Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 16, 2017

Police arrest suspect in London train explosion, North Korea vows to reach nuclear goals, and more


Police arrest suspect in London train explosion investigation

U.K. police on Saturday arrested an 18-year-old in possible connection with an explosion in a London Underground train that injured at least 29 people Friday. "We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning," Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu said. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred during the morning rush hour at the Parsons Green station. "This was a detonation of an improvised explosive device," top counterterrorism official Mark Rowley said at a Friday press conference. British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the terrorism threat level in the U.K. to "critical," the highest possible level, indicating a threat is "expected imminently."


Kim Jong Un vows North Korea will reach nuclear goals

North Korea's military force will soon reach "equilibrium" with that of the United States, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un boasted Saturday. "We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attain the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade," Kim said, as reported by the country's state media. The statements came one day after North Korea fired another ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, which traveled 2,300 miles, farther than any other North Korean ballistic missile. The launch prompted the U.N. Security Council to accuse the nation of undermining regional peace and security.


May scolds Trump for train bombing tweets

President Trump criticized the U.K.'s handling of potential terrorists after an attack on a London train Friday morning that left 29 people injured. Trump tweeted that the attackers were "in the sights of Scotland Yard," providing no evidence to support the claim. "Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner," he added. "The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off and use better!" He also went on to tout his proposed travel ban on visitors from majority-Muslim countries. Trump's comments prompted British Prime Minister Theresa May to issue a reminder that it's never "helpful for anyone to speculate in what is an ongoing investigation."


California lawmakers approve 'sanctuary state' bill

California lawmakers on Saturday voted in favor of a so-called "sanctuary state" bill aimed at improving protections for immigrants. The bill, known as SB54, bans law enforcement officials from asking about the immigration status of people under arrest, and prevents local police from being "deputized as immigration agents," The Associated Press reports. There are an estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants in California, and Republicans opposed to the measure say it will protect criminals. This month, President Trump announced his plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offered protection for some 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children. SB54 now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who is expected to sign it.


Google let advertisers target racist, anti-Semitic search phrases

Google allowed advertisers to target ads for people searching racist and anti-Semitic phrases like "black people ruin neighborhoods" and "Jewish control of banks," BuzzFeed News discovered, through its own experimental ad campaign. Google would also suggest other offensive phrases based on the keywords: "Why do Jews ruin everything," for example, prompted advertisers to also run ads on "the evil Jew." Google has since disabled all the keywords found by BuzzFeed News, although "Blacks destroy everything" is reportedly still appearing as eligible. On Thursday, Facebook said it will no longer let advertisers reach users who have said they are interested in anti-Semitic topics, including "how to burn Jews," or called themselves "Jew haters," which were apparently categories created by an algorithm.


Immigrant recruits face deportation after Army abruptly drops contracts

U.S. Army recruiters have backed out of contracts with hundreds of foreign-born recruits, a retired Army recruiter told The Washington Post. This means enlistees who have waited years to join a program that would fast-track citizenship now face deportation. In recent years, the process for recruiting foreign-born enlistees has become burdened with increased security measures, making enlistment a labor-intensive process for recruiters. Now, recruiters are being forced to choose between hitting their recruitment goals or continuing the contract process for immigrant enlistees. The immigration recruitment program, designed to attract highly skilled immigrants to the armed services in exchange for an expedited citizenship process, has been under close scrutiny by the Pentagon in recent months.


Toys 'R' Us reportedly preparing for bankruptcy filing

Toys 'R' Us may file for bankruptcy before the holiday season, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the plans. The toy merchant, which has 1,600 stores globally, is reportedly seeking a loan to keep it afloat. It currently has $5 billion in debt, $400 million of which comes due next year. Like many retailers, Toys 'R' Us has struggled to woo customers as shoppers flock to discount stores, and online outlets like Amazon.com. At the same time, Toys 'R' Us has been weighed down by debt since KKR & Co LP, Bain Capital LP, and real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust took the company private in 2005. The toy retailer has been struggling with a revamp and restructuring plan ever.


Jury says teen in 'Slenderman' stabbing case was mentally ill

A jury on Friday determined that a 15-year-old Wisconsin girl who stabbed her classmate 19 times to please a fictional online character named "Slenderman" was mentally ill at the time of the attack. As a result, Anissa Weier will avoid jail time and instead be committed to a mental institution. Weier was 12 years old when she and a friend, Morgan Geyser, attacked their classmate, who survived. Geyser has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and a psychologist testified that Weier became convinced that Slenderman was real through something called "shared delusional disorder." Both girls were charged with attempted murder and were tried as adults. Had she been found guilty, Weier could have spent up to 10 years in prison. Geyser's trial begins on October 9.


NASA's Cassini spacecraft ends 13-year exploration of Saturn

On Friday, after 20 years in space and 13 years exploring Saturn, NASA's Cassini spacecraft burned up in Saturn's atmosphere. "We've had an incredible 13-year journey around Saturn, returning data like a giant firehose," said Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker. "Almost like we've taken a magnifying glass to the planet and the rings." Cassini lifted off from Cape Canaveral in 1997, reaching Saturn in 2004 and, six months later, discharging its passenger, the European Space Agency's Huygens lander, to the moon Titan. In April, with its fuel depleting, Cassini began its final journey. NASA lost contact with the spacecraft around 7:55 a.m. ET.


Legendary actor Harry Dean Stanton dead at 91

Iconic actor Harry Dean Stanton has died at the age of 91, his agent said. The actor died of natural causes on Friday, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Stanton appeared in more than 200 films over his career, including Cool Hand Luke, Alien, and Paris, Texas. Though he was often cast in supporting roles, he became known for his "gaunt, bedraggled look" and "laconic" style. More recently, he played cult leader Roman Grant from 2006 to 2011 on HBO's Big Love, and appeared in the Twin Peaks revival on Showtime. His most recent work was for the film Lucky, which will be released on September 29.


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