Trump Administration Revises Travel Ban To Expand Beyond Muslim-Majority Countries – NPR

In this Dec. 10, 2015, file photo, pedestrians crossing from Mexico into the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry wait in line in San Diego.

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Denis Poroy/AP

The Trump administration is updating its travel ban, just hours before it was set to expire. In a proclamation signed by President Trump on Sunday, the travel restrictions now include eight countries, a couple of which are not majority-Muslim, as had been the case with all the nations in the original ban.

Five countries in the previous ban remain under restriction: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. Chad, North Korea and Venezuela have been added. The latter two are the first nations included in a version of the travel ban that do not have majority-Muslim populations, which has been a key point in litigation challenging the ban as discriminatory based on religion.

Sudan has been dropped from the order. Restrictions for Somalia will be relaxed for non-immigrant visitors, and restrictions for Iran will be relaxed for students and other exchange visitors.

The new restrictions on Chad and North Korea are a broad ban on nationals from those countries entering the U.S. For Venezuela, restrictions apply to government officials and their immediate family.

These changes are set to take effect on Oct. 18, though the restrictions on Sudan will be lifted immediately, as a result of security baselines defined by the administration.

The White House said in a statement, “The President has also determined that while Iraq did not meet the baseline, entry restrictions are not warranted under the September 24 proclamation.”

“Following an extensive review by the Department of Homeland Security, we are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States,” President Trump said in the statement. “We cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”

The White House also hailed the proclamation as “aimed at creating — for the first time in history — minimum requirements for international cooperation to support visa and immigration vetting and adjudications for individuals seeking entry to the United States.”

There are some exceptions for nationals from the eight countries who have “bona fide” connections to the U.S., though narrower than what was ordered by the Supreme Court in its temporary ruling on the travel ban. The high court will hear arguments on the merits of the travel ban on Oct. 10.

The original travel ban was signed by Trump during his first week in office and caused chaos at airports as some nationals from the seven majority-Muslim countries on the original list were caught up in the ban mid-transit. Protests also broke out at many airports.

The original countries were Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The first order was put on hold by a federal judge in Washington State, and that ruling was backed by an appeals court.

A second order was signed to revise the original, allowing in people from targeted countries who already held green cards and valid visas. Iraq was also removed from the ban.

A blanket ban on all refugee entry into the U.S., except for those with close family already in the country. That portion expires on Oct. 24.

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The rise of Germany’s far right leaves Merkel stuck with the ‘Jamaican’ option – Washington Post

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In one sense, it was business as usual: Germany voted, the center held, stability won out and Chancellor Angela Merkel will stay in power, poised to extend her time at the helm of her nation to a staggering 16 years. But Merkel and her ruling Christian Democrats, or CDU, while victorious in the federal elections, were not the faction celebrating the most on Sunday.

For the first time in more than half a century, a far-right political party is entering the Bundestag. The Alternative for Germany, or AfD, tripled its performance in elections in 2013 — when it was founded — to cross the parliamentary threshold and vault into Germany’s lower house with some 13 percent of the vote and an estimated 89 or 90 seats, according to local network projections. Both Merkel’s CDU and her main rivals, the Social Democrats, or SPD, who came a distant second, saw voters abandon the establishment for the AfD and a number of other smaller parties.

Germany, ARD exit poll:

CDU/CSU-EPP: 217
SPD-S&D: 134
AfD-ENF: 89
FDP-ALDE: 70
GRÜNE-G/EFA: 62
LINKE-LEFT: 59#btw17#GermanyDecidespic.twitter.com/cEuZLsK10g

— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) September 24, 2017

“The apparent groundswell of support for the far right,” noted my colleague Griff Witte, “reflected the lingering resentment among a substantial portion of the electorate toward Merkel’s 2015 decision to welcome more than a million asylum seekers amid the European refugee crisis.” It also was a reflection of a German voter apathy toward the “grand coalition” of the previous government — an alliance between Merkel’s center-right party and the Social Democrats that both critics and analysts say suffocated political discourse in the country and created a vacuum on the right filled by the anti-establishment AfD.

“There was no real debate between the SPD and the CDU during this campaign,” Heike Otten, a 26-year-old designer in Berlin, told my colleague Rick Noack at a leftist protest outside the AfD party headquarters. “Hence, the lines between both parties were too blurred.”

“We’re not going to beat around the bush. We were hoping for a better result,” a deflated Merkel told supporters at CDU election night headquarters in central Berlin.

Stung by his party’s showing, Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democrats, declared that they would not countenance another alliance with Merkel and would rather take the role as leaders of the opposition in the next government. Should he change his mind — Merkel has asked Schulz to reconsider — that would leave the AfD as the largest party opposing Merkel, an elevated role that would in itself be a shock to the German political system. But with the SPD out and an alliance with the AfD a toxic non-starter, Merkel will likely have to look elsewhere in order to build a “stable government,” as she reiterated Sunday evening.

That’s where the prospect of a “Jamaica” coalition comes in. It’s a play on the three colors of the political parties in consideration, which happen to be stitched together in the Jamaican flag: The black of Merkel’s CDU and their more right-wing sister faction in Bavaria; the yellow of the libertarian Free Democrats, who return to Parliament after a spell in the wilderness; and the green of, well, the Greens, a progressive party. The tripartite arrangement has worked at state-level, but has never been tried on a national level.

The problem for Merkel is that building this coalition will be no easy feat. Already, there are signs of trouble ahead: The Greens’ views on issues such as energy, climate and refugee policy will almost certainly clash with the right-wing of Merkel’s party as well as the neoliberal Free Democrats, whose leader on Sunday confirmed separately his opposition to proposed reforms to the euro zone that French President Emmanuel Macron wants to push through with Merkel’s help.

Merkel will have to summon all her political savvy as a master of centrist, consensus governance to make the “Jamaica” coalition work. But, in the meantime, she faces a euphoric far right that’s made a historic breakthrough in German politics, following in the path of other ultranationalist, populist parties in Europe, like France’s National Front, and is vowing to “hunt” her in the coming years.

“Once a party gains access to parliament, chances become much lower that it will simply disappear again,” said Tarik Abou-Chadi, a comparative politics researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin, to my colleagues. “The election could remove the social stigma which has hampered other far-right parties in the past.”

There are still doubts over how far-reaching their impact may be, and how deep voter disaffection actually is. “AfD’s chances to expand its appeal further appear to be limited, however,” noted Noack. “A vast majority — about 67 percent of Germans — said in a Gallup poll conducted before Sunday’s vote that they were satisfied with their nationally elected officials.”

Instead, the AfD’s rise and the new clout of the Greens and Free Democrats are a sign of an increasing fragmentation of the German political landscape, of a type that’s becoming more and more familiar in other European national parliaments. “This means that party systems become more and more fragmented, slightly dominated by one or two medium-sized rather than big parties,” wrote Cas Mudde, an expert on European populist movements, suggesting the AfD’s influence will always have its limits. “In such a fragmented structure populist radical-right parties can become highly influential, although they tend to be more obstructive than constructive, even if they have ‘only’ 10 percent or 15 percent of the vote.”

“Our idealism brought us here,” Alexander Gauland, the AfD’s co-leader, told cheering supporters, before trumpeting a phrase that would sound familiar to readers on both sides of the Atlantic. “We’re going to get Germany back.”

Outside the AfD’s party headquarters in Berlin, hundreds of leftist demonstrators gathered and chanted against “Nazis” — a jab at the AfD’s pronounced anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim politics, as well as the belief among its leadership, including Gauland, that Germans should no longer have to feel guilty about their role in executing the horrors of World War II.

