Tensions rise between Trump and athletes
On Friday evening, President Trump spoke at a rally in Alabama and criticized NFL athletes who engaged in protest by kneeling or remaining seated during the national anthem. Questioning the crowd, he inquired “wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now… he is fired.’” Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, quickly acknowledged these comments, tweeting that Trump’s comments were “divisive” and showed a “lack of respect.” The NFL Players Association took issue with the President’s “shut up and play” attitude towards athletes, countering soon after with a statement of their own. Following Friday’s events, a number of athletes and business owners have knelt at the flag or spoken up in protest, including the Oakland Athletics’ Bruce Maxwell, the CEO of San Francisco 49ers, Jed York and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. Trump went so far as to disinvite the entire Golden State Warriors team from a White House event on the basis of Curry’s protest, inciting even further backlash on social media from the likes of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The events of this past weekend mark the second instance in which the White House has called for the dismissal of individual citizens from their jobs. Last week, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for the dismissal of ESPN sportscaster, Jemele Hill.
Syrian activist and daughter assassinated
Activist Orouba Barakat and her daughter, journalist Halla Barakat, were highly-vocal critics of Bashar al-Assad’s presidency. Orouba had, according to Turkish media reports, recently been investigating prison conditions under the Assad Regime. Halla was an editor for the opposition’s Orient News. Both women were found in their Istanbul apartment apparently stabbed to death. Law enforcement has yet to yield a suspect, and details involving the investigation have not yet been made public. Many are saddened by the violent passing of these women, and the U.S. Department of State has released a statement saying the nation is “deeply saddened by the deaths of Orouba and Halla,” calling the two women “courageous.” Fellow journalists and civilians alike have been posting to social media in tribute. In a post of her own, Shaza Barakat, Orouba’s older sister, said that they “wrote headlines for the front page… pursued criminals and exposed them. [Orouba’s] name and her daughter’s name, Halla, are now in the front page headlines.”
Second earthquake halts rescue efforts in Mexico
A strong earthquake killed approximately 300 people in Mexico last Tuesday following a quake on Sept. 7 that left at least 90 people dead. Despite dwindling hope that survivors will be found amongst the wreckage, rescue searches have been ongoing since the first earthquake two weeks ago. Unfortunately, a third earthquake struck on Saturday, halting rescue efforts and furthering structural damage in the state of Oaxaca. More buildings were flattened and one bridge was reported to have caved in. This most recent earthquake occurred very suddenly while most people were asleep or just starting the day in their homes. Antelma Lopez, a resident of Mexico City, said in an interview with Reuters that she and her family “were about to have breakfast… when [they] felt the movement and got up and stood underneath the door frame.” Only two deaths have been confirmed so far, both attributed to aggravation of the victims’ pre-existing heart conditions amidst the earthquake. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera has not announced when rescue missions will resume but assured citizens via social media that they are a “priority”.