This weekend, the professional sports world was rocked by widespread protests against racism, police brutality and President Trump. On Sunday, members of the majority of all National Football League teams took the knee or locked arms during the national anthem, or even sat out the anthem entirely. Professional baseball players, WNBA players, cheerleaders and national anthem singers also protested on Sunday. The weekend of defiance came after Trump lashed out at players who have joined a growing protest movement started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick against racial injustice. This is Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday evening.
President Donald Trump: “Luther and I and everyone in this arena tonight are unified by the same great American values. We’re proud of our country. We respect our flag. Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He’s fired!’?”
This morning, Trump tweeted, “Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!” Over the weekend, Trump also took aim at the NBA, rescinding an invitation to basketball champions the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House, after the team’s star player, Stephen Curry, said he would not attend. In response, NBA superstar LeBron James, one of the nation’s best-known athletes, tweeted, “You bum. Stephen Curry already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” We’ll have more on the protests across the sports world after headlines.
In Puerto Rico, 100 percent of the island is still without power after Hurricane Maria. In the northwest corner of the island, 70,000 people have been ordered to evacuate the areas around the Guajataca Dam, which was damaged by Hurricane Maria and is at risk of collapsing “at any minute.”
Puerto Rican resident: “Yesterday, an emergency crew arrived and said that we had to evacuate because the dam collapsed. It had a 30-foot crack, and we had to move. When the water was escaping, it left a big hole. It was ugly. It destroyed the bridge. We made a path to leave through another way. We didn’t really have much communication. The last thing the authorities said was to leave and we couldn’t take anything. I don’t have anything. It was all there in the house.”
Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Roselló has called the hurricane the worst catastrophe in the island’s history.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, the death toll from last week’s devastating magnitude 7.1 earthquake has risen to 305 people, as southern Mexico was shaken by two more earthquakes on Saturday. Among those who died in last week’s earthquake are garment workers who were buried after their factory collapsed. This is garment worker organizer Gloria Juan Diego Monzón.
Gloria Juan Diego Monzón “The conditions are the same as 1985. That is why we are here. It is painful to see that here, in this space, just as what happened in San Antonio Abad, there were so many bodies taken away. There were so many bodies trapped in the rubble. And today, just as they did 32 years ago, they hide how many bodies they really found and how many have died. That is why we came out here: to keep on struggling from each of our own spaces.”
President Trump has again threatened to destroy all of North Korea, a nation of 25 million people. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man they won’t be around much longer!” Trump’s tweet came after North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said Trump was on a “suicide mission.”
Ri Yong-ho: “Due to his lacking in basic common knowledge and proper sentiment, he tried to insult the supreme dignity of my country by referring to it as a rocket. By doing so, however, he committed an irreversible mistake of making our rockets’ visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more. None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission. In case innocent lives of the U.S. are lost because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.”
On Saturday, tens of thousands of North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang at a protest against U.S. military aggression.
The Trump administration has issued a new order expanding the travel ban to include the countries of Chad and North Korea, and some government officials from Venezuela. The new order also includes some restrictions on citizens from Iraq, as well as all citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. It’s slated to go into effect on October 18. It’s even more extensive than Trump’s original ban, which caused widespread protests at airports nationwide and has been blocked by multiple courts.
On Capitol Hill, Republican lawmakers are scrambling to save their latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, after it looks like they will again fail to secure enough votes to pass the legislation. On Friday, Republican Arizona Senator John McCain announced he will not support the Graham-Cassidy bill. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul also opposes the legislation, and Maine Senator Susan Collins, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have all indicated they may vote against the bill. Top Republicans have revised the legislation to add additional benefits for Alaska and Maine in efforts to woo Senators Murkowski’s and Collins’s votes.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has won a fourth term in Sunday’s elections, although her victory was overshadowed by the surge in support for the extremist right-wing party, Alternative for Germany. The xenophobic and anti-immigrant party won 13 percent of the vote, becoming the first far-right-wing party to break into the German Parliament in more than 60 years.
Meanwhile, tensions continue to escalate over Catalonia’s independence referendum on October 1. The Spanish government has tried to take control of Catalonia’s police force, although Catalan police chiefs rejected the move. Also over the weekend, pro-referendum organizers distributed 1 million paper ballots, ahead of Sunday’s vote.
In northern Iraq, voters are heading to the polls today for a referendum on Kurdish independence. The governments of Iraq and Iran have both retaliated against the referendum. Iran has halted flights to and from the semi-autonomous Kurdish regions and launched wargames at the Kurdish border. Iraq also tightened its control over the region’s borders and called on countries to stop importing oil from the Kurdish areas.
The Pentagon says it launched six drone strikes into Libya on Sunday, killing at least 17 people. The Pentagon describes the drone strikes as an attack on an ISIS training camp, and says the 17 victims were ISIS militants. It’s the first time the U.S. has launched drone strikes into Libya since President Trump took office.
In Turkey, Syrian-American journalist Halla Barakat and her mother, Syrian opposition activist Orouba Barakat, have been assassinated in Istanbul. Their bodies were found in their apartment on Thursday night. Halla worked with the opposition outlet Orient TV. Her mother, Orouba, was a member of the political opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition. Their family members believe the Syrian regime is behind the assassinations.
In France, union workers have blocked access to fuel depots across the country amid increasing resistance to the new anti-worker laws signed by French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday. The laws signal the biggest changes to the French labor market in decades. They radically empower corporations at the expense of workers, including by weakening collective bargaining rights and limiting workers’ ability to win compensation for wrongful termination. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people in Paris protested the new laws. This is leftist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon: “We have now been told that democracy doesn’t happen in the street. Mr. President, you’ll need to take a look at French history to learn that it was the street that brought down the king, it was the street that brought down the Nazis.”
Back in the United States, in St. Louis, at least 22 people were arrested on Saturday protesting the acquittal of white former police officer Jason Stockley for the murder of 24-year-old African American Anthony Lamar Smith. Saturday’s protest at the St. Louis Galleria shopping mall is the latest in a series of protests over the police officer’s acquittal earlier this month.
And in Washington, D.C., students at the historically black college Howard University disrupted a speech by former FBI Director James Comey on Friday over the FBI’s efforts to undermine African-American resistance to police brutality.
Howard University students: “We shall not, we shall not be moved! We shall not, we shall not be moved! We shall not, we shall not be moved!”