“They will go home tonight,” said Lisa Hoffmann, a Berlin-based artist speaking to Noack from the sidelines of the protest. “And what happens then?”

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What NFL players, coaches are saying about Week 3 protests – ESPN

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President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who protest during the national anthem in a speech he delivered on Friday in Alabama, suggesting that team owners should fire players who do so.

Every team that played on Sunday participated in some form of demonstration — from players, coaches and executives who stood together arm-in-arm along the sidelines to others who sat, knelt or raised a fist to whole teams that stayed in the locker room or tunnel for the duration of the anthem.

Here’s a sampling of quotes from those who did (and did not) participate in these demonstrations.


Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers coach: I really think that more than anything it minimized it as a distraction for us and once we came to that determination it was business as usual. The big thing is that we remain united. This game of football is a unique one and we’re all blessed to be a part of it. … We will not be divided by this, we’ve got a group of men in there that come from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, creeds, ethnicities, religions and so forth. That’s football. That’s a lot of team sports. But because of our position we get drug into bullshit to be quite honest with you. Some have opinions, some don’t. We wanted to protect those who don’t and we wanted to protect those who do. We came here to play a football game today, and that was our intention.” Tomlin and Steelers coaches stood on the sideline for the national anthem while all but one player stood in the tunnel.

Von Miller, Denver Broncos linebacker:“Me and my teammates, we felt like, we felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherished right — freedom of speech. So, collectively we felt like we had to do something before this game. … I have a huge respect for the military and for the protective services — I’ve been to Afghanistan, met real-life super heroes, it wasn’t any disrespect to them, it was for my brothers that have been attacked for things that they do during the game and I felt like I had to join them on this one.” Miller was one of 32 Broncos players who knelt during the anthem.

Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks cornerback:“As a team, we wanted to do our best to not ostracize our guys, any of our individuals, allow them to feel welcomed and not really make them uncomfortable. That’s the worst thing you could do as a teammate is put your teammate in an uncomfortable position. We don’t go out, the whole team doesn’t come out, then it’s easier for them to defend themselves, say, ‘Hey, it’s a team decision. I just did what the team did.’ You’re a good teammate, perfect, fine. But if you get out there and you ask a guy to kneel or sit, going against his values, going against his family, you put him in weird spots. So we never wanted to do that. We think we did a good job getting our message out and trying not to distract from it.” Sherman and the Seahawks stayed in the locker room for the anthem.

Drew Brees, Saints quarterback: Do I think that there’s inequality in this country? Yes I do. Do I think that there’s racism? Yes I do. I think that there’s inequality for women, for women in the workplace. I think that there’s inequality for people of color, for minorities, for immigrants. But as it pertains to the national anthem, I will always feel that if you are an American that the national anthem is the opportunity for us all to stand up together, to be unified and to show respect for our country.” Brees stood for the anthem.

Chris Long, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end: “It kind of gets conflated because there’s things that guys are protesting about but when the president calls us out, we’re all of the sudden kind of protesting the right to protest, which you wouldn’t think you’d have to do in this country. This is a wonderful, wonderful country with things that we can improve, and that’s all those guys were trying to do was improve some things. Maybe he should lead another country because this isn’t the country where peaceful protest is unacceptable. That’s what this country is built on.” Long stood with teammate Malcolm Jenkins, who raised his fist during the anthem.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver: “I [put my hand over my heart] for the troops and military. People are going to try to misconstrue and depict a different picture than what it really is. I love the military, like I said last year when I took the knee. It is nothing against the military at all. The anthem is different for other people. People say it’s unpatriotic to kneel, but it’s unpatriotic of the president for not respecting our rights.” Evans knelt alongside fellow receiver DeSean Jackson.

DeShone Kizer, Cleveland Browns quarterback: “It’s a tragedy in our country that we have to sit here and still have these discussions. I know for a fact that I’m no ‘son of a bitch’ and I plan on continuing forward and doing whatever I can from my position to promote the equality that’s needed in this country.” Kizer stood for the anthem.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints running back: “Yeah, [the fans] were saying, ‘Stand up, losers’ and all of that. You know that’s gonna come. I mean, I’m sure if you look at social media, they’re M-Fing us and telling us we’re the worst type of Americans. But I love my country. And I want the best for my country. And [Trump] claims he wants the best for his country — ‘Make America Great Again,’ that’s his slogan, how he got elected. And in order for us to be great again as a country, and not have all this racism and bigotry and injustice, we all need to realize that there is a problem and be there for each other to correct the problem.” Ingram was one of at least 10 Saints players who sat during the anthem.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback: “I just think there is a great love for my teammates. … I believe in all of us coming together. … We all go through ups-and-downs and struggles, it’s life and we’re all trying to navigate it as best we can. I believe love is the greatest thing we have to overcome a lot of things.” Brady locked arms with his teammate Phillip Dorsett.

Phillip Dorsett, Patriots wide receiver: “Just wanted to show everyone we’re unified between one another. We’re together. We’re strong. This game is a great game because of the brotherhood and the relationships; it’s amazing what this game to bring to everybody. People have a platform to be able to change. We just wanted to show that we are one, not just with our team, but the whole NFL, with everybody.” Dorsett locked arms with Brady.

A.J. Bouye, Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback: “I was pissed off last night just for the simple fact I don’t know the president as a man, just like he doesn’t know us as men, and it holds close to home with me because for the simple fact what you say about us, you’re disrespecting our moms. I lost my mom to cancer. My stepmom came in, I know she’s not what he’s calling her. She got her doctorate from Ohio State. When you’re 5 years old and you’re seeing your dad have a gun pointed at his head because he looks suspicious in the neighborhood at 6 a.m. because he’s dropping his son off at a babysitter, it’s not about race. It’s not about black and white, it’s about right and wrong.

“I have respect for the military. I have family in the military. I know we’re in a military town in Jacksonville. I love all the people that go out there and fight for our country. I love the family members, the brothers, the sisters, the mothers, the fathers, the sons, the daughters, those are at home not knowing what’s going to happen to their family members, but I also have respect for those people, whether they’re black, white, Mexican, whatever, who done lost their child or somebody else to a police officer. And that’s what it’s all about.” Bouye was one of at least 13 Jaguars players to kneel during the anthem.

Derek Wolfe, Broncos defensive end: “[There’s no split in the locker room] because we give each other a chance to speak and we listen to each other when we speak. Most people, whenever somebody’s talking they already have an idea in their head of what they’re saying, they’re not listening to what’s being said, they’re thinking about what they want to take from it.” Wolfe stood for the anthem after vocalizing his opinion on national anthem protests. More than 32 of his teammates participated in some form of social protest.

Kevin King, Green Bay Packers cornerback:That was a tough decision. It was a tough decision. … I haven’t sat before, and it’s something that’s been on my mind but I didn’t want to do it for different reasons, but when I heard some comments that were made recently that put it over the top. I don’t know if it’s something that I plan on doing every game because my grandpa is a veteran and have respect for that, but in terms of what’s gone on recently I thought today was a great opportunity to show my support and what I thought was right.” King was one of three Packers players who sat during the anthem.

Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans wide receiver: “I’m tired of hearing stick to sports. It comes down to right and wrong in this word. If you see wrong and don’t say anything that’s wrong. As minorities, what do you want to happen before we say anything? They tried to have a silent protest and look what happened. It’s your right to stand or sit down. You have that right and you’re not allowing that to happen.” Matthews stayed in the locker room along with his team.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback: “We’re all our own individuals. We’re all part of this team but we come from different places. … We have great respect for whatever the choice is, whatever you choose to do. Nobody is judging. We also know our main goal is to go win the game. That’s what our focus is. The anthem adds another deal right before the game. I think some guys feel like they’ve got to make choices either way and I think this team has great respect for whatever those are. … I don’t always feel comfortable talking about this stuff. We’re athletes and we’re playing football. But certainly I’d be lying if I said [Trump’s] comments didn’t upset me. … I’m talking about the comments that were made by the president. Targeting the NFL, targeting the quality of the character of guys in this league for that very protest, I find that very alarming. This is the same guy that couldn’t condemn violent neo-nazis and he’s condemning guys that are taking a knee during the anthem. I find there’s bigger issues out there that he should be worried about but for some reason the NFL is on his mind.” Smith stood for the anthem.

Kelechi Osemele, Oakland Raiders offensive lineman: “It’s just a one-week thing and it was a response to something that was said [by Trump]. We’re back focused on football and, you know, life goes on. We’re not going to give it any more attention.” Osemele sat with a majority of the Raiders who either sat or knelt.

Danny Trevathan, Chicago Bears linebacker: “This is history right here. Last night I prayed to God and asked the question, ‘How do I want to be defined?’ How do the 2017 Bears want to be defined — as men? Not as individuals, but men. They’re going to look at our record, of course we want to win the game, but how are they going to look at us in this situation, how do we stand as a team. I was proud of everyone that stood up and said their peace. You know, people have mixed emotions. A lot of people have military members in their family or know people in the military, I know I do. But at the end of the day, I look at my teammates, they had my back, and we went out there and fought.” Trevathan organized the Bears’ decision to link arms during the anthem.

Demar Dotson, Buccaneers offensive tackle: “I voted for Trump but through the last couple months, man, I kinda wish I didn’t vote for him. He’s definitely not doing a good job holding down the office of the president … He’s doing a real poor job. It’s almost like he’s going out of his way to create enemies. I don’t know what he’s doing, what his purpose is, what his plan is but he’s not a good president right now.

“That’s one of the biggest things — the non-stop tweeting. He needs to worry about some of the problems in our country. He’s a poor president right now.” Dotson stood with the majority of his teammates.

Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans defensive end: “The guys wanted to do something. At first we weren’t going to do anything. Previously we’ve seen all the guys doing it since last season and we [were] like, we don’t want to get involved with that. But after listening to him talk the other night, a lot of guys came up, like, man, we need to do something as a team, so we decided to do that.” Clowney and the Texans stood and linked arms.

Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions tight end: “I’m for my teammates. I’m united with my teammates. But I do not stand for disrespect so what I was not going to do was unite to make it seem like it was OK. Because it’s not. It’s not OK for what [Trump] said.” Ebron was the only Lions player to not link arms.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver: “We’re a brotherhood, we love each other, we don’t care what the appearance is of one another. We just want to go fight for each other and we want to show that, hey, we’re in this together. We love this country and we want it to be the country that it’s been.” Thielen linked arms with other Vikings players.

Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles safety: “I think it sends a message to players, to the fan base, to anybody watching that these demonstrations and the players that have been standing up for their communities aren’t looked at in a bad way, the way we’ve been depicted over the last year isn’t true, and that our teammates don’t feel that way, our coaches don’t feel that way and the ownerships of these teams don’t feel that way. I think it’s time that those people stand up — and not stand up and take on this fight, but at least show support and change the narrative that’s been encircling these demonstrations and the reasons. We’ve been so caught up over the last year over what’s right and what’s wrong and spent very little time actually talking about the issues.” Jenkins stood with his fist in the air.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback: “On this team, we’re going to keep choosing love over hate, unity over division, and that’s what it was to us. In talking last night and this morning, the few of us who linked arms just wanted to show a united front. I know personally on my Twitter and social media was receiving a lot of positivity but a lot of hatred as well, which is interesting. I know it’s probably one-tenth or one one-hundredth, maybe, of some of my black teammates who have been using their platform to try and make a difference. But this was about unity, and we respect our men and women in uniform, we respect our troops, we love ’em, we appreciate what they do for us. Today was about using our platform to promote love and unity and acceptance and togetherness, and I hope we did that.” Rodgers linked arms with teammates.

Donald Penn, Raiders offensive tackle: “I wish I didn’t have to do anything like that. I’ve been standing all the time, but when you get called out personally by the president of your country, you’ve got to do something. I didn’t want to do that; I don’t think my teammates wanted to do that. But it’s something we had to do. The stuff is getting out of hand.” Penn sat with a majority of the Raiders who either sat or knelt.

Thomas Morstead, Saints punter: “If you respect the brothers on your team, and if there’s something that they’re feeling strong enough about to demonstrate or do whatever, I think it’s important for guys on this team to show support in any way they can, whether it be publicly or privately. But these guys, our kids play together, our wives are friends, and they’re great people, and we just want to support ’em.” Morstead stood by the Saints players who sat on the bench, with his arm on a teammate’s shoulder.

Josh Norman, Washington Redskins cornerback: “It’s not about the flag. We want to be here. This is our country. We were born here. We were bred here. No one is spitting on the flag. We know you gave your life for it. Our gratitude to your service is deeply endeared. But if someone comes on your front porch and take a piss, as a man what are you going to do, sit there and watch him pee or step outside and be like, ‘Hey what are you doing, sir? You’re on private property you got to get off or we’ll make you get off.’ … When a president acts like that, that’s not someone who stands for dignity, pride, respect, honor. Where’s the honor. Where’s the dignity in that? Words are powerful man. They can unite you or they can divide you. What he said united us.” Norman linked arms with Washington owner Dan Snyder and teammates.

Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens linebacker: “Personally, I think the comments made about my brothers decided to protest and kneel is kind of what made us no longer be silent. We stand with our brothers. They have the right to protest. We knelt with them today. Non-violent protest is as American as it gets. We knelt with them today and let them know we are a unified front. There is no dividing us. I guess we’re all ‘sons of bitches.'” Suggs was one of 10 Ravens players to kneel during the anthem.

Jason McCourty, Browns cornerback: “You do things and people on your social media tell you that you’re a crybaby or you’re making a ton of money doing this or doing that, but the majority of my family doesn’t have that type of money. The majority of people I grew up with doesn’t have that type of money. You’re not only voicing something for yourself, but you’re voicing it for the people that you represent.” McCourty knelt for the anthem.

Brandin Cooks, Patriots wide receiver: “It was one of those things, you want to stand with your brothers. Kneel with your brother and be by their side. One statement that I would just like to make, a lot of people think we’re disrespecting the flag or the military, but my father was a marine. My uncle was a marine. Family fought in the Vietnam War. I have the utmost respect for the men and women who fight for our freedom … Quite frankly, I feel [conflicted] in a sense because I have no courage to be able to do something like that. So I understand the magnitude that they’re fighting across the world for our freedom … The message is we just want respect and unity and there’s only so many ways you can do it.” Cooks was one of 17 Patriots players who knelt.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers quarterback: “By no means, no way shape or form, was there any disrespect intended toward our troops and those that serve this country. We all have the utmost respect for them, obviously. They give us the freedom to play this game. Last night, obviously with all the issues going on if you will, we had a players’ only meeting after the team meeting last night. We decided we were going to talk about what we were going to do because we knew some guys wanted to take a knee, guys wanted to stand. We said whatever we do, we need to make sure we are unified as one group because that’s what we are about and that is what it should be about. Staying together as one unit, one group, one brotherhood, things like that, so rather than having one guy kneel, one guy stand, the conclusion was made by everybody that the best thing to do was to stay in the locker room and show respect that way.” Roethlisberger was not on the field for the anthem, along with most of the Steelers.

