just 6 points among likely voters. Bloomberg, Politico, The Week
6 witnesses back People writer’s Trump attack claim: Former People writer Natasha Stoynoff’s account of being attacked by Donald Trump has now been corroborated by six witnesses. People published statements from Stoynoff’s close friends, coworkers, and former journalism professor, all confirming that she had told them about the incident and her distress over whether to come forward about it. Stoynoff claims that when she was profiling Trump and his then-pregnant wife Melania for People in December 2005, Trump shoved her up against a wall and forced his tongue “down [her] throat.” Trump has denied the incident, insisting that “she lies” and remarking, “Look at her, I don’t think so.” People
Obama calls Trump’s ‘rigged’ election claims baseless, ‘unprecedented’: On Tuesday, President Obama tore into Donald Trump’s “unprecedented” claims of voter fraud, which the president said are “based on no facts.” “I have never seen, in my lifetime or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process, before votes have even taken place,” Obama said, adding that Trump should “stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.” Throughout the presidential election, Trump has repeatedly suggested the system is “rigged.” During a rally in Wisconsin on Monday night, Trump claimed votes from “1.8 million deceased individuals” and undocumented immigrants could sway the election and cause him to lose. CNN, The Washington Examiner
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