10 things you need to know today: September 18, 2023

Protesters call for ending fossil fuel ahead of UN meetings, Trump doesn't 'even think' about going to jail, and more

Climate protesters in New York
Climate protesters in New York City
(Image credit: Ryan Rahman / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images)

1. Climate protesters urge world leaders to 'end fossil fuels'

Tens of thousands of protesters marched in New York City on Sunday to urge world leaders to phase out fossil fuels faster ahead of a United Nations "Climate Ambitions Summit." Activists demanded tougher action from President Biden, who backed the most robust U.S. climate law yet but has also approved new oil and gas drilling permits. "If you want our vote … end fossil fuels," said Emma Buretta, 17, a New York City high school student and an organizer with the Fridays for Future movement. A White House spokesperson said Biden, who is expected to address the U.N. General Assembly this week, has "treated climate change as an emergency — the existential threat of our time — since Day 1." The New York Times, NPR

2. Trump says he doesn't 'even think about' the possibility of prison

Former President Donald Trump told Kristen Welker, the new moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," that he is not worried he will wind up in prison as a result of one of the four criminal indictments he now faces. "I don't even think about it," Trump said. The former president refused to say what he did in the White House as a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump said he rejected advice from aides and campaign lawyers who told him he had lost the 2020 election. He said he "didn't respect them as lawyers," because they "turn out to be RINOs," or Republicans in name only. NBC News

3. Russia briefly shuts down 3 airports after latest drone attack

Russia on Sunday shut down three Moscow-area airports for several hours after a drone attack. A similar incident briefly disrupted air traffic a day earlier. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said Russian air defenses shot down drones in the Istria District, 25 miles west of downtown Moscow. Another drone was shot down in the Ramenky District. No casualties or major damage was reported. Drone attacks inside Russia have increased recently since Ukraine launched a major counteroffensive to take back territory Russia has occupied since invading nearly 19 months ago. Russia's defense ministry also reported that its air defenses shot down six drones targeting Russian-occupied Crimea, which has been a focus of recent Ukrainian strikes. USA Today, The Hill

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4. Iranian assets reach Qatar, clearing way for prisoner swap

About $6 billion in Iranian assets that were frozen in South Korea have been transferred to Qatar, clearing the way for Iran and the United States to exchange prisoners as soon as Monday, The Associated Press reported, citing officials familiar with the matter. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani was the first to confirm that the swap could take place Monday. The deal calls for Iran to release five U.S. citizens it moved from prison to house arrest several weeks ago in a confidence-building move. The U.S. will free five Iranians. But the swap isn't expected to lower tensions with Tehran, which is close to enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels. The Associated Press

5. Sudan skyscraper catches fire amid latest fighting in Khartoum

The iconic Greater Nile Petroleum Oil Company Tower in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, caught fire Sunday after heavy fighting between the army and rival paramilitary forces. "This is truly painful," the 18-story building's architect, Tagreed Abdin, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. More than one million people have fled Sudan since April, when fighting broke out between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The Sudan War Monitor research group said the most recent fighting in Khartoum began Saturday when RSF fighters attacked areas controlled by the army, including a justice ministry office building. Fires also erupted at several government buildings over the weekend. BBC News

6. McCarthy proposes cutting spending 8% to avert shutdown

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday proposed a deal to avert a government shutdown that included cutting domestic agency spending by 8% and restarting construction of a wall on the southern border. McCarthy described the demands in a conference call with fellow Republican lawmakers after House GOP negotiators had agreed on the terms. The proposal would keep the federal government funded for 31 days after current funding runs out at the end of the month. But six far-right lawmakers immediately announced their opposition, likely dooming the plan because McCarthy can only afford to lose four GOP votes. The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, is also expected to reject the House GOP proposal. Bloomberg

7. Marine F-35 fighter jet missing after 'mishap' over South Carolina

A Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II fighter jet went missing in South Carolina after a "mishap" Sunday that caused the pilot to eject over Charleston, Joint Base Charleston said. The unidentified pilot parachuted into a North Charleston neighborhood at about 2 p.m. and was in stable condition at a local hospital. "If you have any information that may help our recovery teams locate the F-35, please call the Base Defense Operations Center," Joint Base Charleston said on X, formerly Twitter. The Lockheed Martin–made jet is one of the most advanced and most expensive fighter jets in the world. Upgrades have inflated its $90 million list price to $166 million and up. The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal

8. UAW chief rejects Stellantis offer of 21% pay hike

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain on Sunday rejected Stellantis' offer of a 21% pay increase over four years, sending the union's historic strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers into a third day. Both Ford and General Motors have offered 20% raises. Stellantis, the Netherlands-based company created by a merger of Fiat Chrysler and France's Peugeot, said its proposed raise was "highly competitive," but Fain said on CBS's "Face the Nation" the Stellantis proposal was "definitely a no go." He added: "We've asked for 40% pay increases. And the reason we asked for 40% pay increases is because in the last four years alone, the CEO pay went up 40%." The Washington Post

9. BBC 'urgently' investigating allegations against Russell Brand

Britain's BBC said Sunday it was "urgently" investigating sexual assault allegations against comedian and actor Russell Brand, who worked on BBC radio programs from 2006 to 2008. Brand, the 48-year-old former husband of American singer Katy Perry, on Saturday issued a denial of what he called "very serious criminal allegations," shortly before the Sunday Times newspaper described the alleged incidents in a report online. One of the alleged victims said Brand raped her; another said he assaulted her when she was 16. The victims said the attacks occurred between 2006 and 2013. Two accusers said they were assaulted in Los Angeles. Reuters

10. Drew Barrymore apologizes, delays talk show's return until strike ends

Drew Barrymore announced Sunday she was putting off the return of her talk show after facing a backlash for resuming production in the middle of a TV and film writers strike. "I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show's premiere until the strike is over," Barrymore wrote in a statement posted on Instagram. "I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt." CBS, home network of "The Drew Barrymore Show," said it supported the decision. Another CBS show, "The Talk," also said Sunday it was postponing its scheduled Sept. 18 season premiere. CNN, Variety

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.