This week in news: September 18-24 rundown
- USA accidentally gives citizenship to 858 people who were to be deported
- Obama vetoes 9/11 bill
- Manhattan bomber found and charged
- Mass shooting in Washington state
- Charlotte protests
- Continued email controversies
- Syrian cease-fire ends, UN convoy attacked
- Fighting and protests in Congo
- Puerto Rico without power
- North Korean websites revealed
- Yahoo hacked, with information stolen from half a billion accounts
An internal audit of Homeland Security showed that the government "mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries of concern to national security or with high rates of immigration fraud who had pending deportation orders...." Fingerprint records were blamed.
President Obama vetoed a bill passed by both chambers of Congress. Called JASTA, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, it would have allowed families of people killed during 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government has long been accused of having a significant role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Obama said the act could damage international relations and "backfire by opening up the U.S. government and its officials to lawsuits by anyone accusing the U.S. of supporting terrorism." Congress will attempt to override the veto. "The Saudis have threatened to dump hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. assets that could possibly be frozen by any American judge hearing a lawsuit." (NPR)
A man with a gun opened fire at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, killing five people. There is no known motive. After shooting into the makeup section of a Macy's department store, he fled the mall. Authorities aren't sure where the shooter got his weapon, but hours later the police said he was in custody. Originally described as "Hispanic looking," the shooter appears to have been born in Turkey.
"New York governor now says it looks like Manhattan bombing could be act of terrorism with foreign connection." (AP) A suspect was apprehended after a shootout with police, and later charged with planting several bombs. More explosives had been found in a New Jersey train station and two homeless men were credited with discovering them.
"World leaders gathered at the United Nations pledged Tuesday to take in 360,000 refugees next year, President Barack Obama said, roughly doubling the previous year's allowance.... The United States said 52 countries taking part in a U.S.-led summit were stepping up to accelerate resettlement and boost financial support for refugees. The White House did not release a full list of participating countries or a breakdown of their pledges, making Obama's boast of major headway impossible to confirm." (AP)
Protests and rioting broke out in Charlotte, North Carolina, after a black police officer fatally shot a black man named Keith Scott. The police say they were serving a warrant for a different man when Scott was allegedly seen in a nearby vehicle with a gun. After warnings to drop the weapon, police fired at Scott. A gun was recovered at the scene, but there are differing accounts about what happened before the shooting. "The daughter of Keith Lamont Scott says that her [disabled] father did not have a gun... and that he was sitting in the car reading a book waiting on his son to get off a bus from school." (WFAE) Local news station WSOC reported that dashcam footage proved the police account to be accurate, but the actual footage doesn't answer many questions. Scott's daughter posted a video rant which went viral and sparked protests through the city. As the protests grew, some turned into riots, where 16 police officers and an unknown number of civilians were injured. Protesters lit fires, smashed up cars, and temporarily shut down a major road. Some looted trucks and a nearby Wal-Mart. Police used tear gas at least once. Riots and protests continued throughout the week, and a State of Emergency was declared. A curfew was implemented and many rioters allegedly had out-of-state identification.
"The House passed legislation Thursday night to prohibit the U.S. government from making any future cash payments to Iran... until the president certifies Iran isn’t a state sponsor of terrorism." (TH) Iran's Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, said in a possibly-unrelated statement: "Iran supports the government of Syria in its fight against foreign-sponsored terrorists." The United States does not share this position, and supports the opposition forces.
"The first national museum devoted exclusively to the history and culture of African-Americans is now open." (AP)
UNITED STATES politics
Hundreds of emails were stolen from a White House staffer's personal Gmail account. Although his position was essentially that of an intern, the emails contained sensitive data. Some dealt with schedules and movements of important figures. Others had names, cell phone numbers, social security numbers, and correspondence with Secret Service agents. An alleged scan of Michelle Obama's passport was included but hasn't been verified as authentic. The source and exact purpose of the hack are unknown. It's also not known if there is a connection between this email leak and the DNC emails leaked by Guccifer 2.0. Some believe this year's email hacks have been committed by a Russian government organization, but this belief is thus far unsubstantiated.
An IT person working for Hillary Clinton, Paul Combetta, may have asked Reddit users about how to delete emails. He later deleted his Reddit comment history, but it was too late. His comments are now part of an investigation. Records shown to Congress revealed that the FBI granted full or partial immunity to five Clinton aides during its investigation into mishandling classified information.
"The FBI appeared to wait until reporters left work for the weekend to release several previously unknown details.... almost 200 pages of summaries of interviews done during its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, including those with top aides Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan." (TH) Notes from the FBI implied that President Obama was aware of Clinton's use of a private email server. He reportedly used a pseudonym to communicate.
"Syria's fragile cease-fire started to unravel on Sunday with the first aerial attacks on rebel-held neighborhoods of Aleppo and a southern village that killed at least eight people, violations that came as tensions between the... brokers of the deal worsened following a deadly U.S. strike on Syrian government forces." (AP) Assad claimed the strike on Syrian forces was deliberate, with four planes in the air for an hour. "Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault questioned why the U.S. is refusing to disclose the details [of the cease-fire it brokered with Russia], including how the cease-fire would be monitored...." (AP)
US officials said they were willing to extend the truce after it appeared to crumble. A United Nations (UN) convoy was later hit by an airstrike. More than half of the 31 trucks were destroyed, and at least 12 people were killed. The convoy, from the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), was headed into Urum al-Kubra to deliver aid. A UN spokesman said all parties, including the US and Russia, had been notified about the convoy. Although the attack was confirmed by independent parties, it wasn't clear who carried it out. There are slightly different accounts about what happened and how. An opposition leader said Russian and Syrian planes bombed the convoy, accusations both governments have denied. The UN intends to resume aid to Aleppo.
The Syrian government launched another aerial offensive on Aleppo, with one source saying 91 people were killed. A ground assault is allegedly to follow at an undetermined date.
"A Brazilian judge accepted corruption charges Tuesday against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, after prosecutors accused the populist leftist of masterminding a massive embezzlement ring at the state oil company Petrobras." (AFP)
Brazilian President Michel Temer said ex-President Dilma Rousseff "was impeached because of her position on economic policy, rather than any alleged wrongdoing on her part" in a speech.
"Street clashes between security forces and demonstrators opposed to President Joseph Kabila left at least 17 dead in Congo’s capital Monday in a dramatic sign of mounting tensions after officials sought to delay the upcoming election until next year." (TIME) The number of dead was later increased to 50. Violence continued throughout the week.
"Most Puerto Ricans faced another night of darkness... after a fire at a power plant caused the aging utility grid to fail and blacked out the entire island of 3.5 million people." (AP)
"North Korea has accidentally 'leaked' information pertaining to its .kp domains, allowing foreigners an unprecedented insight into the government-run websites of the notoriously secretive country, and revealing that only 28 websites actually possess the .kp domain name." (CO)
"Facing tough competition, the Emmy Awards telecast on ABC reached a record-low total of 11.3 million viewers." (AP) "'Game of Thrones' wins best drama Emmy, now most decorated series in history." (AFP)
Yahoo announced that information from at least 500,000,000 Yahoo accounts was stolen in 2014. They believe the hack was done by a "state-sponsored actor" but don't have further details.