George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died in Houston on Friday night at the age of 94. His body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from tonight until Wednesday. He will be buried later this week in Houston. Bush was elected president in 1988, becoming the first and only former CIA director to lead the country. From 1981 to 1989, he served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president. At his inauguration in 1989, Bush vowed to build a kinder, gentler nation, but as president he oversaw two wars.
In 1989, Bush invaded Panama in order to arrest former CIA asset Manuel Noriega. An estimated 3,000 people died in the attack. A year later, Bush launched the Gulf War after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The U.S. attack devastated the Iraqi civilian infrastructure and killed an unknown number of Iraqi civilians. Twelve years later, his son, President George W. Bush, would attack Iraq again.
On the domestic front, Bush Sr. is remembered by many in the LGBT community for his lack of action in the 1990s as the HIV/AIDS crisis raged on. Bush refused to address and fund programs around HIV/AIDS education and prevention, as well as drug treatment. Bush also perpetuated Reagan’s so-called war on drugs, which disproportionately criminalized black Americans, saying, “We need more prisons, more jails, more courts, more prosecutors.” More recently, Bush was accused of groping multiple women during photo opportunities. We will have more on the life of George H.W. Bush after headlines.
In Mexico, new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn in Saturday. Tens of thousands gathered in the capital’s central Zócalo square to celebrate the first leftist president in decades. In his inaugural speech, AMLO addressed security and vowed to end corruption and impunity.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: “With the inefficiencies of police bodies and the great increase in homicides, robberies, kidnappings, femicides and other crimes, I’m calling on Congress to urgently approve a constitutional reform that allows us to integrate the military police, marine police and the Federal Police for a national guard, to organize the functions of public security in a manner that respects human rights.”
AMLO announced he would call for a referendum in two years so that citizens could decide if he should remain in power for the rest of his term. On his first day in office, AMLO signed an agreement with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador for regional development programs aimed at curbing migration to the United States.
At the G20 summit in Argentina, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to a truce in the ongoing trade war between the two countries. Trump will reportedly temporarily halt his plan to raise the current U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent, while China has agreed to increase its purchase of agricultural and industrial products from the U.S., as well as halt the export of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, to the U.S.
In France, over 100,000 people took to the streets across the country Saturday in the ongoing dispute over mounting fuel prices. More than 400 people were arrested, and 260 were injured, in the third weekend of demonstrations since the “yellow vest” protests started. Three people have died in traffic-related accidents since the start of the protests. Protesters are calling out the disconnect between Macron’s environmental initiatives, used to justify the fuel tax hikes, and the financial realities of many people in France.
Newly released Whatsapp messages between slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and another Saudi exile reveal Khashoggi’s growing mistrust of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, as well as the pair’s plans to launch an online campaign to counter the Saudi regime’s human rights abuses. In one message, Khashoggi wrote, “Arrests are unjustified and do not serve him (logic says), but tyranny has no logic, but he loves force, oppression and needs to show them off. He is like a beast 'pac man' the more victims he eats, the more he wants.” Montreal-based Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz has filed a lawsuit against Israeli company NSO Group, which he says was hired by the Saudis to hack the pair’s 400 messages on the social networking app.
This comes as The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the CIA has evidence that the crown prince sent 11 messages to close adviser Saud al-Qahtani around the time of Khashoggi’s murder. Al-Qahtani is believed to have overseen Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Last month, the CIA concluded with “high confidence” that the crown prince was directly responsible for ordering the killing. Last week, the White House would not allow Gina Haspel, the head of the CIA, to testify before the Senate.
In Poland, the U.N. climate conference opened this weekend in Katowice, Poland, with leaders calling for swift global action. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said climate change is “a matter of life and death” for many nations and that the worst polluters are not doing enough to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. This came just one day after Trump stood as the sole leader at the G20 summit who did not sign on to a statement reaffirming support for the Paris agreement. Last year, Trump announced the U.S.’s withdrawal from the international agreement.
In Texas, the white police officer who shot and killed a 26-year-old black Dallas man in his own apartment has been indicted for murder. The officer, Amber Guyger, entered Botham Jean’s apartment, where she shot and killed him on September 6. Guyger claimed she thought she was entering her own apartment. She was initially charged with manslaughter, but a grand jury decided to pursue the murder charge after hearing testimonies in the case.
In Wisconsin, Republican state lawmakers are attempting to push through a series of bills before the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general take office next month. The bills are scheduled to go through a hearing today and would restrict the early voting period; move up the 2020 presidential primary election to help a far-right justice remain on the state’s Supreme Court; block incoming Governor Tony Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin from a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act; and allow the Legislature to sidestep incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul in certain legal battles.
Two women have accused renowned astrophysicist and television host Neil deGrasse Tyson of sexual misconduct, prompting his employers—the Museum of Natural History, as well as Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, which air his popular series “Cosmos”—to investigate the claims. One woman, a fellow astrophysicist, alleges deGrasse Tyson groped her, while another, deGrasse Tyson’s former assistant, described inappropriate comments and unwanted physical contact. Meanwhile, the story of a third woman who has accused deGrasse Tyson of rape for years is getting renewed attention despite it being largely ignored until now. Tchiya Amet, who is African-American, has alleged that deGrasse Tyson raped her while they attended the University of Texas. She spoke publicly about the accusation multiple times, reportedly as early as 2010.
Politico is reporting that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has requested other Cabinet departments deploy civilian law enforcement officers to the U.S.-Mexico border as early as this week. President Trump sent some 6,000 troops down to the border last month. But unlike military forces, law enforcement officers would not face restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents military personnel from engaging in certain civilian law enforcement duties.
On Friday, students from the City University of New York rallied outside of the offices of CUNY board chairperson Bill Thompson to protest his support of Amazon’s new New York City headquarters.
Carlos Jesus Calzadilla: “We are demanding that CUNY Board of Trustees Chair Thompson rescind his op-ed in the Daily News endorsing this Amazon deal. We also call on Cuomo, de Blasio, Thompson and everyone involved in this scheme to invest this money instead in CUNY, where we have crumbling buildings, where we have students that cannot afford to go to college, where undocumented students are not properly protected. Do we really want a New York that only works for wealthy elites, corrupt politicians and CEOs?”