Leonard Williams, New York Jets defensive end: “[Acting owner Christopher Johnson] individually spoke to every single person in this locker room. He didn’t have one big speech. He walked up to every individual, looked them in the eyes and told us he was going to support us in what we wanted to do. He also asked us if he could join us, and that meant a lot to everybody.” Williams on Johnson, who stood arm-in-arm with the Jets during the anthem.

Adrian Clayborn, Atlanta Falconsdefensive end: A lot of stuff needs to change, man. [Trump] has his support, and he has his people that’s behind him that’s continuing this crazy rhetoric that he’s spilling. I want to be optimistic, but it’s crazy times. I didn’t [kneel], but I support my brothers 100 percent. Anytime somebody has a question for me about how I feel about it, I’m going to answer it. And the way I feel about it right now is stuff ain’t right and he’s just spilling all this hatred that’s not doing anything positive for what’s going on in this world.” Clayborn stood along with the majority of his teammates.

Michael Thomas, Miami Dolphins safety: “With everything going on in this world, especially in the U.S., this is what you’re worried about, my man? You’re the leader of the free world. This is what you’re talking about? As a man, as a father, as an African-American man, yeah, I took it personal. But at the same time it is bigger than me.” Thomas stood for the anthem.

Jamison Crowder, Redskins wide receiver: “It’s a lot going on and we just want to bring unity and equality to this country. There’s a lot going on outside of sports. Sports bring everyone together; you’re in a stadium cheering and having a good time. But when you leave from the stadium there’s a lot going on. I’ve dealt with my own experiences of inequality. At the end of the day we’re trying to bring unity and equality to the country. It’s a great nation, great country. But there are some things we think are problems.” Crowder was one of seven Washington players who knelt.

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New Order Indefinitely Bars Almost All Travel From Seven Countries – New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday issued a new order indefinitely banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

The new order is more far-reaching than the president’s original travel ban, imposing permanent restrictions on travel, rather than the 90-day suspension that Mr. Trump authorized soon after taking office. But officials said his new action was the result of a deliberative, rigorous examination of security risks that was designed to avoid the chaotic rollout of his first ban. And the addition of non-Muslim countries could address the legal attacks on earlier travel restrictions as discrimination based on religion.

Starting next month, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be banned from entering the United States, Mr. Trump said in a proclamation released Sunday night. Citizens of Iraq and some groups of people in Venezuela who seek to visit the United States will face restrictions or heightened scrutiny.

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Mr. Trump’s original travel ban, which caused chaos at airports earlier this year and set off a furious legal challenge to the president’s authority, expired on Sunday even as the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about its constitutionality on Oct. 10. The new order — Chad, North Korea and Venezuela are new to the list of affected countries — will take effect Oct. 18.

“As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Mr. Trump said in the proclamation, which White House officials said had the same force as an executive order. He added that the restrictions will remain in effect until the governments of the affected nations “satisfactorily address the identified inadequacies.”

Officials described the new order as a much more targeted effort than the president’s earlier one. Each of the countries will be under its own set of travel restrictions, though in most cases citizens of the countries will be unable to emigrate to the United States personally and most will be barred from coming to work, study or vacation in America.

Iran, for example, will still be able to send its citizens on student exchanges, though such visitors will be subject to enhanced screening. Certain government officials of Venezuela and their families will be barred from visiting the United States. Somalis will no longer be allowed to emigrate to the United States, but may visit with extra screening.

Administration officials said that the new rules would not apply to legal permanent residents of the United States, and that visitors who currently hold valid visas from the countries listed will not have their visas revoked.

That means that students already studying in the United States can finish their studies and employees of businesses in the United States who are from the targeted countries may stay for as long as their existing visas remain valid. People whose visas expire will be subject to the travel ban, officials said.

People seeking access to the United States as refugees are not covered by the proclamation, officials said. Entry of refugees is currently limited by the president’s original travel ban, and officials said the administration was preparing new rules for refugees that should be announced within days.

Reaction to the president’s announcement was swift, as some critics of the original travel ban expressed similar concerns about the president’s latest effort to toughen the country’s border against potential terrorists and criminals.

“President Trump’s latest attempt at a ‘Muslim ban,’ like all the others, undermines fundamental American and Jewish values with its explicit bigotry and xenophobia,” said Stosh Cotler, the chief executive of Bend the Arc Jewish Action. “These immoral restrictions, which make no actual contribution to protecting our country, send an unmistakable message to Muslims and immigrants in the United States and around the world: ‘You are not welcome here.’”

But administration officials — who have long rejected the characterization of the president’s travel restrictions as a “Muslim ban,” — noted that the latest effort also applies to non-Muslim countries and was based on a rigorous evaluation of each country’s security capabilities.

One official who briefed reporters on Sunday evening insisted that the president’s travel restrictions were “never, ever, ever” based on race, religion or creed.

In a statement released by the White House, Mr. Trump defended the new proclamation, saying that “we cannot afford to continue the failed policies of the past, which present an unacceptable danger to our country. My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation.”

The president’s announcement comes after the administration conducted what they described as an in-depth, worldwide, 90-day review of the security measures in place in other countries to prevent terrorists or criminals from entering the United States by applying to emigrate or to visit with a tourist, work or education visa.

Mr. Trump called for the review — and a temporary ban on travel from several majority-Muslim countries — just days after being inaugurated. But a fierce legal challenge to the travel ban delayed the security assessment until the summer.

Officials said last week that most nations already met new, minimum standards for identifying and screening potential travelers and sharing investigative information with law enforcement agencies in the United States. Some nations that initially fell short of those standards agreed to implement changes to avoid travel restrictions.

But several countries either failed to meet those standards or flatly refused, officials said. Homeland Security officials recommended to Mr. Trump in a report last week that he impose the new travel restrictions on the residents of those countries. The president’s 15-page proclamation accepted the recommendations, spelling them out in detail.

The proclamation imposes the most severe restrictions on Syria and North Korea, which Mr. Trump says fail to cooperate with the United States in any respect. All citizens from those countries will be denied visas to enter the United States once the proclamation goes into effect.

Most citizens of Chad, Libya and Yemen will be blocked from emigrating to or visiting the United States because the countries do not have the technical capability to identify and screen their travelers, and in many cases have terrorist networks in their countries, officials said.

Officials said Somalia did, barely, meet the security standards set by the United States, but will still be subject to a ban on emigration and heightened scrutiny for travel because it is a safe haven for terrorists. Officials said that Iran was uncooperative and would be subject to a broad travel ban, but Mr. Trump made an exception for student and exchange visas.

In Venezuela, Mr. Trump restricted only the travel of government officials and their families, writing in the proclamation that the ban was focused on that group because they were “responsible for the identified inadequacies” in sharing information about travelers.

Mr. Trump’s original travel ban prevented all travel from citizens of seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iraq was later removed from a second version of the travel ban in March after American officials said it had improved its ability to screen passengers and share information with the United States. In the new security review, Sudan was deemed to meet the security standards and was removed from the list of countries with travel restrictions.

Homeland Security officials had described the previous ban as a temporary pause on travel from certain countries to allow for the review of security measures.

By contrast, the new travel restrictions will be in place indefinitely, officials said. The United States will consider lifting the restrictions on those countries affected only if they meet the new minimum standards, they said.

