This week in news: September 4-10 rundown

Published 2016 | Categories: News


united states

A portion of Guantánamo Bay will be converted from a maximum-security lockup into a new prison clinic and psychiatric ward. 61 detainees are still held at Guantánamo.

The Obama administration sent further payments to Iran, totaling $1.7 billion in foreign cash this year.

"An AP Investigation finds undocumented foreign fishermen, are working for years at a time earning as little as 70 cents an hour in U.S. waters, thanks to a loophole in federal law." (AP)

"Wells Fargo Bank has been ordered to pay $185 million in fines and penalties.... Thousands of Wells Fargo employees opened the accounts in secret so they would get bonuses for hitting their sales targets, according to investigators. More than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts may have been created without customer authorization." (NPR)

"Native American protesters were reportedly attacked by security guards at the construction site of a multi-billion dollar oil pipeline in North Dakota. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe launched a campaign against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in Cannon Ball after tribal leaders alleged the construction project has destroyed several Native American cultural sites and burial grounds." (TI) After a temporary halt on a section of the pipeline, a judge ruled that construction can continue. "The Standing Rock Sioux says it wasn't adequately consulted by the federal agency that authorized permits for the pipeline, and sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in July. In Friday's ruling, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg acknowledged that 'the United States' relationship with the Indian tribes has been contentious and tragic.' But he went on to say that the Army Corps 'likely complied' with its obligation to consult the tribe..." (NPR) Still, construction in at least one area has been halted, pending a review.

united states politics

Presidential candidate Jill Stein joined the Sioux protest in North Dakota, along with Ajamu Baraka, her vice presidential candidate. A judge in Morton County issued an arrest warrant for the two, citing misdemeanor trespassing and criminal mischief. The two allegedly spray-painted a bulldozer.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were interviewed at an NBC event (NYC Commander-in-Chief Forum) moderated by Today Show host Matt Lauer. A NY Times columnist tweeted "This #NBCNewsForum feels like  an embarrassment to journalism. It's about soundbites, not serious discussion of foreign policy." However, each candidate was given only 30 minutes to answer questions - which isn't a lot of time for serious discussions on multiple topics. Democrats and Republicans alike criticized Matt Lauer for various reasons. Democrats mostly said he was too hard on Clinton, and too soft on Trump. Republicans mostly said Lauer was too hard on Trump, and too soft on Clinton. (Notes: Trump was interrupted more often. Both candidates said untrue things.) Hillary was accused of wearing an earpiece although it may not have been anything. The next day, Clinton held a 15 minute press conference, her first such event in 278 days.


"Pope Francis officially declared Mother Teresa a saint before a crowded St. Peter's Square Sunday morning, 19 years after her death." (NPR) The Pope also gave free pizza to homeless people.

"Some 975,000 asylum seekers received benefits last year, more than double the number in 2014, the Federal Statistical Office said. In total, Germany paid asylum seekers €5.27 billion in support, ranging from lodging to food and medical treatments, up from €2.4 billion in 2014. This is just part of the total amount the German state spent on helping migrants last year since the statistics only include asylum seekers... and not recognized refugees, most of whom are eligible for income support." (WSJ)

The UK will be building a wall. "Britain hopes a 4 meter-high (13 foot-high) concrete wall will succeed where security guards and barbed wire have failed, and stop migrants reaching the U.K. from the northern French port of Calais." (AP)

"At least four people have been killed and 47 hurt in a train derailment near O Porrino in north-western Spain. About 60 passengers were on the Portuguese train when it derailed at 09:30 (07:30 GMT) just outside the station. Those killed were the Portuguese driver and Spanish conductor, a US tourist and another Spaniard." (BBC)


"At least 40 people were killed Monday as six explosions hit the government controlled cities of Tartus and Homs, the Kurdish-held city of Hasaka and the countryside of Damascus." (CBS)

"Syrian government forces have been accused of dropping barrel bombs containing chlorine from helicopters on a suburb of Aleppo, injuring 80 people." (BBC)

"US Secretary of State John Kerry says US and Russia agree [on] steps to reduce Syria violence" (BBC)

"Syrian opposition activists say that intense airstrikes Saturday on and around the city of Aleppo have killed at least 45 people." (AP)


"An Afghan official says at least 36 passengers died in collision between bus and fuel tanker in southern Zabul province." (AP)

"Twin bomb blasts in the Afghan capital Kabul have killed at least 24 people and injured 91 others near the defence ministry, officials say." (BBC)


"Ten Indian trade unions staged one of the largest strikes in human history on Friday, with tens of millions of public sector workers participating in a shutdown of parts of the Indian economy to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic plans. [...] Not a single American cable news network ran a segment focused on India’s massive strike, even on Labor Day, the U.S.’s annual holiday dedicated to workers." (TI) Some sources say 180 million people were on strike, making this the largest strike ever.


"An actual EM Drive is about to be launched into space for the first time, so scientists can finally figure out - once and for all - if it really is possible for a rocket engine to generate thrust without any kind of exhaust or propellant. [...] many are sick of hearing about it, because, on paper at least, it doesn't work within the laws of physics." (SA)

The new iPhone 7 was revealed. There were a massive number of articles about it, quite a few of which were critical.

"A revolutionary blood test, which acts like a smoke detector to spot cancer up to 10 years before symptoms appear, could be available within five years. Scientists at Swansea University have discovered that mutations occur in red blood cells way before any signs of cancer are evident." (NZH)

NASA launched another spacecraft: "OSIRIS-REx will travel to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu and bring a small sample back to Earth for study. The mission is scheduled to launch Sept. 8, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As planned, the spacecraft will reach Bennu in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023."

Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary. (#StarTrek50)

"North Korea is believed to have conducted a nuclear test, with 5.3 magnitude quake reported." (TIS)

environment and wildlife

"Grauer's gorilla, the largest great ape in the world, is now listed as critically endangered.... The news came as another famous animal — the giant panda — was taken off the endangered list and placed on the vulnerable list." (NPR) A similar change was made with whales. "Federal authorities are taking most humpback whales off the endangered species list, saying they have recovered enough in the last 40 years to warrant being removed." (TG)

Yosemite National Park will expand by 400 acres after a donation. "The Trust for Public Land, a conservation group, bought the land from private owners for $2.3 million and donated it to expand the park." (NPR) 2016 is also the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service. According to AP, a lawmaker said this expansion violates federal law and requires congressional approval.

After the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally spilled millions of gallons of contaminated water last year, the US government has finally approved cleanup. "The 2015 spill into the Animas River, which was laced with mercury and arsenic, had already cost the EPA $29 million for response and water-quality monitoring, CPR's Grace Hood reported in August. That spill is ongoing, she noted — at the time sending 500 gallons of water a minute into the river." (NPR)

"Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study." (TG)


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