Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 22, 2017

Kim Jong Un calls Trump "mentally deranged," Mexico continues search for survivors as earthquake toll rises, and more

1

Trump imposes new North Korea sanctions as Kim Jong Un calls him 'deranged'

President Trump followed up on his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the U.S. by announcing new federal sanctions against Pyongyang. The new penalties would use the power of the U.S. financial system by forcing foreign companies, governments, and individuals to choose between doing business with the U.S. — the world's biggest economy — or North Korea. Pyongyang's leader, Kim Jong Un, responded to Trump's harsh rhetoric this week at the United Nations by calling it "unprecedented rude nonsense," saying Trump would "pay dearly" for his threats. "I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire," Kim said. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said the country might test "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb" over the Pacific to counter Trump's threat.

2

Rescuers continue survivor search as Mexico earthquake death toll climbs

Rescuers continued to sift through rubble on Thursday after Mexico's 7.1-magnitude earthquake, focusing on 10 collapsed buildings in hard-hit Mexico City where emergency crews think there could still be survivors. The death toll from the quake rose to at least 282, making the quake the deadliest Mexico has seen in a generation. About 52 buildings collapsed in Mexico City, and other structures fell in surrounding states. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said 50 people were still missing. "We won't suspend the search and rescue mission we've been given until we find the last of the survivors," army chief Salvador Cienfuegos said on Twitter.

3

Maria approaches Bahamas after devastating Puerto Rico

Remnants of Hurricane Maria continued to dump rain on Puerto Rico on Thursday as the storm, regaining strength at sea, pushed toward the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands. The storm destroyed Puerto Rico's energy grid and caused intense flooding, leaving the U.S. territory's 3.4 million people without power. "Irma gave us a break, but Maria destroyed us," said Old San Juan construction worker Edwin Serrano. Maria's death toll across the Caribbean has reached at least 19, most of them in Dominica, where the storm made its first landfall with its top sustained winds at 175 miles per hour before it weakened and moved on.

4

Facebook to give Congress political ads bought with Russian accounts

Facebook will turn over to Congress more than 3,000 politically themed ads purchased with Russian accounts during the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said Thursday in a blog post. "We believe the public deserves a full accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, and we've concluded that sharing the ads we've discovered ... can help," Stretch wrote. Facebook gave the ads to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but had taken back ads shown to congressional investigators before they had the time to thoroughly examine them due to privacy concerns, sparking complaints from critics. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was taking steps to prevent anyone from using the social network to "undermine democracy."

5

Iran's president defies Trump with vow to develop missile capabilities

Iran plans to boost its missile capabilities, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday in a direct rejection of demands President Trump made at the United Nations General Assembly this week. "We will increase our military power as a deterrent," Rouhani said at a military parade where Iran showed off a new ballistic missile with a 1,200-mile range. "We will not seek permission from anyone to defend our country." Trump accused Iran of violating the spirit of its 2015 nuclear deal with foreign powers by working on dangerous new missiles and exporting violence to Yemen, Syria, and other countries.

6

Researchers: Flint water crisis caused fetal deaths

The 2014 switch to lead-poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, resulted in a "horrifyingly large" increase in fetal deaths and miscarriages, according to a working paper by health economists Daniel Grossman of West Virginia University and David Slusky of Kansas University. The city decided to draw public water from the river temporarily to save money until a pipeline to Lake Huron was ready. Among conceptions from November 2013 through March 2015, "between 198 and 276 more children would have been born had Flint not enacted the switch in water," they wrote. The change was mostly driven by what the authors described as the "culling of the least healthy fetuses" that resulted from the contamination.

7

Erdogan supporters clash with protesters in New York

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan violently expelled several protesters during an appearance by Erdogan at a hotel in New York City's Times Square on Thursday. One of the demonstrators jumped onto a chair and shouted, "You're a terrorist! Get out of my country!" Another person unfurled a banner for a banned Kurdish group. Erdogan supporters shouted and booed the protesters, and several took swings at them as bodyguards rushed them out of the room. A security officer suffered minor injuries. In May, Turkish security officials hit and kicked peaceful protestors outside the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C., during another Erdogan visit.

8

Theresa May seeks to break Brexit impasse with Florence speech

British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to revive stalled Brexit talks in a Friday speech in Florence, Italy, saying both sides have "a profound sense of responsibility" to make sure Britain's exit from the European Union goes "smoothly and sensibly," according to extracts of her address released by her office. The speech comes ahead of Monday's start of the fourth round of Brexit talks. The negotiations have deadlocked over key issues, including the future status of EU citizens in the U.K., and how much Britain will have to pay to settle its financial commitments to the trading bloc. The U.K. is expected to offer to pay $24 billion for access to the EU market after it leaves in 2019.

9

Protests lose strength ahead of Macron's approval of labor law reform

Turnout for protests against French President Emmanuel Macron's labor law reform declined on Thursday as Macron prepared to give the changes final executive approval on Friday. Police said 16,000 marched against the reforms in Paris, down from 24,000 on Sept. 12. Unions estimated Thursday's crowd at 55,000. In 2016, between 70,000 and 200,000 protested then-President Francois Hollande's attempts to address the labor market. Macron said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly that his election wins in May and June gave him a mandate to push through his plan. "The people made their choice, made their decisions, it's normal that they're applied," he said. Democracy doesn't occur "in the street."

10

Aaron Hernandez posthumously diagnosed with severe CTE

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in his prison cell in April while serving a life sentence for murder, has been posthumously diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease CTE. Hernandez's lawyer, Jose Baez, announced in a news conference Thursday that Hernandez, who was 27, had "the most severe case they had ever seen in someone of Aaron's age." Baez has filed a lawsuit against the Patriots and the NFL on behalf of Hernandez's daughter. CTE is linked to repeated head trauma, and numerous football players whose brains were examined after their death have been found to have been stricken by the disease. Hernandez's family released his brain to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center for a CTE study.

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