The president’s announcement could have a dramatic impact on the legal challenge to the previous travel ban, which is under consideration by the Supreme Court after the administration appealed lower court rulings that said the ban was unconstitutional and a breach of Mr. Trump’s authority.

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Oct. 10, but legal experts said that parts of the case could be moot because of the president’s decision to end that travel ban. Other parts of the case, including restrictions on refugees coming into the United States, were not affected by Sunday’s announcement.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Sunday that the solicitor general would be submitting an update to the Supreme Court about the latest travel restrictions on Sunday evening. The spokeswoman said the administration would continue to defend the president’s “lawful authority to issue his executive order.”

But lawyers who filed challenges to the president’s previous travel ban left open the possibility that they would also challenge the new restrictions.

“This is an apparent effort to paper over the original sin of the Muslim ban, especially when just last week Trump said he wanted a ‘larger, tougher, more specific’ ban,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The original travel ban was met with angry denunciations from civil rights activists and others who said the president was violating the Constitution by specifically targeting Muslims. They also criticized Mr. Trump’s administration for abruptly imposing the ban, causing chaos at airports as visitors were turned away by border agents who had not been briefed on the new policy.

Administration officials said on Friday that the new policy was the result of months of deliberation that included the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the White House and other agencies involved in security and the border.

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Trump cranks up North Korea threats as Pyongyang holds anti-US rally – Reuters

SEOUL/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump dialled up the rhetoric against North Korea again at the weekend, warning the country’s foreign minister that he and leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer”, as Pyongyang staged a major anti-U.S. rally.

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that targeting the U.S. mainland with its rockets was inevitable after “Mr Evil President” Trump called Pyongyang’s leader a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.

“Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!” Trump said on Twitter late on Saturday.

Trump and Kim have traded increasingly threatening and personal insults as Pyongyang races towards its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States – something Trump has vowed to prevent.

Analysts say the escalation in rhetoric is increasing the risk of a miscalculation by one side or the other that could have massive repercussions.

North Korea’s state-run television KRT aired a video on Sunday showing tens of thousands of people attending an anti-U.S. rally at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang.

The North’s official KCNA news agency said more than 100,000 people gathered for the rally on Saturday and delivered speeches supporting comments made by Kim earlier in the week.

“We are waiting for the right time to have a final battle with the U.S., the evil empire, and to remove the U.S. from the world,” KCNA quoted Ri Il-bae, a commanding officer of the Red Guards, as saying. “Once respected Supreme commander Kim Jong Un gives an order, we will annihilate the group of aggressors.”

UNPRECEDENTED

In an unprecedented direct statement on Friday, Kim described Trump as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” whom he would tame with fire.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senator Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Kim said the North would consider the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” against the United States and that Trump’s comments had confirmed his nuclear programme was “the correct path”.

Kim’s comments came after Trump threatened in his maiden UN address on Thursday to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people.

It was not clear from Trump’s latest tweet if he was referring to Ri and Kim, or North Korea more broadly.

North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb test on Sept. 3, prompting another round of U.N. sanctions. Pyongyang said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

“It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK (North Korea) would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces,” Ri told the UN General Assembly on Saturday.

BOMBERS

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force the Pentagon said indicated the range of military options available to Trump.

The U.S. bombers’ flight was the farthest north of the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. fighter jet or bomber had flown in the 21st century, the Pentagon said.

The patrols came after officials and experts said a small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not man-made, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its previous one. [L4N1M409X]

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

Additional reporting and writing by Lincoln Feast in Sydney; Editing by Paul Tait

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‘It’s surreal, to be honest,’ Stephen Curry says of President Trump uninviting Warriors to the White House – Washington Post


Warriors guard Stephen Curry takes questions from the media Saturday after he was singled out in a tweet from President Trump. (Janie McCauley/Associated Press)

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry went to bed Friday night thinking he and the rest of the Golden State Warriors would convene Saturday for their first day of practice to decide whether they would be making the NBA champions’ traditional White House visit when they travel to Washington in February.

He woke up to 20 text messages telling him that choice had been made for him, thanks to President Trump’s tweet that Curry’s White House invitation had been rescinded.

“It’s surreal, to be honest,” Curry said after that practice had concluded at the team’s facility in downtown Oakland. “I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals, rather than others.

“I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That’s not what leaders do.”

[Trump turns sports into a political battleground with comments on NFL and Steph Curry]

In between Curry’s meeting with the media Saturday afternoon and his impassioned defense of why he would be voting against a possible White House visit 24 hours earlier, plenty had happened. The combination of President Trump both attacking NFL players for failing to stand during the national anthem at a political rally in Alabama on Friday night and his tweets about Curry and those same NFL players Saturday morning had unleashed a torrent of responses condemning his actions from the sports world.

One of the first to speak up was LeBron James, who called Trump a “bum” in a tweet and later posted a video on “Uninterrupted” with his expanded thoughts on the matter.

U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!

— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017

“We all know how much sports brings us together,” James said. “For him to try to use this platform to divide us even more is not something I can stand for and not something I can be quiet about.”

James wasn’t alone. Chris Paul, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, sent a pair of tweets attacking Trump for his stance. Curry’s teammate, Draymond Green, asked in a tweet of his own, “Still wondering how this guy is running our country …” while Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett fired off a series of tweets on the matter. Among them: “The idea of @realDonaldTrump thinking that suggesting firing me from football, [sic] confirms that he thinks that it’s all I can do as a Black man.”

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, meanwhile, called Trump “a a–hole.”

I do not have a master and neither does my mother.

— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) September 23, 2017

I’m ok with being fired for what I believe in.

— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) September 23, 2017

The idea of @realDonaldTrump thinking that suggesting firing me from football, confirms that he thinks that it’s all I can do as a Black man

— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) September 23, 2017

I’ll jump when I want. I’ll sit when I want. I’ll kneel when I want. I’ll clap. Sing. Flip and I’ll say what I want. You ain’t DeeBo.

— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) September 23, 2017

Later Saturday, North Carolina announced its men’s basketball team, which won its latest NCAA championship this past spring, won’t be visiting the White House, either, though school spokesman Steve Kirschner told the Raleigh News & Observer it was a scheduling issue.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” Kirschner said. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between, they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so — we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

He also added that the White House had officially extended an invitation, and that the players on the team were “fine with going.”

That wasn’t the case with the Warriors. While General Manager Bob Myers said that he’d had extensive conversations with at least one White House representative about a possible visit and had planned to circle back and discuss the matter further after the planned meeting Saturday morning, there was no longer a need to after Trump’s tweet.

Before the team finished practice Saturday, it released a statement saying it was disappointed it hadn’t been given the chance to discuss its decision before Trump made it for them, but that when they come to Washington to play the Wizards on Feb. 28, “In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.”

Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser later welcomed that idea in a statement, which finished with, “And if anyone ever tells you that you cannot come to D.C., tell them Mayor Bowser invited you.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later put out a statement of his own, saying that he had been in favor of the players making the White House visit to speak their minds directly with the president and was disappointed that wouldn’t be happening, but that “more importantly, I am proud of our players for taking an active role in their communities and continuing to speak out on critically important issues.”

The league’s players association responded in kind.

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr, meanwhile, said he learned about what happened much like Curry — when his wife tapped him on the shoulder in the morning.

“I was half-asleep, and she said, ‘There it is,’ ” he said with a smile.

But Kerr, who has never been shy about his own political beliefs, couldn’t help getting in a few subtle jabs during his media availability.

“I was not surprised,” Kerr said of Trump’s tweet. “He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him. That’s the way it goes.”

