Top News Stories for Today – October 5, 2016
Thailand bars pro-democracy activist
Thailand on Wednesday barred entry to a Hong Kong student activist who helped organize pro-democracy protests in the Chinese-ruled city in 2014, with a Thai newspaper saying he had been deported and “blacklisted” at China’s request.
Bespectacled Joshua Wong, 19, was detained in Bangkok where he had been invited to speak at universities about Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Movement” street protests and on setting up his political party, Demosisto.
He was later put on a plane back to Hong Kong where he told reporters Thai authorities had not given him a reason for refusing him entry but had shown him a document citing a security law. One officer had mentioned a “blacklist”, he said. Reuters
3 scientists win Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Three scientists have been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in “the design and synthesis of molecular machines.” France’s Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Northwestern University’s Sir Fraser Stoddart, and the Netherlands’ Bernard L. Feringa linked molecules together to create “the world’s smallest machines,” 1,000 times thinner than a strand of human hair.
These machines could play a huge role in human health in the future, allowing doctors to control with incredible accuracy how drugs are dispersed in the body. “They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences explained in a statement, adding that the machines could be used “in the development of things such as new materials, sensors, and energy storage systems.” The winners will share a prize of 8m kronor, or about $930,000. Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, BBC, The Associated Press
Hurricane Matthew heads north
Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, headed to the Bahamas early Wednesday after pounding the eastern tip of Cuba and southwest Haiti with torrential rains and top sustained winds of 145 miles per hour.
Residents of Les Cayes, Haiti, said the storm destroyed many houses and caused some deaths, although it was impossible to immediately assess the extent of the damage because the storm knocked out some cellphone towers and a bridge connecting Haiti’s rural southern peninsula from the capital, Port-au-Prince. “The river has overflowed all around us,” church pastor Louis St. Germain said. “It’s terrible… a total disaster.” As of early Wednesday, the storm had caused 11 confirmed deaths, including five in Haiti. Reuters, CNN, The Week
Yahoo surveilled user emails for federal
A Reuters investigation published Tuesday alleges that Yahoo built a “custom software program” designed to search all customers’ inboxes, in order to comply with a request from US intelligence officials. The program was designed to sift through incoming emails, in real time, for a specific combination of characters, and was developed at the request of the US government last year, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
The Intercept reached out to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to ask if they had received (and if so, complied with) any similar requests: Spokespeople for Apple and Microsoft said their companies had never conducted such surveillance but declined to say whether they’d received such directives; a spokesperson for Google denied having received any such request and said the company would have refused to comply if it had; a representative for Twitter said he could not answer the question directly due to federal law, but noted that Twitter is currently suing the Justice Department “for the ability to disclose more information about government requests.” Reuters, The Intercept, The Week
Boeing making airplane deal with Iran
The deal is part of efforts to rebuild Iran’s elderly fleet, an agreement included in a 2015 pact between Tehran and six world powers to lift most Western sanctions in exchange for limiting Iran’s stockpiles of substances that could be used to make nuclear weapons. VOA
US Presidential election
VP debate – Pence calm and steady, but dodges in defending Trump: Republican Mike Pence was calm and steady in the face of Democrat Tim Kaine’s fiery and frequent challenges. But when it came to defending Donald Trump, Pence dodged, sidestepped or was silent about some of his running mate’s most provocative words. Kaine aggressively pressured Pence to vouch for Trump throughout the 90-minute debate, often citing the brash businessman’s own words. Pence defended Trump’s tax history, but maneuvered around criticism of Trump’s demeaning comments about women, his public doubting of President Barack Obama’s citizenship and broader questions about temperament. Associated Press
Clinton regains polling edge over Trump: A raft of new US presidential campaign surveys shows that Democrat Hillary Clinton has regained an edge over Republican Donald Trump since their first debate, which many voters say they think she won. The national polls mostly show Clinton, a former US secretary of state, leading Trump, a brash real estate mogul seeking his first elected office, and two other candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party contender Jill Stein, by 4 or 5 percentage points in a four-way race. In head-to-head matches with Trump, Clinton’s advantage is slightly bigger.
US presidential elections are not decided by the national popular vote but rather by results in the country’s 50 states, with the most populous states having the biggest influence on the overall outcome in the decisive Electoral College vote. Politico, a political news website, said Clinton, looking to become the first female US president, is now ahead in seven of the 11 states where the outcome is in doubt, giving her a far clearer path to winning the 270-vote Electoral College majority over Trump. VOA
International observers will watch US vote closely: Amid charges from Donald Trump that the US presidential election could be “rigged” and concerns of rights activists that black voters may face undue obstacles, the head of an international observer team pledged a full review ranging from voting machines to racial bias as it began work on Tuesday. The team from the 57-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that will monitor the Nov. 8 presidential and Congressional elections is set to be the biggest the organization has sent to the United States, tasked with checking the vote meets international standards. VOA
Fact Check on VP debate:
- Pence said “that’s nonsense” after Kaine claimed Trump was proposing a “deportation force” to “go house to house” and send away millions of immigrants who are here illegally. Trump did say that.
- Kaine claimed Pence was “the chief cheerleader for privatization” of Social Security. That’s misleading. Pence proposed voluntary private accounts, not a private-sector takeover.
- Pence implied Clinton was wrong when she cited the fatal shooting of a black man by a black cop as a case of “implicit” bias. But research shows there can be implicit bias against members of the same racial group.
- Kaine claimed that Trump’s plan would “raise taxes on the middle class.” That may be true for some middle-income taxpayers, but the Tax Foundation found that most would get a tax cut.
- Pence said the Clinton Foundation gave less than 10% to “charitable organizations.” That’s misleading. One philanthropy watchdog said the foundation spent about 87% on charitable work.
- Pence said, “The Trump Foundation is a private family foundation and they give virtually every cent to charitable causes.” But that’s far from true.
- Kaine and Pence were both partly right and partly wrong in characterizing Donald Trump’s statements on other countries, including Japan and South Korea, getting nuclear weapons.
- Pence denied that he said, as Kaine claimed, that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “better leader” than President Obama. But Pence did say that Putin has been a “stronger leader.”
- Kaine claimed that Trump said “we need to get rid of NATO.” Trump did say NATO is obsolete or may be, but he hasn’t said that the international security alliance should be eliminated.
- Pence disputed Kaine’s statement that the FBI “concluded that not one reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information. Kaine was right. USA Today
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