Top News Stories for Today – September 21, 2016
US suggests Russian bombed aid convoy in Syria
The US publicly held Russia responsible Tuesday for Sunday’s deadly airstrikes on a humanitarian aid convoy delivering food and medicine to a besieged town outside Aleppo, Syria, but unidentified US officials also said they are almost certain that Russian aircraft actually carried out the bombing, which destroyed 18 trucks and killed at least 20 people, according to the United Nations.
The US can track aircraft in the area, and the Pentagon has determined with “very high probability” that a Russian Su-24 fighter jet was directly over the convoy less than a minute before the airstrike, a senior US official tells The New York Times. “We know the plane in question was Russian, not Syrian, and was directly overhead.” Russian officials have responded with an evolving series of denials and accusations. The US “has no facts,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at the UN on Tuesday. “We have nothing to do with this situation.” The New York Times, NBC News, The Week
Protests erupt after deadly officer-involved shooting
Hundreds of people took to the street in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday night to protest the officer-involved shooting of a man earlier in the day. At least one protester and a dozen officers were injured in confrontations, and after demonstrators went after police cruisers, officers in riot gear fired tear gas.
Police say that in trying to find a suspect with an outstanding warrant on Tuesday afternoon, they shot a man identified as Keith Lamont Scott; police say Scott got out of a car carrying a firearm and was considered a deadly threat, while Scott’s family say he was unarmed and carrying a book. Mayor Jennifer Roberts tweeted that the “community deserves answers,” and a “full investigation will ensue.” A police source says both the officer and victim are black. ABC News, The Week
IS regrouping in Afghan-Pakistan border
Local leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan say they are seeing a resurgence and regrouping of Islamic State fighters in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Afghan forces, aided by US bombers, reportedly intensified attacks on remote mountainous IS positions Tuesday. More than two dozen IS fighters were killed in air raids in the Achin and Kot districts, according to a spokesperson for the provincial governor and the Afghan defense ministry.
Afghan and US coalition forces recently cleared many areas of IS militants in a number of districts in eastern Nangarhar province. But IS has recaptured several remote villages in Achin and Kot, which border Pakistan, tribal leaders told VOA. “The government has not built any check posts in remote areas that lie far from the district center, and people in those areas live under IS control,” Malek Kamin, a tribal elder in Achin, told VOA. VOA
Obama, Ban call to help solve refugee crisis
Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, a member of the refugee Olympic team, introduced Obama. She told her family’s story, saying they were refugees on a boat, and that when the engine failed, she and others had to get out and pull the boat by swimming. Just a year later, Mardini said, she had the chance to compete in the Rio Olympics on the refugee team. She offered this message: “It is not a choice to flee from your home. … Refugees can achieve great things if given the opportunity.”
The president said the worst global refugee crisis since World War II is a test of the international community’s ability to stop conflicts. He implicitly rejected criticism by Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress. Many Republican leaders have called for a halt to the admission of refugees from Iraq, Syria and other countries embroiled in conflict, saying they pose a security threat. “To slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values,” Obama said.
Earlier Tuesday, the White House announced that 51 private US companies, include Airbnb, IBM, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Chobani, Uber, Ikea and Microsoft, had pledged to invest $650 million to help refugees around the world.
Ban also paid tribute to Mardini, saying she might not have won a medal at the Olympics but was a winner nonetheless. He called on world leaders to show their compassion to the 21 million people across the world like Mardini who are classified as refugees, asking, “If not us, then who can do it?” VOA
US Presidential election
Donald Trump: Black communities in ‘the worst shape they’ve ever been in’: On Tuesday, Donald Trump argued that “our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever.” Trump, talking to a mostly white crowd in Kenansville, North Carolina, said he will “rebuild our inner cities,” because now, “you get no education, you get no jobs, you get shot walking down the street. They’re worse — I mean, honestly, places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities.” Recent polls have Trump’s support with African-Americans in the low single digits. CNN
Trump camp hits back at Washington Post over charity ‘self-dealing’ report: On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the Trump Foundation gave out $258,000 to settle two legal disputes against Donald Trump’s for-profit businesses, as well as two other instances that also appear to be prohibited “self-dealing” by a foundation. Trump’s presidential campaign issued a statement on Tuesday night attacking Post reporter David Fahrenthold, saying “the Post’s reporting is peppered with inaccuracies and omissions from a biased reporter who is clearly intent on distracting attention away from the corrupt Clinton Foundation.” Although the statement said the Post has “their facts wrong,” it did not dispute any facts. On CNN, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that Trump’s “accountants and attorneys” told her some monies “were misdirected to his foundation” for a bit and noted that Fahrenthold’s report “uses a lot of conditional phrasing.” The Washington Post, The New York Times
US Presidential debate topics announced: The moderator of the first presidential debate next Monday has revealed the three topics to be discussed by presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. The debate will consist of two 15-minute segments for each of these three topics: America’s direction, achieving prosperity and securing America. Moderator Lester Holt, host of “NBC Nightly News,” will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates also will have the opportunity to respond to each other. The debate will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. VOA
Clinton has outspent Trump by $200 million in Presidential race: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have clear differences when it comes to policy proposals, but as the end to the long election process slowly approaches a gap just as wide persists in the finances of their campaigns. Documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission showed Clinton raised about $60 million in August compared to $42 million for Trump. Her campaign also outspent Trump’s by $20 million. As of the end of August Clinton had outspent Trump by about $200 million. The gap in their total fundraising was even bigger, with Clinton having raised $386 million to Trump’s $170 million. VOA
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