Top News Stories for Today – October 25, 2016
Battle of retaking Mosul
Less than a week into the offensive to retake the Islamic State’s Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, the list of towns and villages freed from the terror group’s grip continues to grow while Iraqi and Kurdish commanders praise the faster-than-expected pace. Only US military and intelligence officials remain cautious, warning that the terror group has no intention of losing the Iraqi capital of its self-declared caliphate.
On Monday, Islamic State militants took control of Rutba, a town of 20,000 people in Iraq’s western province of Al Anbar that controls the road from Baghdad to Jordan and Syria. They overran the mayor’s office, executed at least five people, and fanned across several neighborhoods, Al Jazeera reports.
The town’s capture took place as Iraqi forces, Kurdish peshmerga troops, and others continued to make their way to Mosul, Iraq‘s second-largest city and the last ISIS stronghold in the country. Soldiers spent Monday fighting in two villages near Mosul, passing out food and water to residents after the battles were over. On Sunday, the US-led coalition announced it was behind six air strikes near Mosul, which destroyed 19 ISIS fighting positions, 17 vehicles, artillery, and tunnels. VOA, Al Jazeera
Twitter to cut 8 percent of its workforce
Twitter is preparing to cut an estimated 8 percent of its workforce this week, people familiar with the decision told Bloomberg. The reduction of approximately 300 people comes ahead of Twitter’s third-quarter earnings report, expected at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday.
The company has faced struggles to turn itself around, with a 40 percent fall in its share price in the past year making it tempting for engineers to exit for rivals like Google and Facebook. Twitter has also explored a sale, although Walt Disney Co., Alphabet Inc., and others eventually withdrew from the talks. Twitter dropped 8 percent of its employees a year ago when co-founder Jack Dorsey rejoined as CEO. Bloomberg, TechCrunch
UN alarmed by rising number of migrant deaths
The UN refugee agency is expressing alarm at the number of migrants who died crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016. With more than two months left in 2016, at least 3,470 people died trying to cross the rough seas, just less than the 3,771 reported dead in 2015. The increased loss of life comes despite a three-fold drop in the number of attempted crossings, down from more than one million in 2015 to around 327,000 this year.
UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler says the dramatic increase in the number of deaths can be attributed to more dangerous routes being taken by refugees and lower-quality vessels being used by people smugglers. VOA
Eurozone approves another massive bailout for Greece
Officials with the Eurozone countries on Tuesday approved a 2.8 billion euro bailout for Greece, the third such bailout delivered to the country since it spiraled into economic crisis six years ago. The latest disbursement of funds will consist of a 1.1 billion euro allotment to be used for servicing debt based on Greece’s successful implementation of 15 financial milestones, and another 1.7 billion euros to help pay back various unpaid debts.
Regling said Greece met key milestones related to pension reform, banking oversight and other areas, and the country has taken further steps to make a new privatization and investment fund operational. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton, Trump fight for Florida as election nears: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both in Florida on Tuesday making aggressive pushes in the final days of the presidential election cycle. Florida is an essential win for Trump, who would face a highly improbable path to the White House if he were to lose in the state, but polls adjusted to reflect Florida’s electorate show Clinton up by a margin of 3 to 5 percent. “Based on [Trump’s] consistent failure to improve his standing with non-white voters, voters under 50, and females, it seems fairly obvious to us that Mr. Trump’s only hope left in Florida is a low turnout,” Ryan D. Tyson, the vice president of political operations for the Associated Industries of Florida, wrote. Trump has denied he is down in Florida; his visit comes in the middle of a seven-city tour of the Sunshine State. The RealClearPolitics average shows Clinton up 3.8 percent in the state between Oct. 10 and Oct. 21. Politico, RealClearPolitics,
Clinton leads Trump by 5 points in new CNN/ORC poll: With two weeks to go until the election, a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 5 points. Among likely voters, Clinton is ahead with 49 percent compared to Trump’s 44 percent, followed by Libertarian Gary Johnson with 3 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein with 2 percent. When the third-party candidates are removed, Clinton’s margin increases to 51 percent to Trump’s 45 percent. Looking at voters under the age of 45, Clinton is at 53 percent, up from 47 percent in the last CNN/ORC poll. She is ahead of Trump in every age group except among those 50-64, who back Trump by 4 points. Clinton also leads Trump among women, at 53 percent compared to 41 percent, while Trump has a narrow lead among men, 48 percent to 45 percent. The poll was conducted over the phone October 20 through October 23 among a random sample of 1,017 adults, with 779 determined to be likely voters. The margin of sampling error for results among the sample of likely voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. CNN
Trump accuses Democrats of making up polls showing Clinton ahead: Donald Trump, trailing in his run for the White House, accused Democrats on Monday of making up phony polls to deflate his vote and make it look like Democrat Hillary Clinton is ahead. Trump produced no evidence about fake media polls. A collection of national surveys shows him trailing Clinton by about six percentage points or more. One major poll, released Sunday by ABC News, said its interviews with voters showed Clinton surging in recent days to a 50-to-38 percent lead, while polling analysts give her about a nine-in-10 chance of becoming the country’s 45th president. VOA
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- Is Israel save to travel for tourists
- Juncker addresses refugee crisis: 'Now is not the time for fright'
- Migrant child's body on beach shocks Europe