At least four people have died and nearly 6 million people are without power in Florida, after Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday on the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm also flooded the streets of downtown Miami, turning the city’s main strip, Brickell Avenue, into a three-foot-high raging river. Its arrival sparked one of the largest mass evacuations in U.S. history, with nearly 7 million people ordered to leave their homes. Before hitting Florida, Irma caused widespread devastation across the Caribbean, killing at least 27 people and leveling nearly 90 percent of all structures on Saint Martin and Barbuda. It also displaced more than 100,000 Haitians and destroyed crops in the north of the country. Cuba has dispatched more than 750 health workers to Caribbean nations to help assist in the aftermath of the most powerful storm ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. Irma, now downgraded to a Category 1 storm, is still barreling across more of Florida and then on to Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. We’ll have more on Irma and climate change after headlines.
Meanwhile, President Trump is using Hurricane Irma as an excuse to push for tax cuts for the rich. This is Trump, speaking Saturday.
President Donald Trump: “To create prosperity at home, we’ll be discussing our plan for dramatic tax cuts and tax reform. And I think now, with what’s happened with the hurricane, I’m going to ask for a speed-up.”
Best-selling author Naomi Klein tweeted, “One for the shock doctrine record books: Trump uses #Irma to push for tax cuts WHILE THE STORM IS STILL HAPPENING.”
In Mexico, the death toll from Thursday’s devastating 8.2-magnitude earthquake has risen to 90 people as rescue teams continue to search through the rubble in parts of the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. This is survivor Oscar Morga in Oaxaca.
Oscar Morga: “We are practically left with nothing.”
Reporter: “Did you lose everything?”
Oscar Morga: “Everything, absolutely everything. Everything. So a friend came to help me, because authorities aren’t helping us. They just go by and pass us by. They’re not helping us.”
We’ll have more voices from the survivors of Mexico’s earthquake later in the broadcast.
Meanwhile, in Italy, unexpected flooding in the western port city of Livorno has killed at least six people. This is Livorno resident Piero Caturelli.
Piero Caturelli: “In all my years, I don’t remember a storm anything like this, that has caused all this damage. It’s incredible, incredible. It started around 10 p.m. and continued until this morning. In my living memory, there’s never been anything like this.”
The U.S. State Department has approved a nearly $4 billion weapons deal with Bahrain. The $3.8 billion deal includes 19 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets and over 200 Raytheon anti-tank missiles. The approval of the weapons deal came after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dropped human rights issues as a condition of the sale. Bahrain is a close U.S. ally, home to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
In Syria, the local journalistic group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently reports the U.S.-led coalition fired white phosphorus into Raqqa on Friday. White phosphorus munitions can burn human flesh down to the bone, and wounds contaminated by the chemical can reignite up to days later, poisoning victims and leading to organ failure or death. The group also reports that U.S.-led coalition warplanes have bombed at least 25 mosques since the battle to seize Raqqa from ISIS began in June. Meanwhile, in more news on Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Russian airstrikes near the city of Deir ez-Zor killed at least 34 civilians, including nine children, on Sunday.
Kenya is preparing to hold a rerun of its contested presidential election next month, after the first election was nullified by Kenya’s Supreme Court. The court ruled there were flaws in the tallying process for the August 8 election. At least 24 people were killed in post-election protests. Incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta will now face opposition leader Raila Odinga in a new election on October 17.
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, says the Burmese military’s widespread violence against Rohingya Muslims is a “textbook” example of ethnic cleansing. Nearly 300,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since last month, as Burmese soldiers have killed and raped civilians and burned down villages. The Burmese government rejected a ceasefire proposed by a Rohingya militant group on Sunday.
In the Gaza Strip, health officials say they’re witnessing a sharp rise in suicide attempts, as the ongoing Israeli blockade has made the Palestinian territory “unlivable,” according to the United Nations. Among those who have taken their own lives is 22-year-old short story writer Mohanned Younis, who committed suicide two weeks ago. This summer, Israeli-imposed electricity cuts left Gaza residents with power for only four hours a day. This is Red Cross President Peter Maurer.
Peter Maurer: “Let’s just for a minute imagine how life is with four hours of electricity, with wastewater pump not functioning, with running water not functioning. And I think this is the reality at the present moment.”
In Kashmir, hundreds of people protested against Indian rule and violence by security forces, after Indian government forces shot dead two people today and another two on Sunday. Indian authorities say all four were armed rebels. Indian government forces have killed over 140 suspected rebels and deployed thousands of additional soldiers to the occupied territory of Kashmir so far this year, amid an offensive dubbed “Operation Allout.”
In London, organizers say as many as 50,000 people marched on Saturday to oppose Brexit, Britain’s plan to leave the European Union. Today in Parliament, some Labour Party lawmakers are planning to vote against legislation outlining plans for Brexit, known as the European Union Withdrawal Bill.
Australia held the largest demonstration for LGBT rights in the country’s history on Sunday. More than 20,000 people poured into the streets of Sydney to demand equal rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is Australian activist Joy Kyriacou.
Joy Kyriacou: “I think it’s amazing. They said before, this is the largest LGBTIQ rights rally ever in Australian history, and that’s pretty incredible. So very proud to be here, and I’m here with all of my family and with my wife. So we’re really happy to be here, too.”
In San Francisco, residents gathered for a candlelight vigil to mourn the murder of transgender activist, artist and DJ Bubbles Torres, who was shot and killed early Sunday morning. Bubbles was a beloved member of the LGBT community, who had lived in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood for nearly two decades.
Prisoner advocates say former Black Panther Herman Bell was attacked by a half-dozen prison guards at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in New York state last week. The guards reportedly broke two of his ribs, bloodied his face, and damaged his left eye by spraying mace directly into his eyes. Sixty-nine-year-old Herman Bell has been imprisoned for more than 40 years.
And Saturday marked the first anniversary of the largest prison work strike in U.S. history. On September 9, 2016, prisoners launched a nationwide work strike that spread across 29 prisons to include more than 24,000 prisoners. Last year’s strike, launched on the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising, sparked widespread retaliation by prison guards, including in Michigan’s Kinross Correctional Facility. This is prisoner, poet and abolitionist Fred Williams, speaking about the strike and the retaliation in an interview just released by Rustbelt Abolition Radio.
Fred Williams: “They decided that they were going to stand out and protest—protest the food, protest health service, protest the ventilation, protest the living conditions overall. And so, these few guys stood outside, walking in circles, protesting, chanting, you know, 'Equal work, equal pay,' chanting. And they were also calling for other guys inside the housing units to come out and stand with them in solidarity. And it worked. They walked in circles in the common area, chanting, and the crowd just grew larger and larger and larger, until the point where, when I looked out the window, it looked like it was maybe 500-600 guys out there. And so, the ERT was called in; the emergency response team was called in. It took four or five hours. And from what I understand, this is either the first or second time the government allowed for live ammunition to be entered onto the prison compound in Michigan.”
That was prisoner Fred Williams at Michigan’s Kinross Correctional Facility in an audio archive just released because some prisoners were isolated in solitary confinement as retaliation for the strike for nearly a year. And today is the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
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