Across the United States, candidates are making final appeals for support in midterm elections Tuesday. The elections will decide which party will control each house of the U.S. Congress for President Barack Obama’s final two years in office. The latest public opinion studies show voters moving toward Republican party candidates.
Both parties have deployed their leading members to the campaign efforts. These include former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain, and, on the Democratic side, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
President Obama is noticeably absent, as his approval rating has continued to drop. Even so, President Obama did make a campaign appearance in Michigan last week.
Republicans are widely expected to keep control of the House of Representatives. In the Senate, they would need six seats more than they now hold to seize control from Democrats.
An unofficial election in Ukraine
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have announced winners in elections in the so-called Donestk and Luhansk people's republics. However, Ukraine and Western countries have made clear that they will not recognize the elections.
Separatists say Donetsk’s acting prime minister Alexander Zakharchenko was elected head of that area. They say the acting prime minister of the Luhansk People's Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, won in that territory.
The separatists held the elections Sunday for leadership and legislative bodies in the parts of Luhansk and Donetsk that they control.
The United Nations, the European Union and the United States have called the rebel vote illegal. They argue that it violated Ukraine's constitution and the cease-fire agreement reached September 5 between separatists and Ukraine's government.
Deadly boat accident near Turkish coast
At least 24 migrants from Afghanistan drowned Monday when the boat carrying them to Europe sank off the coast of Turkey.
Turkey's coast guard rescued seven people from the waters near the Bosphorus Strait that splits Istanbul. As many as 12 others may be missing. Rescuers were continuing to search with coast guard boats and a helicopter.
It was unclear why the boat sank. Officials believe it was sailing to Bulgaria or Romania. The migrants reportedly had paid more than $8,700 each for the trip.
Investigators search for cause of spaceship crash
U.S. federal investigators say the descent system of the passenger spaceship that crashed Friday had activated before it was supposed to. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two crashed during a test flight last Friday over the Mojave Desert in California. Co-pilot Michael Alsbury was killed. Pilot Peter Siebold suffered serious injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board says the co-pilot unlocked the ship's "feathering" system before it reached the right speed. The system is designed to decrease the spaceship's speed as it re-enters the atmosphere.
But officials say it is too early to know if the feathering system played any role in the disaster.
The accident was the second suffered by a private U.S. space company last week. Days earlier, an unpiloted rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from a NASA launch site in Virginia. The rocket was to send a supply ship to the International Space Station.
I'm Mario Ritter.
Words in the News
midterm – n. the middle of a term of office; often used before another noun : midterm Congressional elections occur halfway through a President's term of office
absent – adj. not present at a usual or expected place
migrant – n. a person who goes from one place to another, especially to find work
descent – n. the act or process of going from a higher to a lower place or level
site – n. the place where something (such as a building) is, was, or will be located
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