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10 things you need to know today: September 11, 2019

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Harold Maass
John Bolton in the Oval Office
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1.

John Bolton exits as national security adviser after clashes with Trump

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that John Bolton was out as his national security adviser. "I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House," Trump wrote. "I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning." Bolton disputed Trump's account, saying he resigned without being asked. The hawkish Bolton was hired as national security adviser in April 2018. He reportedly clashed with Trump over the president's handling of a variety of foreign policy issues, from his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to his handling Afghanistan peace negotiations. Trump said he would name a replacement as early as next week. [The Washington Post, Donald J. Trump]

2.

Republican Dan Bishop narrowly wins N.C. special election

Republican Dan Bishop defeated Democrat Dan McCready on Tuesday in a closely watched special congressional election in North Carolina, the last undecided race of the 2018 midterms. Bishop received 50.7 percent of the vote to McCready's 48.7 percent. The election was a do-over following state election officials' refusal to certify the results of November's original contest because of evidence that the previous GOP candidate, who narrowly led McCready, benefited from absentee-ballot fraud. Bishop won some areas McCready won last fall. The contest was considered a test of President Trump's ability to hold onto suburban districts. Trump spoke at a Bishop rally on the eve of the election. Republicans also won the state's other special election, keeping the seat of late Rep. Walter Jones in a safe GOP district. [The Charlotte Observer]

3.

U.S. marks 9/11 anniversary with ceremonies, new 1st responders memorial

The U.S. is marking the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Wednesday with solemn ceremonies that include increased attention on the enduring toll on first responders. President Trump is scheduled to attend an event at the Pentagon, and former President George W. Bush, who was in office during the attacks, will attend a wreath-laying there. Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, memorial, and relatives of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks on New York City's World Trade Center towers will gather in lower Manhattan. The World Trade Center site has a new memorial dedicated to first responders and others "whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness, and death." [The Associated Press]

4.

Ex-FEMA officials face fraud charges linked to Puerto Rico recovery

Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested two former Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and a former energy contractor who worked in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Former FEMA deputy regional administrator Ahsha Tribble, Tribble's chief of staff Jovanda Patterson, and Donald Keith Ellison, former president of energy company Cobra Acquisitions, were charged with 15 counts of corruption. Tribble and Ellison face charges including conspiracy to commit bribery and disaster fraud. Ellison allegedly provided Tribble with "things of value," including use of a helicopter and credit card, from October 2017 to April 2019 during a successful effort to get contracts worth $1.8 billion to restore power to the island after the storm. [CBS News]

5.

Percentage of uninsured Americans rises for first time in decade

More Americans lacked health insurance in 2018, marking the first rise in the percentage of the uninsured in a decade, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. Democrats blamed the decline on Trump administration efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, and to tighten requirements for qualifying for Medicaid. The Census Bureau also reported that household income rose last year, reaching $63,179. That marked an inflation-adjusted 0.9 percent increase from the $61,372 reported in 2017, suggesting relatively flat median income, although the poverty rate dropped to 11.8 percent from 12.3 percent, its fourth straight decline. [USA Today, The Associated Press]

6.

Netanyahu renews vow to annex West Bank settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he plans to annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank if he is re-elected next week. "This is a historic opportunity to apply sovereignty to communities in Judea and Samaria," the prime minister said. He also said he intends to make the move "in coordination with the United States." Netanyahu made a similar pledge before Israel's elections in April, and analysts view the rhetoric as a means for cementing votes. More than 3 million Palestinians and 400,000 Israelis live in the West Bank, which Israel's military captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. Netanyahu has said the Trump administration's peace plan would provide an opportunity for the annexation. [The Guardian, NBC News]

7.

Trump pushes to clear out California homeless camps

President Trump is pushing to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other California cities, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing four government officials familiar with the plan. Trump reportedly has told White House officials to work on getting California's homeless into new government-backed facilities, although it was not immediately clear what authority the administration aimed to use to meet its goals. Trump's orders marked the latest in a series of efforts to call attention to problems in cities in California and elsewhere that Trump has blamed on what he called failed leadership by local Democrats. [The Washington Post]

8.

Scottish court calls Johnson's suspension of U.K. Parliament unlawful

A Scottish court ruled Wednesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of the U.K. Parliament was illegal, although it didn't overturn the move. The judges at Scotland's highest court said it was up to Britain's Supreme Court to determine whether to reverse Johnson's order to shut down Parliament for five weeks. Johnson's power move came less than two months before the U.K.'s scheduled exit from the European Union, which Johnson has vowed to carry out with or without a Brexit deal approved by lawmakers. In the days before he suspended Parliament, Johnson suffered a series of defeats as lawmakers rejected his call for snap elections and passed a law designed to block a no-deal Brexit. [Reuters]

9.

China exempts 16 U.S. products from new tariffs

China on Wednesday announced exemptions for 16 U.S. products from new tariffs in its trade war with the Trump administration. American industrial grease and a few other raw materials for farmers and factories will no longer face the new levies, but the tariffs will remain for soybeans and other major U.S. exports. Analysts said the move could be seen as a sign of good faith ahead of fresh trade negotiations set for next month, or an effort to soften the impact of the trade dispute on China's economy. U.S. stock index futures, which have fluctuated according to trade news in recent weeks, were mixed early Wednesday, with those of the Dow Jones Industrial Average edging higher while those of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were little changed. [The Associated Press, CNBC]

10.

Dodgers clinch 7th straight National League West title

With their 7-3 win Tuesday night over the Baltimore Orioles, the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight National League West title. They earned the pennant at Camden Yards, becoming the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs. Corey Seager had two home runs for the Dodgers, while Gavin Lux had his first career homer. Over seven innings, pitcher Walker Buehler had no walks and only four hits, striking out 11. The Dodgers are aiming to win their first World Series title since 1988; they lost to the Houston Astros in 2017 and the Boston Red Sox in 2018. Game 1 of the National League Division Series is set for Oct. 3 at Dodger Stadium. [USA Today]