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It’s Friday, and here are five things to know for your New Day.
1. Charlottesville attack
In many minds, what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend is a terror attack. A man drove a car through a crowd of counter-protesters at a rally by white supremacists. A Justice Department official says the feds have gathered enough evidence to suspect the attacker didn’t just want to harm the immediate victims but send a message.
So why is it so hard for the leader of the free world – who is usually so quick to tweet at the smallest outrage – to call out the white supremacists and Nazis by name? President Trump condemned the rally but then blamed it on “many sides.” Remember, one side was there – chanting and hurling epithets at every minority group - gays, women, African Americans, Jews – and calling for racial purity. The other wasn’t. Both Republicans and Dems alike ripped the President.
Trump’s allies spent the rest of the weekend doing clean up, with Vice President Mike Pence saying the country had “zero tolerance for hate.” Someone else at the White House said it was obvious that Trump condemned those groups. But that official wouldn’t say it on the record. Trump’s Twitter feed has been silent on the violence since Saturday night.
2. North Korea tensions
After last week’s nuke-laden bluster, two top figures in the Trump administration are trying to lower the temperature. In a co-authored opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis presented a clear, united position. The aim of the US, they said, is not regime change in North Korea but a “peaceful pressure campaign” to denuclearize it.
3. Burkina Faso attack
Details are scarce, and we don’t yet know how many assailants were involved in yesterday’s attack on a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital. At least 18 people – many of them foreigners – were killed in what the government’s calling a terror incident. Militants have targeted civilians in Burkina Faso several times, including last year when attackers seized a luxury hotel, killing dozens of people.
4. Kenya election
At least 24 people have died in violent post-election protests in Kenya. President Uhuru Kenyatta beat opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga 54% to 45%, but Odinga rejected the results and called it rigged. Odinga’s supporters then took to the streets in droves in some cities. Many of the dead were shot, including a 9-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet.
Kenya’s last election, in 2013, passed off peacefully, but 10 years ago the country was plunged into widespread violence after the 2007 vote. More than 1,000 people were killed in months of bloodshed when Odinga – who’d been defeated by the then-President Mwai Kibaki – claimed the vote was rigged.
So you didn’t win that $393 million Mega Millions jackpot over the weekend? Don’t worry, you still have a shot at the Powerball. The jackpot in that game has grown to about $430 million, and the next drawing is Wednesday night. As for the Mega Millions, somebody in Illinois is having a pretty good Monday.
The grab bag: So much to report, so little space. Here we go:
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Bought your eclipse glasses yet? Be careful, because there are lots of fakes out there and even Amazon is giving refunds for frauds it has sold.
Taylor Swift’s gotten lots of support during her civil trial, including the folks armed with Post-In Notes right across the street.
Not the ‘Love Boat’
Nothing stops the party on a cruise ship out in the middle of the Indian Ocean quite like a threat by pirates.
Who needs steel or plastic to make a car when you can create a vehicle out of sugar beets and flax?
… AND FINALLY
We’ve been all about the ‘90s lately, so it’s the perfect time to look at what it takes to be the perfect ‘90s video gamer. (Click to view)