Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has wrapped up a trip to Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, where he met Tuesday with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid growing international condemnation over the apparent murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. After the meetings, Pompeo said the Saudi leadership strongly denies any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts.
In Somalia, an airstrike from an unmanned U.S. drone has killed 60 people near a coastal town northeast of Mogadishu—the deadliest U.S. attack on Somalia in the last year. The Pentagon says all of the dead were al-Shabab fighters, though the claim could not be independently verified. The U.S. has conducted at least 27 airstrikes on Somalia so far this year, and the Pentagon has some 500 troops in Somalia.
In northwestern China, the governor of the Xinjiang autonomous region is defending his government’s imprisonment of up to 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in massive internment camps. Governor Shohrat Zakir said the camps were aimed at teaching Mandarin language and job skills. Human rights groups have blasted the mass internment, with Amnesty International saying, “No amount of spin can hide the fact that the Chinese authorities are undertaking a campaign of systematic repression in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, with up to one million people arbitrarily detained. The mass internment camps are primarily places of punishment and torture, not learning. There are consistent reports of beatings, food deprivation and solitary confinement.”
In environmental news, a top EPA official who was put on administrative leave last month is speaking out about the Trump administration’s plan to “disappear” her office—the Office of Children’s Health Protection. This is Dr. Ruth Etzel speaking to CBS News.
Dr. Ruth Etzel: “My sense is that the government has absolutely no intention of taking any actions towards seriously changing lead in children’s environments.”
Anna Werner: “And what does that mean for the kids?”
Dr. Ruth Etzel: “It basically means that our kids will continue to be poisoned. It basically means that kids are disposable, they don’t matter.”
President Trump has tapped former hospital lobbyist Mary Mayhew to oversee the federal Medicaid program. Mayhew served as Maine’s health commissioner under outgoing Republican Governor Paul LePage, where she led efforts to reduce the number of Medicaid recipients in the state. Mayhew also championed Governor LePage’s efforts to reject federal funds for Medicaid expansion.
This comes as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he’s concerned about the rising federal deficit, which will approach $1 trillion by the end of this fiscal year.
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “It’s very disturbing, and it’s driven by the three big entitlement programs that are very popular: Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”
McConnell’s call for massive cuts to those programs comes after he led a successful Republican effort last year to pass a massive tax bill. It’s been described as one of the largest wealth transfers from the poor to the rich in U.S. history.
A federal judge in California has thrown out a defamation lawsuit brought against President Trump by adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels, who says she had an extramarital affair with Trump in 2006. On Twitter, Trump mentioned Stormy Daniels by name for the first time ever Tuesday—though he misspelled her name—writing, “Great, now I can go after Horseface and her third-rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas.” Trump has a long history of misogynistic tweets; he’s previously called women dogs, pigs, crazed, crying, bleeding, fat, ugly, and low-IQ.
North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp apologized Tuesday after her campaign published an ad identifying survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape without their knowledge or permission. The ad was an “open letter” to her Senate race opponent, Republican Congressmember Kevin Cramer. This is Senator Heitkamp speaking on local radio station WZFG.
Sen. Heidi Heitcamp: “I think that this is horrible. And I look at this the way I would if I were someone whose name was in the paper who didn’t authorize it, and I think that that is a colossal and huge mistake.”
Recent polls show Heitkamp trailing Kevin Cramer by around 10 points.
In the occupied West Bank, Israeli bulldozers have entered the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar ahead of its planned demolition. In September, Israel’s Supreme Court approved a plan to raze the village to make way for an expansion of two nearby Jewish-only settlements. The plan will force the relocation of the village’s 180 residents to an area next to a landfill. On Monday, Israeli forces arrested four villagers and injured seven as they protested the arrival of demolition teams. This is Bedouin villager Ahmad Abu Dahouk speaking last month.
Ahmad Abu Dahouk: “We ask all the free people and the Arab nation to react. It is a war crime. The Israeli authorities want to demolish and evacuate us. Are they going to send us to a better place? No, they will not. They will relocate us to a worse place.”
At the United Nations, the General Assembly voted 146 to 3 on Tuesday to appoint Palestine as next year’s chair of the G77 coalition of developing nations. Since 2012, Palestine has been recognized by the U.N. as a “non-member state” similar to the Vatican; Tuesday’s vote will allow Palestine to act more like a full U.N. member. Opposing Tuesday’s vote were just three countries: Israel, Australia and the United States.
