White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released this statement Thursday night regarding Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, with a call for a ceasefire between Russia, Ukraine, and pro-Russia separatists, in order for a full investigation of the evidence to be conducted. The statement also clearly puts the responsibility on Russia to take these actions, after having substantially aided the separatists, in contrast to a much clearer trust in the Ukrainian government. --Eric Kleefeld
The United States is shocked by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and we offer our deep condolences to all those who lost loved ones on board. We continue to seek information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board.
It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains. The role of international organizations – such as the United Nations and the OSCE in Ukraine – may be particularly relevant for this effort, and we will be in touch with affected nations and our partners in these organizations in the coming hours and days to determine the best path forward. In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.
While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training. This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable cease-fire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward. [The White House]
Russia's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday in a Facebook post that one of its airstrikes killed Islamic State spokesman Mohammad al-Adnani in the Syrian province of Aleppo on Tuesday. The strike also reportedly killed "up to" 40 ISIS militants, the ministry's statement on Facebook said.
ISIS announced al-Adnani's death Tuesday via its Amaq news outlet. The post said that al-Adnani, who was considered the terrorist group's second-in-command, had been killed in Aleppo while he was inspecting military operations. Aleppo has been the target of airstrikes led by Turkey, the U.S., and Russia, and it has been under attack by American-backed Syrian and Kurdish rebels.
Donald Trump is going to Mexico and nobody wants him there — except perhaps President Enrique Peña Nieto, who invited the Republican candidate for a private meeting. (Of course, Peña Nieto himself has likened Trump to Hitler.)
With the U.S. embassy in Mexico City having cautioned Trump not to come to Mexico and the threat of demonstrations looming, things were already rumbling on Wednesday before Trump even landed in the Mexican capital. But never exactly one to just put out the fire, Trump started the day off by tweeting at former Mexican President Vicente Fox:
Former President Vicente Fox, who is railing against my visit to Mexico today, also invited me when he apologized for using the "f bomb."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2016
To which Fox shot back:
@realDonaldTrump, I invited you to come and apologize to all Mexicans. Stop lying! Mexico is not yours to play with, show some respect.
— Vicente Fox Quesada (@VicenteFoxQue) August 31, 2016
An Irish Wolfhound made history recently when she delivered a litter of puppies that contained the first-ever confirmed set of identical twins. The puppies, both attached by individual umbilical cords to the same placenta, were delivered via a Caesarean section in South Africa's Rant en Dal Animal Hospital in Mogale City by veterinarian Kurt de Cramer.
— BBC Earth (@BBCEarth) August 31, 2016
After the puppies' delivery, de Cramer had reproductive specialists confirm that the dogs were, indeed, twins. "When I realized that the puppies were of the same gender and that they had very similar markings, I also immediately suspected that they might be identical twins having originated from the splitting of an embryo," de Cramer told BBC.
While this is the first time a pair of canine identical twins has been confirmed, identical twin puppies isn't necessarily a rare occurrence, researchers say: "There have been rumors about twins in dogs before," Carolynne Joone, one of the reproductive specialists working on the case, told BBC. "We just happened to be lucky enough to be able to confirm it genetically."
What does appear to be rare, however, is that both puppies survived and are healthy; cases of identical twins have been reported in horses, for example, but none of those fetuses have survived. Becca Stanek
Donald Trump is going to Mexico, and Mexicans are ... not pleased.
Trump plans to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday for a closed-door meeting ahead of his scheduled immigration speech in Arizona. But Trump's favorability rating in Mexico is even lower than it is in the U.S.: Only 2 percent of Mexicans like Trump, with 75 percent feeling unfavorable about him and the rest either not caring or not knowing who he is.
"Mr. Trump, although you have been invited, know you are not welcome"- Frmr 1st lady of MX, presidential contender. https://t.co/RrcmUgdKUw
— Carin Zissis (@CarinZissis) August 31, 2016
Many reporters in the region are surprised by Peña Nieto's extension of an invitation to Trump, especially since the Mexican president struggles with low ratings:
The response in Mexico is furious. Did #EPN team expect anything else?
— Elisabeth Malkin (@ElisabethMalkin) August 31, 2016
An example of the rage in Mexico: "The stupidest thing in the history of the Mexican presidency..." https://t.co/jFxUI0nqod
— Elisabeth Malkin (@ElisabethMalkin) August 31, 2016
Demonstrations against Trump's visit are already being planned in Mexico City:
Una protesta en la Ciudad de México contra Trump está tomando forma.... pic.twitter.com/Hy076Y4qyk
— Kirk Semple (@KirkSemple) August 31, 2016
Because the meeting between Trump and Peña Nieto is private, it will be hard to know for certain what is actually said, discussed, or agreed upon. As Politico notes: "We'll have to rely on Trump and the Mexican press to give us a readout. Will Peña Nieto reverse himself and say he'll pay for the wall? Probably not, but who knows what Trump will say?" Jeva Lange
Todo México en este momento: pic.twitter.com/cfslB1u5ZW
— Mael Vallejo (@MaelVallejo) August 31, 2016
Netflix confirmed Wednesday that there will be a second season of Stranger Things via this short, spooky trailer:
The second season, set to premiere next year, picks up in the fall of 1984, about a year after the first season ends. Details are scarce, but back in July, the creators of the Netflix original series, Matt and Ross Duffer, spoke to Variety about what they envisioned for a second season. "We leave these dangling threads at the end," Ross Duffer said. "If people respond to this show and we get to continue this story — we had those initial discussions of where we might go with it. If there was going to be a season two, we would reveal more of [the parallel dimension the "Upside Down"], but we'd still want to keep it from the point of view of our original characters."
There will be nine episodes to the show's sophomore offering, up from the eight of its inaugural season. It will debut sometime in 2017. Becca Stanek
Never in Hillary Clinton's decades in the public eye has her favorability rating been as low as it is now. That's according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll out Wednesday. While 41 percent of Americans view Clinton favorably, a striking 56 percent view her negatively, which, The Washington Post reported, marks "the worst image Clinton has had in her quarter-century in national public life."
Prior to these numbers, Clinton's lowest favorability rating was in July, at 42 percent. Her highest unfavorable rating was in June, at 55 percent.
At first glance, Clinton's favorability rating might at least look better than Donald Trump's. But, The Washington Post noted, when only registered voters are taken into consideration, "Clinton's image is about as bad as Trump's." While Clinton sees a split of 38 percent favorable and 59 percent unfavorable, Trump's split is 37 percent favorable and 60 percent unfavorable.
The poll, conducted among 1,020 adults from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Becca Stanek
Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's new campaign CEO, is reportedly the subject of a voter registration investigation, NBC News reported Wednesday. Election officials in Miami-Dade County in Florida confirmed that a local state attorney's office requested Bannon's voter records last week, when reports surfaced that Bannon had registered to vote using an address to a now vacant Florida home that he never lived in. Bannon reportedly rented the home for his ex-wife, Diane Clohesy.
Miami-Dade state attorney's spokesman, Ed Griffith, declined to either confirm or deny the investigation, though he did note that the office is able to investigate any potential violation that is brought to light. But the executive assistant to the county's election supervisor did not think "there was anything obvious in Bannon's voter record that suggested fraud," NBC News reported, especially because Bannon never voted in the county after registering there. "There is nothing here that I see that he did wrong," Rosy Pastrana told NBC News.
Prior to registering in Miami-Dade County in April 2014, Bannon was registered to vote in California, which is where his primary residence is reported to be. Within the last few weeks, Bannon reportedly sent in a change of registration form with a new address listed in Florida's Sarasota County. Becca Stanek