5 things for August 15: Charlottesville, North Korea, Iran nukes, Taylor Swift
Posted August 15
In the wake of the horror in Charlottesville, protesters in North Carolina took their anti-Confederate beef into their own hands. Here's what else-you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
It took a couple days, but President Trump finally condemned and called out by name the white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other extremist groups that brought violence and death to Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Trump's words, while strong, would have been much more powerful if he'd said them Saturday, so for a lot of folks, this was just too little, too late.
Trump's delay in condemning the groups was apparently the last straw for a trio of CEOs. The heads of Merck, Intel and Under Armour all quit the President's manufacturing council. Trump almost immediately lashed out at Kenneth Frazier, Merck's CEO, raising even more eyebrows. Critics pointed out that the President took just minutes to hit Frazier, one of the country's most prominent black business leaders, but waited days to take on white supremacists.
Meanwhile, James Alex Fields Jr. had his first court appearance. He's-charged with second-degree murder-and other crimes. Police say Fields was behind the wheel of the car that deliberately rammed into a group of counterprotesters at the "Unite the Right" rally. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, was killed.
2. North Korea
Looks like Kim Jong Un is in wait-and-see mode. The North Korean leader has reviewed plans to launch a missile attack on Guam but wants to see what the "foolish Yankees" do before he makes his next move. Whatever move that is, Defense Secretary James Mattis warns Kim to think carefully. Mattis said if the North fired on Guam or any other part of the US, it would be "game on." But South Korean President Moon Jae-in later said the US would need the South's OK before launching any attack on North Korea.
3. Iran nuclear deal
Is anybody happy with the Iran nuclear deal? President Trump, when recertifying it last month, said Iran is violating the "spirit" of the deal. Now Iran's President says he could pull his country out of it "within hours" if the US imposed more sanctions.-President Hassan Rouhani says Iran remains committed to the deal, though any breaches by other parties would prompt "appropriate" responses. The 2015 agreement lifts most sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuke program.
4. Sierra Leone mudslides
Hundreds of people are feared dead after mudslides ripped through Sierra Leone. The bodies of about 200 people have been recovered, but that number is sure to rise. Mudslides hit areas just outside the capital of Freetown, sweeping down hillsides and obliterating everything. Entire families are reported missing in the West African nation of 6 million residents. The mudslides have been fed by rainfall that's triple the average for this time of year. A presidential spokesman said the "whole country is traumatized."
5. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift won her civil countersuit against an ex-DJ she said groped her. David Mueller, the former DJ, has to pay her damages of $1, but for Swift, this obviously wasn't about the money. It was about standing up and speaking out for victims of sexual assault. After the verdict, Swift said she hopes to "help those whose voices should also be heard." The "Bad Blood" singer wasn't the only member of her family victorious in court. The jury also found Swift's mom not liable for tortious interference.
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