The Trump administration has reimposed harsh economic sanctions against Iran, drawing condemnation from European allies and massive protests across Iran. The new sanctions officially began at 12:01 this morning, six months after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear agreement that saw Iran win sanctions relief in return for abandoning much of its nuclear program. France, Germany, Britain and the European Union issued a joint statement Friday condemning the U.S. move, calling the Iran deal “essential for the security of Europe, the region and the whole world.” But European and Asian companies have largely cut back purchases of Iranian oil for fear of reprisals from Washington. The sanctions came just after Iranians celebrated the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover after the Islamic revolution—marking the date, November 4, when college students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking U.S. diplomats hostage. This is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “The U.S. is much weaker today than what it was 40 years ago, when the revolution was victorious. The power of the U.S. is on the decline. This is the important point. Most of the world’s politicians and global affairs analysts believe that the U.S.'s soft power is worn out, it's being destroyed.”
On Friday, Trump tweeted a photo of himself with the words “Sanctions Are Coming November 5” over his image. The words were written in the font of the popular HBO program, “Game of Thrones.” In a statement, HBO said it “would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes.”
In Florida, a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist shot and killed two women at a Tallahassee yoga studio Friday, injuring five others, three of them critically—one of them shot nine times—before the gunman turned his weapon on himself. Forty-year-old Scott Beierle had a long criminal history of attacking women, black people and immigrants via online videos and songs and had previously been investigated for harassing women and arrested at least twice, once on allegations of battery against women.
The victims of Friday’s shooting were both from Florida State University: 21-year-old student Maura Binkley and 61-year-old medical doctor and faculty member Nancy Van Vessem. Maura Binkley traveled to the Florida State Capitol, in the wake of the Parkland massacre in February to lobby lawmakers with Parkland survivors and their families.
In election news, Georgia secretary of state and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp announced plans Sunday to investigate Georgia’s Democratic Party for “cyber crimes” related to an alleged attempted hack of the voter registration system. Kemp’s office provided no evidence for the claim, which has been denied by the Georgia Democratic Party. This came just two days before the midterm elections, when Kemp will face off against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams, who could become the country’s first African-American woman governor if she wins.
On Friday, a federal judge barred Georgia from rejecting ballots that don’t conform to the strict “exact match” rules, where even a minor discrepancy in a voter’s ID and their voter registration could prevent someone from voting. As secretary of state, Kemp has been withholding some 53,000 voter application forms, more than 70 percent of which are from African Americans. President Jimmy Carter and others have called on Kemp to recuse himself as secretary of state while he runs for governor of Georgia, since the secretary of state oversees the elections.
Meanwhile, President Trump and former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail throughout the weekend, making a last-minute appeal to voters. Speaking at a campaign rally for Indiana Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly in Gary on Sunday, Obama took aim at Trump’s lies and distortions.
Barack Obama: “Because, unlike some people, I don’t just make stuff up when I’m talking. I’ve got facts to back me up. I believe in fact-based campaigning. I believe in reality-based governance.”
Joe Donnelly is one of the Democrats fighting to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate, along with North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Florida’s Bill Nelson, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, New Jersey’s Bob Menendez and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Meanwhile, reports show that Kansas secretary of state and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach has received donations from white nationalists and has had ties with far-right groups for at least a decade. Kobach is in a tight race against Democratic opponent Laura Kelly in what is considered a reliably red state. As Kansas secretary of state, Kobach has come under fire after the sole polling place for Dodge City was moved outside of town, disproportionately affecting Latino voters, not near public transportation.
As candidates made their closing arguments, President Trump continued to rail against a caravan of Central American migrants crossing Mexico in order to seek political asylum in the U.S. On Friday, the first of thousands of active-duty U.S. soldiers arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, where they installed coils of razor wire on a riverbank and bridge. This is Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Montana on Saturday.
President Donald Trump: “We have our military now on the border. And I noticed all that beautiful barbed wire going up today. It was a—barb wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight.”
CNN reports Pentagon leaders rebuffed an order by Trump to have the military act as law enforcement on the U.S.-Mexico border. Such a move would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars soldiers from taking on a domestic police role.
Meanwhile, NBC is under fire for airing a racist political ad paid for by President Donald Trump’s campaign during its broadcast of Sunday Night Football. The ad features a Mexican man—Luis Bracamontes—who was convicted of killing two California deputies earlier this year. In the ad, he’s seen smiling and saying, “I’m going to kill more cops soon.” The ad blames Democratic Party immigration policies for the killings. But The Sacramento Bee reports Bracamontes was deported during the Clinton administration and later returned to the U.S. during the George W. Bush administration. In the late 1990s, Bracamontes was arrested on drug charges in Phoenix, Arizona, but later released for “unknown reasons” under anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Nigeria’s military has pointed to Donald Trump’s words to justify its deadly shootings of protesters last week in the capital Abuja. Amnesty International reports that more than 40 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria were killed last Monday during a peaceful demonstration demanding the release of their jailed leader. The Nigerian military’s official Twitter account initially posted—then later deleted—a tweet reading, “Please Watch and Make Your Deductions.” It was accompanied by video of Trump warning that soldiers should shoot migrants who throw rocks.