[Trump’s long, stormy, unrequited romance with the NFL]

Then, when he was asked if recent events in Charlottesville — along with Trump’s reaction — played any part in how he or his players felt about the matter, Kerr said, “Nah, because there were very fine people on both sides.”

He then smiled. “I’m sorry. That was a low blow. Low blow.”

On a more serious note, Kerr — who has been to the White House seven times — said he had always appreciated the experience and was saddened that the current political climate had led to this situation happening.

“In general, the idea of going to the White House as part of a championship team is awesome, an incredible honor,” he said. “You honor the office, the institution. I can speak from personal experience. It doesn’t matter, you set aside personal differences. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with [Ronald] Reagan, George Bush, [Bill] Clinton, George W. Bush, [Barack] Obama.

“I didn’t necessarily agree with all of them, but it was an incredible honor to be in their presence. There was a respect for the office and also a respect from not only us, but from the president himself. I think we would, in normal times, very easily be able to set aside political differences, go visit and have a good time. But these are not ordinary times.”

David West, one of the oldest and most respected players in the league, who had finally won his first championship this past June with the Warriors, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It’s sad,” West said. “There’s got to be some maturity across the board. We talk about that as a group, being the more mature individuals in a situation, take the mature approach. Obviously there’s great division in this nation right now. It’s always existed.

“I think Trump has become the greatest mirror for America. My cousin, we had a conversation — she brought that to me — because I think there are a lot of things that have been in the dark, hidden, and he’s just bold enough to put it out on front street. But I don’t think the nation as a whole, individuals are willing to accept him pulling us backwards, him pulling us to a time where everyone didn’t have a shot.”

At the center of it all, though, is Curry, a man who has almost always gone out of his way to avoid exactly this kind of political controversy — at least until now.

If nothing else, it’s clear his relationship with this president won’t quite be the same as his was with Trump’s predecessor.

“I’ve played golf with President Obama,” Curry said. “I’m pretty sure I won’t get a tee time invite during this regime.”

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Trump Just Threw His NFL Buddies Under the Bus – Politico

President Donald Trump and the NFL were supposed to be friends.

Recall the White House lawn on a sunny April afternoon when Trump welcomed the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots; he and owner Robert Kraft fawned over each other like high school sweethearts. “A very good friend of mine for over 25 years, a man who is as mentally tough and hardworking as anybody I know, launched a campaign for the presidency against 16 career politicians,” Kraft crowed. “He persevered to become the 45th president of the United States.” Trump returned the favor, calling Kraft a “very special and talented man.”

Story Continued Below

Kraft wasn’t the only one: six more league owners gave Trump a million dollars. One of them, Jets boss Woody Johnson, is now the ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The union made sense. Trump, like the NFL’s power brokers, was an uber-wealthy, white man—and he promised lower taxes. And his base—overwhelmingly white and conservative—overlapped with the league’s fan base. Indeed, the two were simpatico.

Then came Friday night.

The president was in Huntsville, Alabama giving a perfectly Trumpian rally speech—he hit the media; he tepidly endorsed Senate candidate Luther Strange, ostensibly his purpose for being there—and then he turned his attention to the NFL, and the ongoing protests of players kneeling for the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when someone disrespects the flag,” Trump began, to the delight of the crowd. “To say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now? He’s fired.’”

Trump said it again, for emphasis. “He’s fired!” He paused, he shook his head, he stalked the stage. “USA!” the crowd chanted. As if to twist the knife deeper, Trump shrugged and said of the owners, “They’re friends of mine, many of them.”

Who knows how long that friendship will last, especially after Trump then went on to shame the league over low ratings, bemoan rules changes to protect players from injury and encourage the league’s fans to do the unthinkable: boycott. “If you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium,” Trump said. “I guarantee things will stop. …Just pick up and leave.”

The NFL, reeling from declining ratings and an ongoing player safety crisis, was already mired in the political muck. Calls to boycott have come from many on the left recently, angry that Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who started the anthem protests in the fall of 2016, remains unemployed. But now the league has just endured the equivalent of friendly fire—a blistering critique that sounded like he was on the side of his billionaire pals but almost certainly left them cringing with dread at the prospect of a Sunday of sideline sitdowns and wall-to-wall punditry. “He threw his buddies under the bus,” the sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards told me. “And what did he do it for? Some cheap applause in Alabama.”

Trump—both as candidate and president—has relished opining on the myriad political controversies swirling around sports. He has bashed Kaepernick and tweeted about ESPN; when the network’s Jemele Hill called Trump a white supremacist, Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it a “fireable offense” in the White House briefing room. Friday’s foul-mouthed criticism of the players, most of whom are black, and Trump’s subsequent withdrawal of his invite to NBA superstar Stephen Curry’s championship team to the White House (LeBron James responded to that by calling Trump a “bum.”) re-ignited the still-smoldering debate about his equivocations on white supremacy after the Charlottesville violence. The furor was so intense it prompted a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who, without naming Trump, labeled his comments “divisive,” saying they “disrespect” the players and the good work the league does. (By Saturday night, a handful of teams—Miami, Green Bay and San Francisco among them, though not New England—had released their own statements; some named the president, others did not.)

But NFL players were compelled to push back themselves—and much harder. Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted, “The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!” Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron asked pointedly, “Does anyone tell trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports?” The Buffalo Bills reportedly called a team meeting to discuss Trump. “He just turbocharged the protests,” Edwards told me. “Every one of the owners in this league can be legitimately asked if they have sons of bitches on their rosters.”

The Trump presidency has been a test for much of corporate America, but the issue facing the NFL is uniquely complicated. As Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant who has worked with more than 20 NFL teams, told me, there are a lot of Americans, including NFL fans, who agree with Trump—at least in principle. “They see these players make a great deal of money and get a great deal of adulation,” he said. “They’re playing a profession they voluntarily undertake and their lifestyles are based on sacrifices that others made. They don’t want to see them disrespect the flag.”

Who then does the league owe its first allegiance to? The players who provide the entertainment, risking their physical and mental health, or the paying fans who prefer their leisure time isn’t tainted by real world concerns. Moreover, there is a stark racial dividing line between these interest groups. I’ve touted these numbers before, but the demographics paint the league’s Trump problem in stark terms. According to Reuters, more than 83 percent of NFL fans are white and they are more than 20 percent more likely to be Republicans than Democrats. All but one owner is white, too. Eighty percent of the players, meanwhile, are black. And if Trump continues to antagonize players, they will respond. “Let’s take away the one thing that a black man can do,” tweeted Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett Saturday afternoon. “That’ll set em straight. Naw bruh. We diverse. We aren’t just field niggas anymore.” Added Edwards: “The more white versus black Trump can make it, the happier he is,” Edwards said.

Ganis reminded me that Trump has his own personal history with the NFL. In the 1980s, he wanted to buy a team, but was rebuffed and bought a USFL team instead. His imprudent, and self-serving decisions as the owner of the New Jersey Generals led to a humiliating court battle with the NFL, the ultimate demise of the new league and major financial losses for the other owners. The joke here: Trump sure knows how to kill a league. Still, Ganis believed Trump’s calculation Friday was far simpler.

“Politicians know when they say something about the NFL that is controversial that they will get attention,” he said. “Donald Trump likes getting attention.” (It could hardly have been a coincidence that Trump chose to deliver his broadside against the pro game in front of a predominantly white crowd in a football-crazy state where Republican politics is defined by allegiances to some of the best college teams in the nation.)

