National: Things You Need to Know for 9/29

President Obama’s remarks to the United Nations last week included commentary on climate change and strikes against ISIS.

Chris Olszewski, Staff Reporter

Maven Explorer Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s Maven spacecraft has entered Mars’s orbit after a 10-month journey. The first mission of its kind, it will stay in the Red Planet’s atmosphere and study how the planet evolved into the planet we know today. Maven is largely a true successor to the Mariner 9 spacecraft, which photographed 85% of Mars’s surface in 1971, revealing what were clearly dried-up rivers. Maven’s main goal is to give scientists some inkling as to where that water went and why.

UN Climate Change Summit in NYC

Thousands of people marched in New York City Sunday afternoon ahead of a UN summit on climate change. Alongside protests in London, Paris, Bogota, and other cities, the marchers called for quick, decisive action. The 120 heads of state that attended the summit was the largest number of heads of state to attend a climate-related conference. However, the New York summit will not be the only one within the next 12 months: there will be another conference in Lima, Peru in December, and another in Paris in 2015. The United Nations hopes to create a binding agreement at the Paris conference.

Coalition Begins Strikes on ISIS Fighters

The US-led coalition, including fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has begun airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Main targets include the oil wells and refineries that have been making upwards of $2 million a day for ISIS. Those killed in the airstrikes in at least 14 fighters and five civilians. Retired Army Col. Peter Mansoor commented that the ISIS command center has likely dispersed as a result of the airstrikes.

China Jails Scholar for Life

The Chinese government has a prominent Uighur scholar to life in prison for separatism. Ilham Tohti, a professor of economics at Minzu University, was brought to Xinjang, the Uighur homeland, and convicted of separatism after a two-day trial. Chinese officials say that harsh measures like this are needed to combat the rising insurgency in the mostly Muslim province of Xinjang.  The scholar’s lawyer has stated that he will appeal.

Suspect Charged, Arrested in UVA Missing Student Case

Jesse Matthew, the man charged in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, was arrested in Texas on Wednesday afternoon. However, there is still no sign of Graham’s whereabouts. Charlottesville, VA police chief Timothy Longo stated that there was “a long road ahead of us” and that “the case is nowhere near over.”