TL;DR – TOP STORIES FOR THE WEEK
- Philadelphia transit workers strike
- Cubs win the World Series
- FBI investigations into Clinton, Trump
- Italy’s most powerful earthquake in almost 40 years
- Turkish crackdown/purge continues
- Car bombs in Turkey and Iraq kill or wound 200 people
- Continued fighting in Mosul and Yemen
- Train crash in Pakistan kills 17
- South Korean protests continue
- James Webb Space Telescope complete
Further information and more stories:
“A union representing about 4,700 transit workers in Philadelphia went on strike early Tuesday after failing to reach a contract agreement with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.” (USAT)
“…U.S. intelligence has alerted joint terrorism task forces that al Qaeda could be planning attacks in three states for Monday.” (CBS)
“A federal court jury decided Friday that a Rolling Stone journalist defamed a former University of Virginia associate dean in a 2014 magazine article about sexual assault on campus that included a debunked account of a fraternity gang rape. The 10 member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice….” (WP)
The Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series, ending a 108-year championship drought. “[T]he Cubs emerged as just the sixth team ever to survive a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven World Series. They outlasted the Cleveland Indians in Wednesday’s do-or-die Game 7 in a dramatic 8-7 victory—a roller coaster of emotion that will go directly into the history books.” (WSJ)
“Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for the state due to an explosion and fire involving Colonial Pipeline Co in Shelby County on Monday.” (Reuters)
Protests over the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline continued.
UNITED STATES POLITICS
An FBI investigation into possible connections between Donald Trump and the Russian government found nothing. Several Democrat-affiliated sources continued to allege false claims related to this topic. A writer for Slate published a story saying Trump used a secret email server to communicate with Russia, only for the story to be debunked within 24 hours. The alleged server belonged to a marketing company (Cendyn) which sent spam emails advertising Trump hotels. Cendyn wasn’t even responsible for the emails, as the company outsourced their email promotion service to Philadelphia company Listrak. There was no back-and-forth human communication between Cendyn’s server and anyone who might have had an affiliation with Russia.
The FBI reportedly pushed for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, with the Justice Department denying their request for a probe. “A Department of Justice official who notified Congress Monday that the agency would ‘dedicate all necessary resources’ to the reopened Hillary Clinton email investigation has a close relationship with campaign chair John Podesta, [emails released by Wikileaks] show.” (WE)
FBI Director James Comey was derided for sending a letter to Congress saying the FBI had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton, after finding new evidence related to her use of a private email server. Law enforcement had the emails for “weeks” before notifying Comey. Democrats asked that Comey step down, and at least one person lodged a formal complaint asking for an investigation into Comey for allegedly “influencing the election.”
CNN parted ways with the current head of the DNC, Donna Brazile. Multiple emails provided by Wikileaks showed that Brazile leaked some debate questions to Hillary Clinton.
“2 former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie convicted in plot to use traffic jams for political retaliation.” (AP)
A 6.6 magnitude earthquake ripped through central Italy, destroying many ancient buildings, including Norcia’s 14th-century Basilica of Saint Benedict. No deaths were reported, despite it being Italy’s most powerful quake in almost 40 years. Thousands were left homeless from the destruction.
“A British court has ruled that the U.K. government must get approval from Parliament in order to initiate the country’s departure from the European Union.” (NPR) An appeal to the ruling is expected.
“Turkey expanded its sweeping post-coup crackdown over the weekend, issuing two new governmental decrees that dismissed more than 10,000 civil servants and shutting down 15 mostly pro-Kurdish media outlets.” (TIME) The Wall Street Journal called Erdogan’s actions “the largest mass purge the world has seen in decades.”
This week also saw reports of a media blackout, with social media services such as Twitter and Whatsapp blocked.
Reuters reported that “a car bomb killed nine people and wounded more than 100 near a police station….”
“Iraqi police say a parked car bomb has exploded in Baghdad’s northwestern neighborhood of Hurriyah, killing at least 10 and wounding 34. The bombing, which hit a popular fruit and vegetable market in a commercial street of the predominantly Shiite neighborhood, was the fifth such explosion in the capital on Sunday. The day’s casualty toll from the attacks in Baghdad now stands at 17 dead and over 60 wounded.” (AP)
“Iraqi forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS) in Mosul have broken through the front line without suffering any losses…” (BBC) “Islamic State fighters launched counterattacks Saturday against Iraqi special forces in eastern Mosul, emerging from populated areas deeper in the city to target the troops with mortars and suicide car bombs in clashes that raged late into the night.” (AP) The heavy fighting may intensify.
“Saudi-led coalition air strikes on rebel-held security buildings in western Yemen have killed at least 60 people, many of them inmates buried under the rubble of a detention centre. The strikes late Saturday came just hours after other coalition raids hit three residential buildings in the southwest, killing 17 civilians.” (AFP)
“Yemen is one step away from famine,” according to UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien. 90 percent of the country’s food is imported, and 80 percent of Yemen requires humanitarian assistance. The war between Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has left more than 7 million people at risk of starvation.
“Pakistan on Wednesday withdrew six diplomats from its embassy in New Delhi, officials said, amid rising tension between the two countries over the disputed region of Kashmir.” (TIME)
“At least 17 people have died and another 40 have been injured in a train crash in Pakistan, local media said. Two trains collided early on Thursday morning near Landhi railway station in the southern city of Karachi.” (BBC)
Protests continued over President Park Geun-hye’s political scandal, with people asking her to step down. The President said she would “allow a direct investigation of her own role in scandal if necessary.” (AP)
technology and finance
“CenturyLink Inc. on Monday said it reached a cash-and-stock deal to buy Level 3 Communications Inc. for roughly $25 billion…. Level 3 runs one of the largest internet backbones in the world but has turned its focus to small and midsize business customers to reverse slowing sales growth in its core operations. CenturyLink, traditionally a rural phone company, has sought to upgrade its network with fiber-optic lines in a bid to compete with AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and rivals in the cable industry.” (WSJ)
“After more than 20 years of construction, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is complete and, following in-depth testing, the largest-ever space telescope is expected to launch within two years, NASA officials announced…” (SC)
“Samsung is offering repairs, refunds and replacements for about 2.8 million top-load washers after receiving  reports of machines vibrating excessively — in some cases, so much that the lids became detached.” (NPR) There were nine reports of injuries, including a broken jaw.
“U.S. establishing 48 national charging corridors over nearly 25,000 miles to help boost electric vehicles: Obama administration” (Reuters)