Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2017

Tillerson says the U.S. is in direct contact with North Korea, Trump continues attacks on San Juan mayor, media, NFL, and more


Tillerson says the U.S. is in direct contact with North Korea

The United States is in direct communication with the government of North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday in Beijing. "We are probing, so stay tuned," Tillerson said in response to a question about possible negotiations with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. "We ask, 'Would you like to talk?' We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we're not in a dark situation, a blackout," he continued. "We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang." Tillerson clarified that this outreach has occurred "directly," not via Chinese mediation.


Trump continues attacks on San Juan mayor, media, NFL

President Trump was active on Twitter Saturday and Sunday, sharing more than a dozen posts on a trio of favorite themes. He cast both San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and the media at large as villains willfully disrupting his administration's accomplishments in providing Hurricane Maria disaster relief in Puerto Rico. "Results of recovery efforts will speak much louder than complaints by San Juan Mayor," Trump wrote. He also said it is "Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow" during the national anthem at Sunday football, praising hockey fans for doing just that.


Trump signed North Korea strategy directive

The Washington Post reported Saturday evening that President Trump in March signed a directive to guide U.S. strategy toward North Korea which called for "actions across a broad spectrum of government agencies and led to the use of military cyber-capabilities" to discourage Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. The Post report cites multiple unnamed administration officials who told the paper the directive requires diplomats to mention North Korea "in virtually every conversation with foreign interlocutors," persistently asking other nations to sever all ties to the isolated state. The directive was not made public as it could make U.S.-North Korea talks less likely.


Catalonia independence vote proceeds despite police interference

The people of Catalonia, an autonomous four-province region bordering France, went to the polls Sunday to vote on independence from Spain. Catalonia's regional parliament in Barcelona has declared Sunday's vote binding, but the central Spanish government in Madrid deems the entire referendum illegal. The vote is proceeding despite fierce opposition from Madrid, including seizure of millions of ballot papers, arrests of Catalan election officials, censorship of referendum websites, and a heavy national police presence. Riot police have smashed polling stations and fired rubber bullets at voters. Some Catalans shouted, "Out with the occupying forces!" at the police as they voted.


Supreme Court returns with weighty cases

The Supreme Court begins a new term Monday with a weighty list of cases on its docket. The high court is slated to review mandatory dues for public-sector unions; religious liberty and discrimination in the wedding cake business; gerrymandering; digital privacy rights; and the practice of purging inactive voters from voter rolls. "There's only one prediction that's entirely safe of the upcoming term, and that is it will be momentous," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the new SCOTUS season last week. With the seating of Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court has a full bench.


Vehicle attacks in Canada injure 5

A police officer and four other people were injured Saturday night in Edmonton, Canada, in a pair of incidents believed to be terror attacks. The officer was directing traffic near a soccer game when a man driving a white car rammed him with the vehicle. The driver then exited the car and attacked the officer with a knife before escaping on foot. Later in the evening, the suspect was driving a moving truck with which he "deliberately attempted to hit pedestrians" in downtown Edmonton, police said. The driver was arrested, and an Islamic State flag was found in one of the vehicles.


O.J. Simpson to live in Las Vegas, following prison release

Former football star O.J. Simpson was released from prison in Nevada Sunday after nine years behind bars, and plans to live in a house near Las Vegas, an official told The Associated Press. Simpson, now 70, was serving a sentence for a 2007 kidnapping and armed robbery in Las Vegas. He was granted parole in late July, telling the parole hearing board he has basically "spent a conflict-free life." Brooke Keast, a representative of the Nevada Department of Corrections, spoke with Simpson on his way out. "I told him, 'Don't 'come back,' and he responded, 'I don't intend to,'" she said. In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.


Let's Make a Deal host Monty Hall dies at 96

Monty Hall, co-creator and host of more than 4,500 episodes of the classic game show, Let's Make a Deal, died of heart failure Saturday at his home in California. He was 96. Hall had been in poor health since his wife of seven decades, Marilyn Plottel, died earlier this year. He is survived by three children, all of whom also work in television. "He was the greatest father on the planet," said one of his daughters, Sharon Hall Kessler. "He was the dad who called every single night to see how your day was and never tired of hearing the details." Let's Make a Deal premiered in 1963 and is still running today with comedian Wayne Brady as host.


Marilyn Manson crushed by concert stage scenery

Singer Marilyn Manson was injured toward the end of his show at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom Saturday night when part of his stage scenery fell on top of him. Manson was hospitalized and his concert cut short. "Towards the middle of [a] song it seemed as though he tried climbing onto a prop," said concert-goer Anthony Biscardi. "The first touch of weight on those poles and it came crashing down onto him." Manson's current condition is unknown. The prop depicted two larger-than-life handguns.


SNL returns with Baldwin, Gosling, Jay Z

NBC's Saturday Night Live returned for its 43rd season Saturday with an episode hosted by Ryan Gosling and featuring Jay Z as the musical guest. Alec Baldwin reprised his role as President Trump. The show kicked off with Trump as "The Chaos President" attempting to respond to the devastation of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, including trying to convince San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz that he knows Puerto Rico is an American territory. Gosling opened with a jazzy monologue performance, and Jay Z saluted NFL protesters of police brutality by wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey.


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