Ganis acknowledged the looming problem of Trump’s insults and if player protests went beyond silently kneeling. He mentioned the possibility of players leading chants or singing a different song when the anthem was played. Though none of the available evidence suggests that the protests have driven significant numbers of fans away from the NFL, Ganis worried that the more overt actions would, which would in turn force the NFL to crackdown. “The whole thing could snowball,” he said.

But for now, we will wait and see how many players respond Sunday—how they will protest and what they will say. Meanwhile, the group of billionaire NFL owners who threw in with Trump just learned what their loyalty is worth, a little taste perhaps of what Alabama’s beloved son Jeff Sessions is going through. Maybe Trump’ll make it up to them with tax reform.

Ben Strauss is the co-author of Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA, winner of the 2017 PEN/ESPN award for literary sports writing.

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Tillerson says new sanctions to test Kim Jong Un – The Hill

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Regulation: Trump adviser affirms plans to leave climate deal | FDA to study new cigarette warning labels | DOJ investigating Equifax stock salesTop US security official targeted in Cuba Embassy covert attacks: reportTrump adviser tells foreign officials no change on Paris climate dealMORE on Friday said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be “tested” by the new sanctions announced this week.

“Our diplomatic efforts continue unabated. We have put in place the strongest economic sanctions ever to have been assembled against Kim Jong Un, so he is being tested with these sanctions,” Tillerson said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“Voices from every corner of the world are calling on him to cease his program, come to the table and let’s talk about the future of North Korea and the North Korean people,” he added.

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The Trump administration announced its latest round of sanctions on Thursday, which take aim at countries, businesses and individuals that choose to do business with North Korea by cutting them off from the U.S. financial system. 

The United Nations Security Council also voted unanimously earlier this month to impose new penalties on Pyongyang. 

The sanctions came as North Korea continues to escalate its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development. 

Trump administration officials have also insisted that the U.S. has military options in place for dealing with North Korea should such measures become necessary. 

“We will continue our efforts in the diplomatic arena, but all of our military options — as the president has said — is on the table,” Tillerson said Friday. “And once we can assess the nature of this threat the president will make a decision regarding the appropriate actions.”

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Maria Strikes, and Puerto Rico Goes Dark – New York Times

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Read the latest with Thursday’s live updates on Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on Puerto Rico in almost a century, ravaged the island on Wednesday, knocking out all electricity, deluging towns with flashfloods and mudslides and compounding the already considerable pain of residents here.

Less than two weeks ago, Hurricane Irma dealt the island a glancing blow, killing at least three people and leaving nearly 70 percent of households without power. This storm, which made landfall at 6 a.m. as a Category 4 hurricane, took out the island’s entire power grid, and only added to the woes of a commonwealth that has been groaning under the weight of an extended debt and bankruptcy crisis.

Beyond the immediate damage from winds up to 155 miles per hour, continuous rain flooded coastal communities as well as neighborhoods in the central, mountainous areas of the island, which is full of rivers and streams. One person was reported dead, though the power failure has largely cut off communication with some of the worst-hit areas.

Residents woke Wednesday to the clamor of strengthening wind gusts, with the memory of Hurricane Irma still fresh. By afternoon, the whole island had lost electricity.

“There has been nothing like this,” said Ramón Lopez, a military veteran who was holding back tears outside his neighborhood in Guaynabo, on the northern coast near San Juan, the capital. “It was the fury. It didn’t stop.”

Such was the sentiment across the island as the barrage of howling gusts and pounding rain did not cease from the early morning until evening.

Francisco Ramirez, 23, weathered the storm inside the convenience store of a gas station in Guaynabo. As a security guard at the station, he was scheduled for the 8 p.m. shift on Tuesday, hours before Maria hit. He sat behind a counter while the storm raged outside and water seeped in beneath the doors. Winds peeled off the aluminum roof piece by piece throughout the night, and knocked over several gas pumps.

“It felt like a tornado, as if the roof was going to come off,” Mr. Ramirez said.

Thousands of residents fled the winds and rain and hunkered down in stronger buildings. More than 500 shelters have been opened in Puerto Rico, but Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he could not vouch for the storm-worthiness of those structures.

About 600 people took refuge in one of the biggest shelters, the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. Witnesses said that the arena’s roof had come off and that the shelter lacked electricity and running water.

“It’s looking ugly, ugly, ugly over here,” Shania Vargas, a resident of Carolina who had taken shelter in the arena, said in a telephone interview.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of San Juan remained at the shelter with residents as the hurricane struck. She told people there that there had been widespread flooding in the city, and said in a video posted to Twitter that “as uncomfortable as we are, we are better off than any other place.”

Elsewhere in the capital, tree trunks and electricity poles had snapped like twigs, obstructing major highways and winding mountain roads alike. If an exit was not blocked by foliage, then it was flooded. Power lines thrashed in the high winds. The commercial Roosevelt Avenue had water up to the waist.

Metal gates in affluent neighborhoods like Caparra had been crumpled like cardboard, while makeshift trails leading to wooden houses in the barrios of Guaynabo had been made impassable by fallen trees.

Smaller towns and more rural areas, many full of wooden houses with zinc roofs, were difficult to reach after the storm, but widespread damage was reported. Mayor Félix Delgado of Cataño, on the northern coast, told a San Juan radio station that the storm had destroyed 80 percent of the homes in the Juana Matos neighborhood, which had been evacuated.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed severe flooding in the central areas of the island. Rivers overflowed and their waters rushed through the narrow streets, taking some homes with them.

Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico had very fragile power systems and that electricity was expected to remain out for a very long time.

Much of Puerto Rico lost power after Hurricane Irma passed just north of it this month, exposing the island’s doddering infrastructure and the severe challenges it faces amid a worsening economic crisis. Electrical power, produced by the state-owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, has long been a headache for residents, who have come to distrust the flickering grid even in normal conditions.

Efforts by Prepa to fix lines and restore power after Irma will almost certainly have been undone by Maria, and the question of how a debt-ridden commonwealth will pay for comprehensive repairs is sure to confound its leaders long after the storm dissipates.

Potable water was also affected by the storm, but the authorities could not yet say just how much damage had been done. Elí Díaz Atienza, president of the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, said that the agency’s communications systems had gone down and that he was not able to check on plants and offices.

The gates of La Plata dam in Bayamón and the Carraízo dam in Trujillo Alto, both on the northern coast, were opened to avoid flooding in the nearby areas. The authority had begun emptying the reservoirs several days ago in anticipation of heavy rain.

Mr. Rosselló said on Twitter that he had urged President Trump to declare Puerto Rico a disaster zone. Mr. Trump declared an emergency in the commonwealth on Monday, and ordered federal assistance in the hurricane response. But a disaster declaration would escalate that help.

Mr. Trump called the hurricane “a big one” at a meeting in New York with King Abdullah II of Jordan. “I’ve never seen winds like this. Puerto Rico, you take a look at what’s happening there. It’s just one after another,” he said.

Other islands hit by Hurricane Maria before it made landfall on Puerto Rico were still struggling to regroup. Seven deaths had been confirmed on Dominica, where the hurricane hit Tuesday, and the toll was likely to rise, according to Hartley Henry, an adviser to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. Housing was severely damaged and all public buildings were being used as shelters, he said.

On Puerto Rico, even the concrete walls of some condominiums in San Juan had been blasted away, leaving living rooms and kitchens exposed. Outdoor basketball courts were swimming pools. Traffic lights had been knocked down and were now part of the obstacle courses of roadways. Zinc-roofed structures were destroyed, as were windows and glass doors.

