This week in news: September 25-30 rundown

Published 2016 | Categories: News


United States

The drug epidemic continues. Hundreds of people are overdosing on opioids and there isn't any end in sight.

"Murders in the U.S. jumped by 10.8% in 2015, according to figures released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation—a sharp increase that could fuel concerns that the nation’s two-decade trend of falling crime rates may be ending." (WSJ) Violent crime rose by 4 percent but the numbers remained lower than previous years.

A lawyer shot at random cars near a mall in Houston, Texas, injuring 9 people. The suspect was killed by police and has not been identified. Officials say he was a disgruntled lawyer with more weapons in his car. Witnesses said the shooting lasted almost an hour, beginning in the early morning.

"The U.S. government has agreed to pay a total of $492 million to 17 American Indian tribes for mismanaging natural resources and other tribal assets, according to an attorney who filed most of the suits." (NPR)

A train crashed into a railway station in Hoboken, New Jersey, killing at least one person and injuring more than 100. The cause remains unknown.

U.S. Politics

"Congress voted Wednesday to override President Obama for the first time in his eight-year tenure, as the House followed the Senate in rejecting a veto of legislation allowing families of terrorist victims to sue governments suspected of sponsoring terrorism." (TH) White House press secretary Josh Earnest said "I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983." Obama called the veto a mistake which could potentially open the United States to lawsuits from its foreign operations.

The first presidential debate took place, featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with moderator Lester Holt. Post-debate opinions varied, often along party lines, with many people considering the debate essentially a tie (or at least close to one). The venue, Hofstra University, was criticized for charging journalists $200 to use Wi-Fi. There were at least 5 million tweets about the debate, according to the BBC. "More than 80 million people viewed Monday's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, making it the most watched debate ever, according to Nielsen research." (TH) The Nielsen statistics did not include the numbers from streaming online. After Trump made complaints about his microphone after the debate, officials confirmed that his microphone was not working properly.


The United Nations Security Council met to discuss the escalation of fighting in Aleppo, after the recent cease-fire failed. "Instead of pursuing peace, Russia and Assad make war," said the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, who did not address the recent U.S. airstrike against Syrian government forces which killed and wounded over 100 people. When the Syrian Ambassador began speaking, the ambassadors from the U.S., Britain, and France walked out.

The September 19th attack on the United Nations convoy is believed to have been a joint operation between Russian and Syrian forces. Government officials continue to deny this. Russian sources blamed nearby militants who were carrying out an offensive in Aleppo. Rebels claimed to possess Russian weapons so it's difficult to truly know who is telling the truth.

Opposition leaders said the Syrian government was using newer, more powerful bombs, and accused Russia of supplying President Bashar al-Assad. "Local activists and medical officials in Aleppo said Sunday that in addition to the powerful bombs being referred to as bunker busters, they were being hit by phosphorus, cluster and barrel bombs in opposition-held neighborhoods where some 300,000 people live under siege by the regime." (WSJ) A truce may never come to light because of each side's differing goals. Russia and Iran support the Syrian government in its fight against "terrorists" (rebels) who have overtaken large parts of Syria over the past five years. The United States and other countries support various rebel factions (the opposition/insurgency) in their war against the Syrian government, although the coalition presence in Syria is primarily anti-ISIS (ISIL, Daesh).

A United Nations report said US and EU sanctions were harming ordinary Syrians and making aid more difficult. "In 2013 the sanctions were eased but only in opposition areas. Around the same time, the CIA began directly shipping weapons to armed insurgents at a colossal cost of nearly $1 billion a year, effectively adding fuel to the conflict while U.S. sanctions obstructed emergency assistance to civilians caught in the crossfire."


"The world's largest radio telescope, which has been built in China, is beginning an intensive testing phase. [...] It will now take three years to calibrate the instrument so it can become fully operational." (BBC)

"A massive typhoon left one person dead in eastern China on Wednesday, a day after killing four and injuring 260 in Taiwan." (AP)

Other countries

"The Colombian government and left-wing FARC rebels have signed a historic agreement that formally brings an end to 52 years of civil war." (BBC)

"For the first time ever, a militant was found guilty of a war crime for intentionally destroying cultural sites." (NPR)

"Britain has blocked European Union efforts to establish an independent international inquiry into the war in Yemen, prompting dismay among human rights groups." (Guardian) Saudi forces were accused of committing war crimes in the country.

France's only aircraft carrier will begin air operations in Mosul, Iraq. A battle to retake the city is expected to begin in mid-October, potentially displacing over a million civilians.

"At least 15 civilians were killed and 13 wounded in a U.S. unmanned aircraft strike in eastern Afghanistan, the United Nations said, calling for an independent investigation into the incident." (Reuters) The U.S. was allegedly targeting ISIS militants with an armed drone, and officials said they are investigating the incident.

"India’s army said Thursday it had carried out overnight 'surgical strikes' on what it described as terrorist bases across the country’s de facto border with Pakistan, a move likely to heighten already soaring tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors." (WSJ)

Space and technology

NASA believes they've spotted plumes of water on one of Jupiter's moons. "Hubble shows signs that the moon is spitting water from a subsurface ocean, raising excitement for a planned mission to the frozen world." (NG)

"After 12 years of hurtling through space in pursuit of a comet, the Rosetta probe ended its mission Friday with a slow-motion crash onto the icy surface...." (AP)

Elon Musk of SpaceX discussed a plan to make Mars more easily accessible. He believes humans should live on more than one planet in our solar system.

"World's first baby born with DNA from three parents" (TIME)

Twitter may be sold in the near future. Salesforce is thought to be a top contender, although several companies are allegedly making offers.


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