Top News Stories for Today – Sept 19, 2017
Suu Kyi addresses on Rohingya crisis
Aung San Suu Kyi gave a much-anticipated address Tuesday on the ongoing crisis following the exodus of than 400,000 Bengali Muslims, also known as Rohingya from the country. Speaking for over 30 minutes in English, it’s the first time Suu Kyi has addressed the situation in northern Rakhine State or the growing international criticism of her and her government.
She called on the international community to assist in investigating the latest crisis in Rakhine, saying: “We want to find out why this exodus is happening. We would like to talk to those who have fled as well as those who have stayed.” She explained that 50 percent of Muslim villages remained intact. It was her first public address since violence flared again in Rakhine when Muslim militant group the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked 30 police posts on Aug. 25—killing 13 members of government security forces.
Large television screens were set up in more than 20 big towns and cities across the country including in Sagaing Region’s Monywa, Magwe Region’s Pakokku, Shan State’s Taunggyi and Irrawaddy Region’s Pathein. Hundreds of people gathered outside City Hall in downtown Yangon to watch a live stream of the diplomatic address. Attendee U Kyaw Win said all Myanmar citizens were responsible for showing support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and rejected international criticism of the leader. The Irrawaddy
Category 5 Hurricane Maria
On Monday night, Hurricane Maria strengthened into a Category 5 storm, packing maximum sustained winds of up to 160 mph and battering the small Caribbean island Dominica before moving northward. Maria is forecast to pass near other eastern Caribbean islands recently ravaged by Hurricane Irma, before moving over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday.
Hurricane warnings have now been issued for Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques, as well as the US. and British Virgin Islands, and other islands, many of which were hit by Irma. The National Hurricane Center described the storm as “extremely dangerous.” Maria isn’t currently expected to hit Florida. NPR, Weather.com, The Week
Trump to deliver UN address Today
President Trump will make his maiden address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday. The speech, drafted by hard-line policy aide Stephen Miller, is expected to focus on North Korea, Iran, and other shared perceived threats.
After urging UN. reforms with US. help on Monday, Trump’s address Tuesday will be a “clear-eyed” look at global challenges, and a call for other countries to bear more of the burden of maintaining peace and prosperity, a senior White House official said. Trump will focus on “outcomes, not ideology,” the official said, and he won’t tell other nations “how to live” or “what system of government to have.” The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Week
Manafort and Russia connection
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors warned Paul Manafort, President Trump’s second campaign chairman, that he will likely be indicted, after the FBI raided Manafort’s home on July 26, The New York Times reports, citing two people with knowledge of the situation. That no-knock raid was reportedly to gather evidence that Manafort had secret offshore bank accounts.
Separately, CNN reports that US. investigators wiretapped Manafort under secret court orders, with three people saying the intelligence collected includes communications that suggest Manafort may have encouraged Russians to help with the Trump campaign. The surveillance started after Manafort became the subject of a 2014 FBI investigation related to his political consulting work in Ukraine and ended in 2016, then started up again and extended into early 2017. CNN, The New York Times
Last attempt at repealing ObamaCare
Senate Republicans are considering a final attempt at passing a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act after falling one vote short in July. Republicans technically have until Sept. 30 before they lose the ability to pass a bill with just 50 votes plus Vice President Mike Pence.
Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced a bill that would effectively replace much of ObamaCare with state block grants and phase out Medicaid expansion. “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he is a ‘no,’ panning the bill as ‘ObamaCare Lite,'” Politico writes. “And Republicans believe [Maine Republican Sen. Susan] Collins also won’t vote for it, though she has not made a final decision. Graham-Cassidy backers can’t afford to lose another vote.” Politico, The Week
Toys ‘R’ Us files bankruptcy
On Monday night, Toys ‘R’ Us announced that it is following Kay Bee Toys and FAO Schwartz into bankruptcy court, but said that unlike its onetime rivals, it hopes to emerge intact. The company, struggling with $5 billion in long-term debt and competition from online retailers like Amazon and discount stores like Walmart, filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in US. federal court, plus the Canadian equivalent for its Canadian stores.
It emphasized that all of its brick-and-mortar and online stores will remain open through the crucial holiday shopping seasons, and said its 810 international stores outside North America will be unaffected by the bankruptcy reorganization. Toys ‘R’ Us did not say what will happen to its 65,000 employees worldwide. The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal
- A luminous lake of unusual talents
- Blaming Suu Kyi will not end the Rohingya crisis
- For Trump, loyalty is a one-way street
- The truth about Myanmar’s Rohingya issue