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Indonesia: Tsunami Death Toll Tops 1,400 as Volcano Erupts on Sulawesi

Oct 03, 2018

In Indonesia, the death toll from Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami continues to rise, with the official toll now topping 1,400. An Indonesian government spokesperson said rescue efforts continue as the risk of hunger, disease and a lack of basic necessities pose new challenges.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho: “2,509 people are heavily injured and being treated in hospitals, 113 people are missing, 152 people have been buried, and 70,821 people have taken refuge in 141 different spots.”

A volcano on the island of Sulawesi, where Friday’s earthquake and tsunami occurred, has erupted, spewing volcanic ash into the air and further complicating rescue efforts. Meanwhile, scientists are warning that rising sea levels due to climate change will make future tsunamis like last week’s disaster even more destructive.


NYT: Trump’s Wealth Comes from Family, Fraud and Tax Dodging

Oct 03, 2018

In a major exposé, The New York Times has revealed that President Trump inherited his family’s wealth through tax dodges and outright fraud, receiving at least $413 million in inflation-adjusted dollars from his father’s real estate empire. The Times’ 13,000-word investigative report found Fred and Mary Trump transferred more than $1 billion in wealth to their children—much of it to Donald Trump—paying less than 5 percent of the $550 million in taxes they should have under inheritance tax rates. The Times reports Donald Trump helped his parents undervalue real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars in IRS tax returns. The Times also reports Trump earned $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his parents’ companies beginning at the age of 3, with a salary that increased to $1 million a year after Trump graduated college and to $5 million a year when Trump was in his forties. During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly portrayed himself as a self-made billionaire whose only head start was a “small loan of a million dollars” from his father.

Donald Trump: “It’s not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. And, you know, I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. I came into Manhattan. And I had to pay him back, and I had to pay him back with interest.”

In fact, the Times reports Fred Trump lent his son Donald at least $140 million in inflation-adjusted dollars—and much of it was never repaid. As The New York Times exposé broke Tuesday, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said it has opened an investigation into the Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion.

FBI Wrapping Up Kavanaugh Probe Without Interviewing Key Witnesses

Oct 03, 2018

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the FBI is wrapping up its investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and that he’s prepared to call a vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee by the end of the week.

Sen. Mitch McConnell: “We’ll get an FBI report soon. It’ll be made available to each senator, and only senators will be allowed to look at it. And that’s the way these reports are always handled.”

The Washington Post reports FBI agents spoke on Tuesday with a former Georgetown Prep classmate of Kavanaugh named Tim Gaudette. He hosted a party on July 1, 1982, which investigators have been zeroing in on. According to his own calendar, Kavanaugh drank that day along with two other classmates who were identified by Christine Blasey Ford as present at the gathering when she was allegedly sexually assaulted. The investigation barreled toward a rapid conclusion as lawyers for Dr. Blasey Ford said they were baffled that the FBI had yet to question her over her allegations that Kavanaugh tried to rape her in 1982, when the pair were teenagers. Lawyers for another Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, said Tuesday the FBI hadn’t interviewed another 20 witnesses Ramirez has identified. Meanwhile, The New York Times published a letter Kavanaugh wrote to his high school classmates in the summer of 1983 as he planned a “Beach Week” celebration on Maryland’s coast. The letter, which Kavanaugh signed ”FFFFF, Bart,” urges the classmates to “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.” Kavanaugh was 18 at the time; Maryland had just raised its drinking age to 21. He signed the letter “Bart,” not “Brett.” Bart O’Kavanaugh is the name that Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge used in his book, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk.”

Trump: “It’s a Very Scary Time for Young Men in America”

Oct 03, 2018

President Trump praised Judge Kavanaugh and mocked his accusers Tuesday. This is Trump speaking to reporters outside the White House.

President Donald Trump: “Well, I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America, when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of. This is a very, very—this is a very difficult time.”

Later Tuesday, Trump mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during a campaign rally in Mississippi, just days after calling her a “very credible witness.”

President Donald Trump: “Thirty-six years ago, this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer. Well, do you think it was—no, it was one beer. Oh, good. How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t know!”

We’ll have more on the fight over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court after headlines, when we’ll speak with Dr. Bandy Lee, a forensic psychiatrist on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine. Lee is co-author of a letter by mental health professionals warning Kavanaugh’s behavior is consistent with someone struggling with an alcohol problem.

World Court: U.S. Must Lift Humanitarian Sanctions Against Iran

Oct 03, 2018

The U.N.'s top court has ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran for humanitarian and medical goods and services, as well as agricultural goods and those linked to aviation safety. The Trump administration reimposed unilateral sanctions against Iran in May after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. has questioned the U.N. court's jurisdiction and is expected to move ahead with further sanctions against Iran next month.

