Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 14, 2017

White House condemns white supremacists after Trump faces criticism, protests spread against white nationalists, and more


White House condemns white supremacists after criticism

The White House on Sunday condemned "white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups," following criticism of President Trump for his failure to single out white supremacists in his condemnation of the deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Trump called the violence an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence," adding, "on many sides." A 32-year-old woman, a paralegal named Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 others were injured. Later Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence said, "We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis, or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life." Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said the violence "meets the definition of terrorism."


Protests spread against white nationalists

Protests against racism and white supremacists spread across cities nationwide on Sunday in response to the deadly violence at Saturday's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some of the demonstrations focused on supporting groups targeted by white supremacists, while others pushed for removing Confederate monuments, the issue that prompted the Charlottesville event. In Seattle, participants in the Solidarity Against Hate march made their way downtown, where a pro-President Trump group was holding what it called a freedom of speech rally, and in New York City, hundreds more marched through the streets of midtown Manhattan carrying signs that read "No Racism" and "Resist." Thousands of peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, and hundreds made their way to a Confederate statue yelling, "Tear it down!"


Jihadist attack kills 18 in Burkina Faso

Suspected Islamist extremists raided a restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital city of Ouagadougou overnight, killing at least 18 people. Security forces killed both alleged attackers and freed people trapped inside. Witnesses said some customers managed to run out of the Aziz Istanbul restaurant after the shooting broke out, as police and paramilitary forces surrounded the area. "This is a terrorist attack," Communications Minister Remi Dandjinou said Monday. The West African nation, like many of its neighbors, has been targeted off and on by jihadist groups, mostly along its border with Mali.


China bans imports of North Korean iron, lead, and coal

China on Monday announced a ban on iron ore, iron, lead, and coal imports from North Korea, a potentially devastating blow to North Korea's economy. The move marked an important step by Beijing toward implementing United Nations Security Council sanctions aiming to punish Pyongyang for defying calls to curb its nuclear weapons and missile programs. At the same time, China warned the Trump administration not to start a trade war with Beijing and split the international coalition against North Korea.


Teacher says rally suspect long sympathized with Nazis, victim's mom calls for justice

The alleged driver of the car that plowed into counterprotesters at Saturday's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, sympathized with Nazi views since at least high school, according to his former high school history teacher. "It was obvious that he had this fascination with Nazism and a big idolatry of Adolf Hitler," the teacher, Derek Weimer, said of the suspect, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. Heyer's mother said she was proud of her daughter and hoped her death would be a "rallying call for justice." She said her daughter "always had a very strong sense of right and wrong, she always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair."


Trump administration launches NAFTA renegotiations

The Trump administration launches renegotiations of the 23-year-old NAFTA trade pact this week, aiming to shrink the growing U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and tightening rules on imports of cars and parts. President Trump has blamed the North American Free Trade Agreement for pushing automobile factories and jobs out of the U.S. and into Mexico, where wages are lower. The U.S. had a $74 billion trade deficit with Mexico in cars and parts last year, larger than the overall deficit of $64 billion. "The Trump administration has framed their NAFTA negotiating objectives around reducing the trade deficit with Mexico," said Caroline Freund, a senior trade fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "If they don't touch autos, there's no way of getting at what they want."


Clash between McMaster and Bannon allies heats up

The nationalist-right campaign to oust National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is reportedly about to turn uglier, with a baseless attack claiming McMaster has a drinking problem, which presumably would hurt his standing with President Trump, a teetotaler, sources told Axios. The attack, already widely expected in the White House, could backfire on chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who is reportedly already in hot water because Trump believes he is leaking damaging information on McMaster and other colleagues. The tensions appeared to break into the open on Sunday's Meet the Press, when host Chuck Todd asked McMaster three times if he could continue to work in the White House with Bannon, and three times McMaster declined to answer directly.


India restores oxygen supply at hospital after child deaths

Indian health authorities on Monday restored the oxygen supply at a public hospital where 63 people have died of encephalitis in recent days as the facility ran out of supplies due to unpaid bills. Nearly half of those who died were children. Hundreds of people die from encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease, every year in India, but this case has triggered an angry backlash because of suspicions that the deaths at the hospital were linked to a lack of oxygen. "We now have adequate supplies of oxygen cylinders, there was a shortage last week," R.K. Sahai, a senior medical officer in the hospital, said.


Bitcoin breaks $4,000 barrier

The price of bitcoin broke $4,000 per unit for the first time on Sunday, reaching a record high of $4,056.80 and remaining above the symbolic threshold early Monday. Iqbal V. Gandham of trading platform eToro called the mark "another milestone in a long list of big moments the cryptocurrency has witnessed in recent weeks" after a fall to $1,800. "Furthermore, the ecosystem is also getting stronger. You now have more places to spend Bitcoin, more regulators thinking about the right infrastructure, and more investors learning about the asset." Bitcoin has gained by more than 300 percent so far this year.


Justin Thomas wins P.G.A. Championship, his first major

Justin Thomas won the P.G.A. Championship on Sunday, the first major golf title of his career. Thomas closed the tournament with a final-round three-under-par 68, finishing with a 72-hole total of eight-under 276, two strokes ahead of runners-up Francesco Molinari, Patrick Reed, and Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion. Thomas, the 24-year-old son and grandson of club professionals, said his win marked a major milestone for his family. "I want to try to win every major, but at the end of the day, this was really cool," he said. "It's just a great win for the family, and it's a moment we'll never forget."


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