It’s an exclusive club. America had only Iran, Sudan and Syria listed as state sponsors of terror. But today President Donald Trump added North Korea, saying it’s “threatening the world by nuclear devastation,” along with carrying out “assassinations on foreign soil,” likely referring to the killing of Kim Jong Nam, leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother. The rogue nation was on the list from 1988 until 2008, when President George W. Bush removed it as an incentive for nuclear talks. Trump’s also promised additional sanctions, perhaps targeting Chinese banks trading with the Hermit Kingdom.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s no longer a pipe dream. Nebraska’s Public Service Commission voted 3-2 today to allow TransCanada to build the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, capping nearly nine years of resistance from environmentalists and ranchers. Standing up for fossil fuel advocates, President Donald Trump approved the $8 billion project earlier this year in a reversal of a 2015 rejection by Barack Obama, who was swayed by ecological concerns. Opponents pointed to last week’s existing Keystone pipeline rupture as proof of its environmental risks, and plan to keep the project tied up with court challenges.
The emperor has no clothes. Although his four decades ruling Zimbabwe seem all but over, President Robert Mugabe is still bizarrely clinging to power, apparently refusing to bow to resounding pressure that he resign. In a rambling address on live TV Sunday night, the 93-year-old acknowledged criticisms against his regime, but failed to announce his resignation — as was expected after his party, Zanu-PF, sacked him. The party gave Mugabe a deadline of mid-day Monday to resign, which he ignored. He’s expected to face impeachment when Parliament reconvenes Tuesday.
He’s gone. Gaining worldwide infamy for masterminding the grisly 1969 murders of seven people in Los Angeles, the cult leader has died at age 83 after decades in prison. Once a petty criminal, Manson became a horrifying symbol of drug-induced madness after commanding his followers to kill Hollywood elite, including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, in an attempt to spark a race war. Originally condemned to death, he received a life sentence after California abolished capital punishment in 1972. Officials have not yet decided how to dispose of Manson’s body.
They were desperate. At least 15 people were killed and five injured in a stampede in the impoverished Moroccan city of Sidi Boulaalam on Sunday as more than 1,000 residents rushed to receive food aid. Currently in the throes of a severe drought that has devastated farmlands, the country has also faced political turmoil over the lack of progress in development projects to reduce poverty, as well as protests over corruption. King Mohammed VI said that he would personally cover medical and funeral costs for the stampede victims.
Know This: Coalition talks in Germany have collapsed, dealing a major blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel that threatens her political survival. British experts have suggested implementing more graphic sex education to reflect the modern realities of teenagers’ experiences. And the U.S. military has banned all soldiers stationed in Japan from drinking alcohol after a Marine was involved in a car accident that left a local resident dead.
Watch This: No stranger to roasting celebrities of all stripes, Saturday Night Live trained its guns on one of its own alumni, taking a dig at founding writer and current U.S. Senator Al Franken, who apologized last week amid allegations of sexual assault.
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He wants them to play ball. President Trump tweeted Sunday that the three U.S. college basketball players briefly detained in China for shoplifting should still be imprisoned after “ungrateful” comments by one of their fathers. Notoriously outspoken basketball dad LaVar Ball, father of UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball, downplayed the president’s involvement in getting his son released. The players — who all publicly thanked Trump at his request — remain suspended. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted that it would be great if both Ball and Trump “would just be quiet.”
Life is sweet. Just ask Madagascar’s vanilla farmers, who have benefited from widespread efforts to make their industry more financially sustainable. Major corporations and international partnerships are chipping in to make sure local farmers — typically beholden to wildly fluctuating global vanilla prices — receive their fair share of the profit. That means investing in crop diversification and boosting better farming practices, among other steps. Still, major buyers are focused on their bottom line, so experts say the best hope is to strike a balance between sustainability and meeting demand.
Who’s listening? Germany’s communications watchdog has banned smartwatches that let parents keep tabs on their children because they can be used for illegal snooping. The Federal Network Agency believes that parents secretly listening in on their kids, as well as on unsuspecting teachers, violates the country’s surveillance laws. The threat is apparently so dire that officials have urged parents to destroy the devices — and provide proof that they’ve done so. Norwegian regulators have voiced similar concerns, saying the unencrypted devices could let children be tracked by hackers.
Get ready to rumble. Two American geologists say their recent study of temblors dating back to 1900 indicates that the world will experience a spike in large earthquakes in 2018, thanks to changes in the planet’s rotation. The researchers found a correlation between strong earthquakes — those clocking over 7 on the moment magnitude scale — and a regular slowing of the Earth’s rotation approximately every 32 years. While they’re not sure where the earthquakes will hit, they estimate the number could potentially double next year to as many as 30.
His show’s in arrested development. Amid multiple sexual harassment allegations against him, Tambor is leaving his starring role in the Amazon series Transparent. Citing what he called a “politicized atmosphere” that had “afflicted” the set, the 73-year-old said the show was “no longer the job I signed up for.” Tambor has denied accusations of unwanted advances by co-star Trace Lysette and former assistant Van Barnes. Meanwhile, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons denied claims that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old in 1991 while director Brett Ratner watched.