MILES O’BRIEN: In the day’s other news: Another storm has formed far out in the Atlantic, and it’s growing into a major hurricane. By late today, Irma already had sustained winds of 115 miles an hour. It could reach the Eastern Caribbean by early next week. No word yet on where the storm might go from there.
There’s new retaliation in a diplomatic duel between the U.S. and Russia. The State Department today ordered the Russian Consulate in San Francisco to close, along with two sites in Washington and New York. Moscow had already forced cuts in American diplomats, in retaliation for U.S. sanctions.
But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says now the two sides are even.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, White House Press Secretary: We have taken a firm and measured action in response to Russia’s unfortunate decision earlier this year. We want to halt the downward spiral, and we want to move towards better relations. We will look for opportunities to do that.
MILES O’BRIEN: The announcement came as the new Russian ambassador to the U.S. arrived in Washington. He urged calm, and quoted Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, saying, “We don’t need hysterical impulses.”
The U.S. military put on a new show of force over the Korean Peninsula after the North fired a missile over Japan two days ago. U.S. B-1B bombers were joined by F-35B stealth fighter jets for the first time, along with South Korean planes. South Korean military footage showed the bombers and fighters carrying out drills at a military field in the south. North Korea condemned the drill as a rash act.
Defense Secretary James Mattis has officially confirmed that more U.S. troops are on their way to Afghanistan. He wouldn’t give exact numbers today. Other officials have said about 3,900 troops will deploy, however. Just yesterday, the Pentagon confirmed about 11,000 U.S. troops are already in Afghanistan. That’s several thousand more than previous figures.
In Iraq, the prime minister of Iraq announced that Tal Afar has been fully liberated from Islamic State fighters. The capture follows the fall of Mosul, the country’s second largest city, in July. ISIS still controls small pockets in Northern Iraq and along the Syrian border.
Days of monsoon rains in India have triggered a new disaster. An aging five-story building collapsed today in Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, killing at least 22 people. Rescue workers managed to pull 35 survivors from the ruins, but others could be trapped. Witnesses said they heard a bang as the building went down.
AMINA SHEIKH, Mumbai Resident (through interpreter): The sound was so loud, we all got scared. When I first saw, there was only smoke. And when the smoke cleared, we saw the building, but, by that time, a lot of people were crushed by the building as it collapsed.
MILES O’BRIEN: The deadly rains are the heaviest in 15 years in Mumbai. Overall, the monsoon has claimed more than 1,200 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh since June.
The crisis engulfing Rohingya Muslims in mostly Buddhist Myanmar grew even worse today. Reuters reported 27,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since Friday. Another 20,000 are stuck at the border. Meanwhile, three boats carrying refugees capsized today before reaching Bangladesh.
At least 26 women and children were killed. The Rohingya are fleeing reprisals by government troops and vigilantes, after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts last week.
Back in this country, civil liberties groups hailed a federal judge’s decision to block a Texas law restricting sanctuary cities. It would have taken effect tomorrow. Among other things, the law would let police ask people about their immigration status during routine stops. Texas’ Republican governor has promised to appeal the ruling.
It turns out a Wells Fargo scandal over fake bank accounts was far larger than first reported. The company said today 3.5 million accounts may have been opened without customers’ knowledge, in a bid to meet sales targets. That’s up from 2.1 million. Wells Fargo has since settled with federal regulators and paid $140 million — $142 million in a class-action suit.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 55 points to close at 21948. The Nasdaq rose 60 points, and the S&P 500 added 14.