Top News Stories for Today – October 28, 2016
UN resolution calls for ban on nuclear weapons
UN member states have voted overwhelmingly on a measure that could lead to a ban on nuclear weapons. On Thursday, the UN Disarmament and International Security Committee voted to approve a resolution that calls for negotiations on a new treaty outlawing nuclear weapons, despite opposition from nuclear-armed nations.
“This treaty won’t eliminate nuclear weapons overnight. But it will establish a powerful, new international legal standard, stigmatizing nuclear weapons and compelling nations to take urgent action on disarmament,” Beatriz Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said. Fihn said the vote was a “historic moment” even though convincing countries to eliminate their nuclear weapons will be very difficult. VOA
Largest marine reserve in Antarctica
A historic deal has been reached to create the world’s largest marine reserve in Antarctica, after years of diplomatic wrangling. Russia dropped its long-held opposition to the accord at the annual meeting of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) held in Hobart, Australia. The agreement was signed by the 24 member countries and the European Union.
The pact for the protected area in the Ross Sea covers more than 1.55 million square kilometers, about the size of Britain, Germany and France combined. There will be a no fishing zone of 1.12 million square kilometers. The Ross Sea – home to penguins, seals, Antarctic toothfish, whales and huge numbers of krill – a staple food for many species – is one of the last intact marine ecosystems in the world. VOA
Syrian rebels fight for control of Aleppo
Syrian rebel groups say they have begun their large-scale offensive in Aleppo to break the government’s siege on neighborhoods in the eastern part of the divided city. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday rebel shelling in west Aleppo Friday killed 15 civilians and wounded 100. No other information was immediately available.
On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an investigation into an airstrike on a school in Syria that killed nearly 30 people, most of them children. “If deliberate, this attack may amount to a war crime,” Ban’s office said in a statement. VOA
US economy posts best growth in 2 years
The US economy expanded at a 2.9% annual rate from July through September compared with the same time a year ago — the fastest economic growth in two years. It was the last reading on economic growth before the election, and it came as welcome news: Growth was sluggish in the first half of the year, averaging just above 1%.
American shoppers continued to drive growth while business spending was less of a drag. Consumer confidence hit a nine-year high in September, according to the Conference Board. Working against growth for much of the year was that businesses had lots of unsold items sitting in the back room. This factor, also known as inventories, didn’t hold growth back in the third quarter.
Solid growth numbers help clear the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at the end of this year. Sluggish growth, and a bad jobs report in May, held the Fed back from raising rates earlier this year, among other reasons. The Fed is expected to raise rates in December. CNN
UK may need a second vote on Brexit
“If it becomes clear that this is either a deal that doesn’t make it worth our while leaving, or alternatively a deal that’s going to be so serious in its implications, people may decide they don’t want to go,” Blair told the BBC. He said there could be a way to reverse the June referendum result if the British people change their mind. That could take place via a vote in parliament, a general election, or even another referendum.
“We just don’t know what we’re going to be offered as an alternative and once we know we’ll be in a position to make a decision,” he said. Blair is not the only one suggesting there are still options to avoid leaving the EU. At least five legal challenges against Brexit are being considered by UK courts. CNN
Early October fundraising gives Clinton leg up for final days of election: Robust early October fundraising has left Hillary Clinton’s campaign with a comfortable $62 million for the final days of the presidential election, while Donald Trump’s own fundraising efforts over the same period of time disappointed, leaving him with only $16 million in his campaign coffers as of Oct. 19. Trump’s campaign raised just $28.9 million in the first 19 days of the month, filings show, down from $100 million in September; Clinton raised nearly double that, $57.2 million. Despite Trump’s repeated claims that he will donate $100 million to his campaign by Election Day, his personal contributions total, to date, just over $56 million. RealClearPolitics’ average of the polls has Clinton up 5 points nationally; both candidates will be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday for different events. The Washington Post, RealClearPolitics, The Week
Joe Biden is reportedly Hillary Clinton’s top pick for secretary of state: Vice President Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton’s top pick for secretary of state, a person familiar with Clinton’s transition team’s plans told Politico. Clinton and her aides have not reached out to Biden yet. “He’d be great, and they are spending a lot of time figuring out the best way to try to persuade him to do it if she wins,” the person with insight into the process said. Other names reportedly on the shortlist include former undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman, former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, and retired admiral James Stavridis. Politico, The Week
Mike Pence’s plane skids off runway in NYC; no injuries reported: Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s plane skidded off a runway Thursday night after landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. No injuries were reported. The chartered Boeing 737-700 jet, painted with the campaign’s logo, reportedly fishtailed as it touched down in rainy weather, and slid into a grassy area beside the runway before stopping abruptly. Pence, Indiana’s governor, then walked to the back of the plane to check on the press pool. There were 37 passengers — including Pence, his wife, daughter, and several advisers — and eight crew members on board. Pence canceled an appearance at a closed-door fundraiser at Trump Tower, but he called into the event. ABC New York, Twitter, The Week
New Republican Pitch: Contain a Clinton Presidency: In congressional races across America, Republicans are beginning to echo Democrats on a core assumption: Hillary Clinton will be president. With Donald Trump lagging in the polls, Republicans running for Congress are urging voters to elect them as a check on a Clinton presidency. Democrats, meanwhile, argue Hillary Clinton will need allies on Capitol Hill to enact her agenda. VOA
First Cambodian-born candidates face off in US State election: For the first time in US political history, two Cambodian-born candidates are facing off in a state legislative election. The candidates are running to represent the 18th Middlesex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The district’s incumbent representative, Democrat Rady Mom, is being challenged by Republican Kamara Kay. Despite their differing opinions on how to resolve local issues, both naturalized US citizens followed strikingly similar paths to the campaign trail.
As child survivors of the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s, both escaped their war-torn country for refugee camps in the early 1980s. After becoming naturalized US citizens in the early 1990s, both men came to call Lowell, a former mill town on the Merrimack River, home. Lowell’s estimated 30,000 Cambodians — the second-largest Khmer diaspora community in the United States, after Long Beach, California — have seen gang violence on the rise. VOA
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