Suicide Bomb in Afghanistan Kills 13, Injures Dozens

Oct 03, 2018

In Afghanistan, at least 13 people were killed and dozens more injured Tuesday after a suicide bomber targeted a campaign rally near the eastern city of Jalalabad. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the bombing. It’s the latest in a string of attacks on election-related targets ahead of parliamentary elections on October 20.

Ethiopia: 44 Killed in Ethnic Violence

Oct 03, 2018

Ethiopian state media reports that at least 44 people were killed over the weekend as rival ethnic groups clashed in the west of the country. Violence and widespread displacement have continued to plague the Eastern African nation despite recently elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s promises to reduce ethnic tensions and violence. Ahmed made history by signing a peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea earlier this year.


FLOTUS Visits Former Slave Trading Fortress in Ghana

Oct 03, 2018

First lady Melania Trump continued her solo tour in Africa by visiting Cape Coast Castle in Ghana—a seaside fortress used by slave traders starting in the 17th century. The former slave dungeon is now a monument to millions of Africans cast into slavery. After her visit, the first lady told reporters that she signed the site’s guest book: “Thank you for your warm welcome. With love, Melania Trump.”


U.S. Admitted 22,000 Refugees in FY 2018, Lowest Number in 40 Years

Oct 03, 2018

The State Department confirmed Tuesday that the U.S. admitted just over 22,000 refugees during the last fiscal year, the lowest number in four decades. The number of refugees resettled in the U.S. was half of the Trump administration’s cap for the year of 45,000, a number that itself would have been among the lowest on record.


Shipwreck Off Morocco Kills 34 Refugees Heading to Spain

Oct 03, 2018

At least 34 refugees have drowned off of the Moroccan coast, according to the United Nations. A local activist says authorities failed to respond to the shipwreck for 36 hours after it was reported. Tens of thousands have attempted the perilous journey from Morocco to Europe by boat so far this year. The U.N. has recorded 1,700 refugee deaths in the Mediterranean since the start of 2018.


Presidential Alert Test to Light Up Cellphones Around Country

Oct 03, 2018

Back in the United States, cellphone users across the country will receive a text message from the president later today as part of a test for an alert system managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission. Televisions and radios will also receive alerts shortly after cellphones. The system allows the White House to send text messages to cellphone users only in cases of emergency, but some are already raising alarm that Trump or another president may try to abuse the system.


Four Men Charged in Deadly 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville

Oct 03, 2018

In Virginia, federal prosecutors have charged four white supremacists from California with conspiracy and inciting rioting at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August of 2017. U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said that the men also engaged in acts of violence in their home state of California at a series of political rallies, dubbing them “serial rioters.” Last year’s protest left activist Heather Heyer dead after white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters. In the wake of the rally, President Trump declared, “I think there is blame on both sides. … But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

Donna Strickland Becomes Third Woman Ever to Win Nobel Physics Prize

Oct 03, 2018

In Canada, University of Waterloo professor Donna Strickland will share the Nobel Prize in Physics for her work on creating advanced lasers. Strickland is just the third woman ever to win a Nobel physics prize and the first since 1963. Strickland’s prize comes just three weeks after astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell was awarded the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics 50 years after she made a historic astronomical discovery—only to have her male adviser take credit and receive a Nobel Prize for her work. Bell Burnell will donate her $3 million award to fund scholarships for women, refugees and other underrepresented groups.

Mexicans Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Tlatelolco Massacre

Oct 03, 2018

And in Mexico City, a giant Mexican flag was lowered to half-mast in the capital city’s main Zócalo square Tuesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre. It was October 2, 1968, when hundreds of students were gunned down by soldiers as they held peaceful protests on the eve of the Mexico City Olympic Games. This is Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador speaking at a ceremony commemorating the anniversary.

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador: “We guarantee that force will never be used again to resolve conflicts, differences and social protests. That’s the oath we make: to not make use of force, to not repress the people.”

Just last week, a Mexican government official admitted for the first time that the massacre amounted to a “state crime,” though no one has ever been prosecuted for the killings. This is Tlatelolco massacre survivor Juan Ávila Arreaga, one of tens of thousands who marched from Tlatelolco plaza on Tuesday.

Juan Ávila Arreaga: “My name is Juan Ávila Arreaga. I am 67 years old, and today I came here because 50 years have passed since the soldiers opened fire on us. There were women, there were children, and I would like to speak about the young people, especially the students, who were gunned down in 1968. The only thing that we had requested of the government was a public dialogue. This was the most important thing. Now, in 2018, once again young people and students are being disappeared and burned.”

Arreaga was referring to the 43 students who vanished from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ school in 2014 after they were attacked by local police. President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to create a truth commission to investigate the Ayotzinapa disappearances.

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