In our news wrap Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared emergencies late Thursday in Orange and Riverside Counties, where some 20,000 people have been evacuated and more than 1,000 firefighters are on the scene. Also, Senate confirmation hearings will begin Sept. 4 for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
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The focus of California’s nightmarish fire season has shifted again, with emergencies now declared south of Los Angeles.
Governor Jerry Brown took that step late Thursday in Orange and Riverside Counties. Some 20,000 people have been evacuated, and more than 1,000 firefighters are on the scene.
Meanwhile, in Northern California, the Mendocino Complex fire, the biggest in the state’s history, is now 50 percent contained. And Yosemite National Park will reopen on Tuesday, after heavy smoke closed it there for two weeks.
Senate confirmation hearings will begin September four for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced the plan today, and said the hearings will last three to four days. Republicans are pushing to get Kavanaugh confirmed before the court’s new session begins on October 1.
Russia has issued a stern warning today, responding to a new round of U.S. sanctions. The penalties are in response to the nerve agent attack on a former Russian double-agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in England.
Today, touring the Bering Sea region, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Washington not to go too far.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV (through interpreter):
If something like a ban on bank operations or currency use follows, it will amount to a declaration of economic war. And it will warrant a response with economic means, political means and, if necessary, other means. Our American friends should understand that.
Those U.S. sanctions sent the Russian ruble plummeting to a two-year low today.
Later, the State Department said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to the Russian foreign minister in a phone call, and told him the U.S. wants better relations.
In Gaza, a cease-fire appeared to be holding between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. It followed a burst of violence this week, when Hamas fired rockets into Israel, and the Israelis pounded Gaza with airstrikes. Today, thousands of Palestinian protesters gathered at the border. Some burned tires and threw rocks. Gaza’s Health Ministry said two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including a paramedic.
Government forces in Afghanistan struggled today to beat back a Taliban attack on a provincial capital. At least 14 Afghan policemen were killed. It happened just 75 miles south of Kabul in Ghazni. Officials say the Taliban hid inside homes, then attacked around 2:
Video from local media showed smoke ring above rooftops and compounds ablaze. The city was under lockdown as gunfire continued through the day.
Thousands of Muslims protested in Northwestern China today against the destruction of a local mosque. It’s part of a broader government crackdown on religion by the Chinese government. Video on social media showed a rally that began Thursday in front of the mosque in Weizhou. Authorities claim the site lacked proper permits.
Back in this country, players on several NFL teams protested during the national anthem at preseason games last night. Some raised their fists or took a knee in silent demonstrations against racial injustice.
There are a ton of people who look to us as motivation or look to us for inspiration, and can see that, you know, when they have people who are fighting for them or advocating for them, it gives those people who do this work day to day, the ugly grind of fighting against systems of oppression, they draw motivation.
The NFL and the players union are working on a policy for this season regarding anthem protests. But President Trump renewed his criticism, tweeting that last night’s protesters — quote — “wanted to show their outrage at something that most of them are unable to define.”
And on Wall Street, stocks slumped on the worries about financial troubles in Turkey. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 196 points to close at 25,313. The Nasdaq fell 52 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 20.