News you should read today – october 1, 2015

barack obamaPresident Obama signs spending bill that averts shutdown
President Barack Obama has signed a short-term spending bill that averts a government shutdown and gives Congress and the president about 10 more weeks to fashion a longer-lasting budget deal. The House and Senate each voted to approve the bill earlier Wednesday. The White House issued a statement hours before Obama signed the bill saying Americans deserve far better than last-minute, short-term legislating. The administration is seeking to boost spending on defense and domestic programs in the coming negotiations, while many conservatives want to block spending increases, or limit them to defense, Associated Press says. AP



Afghan - talibanAfghanistan says it has retaken Kunduz from the Taliban
Afghan troops recaptured the northern city of Kunduz on Thursday after fierce clashes with Taliban militants, three days after losing the provincial capital in a humbling defeat for Kabul and its U.S. allies. But fighting continued in other parts of the city. Residents said soldiers were conducting house-to-house searches and had removed the Taliban flag from the central square, replacing it with government color. Spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, Dawlat Waziri said 150 Taliban had been killed and 90 wounded in the overnight offensive. At least 30 people, mostly civilians, had been killed in the fighting as of Wednesday, according to a tweet from health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar. He also said hospitals in Kunduz had treated about 340 injured. Residents of the city are still hiding, Reuters news agency says. Reuters



russian airstrike syriaUS officials say Russia’s airstrike targeted CIA-backed rebels in Syria
Russia launched airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, catching U.S. and Western officials off guard and drawing new condemnation as evidence suggested Moscow wasn’t targeting ISIS, but rather other rebel groups backed by CIA. Russian airstrikes hit spots in the provinces of Homs and Hama, which Syrian state media said were under ISIS control, but U.S. officials say that one of the areas hit was held by rebels who have been receiving arms, funding, and training from the CIA and allies. The officials said they were unsure if the fighters were targeted because of their allegiances, and it was unclear if any U.S.-backed fighters were killed. The Wall Street Journal



china bomb blastParcel bombs killed at least seven people in China
CNN news reports at least seven people have been killed and 51 others injured after multiple blasts in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. Initial investigations suggest the explosions were caused by 17 parcel bombs in the seat of Liucheng county and the surrounding area, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said. The first occurred around 3:50 p.m. Wednesday. Police named a 33-year-old man from Liucheng Tai Po town as a suspect in the explosions and said their investigations were continuing, Xinhua reported. The suspect paid couriers to deliver the letter bombs across Liucheng. A further 60 suspicious parcels had been identified by bomb disposal units. CNN



saudi iranIranian death toll in Hajj stampede leaps to more than 450
The Iranian death toll in the recent stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has jumped to 464. This could prompt further outbursts from the Iranian government against Saudi Arabia, its bitter regional rival. Previous updates from the organization had put the number of dead Iranian pilgrims at 239, with 241 others unaccounted for. Saudi Arabia’s has reported that at least 769 people were killed in the stampede with 900 others injured. Iran has claimed the overall toll is higher. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “Saudi Arabia failed to fulfill its duties concerning the desperate wounded (pilgrims),” The Hajj stampede took place on September 24 at Mina, a neighborhood about 2 miles from the Mecca holy site. CNN