Elsewhere at the U.N., diplomats from Bolivia joined their Cuban counterparts Tuesday in a protest that drowned out the launch of a U.S. effort denouncing Cuba over political prisoners. The diplomats chanted, “Cuba yes, blockade no!”—a reference to a stifling embargo unilaterally placed by the U.S. on the Caribbean island nation for nearly 60 years. The protest came as the Trump administration continues to roll back a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations begun under Obama; it comes two weeks before the U.N. General Assembly is set to vote on a nonbinding resolution calling for an end to the embargo. The General Assembly has approved similar resolutions each year for over a quarter-century.
President Trump is threatening to sanction the government of Honduras unless it halts a caravan of thousands of migrants who are crossing Guatemala toward Mexico and bound for the U.S. border. Trump tweeted Monday, “The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump’s threat came as Guatemalan authorities arrested and deported Bartolo Fuentes, a former Honduran lawmaker who helped organize the migrant caravan of up to 3,000 people. Ahead of his arrest, Fuentes said Trump had allied with the corrupt government of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.
Bartolo Fuentes: “In Honduras, Trump has a corrupt government. It should sanction Honduras for condemning these people to misery, for forcing them to live in a situation of violence. And Trump has a corrupt government, a usurper who took part in a colossal fraud. The Honduran government knows this perfectly well, they who have murdered people on the street. A criminal government, supported by Trump, provokes this migration.”
In New York City, police plan to charge nine members of the white supremacist group “Proud Boys” on counts of rioting and assault after they violently attacked people on a Manhattan street on Friday night. The NYPD announced the charges on Monday following public outcry after videos showed dozens of members of the group physically assaulting anti-fascist protesters after attending a talk by leader Gavin McInnes at the nearby Metropolitan Republican Club. Three people protesting the Proud Boys also face charges.
Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon, members of the Proud Boys joined another white supremacist group, Patriot Prayer, in a downtown march on Saturday where they clashed with anti-fascist activists. This comes as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler reveals that on August 4, Portland police found a hidden group of Patriot Prayer members on a rooftop with a cache of guns—right before the white supremacists took to the streets for a rally. No arrests were made that day, and Portland police instead fired rubber bullets at anti-fascist protesters at the march. Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw later said the counterprotesters were acting like children and were “mad because I kicked your butt.”
In Malta, supporters and loved ones of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia gathered on Tuesday to commemorate one year since her murder by an unknown assailant. Galizia was a well-known investigative journalist who reported on corruption at the highest levels of the Maltese government, including tax evasion, nepotism and money laundering. She faced personal and legal threats, harassment and arrests because of her work. The investigation into Galizia’s murder has been criticized for its lack of independence and efficiency. Her son Matthew Galizia said, “It appears that there is a complete cover-up and a complete lack of will to investigate the motive for the assassination and the people who ordered it.” The last words Galizia wrote were “There are crooks everywhere, the situation is desperate.”
And in New York City, students at NYU protested former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at an event organized by the school on Tuesday.
Protester: “Are you telling me that you’re not a war criminal, that you do not deserve to go to jail for the crimes that you have enacted? You deserve to answer to war crimes, to crimes against humanity! You deserve to go to jail and then rot in hell! You have enacted crimes against Chile, against Argentina, against Cambodia, against Vietnam! You are a war criminal, and you deserve to rot!”
Kissinger served as the top foreign policymaker under President Nixon. During his tenure, he led massive bombing campaigns in Cambodia and Laos; prolonged the devastating war in Vietnam; supported death squads and coups in Latin America, including in Chile and Argentina; greenlighted Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths; supported anti-liberation insurgencies in Angola and Mozambique; and supported Pakistan’s genocide in Bangladesh. This is NYU student Madison Kelts, speaking at a protest outside of the building where Kissinger appeared.
Madison Kelts: “During his time as secretary of state and national security adviser, Henry Kissinger perpetrated massive violence, massive crimes, against people in Vietnam, from Laos to Cambodia, illegal secret bombing campaigns. He is an imperialist warmonger who has to answer for—which he has not answered for yet—thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.”