Top News Stories for Today – September 26, 2016
Murders in US rose sharply in 2015
Data released Monday by the FBI revealed that murders in the United States rose dramatically between 2014 and 2015. After two decades trending downward, the murder rate rose 10.8 percent between 2014 and 2015, the “biggest single-year percentage jump since 1971,” The Guardian notes.
The bulk of the increase was due to a jump in the murders of black men, as the data shows at least 900 more black men were killed in 2015 than in 2014; additionally, 71.5 percent of murders in 2015 were committed with firearms, up from 67.9 percent in 2014. The increase put the total murders in the US at 15,696, just shy of 2009’s number — but still just half of the total in 1991, the peak of the country’s violent crime wave. The Guardian, The Week
Historic peace deal in Colombia
On Monday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, also known as Timochenko, formally signed a peace accord in Cartagena, ending the longest running armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere. The deal came together after four years of negotiations and 52 years of war, which resulted in the deaths of more than 250,000 people.
There’s one final step left: On Sunday, voters will participate in a national referendum to either support or reject the peace deal. The Colombia Reports news site says a recent poll shows 66 percent of voters support the 297-page accord, and if it is approved, the government expects it will take 10 years for rebels to be disarmed and reintegrate into society. The government also plans to compensate victims of violence and try war criminals in court. USA Today
New evidence of water plumes on Europa
NASA announced Monday that its Hubble Space Telescope has found more evidence of “water plumes” on the surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. If the plumes, which NASA describes as water vapor “erupting off” Europa’s surface, do in fact exist, it would offer scientists hoping to study Europa’s massive subsurface ocean a way to study the water without having to drill through miles of hard ice to get there.
Europa’s ocean has two times the amount of water Earth’s oceans have, which NASA says makes it “one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life in the solar system.” NASA
90% of world’s population breathe bad air
More than 90 percent of the world’s population is exposed to excessive air pollution, which contributes to a number of health problems, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. The WHO estimates sub-standard air contributes to more than six million deaths per year. Almost all of those deaths – around 90 percent – occurred in low and middle-income countries.
The data came from around 3,000 sites across the world and measured the amount of small, dangerous particulate matter in the air. The UN health agency refused to publicly say which country had the worst pollution record, but Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, including China, Malaysia and Vietnam, showed the highest levels of pollution, the data showed. VOA
US Presidential election
Trump, Clinton clash in first presidential debate: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University on Monday night, touching on the topics of the economy, race, and national security. Clinton was initially put on the defensive over her support of NAFTA, with Trump calling it “one of the worst things that ever happened to the manufacturing industry.” Trump later stumbled on the topic of race, claiming he had “nothing” to say to people of color for his perpetuation of the conspiracy theory about President Obama’s birthplace. The pair shared a rare moment of agreement on restricting firearms from getting into the hands of people on the no-fly list. The second presidential debate will take place on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Lewis. The Week
Snap polls give debate win to Clinton: The first polls on Monday night found that most viewers believed that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won her first presidential debate against Donald Trump. Public Policy Polling’s post-debate survey found that 51 percent of voters nationally said Clinton won, while 40 percent favored Trump. In a CNN/ORC snap poll, 62 percent said Clinton won, while 27 percent said her Republican rival had a better night. Republican pollster Frank Luntz had a focus group of undecided voters watch the debate for CBS News, and the group named Clinton the victor 16 to 5. “This is a good night for Hillary Clinton, it is not a good night for Donald Trump,” Luntz said, “but there is still time and there are still undecided voters.” Public Policy Polling, CNN, The Week
Fact check the first presidential debate:
- Clinton wrongly said that the only tax returns that anyone has seen from Trump “showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.” Trump paid federal taxes in three out of five years in the 1970s.
- Trump was right in saying that Ford is moving its small-car division overseas but wrong in claiming that as a result, thousands of jobs are leaving Michigan and Ohio. Ford’s CEO insists not a single job will be lost in the US
- Trump left the false impression that the Obama administration failed to disclose the full amount paid to Iran in January to settle a long outstanding claim.
- Clinton said Trump thinks “climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” Trump denied it. In 2012, he tweeted that the Chinese had created global warming but later said he was joking.
- Trump claimed without evidence that the Clinton campaign in 2008 was pushing “very hard” the false story that President Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii.
- Trump claimed “the record shows” he was opposed to the Iraq War before it started, but there is no record of that.
- Trump said “murders are up” in New York City since ending stop-and-frisk policies, while Clinton said “crime, including murders” is down. Both are correct.
- Clinton claimed she had said she “hoped” the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be a “good deal,” when she originally supported it. But at the time, Clinton said it “sets the gold standard.”
- Clinton said “independent experts” concluded that Trump’s plans would cause a loss of 3.5 million jobs while hers would create 10 million jobs. But Trump has released a new tax plan since that report, and the projected job creation under Clinton is 3.2 million more than what would be added under current law.
- Clinton said Trump’s businesses had filed for bankruptcy six times; he said it was four. Clinton is right. USA Today