Top News Stories for Today – September 30, 2016
US cleared key IS officials softening grip on Mosul
One by one, key Islamic State terror group leaders are getting caught in the crosshairs of US and coalition aircraft, and they are being removed from the battlefield as Iraqi forces prepare for a final assault on the IS-held city of Mosul.
Operation Inherent Resolve said Thursday that its airstrikes had killed 18 IS officials in the past 30 days, 13 of them in and around Mosul, “softening their grip” on Iraq’s second-largest city.
The targeted killings have been, in part, the result of good intelligence that has allowed the US to steadily target and eliminate “high-value” individuals, like IS spokesman and external operations planner Abu Muhammad al-Adnani and chief information officer Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayyad. VOA
World leaders attend Shimon Peres’ funeral
On Friday, Israel buried former leader and elder statesman Shimon Peres at a funeral in Jerusalem attended by world leaders, including President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Charles, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who sat in the front row at the service.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a hardliner, praised Peres, Israel’s most prominent dove, as “a great man of Israel. He was a great man of the world. Israel grieves for him. The world grieves for him.” He added, “I loved you. We all loved you. Farewell Shimon. Dear man. Great leader.” Clinton remembered Peres, a Nobel Peace laureate, as a “wide champion of our common humanity.” The Associated Press, The Week
Philippines leader compares himself to Hitler
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used a speech on Friday to announce that there are “three million drug addicts” in his country, and he would be “happy to slaughter them.” Speaking to reporters after a trip to Vietnam, Duterte said that he has been “portrayed to be some cousin of [Adolf] Hitler,” and remarked that Hitler orchestrated the murder of millions of Jews.
“If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” he paused and pointed at himself. While running for president, Duterte took a strong anti-drug and corruption stance, and since taking office June 30, more than 3,100 people, primarily drug users and dealers, have been killed by police and in vigilante killings. “You know my victims,” Duterte said. “I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.” Reuters
Rosetta space probe goes silent
After over a decade of observing comets in the cosmos, the historic Rosetta spacecraft executed a planned crash on Comet 67P around 7:20 a.m. Eastern time. While the touchdown was a gentle 2 miles per hour, the probe was never designed to land and its intentional crash cut off transmissions to Earth.
While researchers had determined Rosetta’s mission was at an end as it followed Comet 67P to the outer leg of its orbit, taking the probe away from the sun and thus its source of power, Rosetta leaves behind overwhelming amounts of data that still need to be analyzed. The probe was the first to orbit a comet and it opened up a new era of understanding the universe’s origins. “There is no mission in the future that will do anything like Rosetta,” Christopher Carr, the head of one of Rosetta’s instrument teams, said. The New York Times, USA Today
US issues travel warning to Congo
Top News Stories for Today – September 30, 2016The US State Department has issued a travel warning for the Democratic Republic of Congo and has ordered families of government personnel stationed in the country to leave. The travel warning said “The potential for civil unrest is high in parts of Kinshasa and other major cities.” Kinshasa in the DRC capital.
Deadly clashes have broken out in the country over the presidency of Joseph Kabila. His last day in office is supposed to be December 19. He has ruled for two terms, beginning in 2001. The constitution bars him from seeking a third term. However, the nation’s electoral commission says it will not be able to hold elections until late 2018. Kabila has not said publicly what he will do. Critics say he is stalling to stay in power.
Many of the more recent strikes have taken out lower-level but tactically important IS officials in Mosul, including three Chechen foreign fighter commanders, the deputy military emir, a military commander and a police commander, military officials said. And the pace of such operations is likely to pick up as coalition-backed forces advance on the city. VOA
US Presidential election
USA Today, in editorial first, deems Trump ‘unfit for the presidency’: USA Today’s editorial board has never before chosen sides in a presidential race, and while they were unable to come up with a consensus for a Hillary Clinton endorsement, they did unanimously agree that Donald Trump is “unfit for the presidency.” Trump, the board wrote, “has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks the temperament, knowledge, steadiness, and honesty that America needs from its presidents.” Further, he is so “erratic” that “attempting to assess his policy positions is like shooting at a moving target,” and he “traffics in prejudice,” is a “serial liar,” and has “coarsened the national dialogue.” The editorial urges voters to “stay true” to their convictions, but “resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.” USA Today, The Week
Trump Foundation reportedly lacks necessary certification to solicit money: The Donald J. Trump Foundation does not have the certification New York requires for charities to solicit money from the public, the state attorney general’s office said. As reported by The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, under state law, any charity that solicits more than $25,000 a year from the public must obtain registration beforehand, and a charity the size of the Trump Foundation must also submit to an audit that asks if it spent any money to personally benefit its officers. The Trump Foundation was established in 1987, and began taking donations from others in the early 2000s. The Trump Foundation asked for donations from the public as recently as this year, asking people to give to veterans online, later saying it raised $1.67 million through the site. If the attorney general finds the Trump Foundation violated the law while raising money, he could order the foundation immediately stop its fundraising efforts. The Washington Post, The Week
Clinton unleashes new attacks on Trump’s tax avoidance: Democrat Hillary Clinton is unleashing a wave of attacks on Republican Donald Trump, a brash real estate mogul, for bragging that at least in some years he has avoided paying any U.S. income tax. On Thursday, a political action group supporting Clinton’s presidential candidacy posted a new ad online in four contested battleground election states, playing back several comments Trump made at the debate as she disparaged his reputation as a businessman who looked out only for his own financial well-being. VOA