Headlines: September 10, 2018
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Thirty thousand people marched in San Francisco, California on Saturday as part of the Rise for Climate Jobs and Justice gathering. The powerful mobilization is considered the largest climate-related march on the West Coast. The march was scheduled ahead of a Global Climate Summit where state and municipal leaders will gather to discuss solutions to climate change. Activists called on California Gov. Jerry Brown to do more to address fracking – which he has promoted – even as he has claimed to be a climate leader.
Meanwhile Hurricane Florence is heading to the East Coast with great ferocity, alarming weather experts. According to the Washington Post, “On Sunday evening, the National Hurricane Center was forecasting Florence to become a strong Category 4 just prior to making landfall somewhere on the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday.” The once-unusually strong hurricanes are becoming part of a new normal in a rapidly warming climate. And, the Washington Post on Sunday reported that the toxic algae bloom plaguing Florida’s coastline had moved north toward Tampa Bay and had killed hundreds of thousands of fish along 20 miles of the coast. Scientists have blamed both water pollution and climate change for exacerbating the crisis.
In other news, a former aide to President Donald Trump when he was a candidate, George Papadopoulos, made an explosive announcement on ABC News on Sunday. He admitted that the campaign including Trump himself and then-Senator Jeff Sessions were fully aware of his efforts to broker a meeting between Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Papadopoulos was sentenced on Friday to, “14 days incarceration, one year of supervised release, 200 hours of community service and a $9,500 fine,” for lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian operatives last year.
Vice President Mike Pence gave an interview to CBS’s Face the Nation that aired on Sunday. During the interview he denied that he or anyone in his office was responsible for writing the anonymous op-ed that the New York Times published last week slamming Trump. Last Thursday the BBC did a linguistic analysis of the op-ed and concluded that it appeared likely to have been written by Mr. Pence. Later in a Fox News interview he agreed to take a lie-detector test, “in a heartbeat” to prove he didn’t write it.
A 30-year old white female police officer named Amber Guyger in Dallas, Texas has been charged with manslaughter after the shooting death of a 26-year old black man named Botham Shem Jean. Guyger shot Jean last Thursday when she walked into his apartment. She said that she thought it was her apartment and that she had encountered an intruder. Guyger has been on the force for 4 years and had shot another man last year. Jean’s mother Allison said in an interview, “If it was a white man would it have been different? Would she have reacted differently?”
CBS announced on Sunday that its CEO Leslie Moonves, has resigned. The news came after days of speculation about the $100 million exit package he was eligible to receive. Just hours before his resignation The New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow published a piece that detailed sexual assault and harassment accusations made by six women against him. Moonves denied that he had assaulted the women and said only that he had had relationships with 3 of them decades ago. CBS has said that it, along with Moonves, would be donating $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement, and that, “The donation will be made immediately… and deducted from any severance he ultimately receives.”
President Obama on Friday gave a strongly-worded speech slamming President Trump by name. Trump has spent the first year and a half of his tenure undoing much of what Obama achieved and blaming the Obama administration for many of the nation’s ills. Vox analyzed Obama’s speech saying he, “abandoned the posture he’s cultivated over the past 18 months as an elder statesman who largely stays out of the ruckus and refrains from directly criticizing Trump or Republicans in Congress. [In giving his speech], he seemed to hope to convey a sense of urgency, arguing that the republic is at a crossroads and it will require a mobilized body politic to change direction.” Obama spent part of the weekend stumping for Democratic candidates challenging Republicans in Southern California.
TheNew York Times on Saturday reported that Trump administration officials met last year with Venezuelan opposition leaders to, “discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.” One of the leaders that US government officials spoke with, “is on the American government’s own sanctions list of corrupt officials in Venezuela.” The US has long interfered in Venezuela’s democracy, and in many Latin American countries historically. The Times report is likely to confirm the allegations that Mr. Maduro has been making for years about US interference and coup attempts.
In other international news, Sweden held elections where hardline anti-immigrant forces made major gains. The country is now expected to have a hung parliament. According to Reuters, the liberal social democracy has had, “an influx of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 – the most in Europe in relation to the country’s population of 10 million,” and this, “has polarized voters and fractured the long-standing political consensus.”
And finally in Afghanistan, the capital Kabul was effectively shut down as armed men roamed the street firing shots into the air to mark the death anniversary of one of Afghanistan’s notorious warlords, Ahmed Shah Masood. The dangerous display went on for more than 8 hours while elsewhere in the country Taliban fighters killed nearly 30 people in various incidents of violence. Afghanistan’s US-backed government, which has been plagued by rampant corruption and stacked with warlords, appeared weaker than usual, just days after a surprise visit by US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.