In northern Syria, dozens have been killed and tens of thousands have fled their homes amid the Turkish military offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas. The Kurdish Red Crescent said at least 11 civilians have been killed, including one baby. Aid groups say half a million people are at risk of being forced from their homes. Turkey’s ground invasion began just days after President Trump ordered U.S. troops to fall back from their positions on the Turkish-Syrian border. Click here to see our full coverage of the Turkish military invasion of northern Syria.
Two associates of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been arrested and charged with campaign finance violations. The men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at Dulles International Airport Wednesday night trying to board a one-way flight to Vienna, where they were to be meeting Giuliani. According to the indictment, the two Florida businessmen pressured former Texas Republican Congressmember Pete Sessions to push for the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, while simultaneously funding his campaign. The ambassador was fired in May. The former ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, is slated to testify in front of Congress today. Federal prosecutors are also accusing the businessmen of bankrolling political candidates using foreign money in exchange for political influence, including in Nevada, where they hoped to set up recreational marijuana businesses. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has also been issued a subpoena for documents about his involvement in Ukraine, as Democrats move forward with their impeachment inquiry into the president’s efforts to have Ukraine investigate political rival Joe Biden. On Thursday, President Trump denied knowing Giuliani’s arrested associates.
President Donald Trump: “I don’t know those gentlemen. Now, it’s possible to have a picture with them, because I have a picture with everybody. I have a picture with everybody here. But somebody said there may be a picture or something, where — at a fundraiser or somewhere. So, but I have pictures with everybody.”
President Trump attacked Democrats, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, during a campaign rally in Minneapolis Thursday.
President Donald Trump: “He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”
President Trump also attacked Somali refugees in Minnesota during the rally. He also came under fire for playing Prince’s “Purple Rain” at the rally, despite confirming a year ago the campaign would not use Prince’s music. Prince’s estate has refused to give Trump permission to use his songs. Cities are also complaining that the Trump campaign is not reimbursing them for services provided by local police and fire departments during his rallies. A study by the Center for Public Integrity says these services total more than $800,000.
Democratic presidential candidates attended a CNN-hosted town hall Thursday night focused on LGBT rights. The event was repeatedly disrupted by activists demanding attention to the epidemic of violence against black and brown transgender women. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was interrupted by activists holding a banner and chanting “trans lives matter” as the openly gay mayor was being questioned by Anderson Cooper. In another interruption, activist Blossom C. Brown took the mic from another audience member.
Blossom C. Brown: “Let me tell you something: Black trans women are being killed in this country. And, CNN, you have erased black trans women for the last time. Let me tell you something: Black trans women are dying. Our lives matter. I’m an extraordinary black trans woman, and I deserve to be here. My black trans sisters that are here, I am tired! I am so tired! … Not one black trans woman has taken the mic tonight. Not one black trans man has taken the mic tonight.”
At least 18 black transgender women have been killed so far this year.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize in an announcement this morning. The prime minister helped broker a historic peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea last year. From 1998 to 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war in which 70,000 people were killed. A “state of war” continued between the two countries for the subsequent 18 years. The prime minister also freed thousands of political dissidents from jail and lifted the state of emergency in Ethiopia. Click here to see our full coverage of the historic peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Nobel Prize for Literature was announced Thursday, awarding the prize to Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and right-wing Austrian writer Peter Handke. Handke’s selection sparked widespread condemnation. He was close to the former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. Handke delivered a eulogy at his funeral.
Iranian news media has reported missiles struck an Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea early Friday, raising fears of increased tension in the region. The missiles reportedly struck the tanker about 60 miles off the coast of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, destroying two tanks and causing oil to spill into the water. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.
In Ecuador, at least five people have been killed amid a government crackdown against the massive indigenous-led anti-austerity protests that have swept the country. On Thursday, protesters briefly took eight police officers hostage in the capital, Quito. The protests began after Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno ended a decades-old fuel subsidy program as part of a so-called reform plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund.
The left-leaning online news outlet Splinter has been shut down, with multiple staffers saying they’ve been fired. Former Splinter employees are lambasting the site’s hedge fund owner — private equity firm Great Hill Partners — for the closure. In a Vice article titled “Private Equity Vultures Killed Splinter. Your Company Could Be Next,” former Gawker writer Brendan O’Connor wrote, “Great Hill didn’t care about making Splinter, a good website, even better; that would have required time and money. Like all private equity firms, Great Hill’s only concern is extracting value.”
Hundreds of asylum seekers who have been blocked from entering the United States under Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy shut down the busy international bridge between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, for 15 hours Thursday. The hundreds of migrants, including families with children, were protesting the dangerous and filthy conditions in which they’re forced to live as they await their asylum hearings in the United States. Late Thursday afternoon, Customs and Border Protection officers fired smoke bombs at the protesters.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles won her fifth all-around world championship Thursday night at the World Gymnastics Championship in Stuttgart, Germany. She won by 2.1 points — the largest margin of victory in her career — and now holds 22 world medals. The African-American gymnast is a survivor of sexual assault by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who has been convicted of sexually assaulting and abusing more than 160 young female athletes.
In California, multiple fires are raging across the state. The Saddleridge Fire broke out Thursday night in Los Angeles County, prompting hundreds of evacuations. Multiple blazes are expanding in Riverside, California, fueled by strong winds and dry conditions. This all comes as public utilities Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric are implementing planned blackouts across the state to prevent wildfires, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.
In New York City, over 60 protesters were arrested Thursday after shutting down an intersection in the heart of Times Square as part of a climate action organized by Extinction Rebellion.
Isabel: “My name is Isabel. I’m a student at NYU, and I’m incredibly scared at the state of our world. And we’re in the middle of a sixth mass extinction, and we have to act now. Clearly, just posting on Facebook and tweeting about it is not creating any change. And the only way to create change is to stop business as usual, so that leaders listen and create policies and Green New Deals.”