The United Nations is now estimating at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean this year and next, seeking refuge in Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. Already 366,000 have arrived in Europe this year. Earlier today, the president of the European Commission called on European Union member states to accept a total of 160,000 asylum seekers from war-torn countries.
This comes as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has announced Venezuela will take in 20,000 Syrian refugees, while Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff says Brazil will welcome refugees with "open arms." Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet says Chile will also accept more refugees. The United States, meanwhile, is reportedly considering taking in more Syrian refugees as it faces increasing domestic and international pressure. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest addressed the crisis.
Josh Earnest: "We continue to be concerned about the vulnerable position of so many people who are fleeing violence in their home countries. And the United States, in the way that we play a leading role in confronting so many other thorny and difficult problems, are prepared to continue to play a leading role in trying to assist those organizations that are trying to meet the needs, and basic humanitarian needs, of these individuals."
The United States has resettled only approximately 1,500 Syrians since the violence began. We’ll look at the global refugee crisis after headlines.
British authorities are defending the recent drone killing of two British citizens in Syria accused of fighting for ISIL. England does not have a parliamentary mandate to take military action in Syria. On Tuesday, British Defense Minister Michael Fallon reiterated Prime Minister David Cameron’s claim the strikes were in self-defense.
Michael Fallon: "There are a group of terrorists out there in Syria, inspired, working with ISIL to try and carry out armed attacks here in Britain, on our streets, at major public events, involving significant loss of life. So that’s the danger. That’s the threat that we face. And our agencies are working extremely hard to try and identify who is involved and what can be done to prevent those attacks. And if there is no other way of preventing them, then, yes, we have to carry out strikes like this."
In Turkey, a wave of nationalist violence swept the country overnight as protesters attacked the headquarters of the pro-Kurdish HDP party and a Kurdish newspaper office. The HDP says its offices were attacked in at least a half-dozen cities, including in Ankara and in the southern resort city of Alanya, where the headquarters were set on fire. In Istanbul, nationalists attacked the headquarters of the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, smashing windows and throwing stones. The HDP party was formed in 2012 as a left-leaning socialist party. It helped broker peace talks between the Turkish government and the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, before the truce collapsed earlier this summer.
Turkish security forces have now crossed into northern Iraq as the military launched airstrikes against Kurdish militants, killing 40. The attacks come after 14 Turkish policemen were killed in eastern Turkey on Tuesday and 16 Turkish soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb explosion on Sunday.
Meanwhile, two British Vice journalists who had been imprisoned in Turkey on terrorist charges have been released. Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury of Vice News were detained in August while covering protests in eastern Turkey over the government’s military offensive against Kurdish dissident groups. The journalists’ Turkey-based Iraqi translator, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, remains in custody.
In the United States, Congress returned from summer recess Tuesday with the historic nuclear deal with Iran topping the agenda. Four more Democratic senators announced their support for the deal Tuesday, cementing the deal’s future. The addition of Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Gary Peters of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon brings the total number of supporters in the Senate to 42. The new total appears to ensure President Obama will not need to veto any Republican attempt to undermine the nuclear deal, since Republicans now lack the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster of a resolution against the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, former Vice President Dick Cheney has emerged as a leading critic of the Iran deal, telling an audience at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute the agreement would "give Iran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland." Cheney was interrupted by Michaela Anang, a peace protester with CodePink, who called Cheney a "war criminal" and held a banner which read, "Wrong in Iraq, Wrong in Iran."
Dick Cheney: "The Iranians get the better of us in these negotiations — "
Michaela Anang: "Dick Cheney is a war criminal! Why should we be listening to him? He was wrong in Iraq, he’s wrong in Iran."
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is expected to deliver a major address on the Iran nuclear deal today, voicing support for the agreement, after helping to lay the groundwork for it as secretary of state. But Clinton is also expected to take a more militant stance on Iran than Obama, vowing to take military action if Iran moves toward nuclear bomb-making capabilities. Obama has merely said he would keep military action on the table.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has apologized for relying exclusively on a private email server while she was secretary of state. A day after she told the Associated Press she didn’t need to apologize because "What I did was allowed," Clinton apologized in an interview with ABC News.
Hillary Clinton: "In retrospect, certainly, as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts — one for personal, one for work-related emails. That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility. And I’m trying to be as transparent as I possibly can to not only release 55,000 pages of my emails, turn over my server, but I am looking forward, finally, to testifying before Congress, something I’ve been asking for, for nearly a year."
In Guatemala, a judge has ordered former President Otto Pérez Molina to remain in jail while awaiting trial over a multimillion-dollar corruption scandal that sparked widespread popular protests and led to the president’s resignation. Pérez Molina is being charged with criminal association, taking bribes and customs fraud.
In Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has been released from jail after five days behind bars for refusing a judge’s order to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis released but said she cannot interfere with her deputies, who have been issuing licenses to same-sex couples in her absence. Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee met with Davis while she was behind bars. After her release, she appeared on stage holding her attorney’s and Mike Huckabee’s hands, with tears in her eyes as "Eye of the Tiger" played from speakers. Kim Davis addressed the crowd.
Kim Davis: "I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people! We serve a living god who knows exactly where each and every one of us is at. Just keep on pressing. Don’t let down. Because he is here. He’s worthy. He’s worthy."
Frankie Sullivan, frontman of the band Survivor, which sings "Eye of the Tiger," posted on Facebook, "NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use 'My Tune -The Eye Of The Tiger.' I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin!" referring to the brand of toilet paper.
In Kansas, a jury has recommended that white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller receive the death penalty. Miller was convicted earlier in September of capital murder for killing three people at a Jewish community center and assisted living facility in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park last year.
In Seattle, the teachers’ union has launched a strike for the first day of school today, after negotiations broke down Tuesday night. The teachers are demanding fewer standardized tests for students, more time to prepare for classes, and better pay. The strike comes after Washington’s Supreme Court ruled last week that the state’s new charter school system is unconstitutional. This is the first teachers’ strike in Seattle in 30 years.
The United Airlines CEO and two other senior executives have stepped down amid a federal corruption probe. Federal authorities are investigating whether United launched a direct flight from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina, to curry favor with David Samson, the former chair of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all New York-area airports. Samson, who spent weekends near Columbia, is a longtime ally of New Jersey governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie. Samson resigned in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal, where Christie appointees and staffers apparently colluded to create traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge as a form of political revenge.
Tuesday, September 8, marked Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day. On average, American Indian and Alaska Native women are paid only 59 cents for every dollar that white men earn.
And in Baltimore, the city has reached a tentative $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in April after being arrested and transported without a seat belt in a police van. His family said his spine was 80 percent severed at the neck. Police said they arrested him for making eye contact with them, then running away. Six Baltimore police officers are currently facing criminal prosecution over his death.