Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 15, 2017

Pyongyang labels Trump 'strangler of peace' ahead of military drills, European leaders reaffirm Iran deal commitment, and more

1

Pyongyang labels Trump 'strangler of peace' ahead of military drills

The United States and South Korea are preparing for several days of joint military drills on the Korean Peninsula beginning Monday, an occasion that prompted North Korea on Sunday to label President Trump a "war merchant and strangler of peace" who has pushed "the situation on the peninsula to the brink of war." South Korean media outlets report North Korea may also conduct another weapons test during the drills, as missile transporters reportedly "kept appearing and disappearing" near Pyongyang and elsewhere in North Korea. On Friday, Pyongyang again threatened to launch missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

2

European leaders reaffirm Iran deal commitment

European leaders on Saturday broke with President Trump's Friday announcement that he would not again certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal. The agreement "was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step toward ensuring that Iran's nuclear [program] is not diverted for military purposes," said a joint statement from British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirming their commitment to the deal "and its full implementation by all sides." Russia likewise condemned Trump's decision as dangerous and unprovoked.

3

California wildfire death toll reaches 40

More than 10,000 firefighters have gathered to battle 17 wildfires in Northern California's wine country that have killed at least 40 people and destroyed more than 5,700 homes and buildings. About 100,000 people have evacuated to escape the fires, which are up to 100 miles wide and have been burning for a week. Hundreds of people are still missing, and the death toll is expected to rise. While authorities on Friday announced some progress has been made in containing the fires, the disaster, now the deadliest wildfire in California history, is far from finished.

4

Weinstein expelled from Motion Picture Academy

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein was expelled Saturday from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the premier film industry professional organization and host of the Oscars, amid mounting sexual harassment and rape allegations. The expulsion is intended to show that the "era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over," the Academy said in a statement. Weinstein has denied the accusations against him, which snowballed after investigations by The New Yorker and The New York Times.

5

Bannon talks 2018, 2020 at Values Voter Summit

Ousted White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon spoke at the annual Values Voter Summit on Saturday, declaring his conviction that President Trump, who spoke at the summit Friday, will win a second term by a landslide. "The populist, nationalist, conservative revolt that's going on, that drove Donald Trump to victory [and] that will drive 15 candidates to victory in 2018" will help Trump "win with 400 electoral votes in 2020," Bannon said. He urged supporters to join him in "a season of war against the GOP establishment" in next year's midterm elections.

6

Dozens killed in Mogadishu truck bombing

At least 58 people were killed and dozens more wounded by an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday when a truck bomb exploded near the entrance of a hotel. About 30 more people were killed in a second attack later that day. While no terrorist group has claimed responsibility so far, Mogadishu civilians are a regular target of al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked extremist group that seeks to overthrow the Somali government. Eyewitnesses said the attack, which comes two days after the head of U.S. Africa Command visited the Somali president in Mogadishu, was the biggest they'd seen in years.

7

Madrid to take control of Catalonia if it declares independence

Spain's national government in Madrid on Saturday warned the autonomous regional government in Catalonia to expect a takeover should Catalan President Carles Puigdemont declare independence or even reply ambiguously to Madrid's request for clarity regarding his intent. After his region's overwhelming but disputed referendum vote in favor of leaving Spain, Puigdemont made a symbolic declaration of independence Tuesday, only to retract it shortly thereafter. He has until Monday to issue a new statement and until Thursday to reverse a new declaration of independence should he decide to make one.

8

Ireland faces rare hurricane hit

Hurricane Ophelia is moving across the Atlantic as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of up to 105 miles per hour. The storm is expected to make landfall in Ireland on Monday, moving across the island and into northern Scotland. Hurricanes rarely make it to Europe; this will be Ireland's strongest storm in half a century. In 1961, Storm Debbie hit Ireland and left 18 people dead. Schools have shut down and sandbags were distributed in coastal areas in preparation for the unusual weather event.

9

Cargo plane crashes off Côte d'Ivoire

Four people were killed when a cargo plane crashed in the ocean off Côte d'Ivoire Saturday shortly after take-off from the city of Abidjan. The plane was carrying French military cargo and was staffed by a French and Moldovan crew. All four of the crew members killed were Moldovan, and another two Moldovans and four French crew members were injured. The plane crashed in shallow water near the beach and broke in two. The crash was likely caused by stormy weather, including heavy winds, that made flying difficult.

10

SNL weighs in on Weinstein

Saturday Night Live addressed the sexual harassment and rape allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein in two segments of its latest episode. The comedy standby had come under attack after failing to cover the Weinstein controversy last week, drawing charges of complicity in Hollywood's culture of silence about sexual assault. In this week's show, SNL made up for lost time, with players declaring "women being harassed is Hollywood" and that Weinstein belongs in prison.

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