Top News Stories for Today – October 7, 2016
Nobel Peace Prize announced
On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.” Santos put the peace accord with the FARC guerrilla group up to a popular vote, and the voters narrowly rejected it.
“The outcome of the vote was not what President Santos wanted,” the Nobel Committee said, but the result “does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead.” Santos “has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution,” the committee said, and “by awarding this year’s Peace Prize to President Juan Manuel Santos, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to encourage all those who are striving to achieve peace, reconciliation, and justice in Colombia.” Nobel Committee
Pentagon confirms death of al-Qaida leader
The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed the death of a prominent al-Qaida leader who was targeted this week in a coalition airstrike in Syria. Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said a US strike near Idlib on Monday killed Abu al-Farai al-Masri.
Cook called al-Masri’s death “a significant disruption to al-Qaida senior leadership” and “a blow to their ability to plot external attacks.” The Pentagon announced the strike shortly after it occurred Monday but took three days to verify that the target had been killed. VOA
Hurricane Matthew approaches Florida
Florida’s east coast is beginning to feel strong winds and torrential rains from Hurricane Matthew, downgraded early Friday to a Category 3 storm from a Category 4. Matthew, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, is expected to make landfall north of Palm Beach County Friday morning.
President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina on Thursday, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) urged roughly 1.5 million Floridians to evacuate the most at-risk areas; Scott had previously declared a state of emergency, as have the governors of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. “There is no reason not to leave,” Scott said. “This storm will kill you.” Hurricane Matthew has already killed more than 300 people in Haiti. The New York Times, USA Today, The Week
Zika virus can causes paralytic disease
Researchers have discovered the strongest evidence yet linking the Zika virus to the paralytic illness Guillain-Barre syndrome. During the height of the viral epidemic the incidence of Guillain-Barre was 100 times the number of cases usually seen.
Guillain-Barre is a normally rare condition that affects the peripheral nervous system, the nerves in arms and legs that are responsible for sensation and movement. The immune system attacks the fatty myelin coating of the nerves that protect and speed signals from the brain to the limbs.
Zika is in a family of viruses transmitted by mosquitoes called flavivirus, including dengue fever, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and chikungunya. VOA
Flight MH370 debris found in Mauritius
Debris from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was recovered on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, investigators said Friday.
The located fragment is a small part of the aircraft’s wing. It was discovered in May and analyzed by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which said in a statement that a part number positively linked it to the Boeing 777 jet that vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. The finding was also confirmed by Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.
US Presidential election
30 former GOP lawmakers release anti-Trump letter: On Thursday, 30 former Republican lawmakers released a letter saying they would not be voting for Donald Trump for president. “He has proven himself manifestly unqualified,” the signatories said of Trump. “Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him.” All of the lawmakers are former Republican members of Congress, and some are influential presences in battleground states, like former Rep. Bill Clinger of Pennsylvania and former Rep. G. William Whitehurst of Virginia. While the letter does not specifically mention Hillary Clinton, some of the more than two dozen Republicans reportedly plan to vote for the Democratic nominee, while others will either write in a candidate or cast a ballot for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. CNN, MSNBC
Libertarian Gary Johnson says US Presidential chances about gone: For months in the US presidential campaign, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has drawn a modest amount of support, but after a string of foreign policy blunders, even he admits that his chances of winning the White House are all but nil. VOA
Despite cyberattacks, US Election System ‘resilient,’ officials say: With less than five weeks to go until the presidential election, US officials are taking extra measures to reassure voters of the integrity of the election process, insisting it is safe from hackers despite a recent series of high-profile breaches, attempted attacks and warnings. The reassurance comes as cybersecurity experts and US lawmakers continue to blame Russia for the wave of online attacks they say are meant to undermine confidence in the November 8 election. VOA
Sanders said Clinton aims to unite, Trump divides: Calling Donald Trump a divider who wants to give hundreds of millions in tax cuts to the rich, US Sen. Bernie Sanders urged voters in Green Bay Wednesday to support Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. To repeated ovations, the Vermont senator told a crowd estimated at more than 600 that they need to support Clinton to ensure America’s future. USA Today
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