Top news stories for today – September 7, 2016
Kofi Annan meets Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar
A team led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan began to address the plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims on Wednesday, meeting people displaced in communal violence that has raised concern about the country’s commitment to human rights.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi appointed the nine-member commission to advise her on the situation in Rakhine State where ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have lived separately since clashes in 2012 in which more than 100 people were killed.
Some 125,000 people are living in camps, the vast majority members of the Rohingya minority who are denied citizenship in Myanmar, where many members of the majority Buddhist community see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. VOA
US Congress fails to pass Zika funding bill
Upon their return to Washington after a seven-week summer break, Democrats in the Senate blocked the GOP’s $1.1 billion Zika funding package on Tuesday, 52-46. In June and July, two similar funding measures also failed.
A health official in the Obama administration told Politico that if funding isn’t approved by the end of September, progress on four potential Zika vaccines will stop. Democrats say they rejected the bill because of GOP riders, including a provision that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said was clearly “attacking Planned Parenthood.” There are 2,722 reported cases of Zika in the U.S, which is linked to severe birth defects in pregnant women. Politico, The Week
Assad regime accused of chlorine attack
Rescue workers in Syria say President Basher al-Assad’s government dropped barrel bombs containing chlorine gas on a neighborhood in eastern Aleppo on Tuesday. The Syrian Civil Defense organization says 80 people experienced breathing difficulties after helicopters dropped the bombs over the Sukari neighborhood, but there were no known deaths.
The group released a video showing wheezing children using oxygen masks in order to breathe. The organization says the Syrian regime is behind two other suspected chlorine gas attacks in August, and the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons reportedly found last month that government forces were responsible for two chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015. The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons during the country’s civil war. Reuters
New iPhone expected to top today’s Apple event
According to rumors, the new iPhone will have no headphone jack, may have two cameras on the back of the larger phones, a new touch-sensitive home button, more storage, and maybe even better water resistance. Apple might also unveil a new Apple Watch. Apple is also rolling out new operating systems for iPhones and iPads and for its Mac computers this fall. CNET News, The New York Times, The Week
US Presidential election
Poll: On immigration, voters are split between Clinton and Trump: A new CNN/ORC poll out Wednesday revealed that voters aren’t sure whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would best handle immigration issues. Voters were nearly evenly split on which presidential candidate would do the better job, with 49 percent putting their trust in Clinton and 47 percent in Trump. The divide was driven largely by a differing sense of what the top immigration priority is: For those who trust Clinton, it is figuring out how to ensure undocumented immigrants in the country can stay. For Trump backers, it is preventing immigrants from entering the country illegally. CNN, The Week
Trump gaining as polls grow tighter: In the US presidential race, a new CNN-ORC poll shows Republican Donald Trump with a two-point (45-43) lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Clinton continues to lead in most surveys, but the CNN poll is the latest of several recent national and state polls that indicate the race for the White House is tightening with about two months to go until Election Day. Republican Donald Trump recently discussed foreign policy in Virginia but could not resist highlighting the good news in the latest poll. VOA
Trump: Americans Have ‘Big Hearts’ But Cannot Risk a Flow of Refugees: Donald Trump said Tuesday that the American people have “big hearts” but cannot “take the risk of refugees.” Trump answered questions before a primarily pro-military crowd in Virginia Beach, Virginia with retired General Michael Flynn, a strong Trump supporter, doing the asking. Trump said the US could not allow thousands of refugees from the Mideast and South Asia into the country until it knew “what’s going on.” He said migrants had been a disaster for Germany and France, because of an increase in crime. But German police have said the numbers of crimes committed by Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis are much lower than acts committed by other groups seeking asylum. VOA
Clinton: Trump trying to hide something in his taxes: Hillary Clinton, speaking to reporters Tuesday, said Donald Trump “clearly has something to hide” in his tax returns, adding that the GOP presidential nominee is “dead wrong” that Americans don’t care about seeing what’s in them before voting in November. “The burden is on him, and indeed for the rest of us in the campaign on our side, the press, the public, to demand what a big majority of the public says they want,” Clinton told reporters aboard her new campaign plane. She also said Trump is hiding something and we “are getting better guesses about what it probably is.” The Democratic presidential nominee cited a New York Times report that Trump owes $650 million to foreign banks and entities. USA Today
Carson: Trump should apologize for pushing ‘birther’ conspiracy: If Donald Trump apologized for his role in the “birther” conspiracies in 2011, it could help him with African-American voters, according to Trump’s adviser, and former primary opponent, Ben Carson. “I think that would be a good idea, absolutely,” the retired neurosurgeon said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Tuesday. “I suggest that on all sides.” In 2011, Trump was one of the leading voices pushing a conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in Hawaii. In April of that year, the White House released a long-form copy of the president’s birth certificate proving he was born in Honolulu. USA Today
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