(September 26) Today's Top Headlines - Top 10 stories of the day - Tucson Local Media: Today's Headlines

(September 26) Today's Top Headlines - Top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:09 am

1. Rebel groups in Syria abandon opposition leadership

Key groups of rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have denounced exiled opposition leaders and have joined forces with an al Qaeda affiliate, calling for all rebels to “unify in a clear Islamic frame.” With the rebels fracturing and ideological differences between them deepening, concerns are being raised about the increasingly radical nature of the opposition, and whether moderate, Western-backed opposition leaders have enough clout internally to negotiate an end to the war. Diplomats at the U.N. are nevertheless trying to arrange for a peace deal. [The New York Times]

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2. Navy Yard shooter had no specific target, according to the FBI

Aaron Alexis, known as the Navy Yard shooter, was not interested in killing any specific individuals, according to the FBI, when he stalked the halls of a Washington, D.C., building with a sawed-off shotgun last Monday, killing 12 and injuring four. Alexis was mentally unstable and believed that he was being "targeted" by what he himself called "ultra-low frequency" or "ELF"(extremely low frequency) attacks — a real technique used for submarine communication, but believed by some conspiracy theorists to be a government monitoring and manipulation tactic. [USA Today

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3. Sudan unplugs from the Web

All of Sudan's ISPs are gone from international routing tables, suggesting a national Internet blackout likely instigated by the government. Massive protests have rocked Khartoum since Monday, when the government announced a plan to end fuel subsidies, and the resulting unrest has left six dead and hundreds jailed. Groups of protesters had been using Twitter to communicate using the hashtag #sudanrevolts, and it is believed the blackout is an effort to keep them from organizing through the platform. [The Verge]

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4. Exploitation of migrant workers preparing for 2022 World Cup revealed in Qatar

Evidence came to light Wednesday that forced labor is occurring at a massive scale in Qatar as the country prepares for the 2022 World Cup. Nepalese migrant workers died "at a rate of almost one a day" this summer as a result of the country's preparations to host the event, with 44 dead between June 4 and August 8 alone. Migrant workers, who represent 90 percent of Qatar's work force, report horrific working conditions, including little or no access to free drinking water and food, docked pay, filthy lodgings, and physical abuse by supervisors. [The Guardian]

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5. Iranian president recognizes the Holocaust

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the Holocaust on Tuesday, calling it "reprehensible" in an address to the United Nations General Assembly. Rouhani was previously criticized by Israeli officials and others for having never renounced his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's position that the Holocaust was a myth. Rouhani hedged his statement, however, saying that it is up to historians to determine the scale of the genocide. [Virginia Gazette]

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6. Treasury projects October 17 as the date when the money may run dry

The U.S. Treasury has given Congress a definitive and alarmingly close date for when its cash will run out. On October 17, the Treasury predicts that there will only be $30 billion in readily available cash unless Congress raises the debt ceiling. In a climate of congressional deadlock and high expenditures (one day's net expenditures are often in the tens of billions of dollars), reaching the limit could put the U.S. in a state of unprecedented default and possibly shut down the government. [The New York Times]

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7. Mobile Emergency Alerts launch on Twitter

People around the world have turned to Twitter to track current events, including emergencies like natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Now, Twitter has announced the launch of Twitter Alerts, which will send text messages and push notifications with accurate information to subscribers' mobile devices. Twitter has partnered with a host of associations, including FEMA, the American Red Cross, and the World Health Organization to compile resources for the system. [PC Mag]

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8. Nose grown on man's forehead by doctors in China

A 22-year-old Chinese man who lost the use of his nose following a car wreck in August will receive a replacement grown by doctors. Tissue expanders have been placed under the man's skin to create the shape of a nose, and cartilage harvested from elsewhere in the body will fill it in. The doctors will then rotate the nose to where the man's current nose sits. According to Guo Zhihui, the lead plastic surgeon, the man should be able to lead a normal life, sense of smell included, after the procedure is done. [USA Today]

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9. India to build world's largest solar power plant

India is set to build the largest solar power plant in the world — bigger, even, than America's 10 largest combined. The plant, to be constructed in Rajastan (bordering Pakistan), will occupy 23,000 acres of land and produce a capacity of 4,000 megawatts, a greater yield than most nuclear or coal-fired plants. The construction of the plant may represent a turning point in large-scale solar power development. Some, however, are skeptical of how so massive a project could ever be completed. [Motherboard]

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10. Oxygen was present on Earth long before previously thought

The history of life on earth may need some considerable revisions. According to a study led by biogeochemist Sean Crowe at the University of British Columbia, oxygen was present at levels indicating large-scale photosynthesis as long as 3 billion years ago — 700 million years earlier than previously thought. The study suggests that it takes a relatively short time for complicated metabolisms (say, photosynthesis) to evolve, but much longer for complex life itself. [CBC]

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