Top News Stories for Today – Sept 6, 2017
DACA program is being rescinded
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “is being rescinded.” Sessions said the program, which protects individuals who were brought to the US illegally as children, was “unconstitutional” when it was implemented by former President Barack Obama in 2012 via executive action, and had “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans” by granting recipients work authorization.
The Department of Homeland Security has formally rescinded the policy and will no longer accept new applications for DACA protections. Those currently enrolled in the program will retain their work permissions until they expire. President Trump told reporters Tuesday that he hopes Congress “will be able to help” the affected immigrants by forging a legislative solution. BuzzFeed News, The Washington Post, The Week
Hurricane Irma threatening historic damage
The eye of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm packing winds of up to 185 miles per hour, made landfall on the Caribbean island of Barbuda just before 2 a.m. on Wednesday, and heavy rains and hard wins strafed neighboring Antigua, where the government had warned people to prepare for an “onslaught,” adding, “May God protect us all.”
Irma is the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, The Associated Press says, fed by unusually warm waters. It is expected to remain a Category 5 or 4 hurricane over the next few days as it wreaks havoc on Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and a string of smaller islands before hitting Florida on Sunday. President Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday. The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Week
Sen. Menendez’s corruption trial
Opening arguments begin Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), accused by federal prosecutors of aiding a friend and alleged co-conspirator, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, free trips to the Dominican Republic and stays at Melgen’s villa, and other gifts.
The trial is expected to last about two months, and last week, a federal judge shot down Menendez’s request to schedule the trial around Senate business. Menendez, who denies the charges, is the first sitting US senator to go on trial in almost 40 years, and if he is convicted, that would set up a battle over whether to expel him from the Senate while Republican Gov. Chris Christie (N.J.) can name a replacement before leaving office in January. CNN, Politico
Suu Kyi breaks silence
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has made her first public comments on the fate of her country’s persecuted Rohingya minority since new violence broke out almost two weeks ago. Suu Kyi, who as Myanmar’s state counsellor is the country’s de facto leader, claimed during a phone conversation with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan a “huge iceberg of misinformation” about the Rohingya crisis was being distributed to benefit “terrorists.”
According to a readout of the call, she added her government was fighting to ensure “terrorism” didn’t spread over the whole of Rakhine state. Suu Kyi has come under fire in recent days for failing to speak out against the mass killings and displacement of Rohingya by her government, particularly given her previous image as a champion of human rights. CNN
Putin: N Korea crisis not solvable
A day after predicting “global catastrophe” if North Korea’s nuclear tests lead to anything other than talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the situation may be “impossible” to resolve. Putin made the comments after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
Putin repeated his assertion that sanctions won’t be enough to rein in North Korea, and cautioned against getting “emotional” over the issue and pushing the regime “into a corner.” “We should be cold-blooded and we should avoid steps to escalate tension,” Putin said. “Without political and diplomatic levels, this situation will be very difficult to resolve and I think even impossible to do.” CNN
US-South Korea trade deal
Trump’s top trade adviser expressed optimism on Tuesday about reaching agreement on a revised free trade pact with South Korea, days after Trump suggested scrapping the deal with a key American ally. Senior US lawmakers and America’s biggest business lobby urged Trump not to pull out of the five-year-old US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), especially at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear missile tests.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, speaking in Mexico City after a second round of NAFTA talks with Canada and Mexico, said negotiations with Seoul were continuing. Trump said on Saturday he would discuss KORUS’s fate with advisers this week, prompting widespread concern among lawmakers and the business community. VOA
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