The United Nations is warning the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led assault on Yemen is contributing to the death of a young child every 10 minutes. Geert Cappelaere of the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, warned Saturday that a Saudi assault and blockade on the port city of Hodeidah is increasing shortages of food, drinking water and medicine.
Geert Cappelaere: “Today, every 10 minutes in Yemen, a child is dying from preventable diseases. … Today in Yemen, 1.8 million children under the age of 5 are suffering from acute malnutrition; 400,000 of these children are suffering the life-threatening form of severe acute malnutrition.”
The U.N. now says some 14 million Yemenis are on the verge of famine, with 1.2 million suspected cases of cholera and over 2,400 cholera-related deaths since an outbreak began last year. The Trump administration continues to support the Saudi-led coalition with weapons sales, intelligence sharing and midair-refueling missions for Saudi coalition bombers.
The sons of assassinated journalist Jamal Khashoggi have called on Saudi authorities to return their father’s body to be buried in the Saudi city of Medina. Their appeal came as Turkish media reported Khashoggi’s dismembered body parts were smuggled out of Turkey in five suitcases after Khashoggi was killed by a squad of Saudi hit men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
In Pakistan, violent protests have erupted over the acquittal last week of a Christian woman sentenced to die for the crime of blasphemy. Aasia Bibi spent almost eight years on death row until she was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday. Her lawyer has reportedly fled Pakistan in fear for his life. Aasia Bibi was convicted of insulting Islam in 2010, after she argued with a pair of Muslim women who refused to drink water from the same container as her.
In Egypt, gunmen fired on a pair of buses carrying Coptic Christians Friday, killing seven people—including six members of the same family—and wounding 18 others. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the massacre in Minya province, south of Cairo. Egypt’s Interior Ministry claimed Sunday its officers fought a battle with the gunmen after the assault, killing 19 of them. On Saturday, mourners at a funeral for the victims protested when a bishop thanked security forces for protecting their church. Scores of Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been killed in similar attacks in recent years.
In Afghanistan, the Pentagon says Utah National Guard Major Brent Taylor was killed in action Saturday, after an Afghan army commando he was helping to train turned against him. Taylor was 39 years old and had taken a 1-year leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden, Utah, to deploy to Afghanistan. His death came as the inspector general for the Pentagon’s war effort reported Afghanistan’s government continues to lose ground to the Taliban, with Kabul’s influence reaching just over half of Afghanistan’s districts.
Voters in the South Pacific archipelago of New Caledonia have rejected an independence bid and will remain a French territory. About 175,000 people were eligible to cast ballots in Sunday’s referendum, which would have made New Caledonia the world’s newest nation.
Back in the United States, the Supreme Court ruled Friday that a landmark climate lawsuit brought by children and young adults can proceed in a federal court in Oregon. The 21 young activists launched their lawsuit under the Obama administration. They argue the federal government has failed to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions, violating their constitutional rights.
A federal court has denied a bid by the Justice Department to halt a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the U.S. Constitution’s ban on receiving bribes from foreign powers. The suit accuses Trump of violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign governments through the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and other establishments around the world. The lawsuit could force Trump to reveal financial records, including his income tax returns, which Trump has refused to make public.
And in New York, 26-year-old James Polite was arrested and charged with hate crimes Friday night for vandalizing a Brooklyn synagogue and other targeted acts against the Jewish community. Polite scrawled anti-Semitic messages, including “Jew Better Be Ready” and “Insert Oven Here,” on the walls of the Union Temple Synagogue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Thursday evening, prompting the cancellation of an event hosted by Broad City’s Ilana Glazer. Amy Goodman was also due to appear at the event to talk about media coverage of the midterm elections. Polite is also charged with setting fires at a number of locations Thursday night and in the early hours of Friday morning. He was apprehended after setting a fire at a Jewish school in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Friday. According to a New York Times profile from 2017, Polite was raised in the foster system and struggled with substance abuse and mental illness, but developed an interest in politics, leading him to volunteer for Barack Obama in 2008 and intern for then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. He reportedly worked on hate crimes, sexual assault and domestic violence while in Quinn’s office. Click here to see our interview with Ilana Glazer on Friday.