Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 5, 2017

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley calls for more North Korea sanctions, Congress returns with high-stakes agenda, and more

1

Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war'

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday urged the U.N. Security Council to enact "the strongest sanctions" against North Korea in response to its latest weapons test. "Enough is enough," Haley said at the emergency meeting. She said that Kim Jong Un is "begging for war" and the stakes "could not be higher." The meeting was called after North Korea conducted a test Sunday of what appears to have been a hydrogen bomb. Both President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have called for sanctioning countries that do not cut business ties with the defiant Hermit Kingdom. South Korea said Tuesday that North Korea appeared to be moving an intercontinental ballistic missile, possibly preparing for another series of test launches.

2

Congress returns from August break with full agenda

Congress returned from its five-week summer recess Tuesday with several pressing issues to address, including raising the $19.9 trillion federal debt limit by the end of the month, funding the federal government, and reauthorizing children's health insurance payments and the national flood insurance program. At the top of the agenda is voting on immediate aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. The House will vote on President Trump's initial $7.9 billion request first, then the Senate will vote, possibly tacking on raising the federal borrowing limit. House GOP conservatives object to linking the two pieces of legislation. Congress may also start grappling with Trump's decision to end the DACA program for immigrants brought to the U.S. as young children.

3

Hurricane Irma strengthens and heads toward Puerto Rico, possibly Florida

Hurricane Irma strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 140 miles per hour on Monday, continuing west on a track likely to take it to the U.S. Irma is heading toward the Leeward Islands and the Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico is under a hurricane warning, and the National Hurricane Center said Monday that preparations for a powerful storm "should be rushed to completion" in the islands affected by the warning. Irma is expected to reach the Leeward Islands early Wednesday, and could reach the U.S. mainland as early as this weekend, with landfall possible in Florida and anywhere from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency Monday.

4

Protesters make Labor Day call for raising minimum wage

Activists calling for minimum-wage hikes held Labor Day rallies in several cities across the U.S. on Monday. In Las Vegas, fast-food workers gathered outside a McDonald's restaurant calling for wage increases to $15 an hour. Nevada's last minimum wage hike, in 2011, raised the wage to $8.25 an hour or a dollar less if workers get health insurance. Fast food worker Harold Carnes said families struggle to get by on low salaries. "We work so hard, we don't get to spend enough time with our children," said lunch truck worker Sandra Rojas at a San Francisco Bay Area rally, one of 300 planned around the nation. "Everything is getting more expensive, but the wages are staying the same."

5

Utah hospital bars police from contact with staff

A University of Utah hospital on Monday barred police from having any contact with its staff in response to what administrators called the "appalling" arrest of a nurse who refused to draw a blood sample from an unconscious patient involved in a fatal traffic accident. Gordon Crabtree, interim chief executive of the hospital, said he was "deeply troubled" by the arrest and rough treatment of burn unit nurse Alex Wubbels on July 26, which was caught on police body-cam video. Wubbels obtained a copy of the video and released it last week after consulting her lawyer, as well as hospital and police officials. Crabtree said Wubbels had to put "her own safety at risk" to protect patient privacy. "This will not happen again," Crabtree said.

6

Putin says further cuts to U.S. diplomatic mission possible

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that his country might order further cuts to U.S. diplomatic staff in response to Washington's treatment of his country's diplomats in the U.S. Putin said he would order the Russian foreign ministry to take the U.S. to court over alleged property rights violations in response to the Trump administration's order for Russia to vacate several diplomatic facilities, which was part of the U.S. response to Russia's cutting of U.S. diplomatic staff in an escalating dispute. Putin said it was America's right to reduce the number of Russia's diplomatic facilities. "The only thing is that it was done in such a clearly boorish manner," he said.

7

Muslim protests spread over Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya minority

Muslim protesters in Australia and Chechnya on Monday denounced Myanmar's treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority. Violence that erupted between government security forces and Rohingya insurgents has forced tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to flee across the border to Bangladesh. In Chechnya, tens of thousands of demonstrators condemned what the Chechen Republic's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, called Myanmar's "genocide " against ethnic Rohingya. Demonstrators in Australia protested outside Australia's Parliament in Canberra, and protesters in Indonesia threw a gasoline bomb at Myanmar's embassy.

8

Cuba starts transition process toward post-Castro government

Cuba on Monday started a political transition expected to last five months and end with Raul Castro stepping aside, ending his family's nearly six decades of direct leadership of the communist-run Caribbean nation. The process begins with local meetings of small groups that will nominate municipal representatives — the government does not allow other parties to participate, only members of the ruling Communist Party have been nominated in the past. In the second electoral stage, a commission will choose candidates for provincial and national assemblies. The national assembly will pick the next president.

9

Tronc to buy New York Daily News

Tronc, which publishes the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, announced Monday that it had acquired the New York Daily News, a tabloid long considered a voice for New York's working class. The Tribune reported that Tronc was paying $1 for the 100-year-old tabloid, and taking on its operational and pension liabilities. Tronc, formerly known as Tribune Publishing, has been exploring mergers since technology entrepreneur Michael Ferro became its largest shareholder and chairman in February 2016. "We think this is a great deal for the paper and for us," said Justin Dearborn, Tronc's chief executive officer. "We expect it to benefit greatly from becoming part of the Tronc ecosystem."

10

Oil prices rise, gasoline falls as refineries start up again after Harvey

U.S. oil prices edged higher early Tuesday as Gulf Coast refineries started cranking up again after being forced to close due to Hurricane Harvey. The return of many of the refineries ended fears of fuel shortages across the country, sending gasoline futures sinking after a storm-induced jump that pushed up pump prices. "Gasoline fell as refineries in Texas began to reopen," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities. Along with refineries, shipping channels and oil pipelines in Texas also started operating again on Monday.

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