“This looks like a different country,” Marimar de la Cruz, an educational consultant, said as she viewed the destruction in Hato Rey, a San Juan neighborhood.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Rosselló said that the island had updated its building codes around 2011. Recent structures have been built to withstand storms, but many traditional dwellings, the governor said, “had no chance.”

Still, Mr. Rosselló offered words of hope.

“There is no hurricane stronger than the people of Puerto Rico,” he said. “And immediately after this is done, we will stand back up.”

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Mexico anxiously awaits the fate of a 12-year-old schoolgirl after deadly earthquake – Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — A sprawling earthquake recovery effort spanning several states turned intensely personal Thursday as Mexicans were riveted by an effort to save a 12-year-old girl who was pinned in the rubble of her elementary school.

The drama played out live late Wednesday and early Thursday on the major news channels here, with television cameras tracking every movement of the Mexican marines and others who sought to rescue the girl now known as “Frida Sofia.” Under a soft rain, the work was delicate and painstaking, relying on thermal cameras and other technology to try to locate and remove young children trapped for more than 30 hours after their school collapsed on Tuesday afternoon.

At one dramatic point in Wednesday night’s broadcast, Televisa reporter Danielle Dithurbide learned from the marine admiral leading the recovery effort that Frida Sofia — which may not be her real name — was able to tell rescuers that five other students were possibly trapped with her. It was unclear whether they were alive.

In other rescue efforts underway simultaneously in different parts of Mexico City, at least three people were pulled alive from crushed buildings, bringing the total number of people saved to more than 50, President Enrique Peña Nieto said in an address to the nation on Wednesday night.

“The priority continues to be saving lives,” he said.

As the death toll from Tuesday’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake reached 245 people, with at least 100 in Mexico City and the rest distributed in surrounding states, Mexicans confronted scenes out of parents’ worst nightmares as rescuers pulled children’s bodies from the ruins of the primary school. Residents also learned about a baby’s baptism in central Mexico that ended with 11 family members dead, including the baby, when the church collapsed.

Amid the scenes of devastation, a surge of civic spirit took hold as thousands volunteered to provide medical care, food and water or to pick through buildings destroyed by the quake, the second major temblor in the past month and the deadliest in three decades.

In Mexico City’s central Roma neighborhood, small stores stayed open around the clock, offering food to rescue workers and families of victims. A hardware store lent tools to people trying to claw through massive piles of debris. Signs on pay phones advertised free calls. On one quiet street in Colonia del Valle, a generator rumbled softly, with a paper taped to the wall next to it that read: “Neighbors, you can charge your phones here.”

“It’s a pleasure to help,” said Rogelio Santos, a shopkeeper, on Wednesday. “We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.”

In the capital, the powerful quake caused more than three dozen buildings to crumple and damaged hundreds more, a north-south band of destruction that scarred poor and wealthy neighborhoods alike.

“The priority continues to be rescuing people in collapsed structures and treating the wounded,” Peña Nieto wrote on Twitter on Wednesday as he assessed damage in Mexico City and surrounding areas. Peña Nieto declared a three-day period of national mourning, the second time the government has made such a declaration this month.

The Mexican leader spoke to President Trump on Wednesday about the quake. Trump extended his condolences and offered assistance and search-and-rescue teams, which were quickly deployed, according to a statement from the White House.

Trump has had a testy relationship with the Mexican government and was criticized for not quickly contacting Peña Nieto after a deadly quake off the Pacific coast earlier this month. (Trump blamed poor cellphone reception.)

[Was it the cell signal? Mexicans wonder why Trump took so long to offer condolences]

The latest quake knocked out power across 40 percent of this city of 20 million, and rescue and medical services were stretched to their limits. Peña Nieto said Wednesday night that power had been restored to 95 percent of the population.

Authorities reported damage to at least 22 hospitals in and around Mexico City.

One, in Morelos, collapsed completely. Some 5,000 schools were damaged by the quake.

The partially destroyed Colegio Enrique Rebsamen, a private elementary school with about 400 students in southern Mexico City, quickly became a painful symbol of the tragedy. Mexicans anxiously watched on their televisions as dramatic rescue efforts continued through Tuesday night and into the next day.

By Wednesday morning, Lucia Arista had already visited what remained of the school. She had checked the dozens of names scrawled on paper and taped to trees that identified the survivors and deceased. She had visited eight hospitals in southern Mexico City in a desperate, predawn search for her niece.

She could discover no news, good or bad, about the fate of Jessica Laura Castrejon Hernandez, a 32-year-old cleaning woman who worked at the school.

“She has disappeared,” Arista said. The mingled emotions of anxiety, dread and hope were evident in the crowd gathered around the three-story school.

After one wing collapsed Tuesday afternoon — where the kindergarten and the younger grades held classes — hundreds of rescue workers descended on the scene, including police, soldiers and marines.

“It’s like a sandwich now,” said Eduardo Corona, 55, a search-and-rescue volunteer who began working at the building Tuesday evening. “Many of those children, they didn’t make it.”

Corona saw the bodies of young children but said he could not hear sounds from survivors. Working to the rumble of generators, rescue teams used search dogs, mirrors, hoses and other methods to probe the wreckage for survivors.

Rescue worker Pedro Serrano described to the Associated Press how he tunneled into the unstable rubble to a partially collapsed classroom of the school, only to find no one alive.

“We saw some chairs and wooden tables. The next thing we saw was a leg, and then we started to move rubble, and we found a girl and two adults — a woman and a man,” he said.

The search for the girl known as Frida Sofia became the top priority at the school, and maybe for all of Mexico. Overnight and into Thursday morning, there remained confusion about how many children were inside with her and whether they were alive.

Around the security cordon, neighbors strung up sheets of paper, taped between a tree and a crosswalk sign, with names of children who survived, suffered injuries or died.

There were 31 names on two lists of the dead. At least 59 other people were listed as having gone to hospitals in the area.

“We don’t know how many children are still inside,” said Elena Villaseñor, 44, a neighbor who was helping with the notices. “They were in classes. The school was full.”

A stream of parents, grandparents and other relatives checked for the names of family members.

“It is very hard to have to point them to these two lists,” Villaseñor said, motioning to the blue and white sheets with the names of the dead children. “There aren’t words.”

[In Mexico City, rich and poor had little in common. Until the quake hit.]

The Mexican military dispatched more than 4,000 service members to Mexico City and thousands more elsewhere to help with relief operations.

Several countries made plans to send assistance. At the Mexican government’s request, the U.S. Agency for International Development will deploy a team to conduct damage assessments and help local authorities coordinate their emergency efforts, American officials said. The team will include urban search-and-rescue specialists from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Ordinary Mexican residents also banded together to assist in the recovery effort in any way possible: distributing water, sandwiches, tamales and coffee.

Telecom companies enabled free text messaging and provided Internet service at points across the city. Private car services, as well as public buses and subways, offered free rides.

When the traffic lights went out in the hard-hit Roma neighborhood, several private security guards and one regular civilian in a T-shirt and jeans took it upon themselves to direct traffic.

Tuesday’s earthquake occurred exactly 32 years after Mexico’s worst earthquake, which left thousands dead in 1985 and demolished entire neighborhoods in the capital.

Mexico is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes: The country is in a region where tectonic plates butt up against one another, with huge amounts of energy waiting to be unleashed.

Gabriela Martinez and Paul Imison in Mexico City and William Branigin, Andrew deGrandpre and Abby Phillip in Washington contributed to this report.

Read more

Strong earthquake shakes Mexico, killing more than 200 people

Mexicans claw through the rubble to reach survivors after deadly earthquake

Thirty years later, Mexicans are getting ready for the next big quake

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