As many as 13 million people remain without power in Florida as the state begins to survey the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma. At least 11 people died on the mainland U.S. from the hurricane. Authorities say some parts of the Florida Keys may be inaccessible for weeks. The U.S. military is now helping evacuate some Florida Keys residents who did not leave before the storm. Jacksonville experienced its worst flooding since 1864.
The storm also caused destruction when it swept across Georgia and South Carolina on Monday. In Puerto Rico, hundreds of thousands of people remain without power. Authorities have warned parts of Puerto Rico could be without electricity for up to six months.
The head of FEMA, Brock Long, announced this morning he’s heading to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands today. The death toll from the storm also rose in the Caribbean, where at least 34 people are confirmed dead. Ten people died on Cuba, where Irma hit the northern coast as a Category 5 storm. It was the deadliest hurricane in Cuba since 2005. We’ll have more on Hurricane Irma after headlines.
In Texas, authorities say Hurricane Harvey is responsible for causing nearly a half-million gallons of gasoline to spill from two storage tanks—marking the largest spill so far from the devastating storm. The 460,000 gallons were released from a petroleum tank farm operated by Magellan Midstream Partners in Galena Park, Texas, just east of Houston. Some of the spilled gasoline contaminated a waterway alongside the Houston Ship Channel. Hurricane Harvey killed 70 people and caused widespread environmental contamination. The Center for Biological Diversity reports flooded oil refineries and chemical plants released as much as 5 million pounds of pollutants into the air during the storm.
Pope Francis has spoken out forcefully against climate change denial. Speaking to reporters Sunday as he flew over Caribbean islands decimated by Hurricane Irma, Pope Francis said humans must make progress in tackling climate change, and called those who continue to deny its existence “stupid.”
Pope Francis: “We will not go backwards, we will go down. That is true. Climate change, you feel the effects, and the scientists tell us clearly the road to take. All of us have a responsibility—all of us—some small, some big, a moral responsibility, to not accept it, to give one’s opinion or to make decisions, and we have to take it seriously. I think it is something we cannot joke about. Whoever denies this must go to the scientists and ask them. They speak very clearly. The scientists are precise. Man is stupid, a head that does not see.”
Pope Francis was speaking with a bandage over his eye because he bumped his head on the popemobile while traveling in Colombia.
The United Nations Security Council has imposed a new round of sanctions on North Korea. The resolution was drafted and pushed for by the United States. It seeks to further cripple North Korea’s economy by limiting North Korea’s oil imports, banning its textile exports and imposing other restrictions on the nation’s economy. Ahead of Monday’s Security Council vote, North Korea warned the U.S. it could face retaliation if it pushed for the harsh sanctions. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for a new round of negotiations with North Korea, advocating for a diplomatic alternative to the rising military tensions between North Korea and the U.S. Merkel highlighted the role Germany played in brokering the landmark Iran nuclear deal, and said, “I could imagine such a format being used to end the North Korea conflict.”
The Trump administration is moving forward with its pledge to stop the closure of Guantánamo Bay. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced the position of the special envoy for closure of the Guantánamo detention facility would be eliminated. The Pentagon has also proposed spending $500 million in new construction at Guantánamo. The U.S. is currently imprisoning 41 people indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay. Cuba was hard hit by Hurricane Irma.
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon says Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey was the biggest political mistake in modern history. Bannon, now the chair of the far-right-wing Breitbart Media, made the comments while speaking with Charlie Rose of “60 Minutes.”
Charlie Rose: “Someone said to me that you described the firing of James Comey—you’re a student of history—as the biggest mistake in political history.”
Stephen Bannon: “That would be probably—that’d probably be too bombastic even for me, but maybe modern political history.”
This clip didn’t actually appear in the “60 Minutes” piece. They posted it online Sunday night.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting some of President Trump’s lawyers have recommended White House senior adviser Jared Kushner should step down over concerns about his meetings with Russian officials during the campaign. Kushner is also President Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner met multiple times with Russian officials and businessmen during Trump’s campaign. These meetings are now part of the multiple investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
In international news, in Barcelona, 1 million people poured into the streets on Monday to demand independence for Catalonia. The march increases pressure on Spain ahead of an independence referendum on Catalan independence on October 1. This is protester Eva Soltiger.
Eva Soltiger: “We have come for another year to fight for what we believe in, for our interests. We are a people with our own identity and language. What we cannot have is the oppression we have been experiencing so far. And we want to be able to have a democratic and peaceful vote.”
In France, dozens of unions are on strike today with 200 demonstrations planned nationwide to protest French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to roll back labor protections by presidential decree. The strikes are disrupting key industries, including travel, with more than 100 flights canceled and trains suspended.
In Brazil, authorities are investigating reports that gold miners brutally murdered about 10 indigenous people last month and later bragged about dismembering their bodies. The alleged murders occurred in the Amazon’s Javari Valley, Brazil’s second-largest indigenous reserve. The victims were members of an uncontacted tribe. Brazilian President Michel Temer has close ties to the mining industry, and earlier this year he issued a decree opening up a wide swath of the Amazon to mining and extraction. He’s also cut funding for government agencies that work to protect indigenous groups from attacks by miners and loggers.
In India, a caravan of peace activists has arrived in the capital New Delhi as part of a month-long journey across India to highlight the rise of lynchings and violence against Muslims, Dalits and other minority groups. Led by activist Harsh Mander, the caravan is visiting with families of the victims of hate crimes, which have risen sharply under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Data from the group India Spend shows some anti-Muslim hate crimes have risen 10-fold since Modi came to power in 2014.
In Egypt, at least 18 police officers were killed in an ISIS attack in the Sinai Peninsula on Monday. It was one of the deadliest attacks this year in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Back in the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily lifted restrictions on President Trump’s travel ban—meaning about 24,000 refugees may now be barred from entering the United States. Last week, an appeals court in Seattle ruled that tens of thousands of refugees who had received promises of assistance from refugee resettlement organizations should be allowed to enter. But on Monday, the Supreme Court intervened to block this ruling. The Supreme Court is soon expected to issue a fuller ruling on the ban, which blocks refugees and all citizens of six majority-Muslim nations from entering the U.S.
In New Hampshire, authorities are investigating an apparent attempted lynching in the town of Claremont. A mother says her 8-year-old biracial child had to be airlifted to the hospital after a group of white teenagers reportedly hung him from a tree. She also posted photographs on Facebook showing the injuries to the child’s neck. The child’s grandmother also says the white teenagers were taunting the child with racial slurs before the attack. The town of Claremont is 96 percent white.
And in Texas, at least eight people are dead after a man allegedly killed his estranged wife and her friends in what appears to be the deadliest incident of domestic violence in the town’s history. On Sunday, 27-year-old Meredith Hight was watching the Cowboys football game with a group of friends and family in the Dallas suburb of Plano when her estranged husband reportedly entered her house and opened fire, killing her and seven other adults. The shooter was killed by police. Local news reports Hight had filed for divorce in July. Hight’s mother said her daughter “loved hosting friends and families. This was her first opportunity to do it after the divorce, and he didn’t take it well.”