U.S. Expels 60 Russian Diplomats and Closes Seattle Consulate in Response to Poisoning; Two Million March Across U.S. and World to Demand Gun Reform; Russian Mall Fire Kills 64, Many of them Children; “Hero” Cop Dies During Terror Attack in France; Four Trump News Briefs: Stormy Daniels; H.R. McMaster Replaced with Bolton; Transgender Military Restrictions; Lawyer Update; Iowa Family Dies from Toxic Gas in Mexico; Apple Proposes New Emojis for People with Disabilities, Including Deaf
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, March 26. Hope your weekend was good. Ready for news?
The U.S. has ordered 60 Russian government representatives to leave the country and for the Russian Consulate in Seattle to be closed.
This is a response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England earlier this month with an advanced nerve agent that was made in Russia.
Canada, Ukraine, and at least 14 other countries in Europe has also expelled Russian government representatives for the same reason, showing their support for the U.K. in accusing and condemning Russia.
But Russia maintains they were not involved and said they would retaliate. The Russian Embassy twitter account posted a poll asking which U.S. consulate should be closed in Russia. The city with the most votes is St. Petersburg.
This is yet another pressure point on U.S./Russian relations.
On Saturday, around two million people across the nation and worldwide went into the streets to rally for gun reform.
This is five weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.
In Washington, D.C. there was between 200,000 to 800,000 people. Many held signs with slogans to end gun violence, for there to be policy changes, criticism of the NRA, and on how young people would vote pro-gun politicians out.
Parkland survivor and leader Emma Gonzalez was onstage for six minutes and 20 seconds, speaking for some of it and standing in silence for several minutes — to show how much time it took the shooter (Nikolas Cruz) to kill 17 people.
Another speech getting attention is 11-year old Naomi Walder. She said she was there to represent the African-American girls killed by gun violence who don’t make the front pages of newspapers. She said although she is still in elementary school, she has 7 years before they have the right to vote.
President Trump was at his golf resort in South Florida.
The White House said they applauded the many young Americans who used their First Amendment rights, and said keeping children safe is also a top priority of the President.
At a mall in Siberia, Russia — there was a big fire that killed at least 64 people, many of them children. At least 16 more are missing.
The fire started on the fourth floor where there was a play area for children and movie theaters. The roof over that area collapsed.
There are pictures and videos of people trying to open doors in stairwells and of people jumping from windows. Some children called parents or family to say they were trapped and said goodbye before they died.
Over 60 fire trucks arrived with around 300 firefighters trying to stop the fire — it took them 19 hours to extinguish it. Temperatures inside of the mall reached about 1,300 degrees F.
There were around 200 animals inside at a petting zoo, and it is likely all of them died.
News reports say fire exits were blocked/locked and that a private security guard turned off a fire alarm when he was notified there was a fire. There were no fire alarms or loudspeaker warnings.
Four people were detained for questioning. A criminal investigation has started.
Now government officials are asking for checks for other malls in the area, which might have issues with fire safety.
The possible causes of fire is a child lighting a foam ball or trampoline, or bad electricity wiring.
In southern France on Friday, a man killed four people, including a police officer, in what is labeled a terrorist attack.
The gunman is Radouane Lakdim (25), a French citizen who was born in Morocco.
First, he killed a person and severely injured another when he stole a car. He then shot at four police officers who were jogging, and tried to run them over, injuring one officer.
He then went inside a “Super U” market, shooting and killing two people while shouting that he was a solider for the ISIS. He took others hostage.
As police and SWAT swarmed the store, a police officer, Arnaud Beltrame (44) offered to switch places with a female hostage. He left his phone on so other police could hear what was going on, and as he went inside, he was shot in the neck.
Other police officers then swarmed the store and killed Radouane.
Arnaud was taken to the hospital, where he later died. He is being honored in France as a hero.
There is now an investigation in the gunman/terrorist and any connections he had. He was formerly on a watch-list, but police didn’t think he was radicalized.
Four news briefs related to President Trump:
1 — Last night CBS’ “60 Minutes” had an interview with Stormy Daniels, who said she was paid $130,000 by Trump’s lawyer to keep quiet about her affair in 2006. Most of the interview was a repeat of things already out in the media, but it was Stormy’s first time to confirm it herself that she had a relationship with Trump.
One new information — Stormy said she was threatened by an unknown man in 2011 after she did an interview with a magazine about the affair. She said the man, as she was putting her baby girl in her vehicle, said “Leave Trump alone. That’s a beautiful little girl, it’d be a shame if something happened to her mom,” then left.
Stormy and her lawyer said there are photos and messages that prove the relationship, but didn’t share details. They have sued Trump over the NDA agreement, saying it is invalid because he didn’t sign it.
After the interview, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, sent Stormy a letter demanding her to cease and desist and apologize for suggesting that he/Cohen was responsible for the threat.
2 — On Thursday afternoon, Trump announced on Twitter he is replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador who worked with both Bush presidents. He is a strong supporter of the Iraq war and is described as “hawkish” — which means he encourages the U.S. military to be more aggressive.
He will be Trump’s third national security adviser, the first being Michael Flynn, who was fired for lying about his contact with Russians.
3 — The Trump administration issued an order to restrict transgender people’s abilities to serve in the military, with those who had gender reassignment surgery to be disqualified and potential transgender recruits banned.
The order has some “grandfather clauses” and some exceptions. This is a "less strict” order than Trump’s previous one last year, an outright ban, that was struck down by federal judges. But Democrats and GLBTQ activists say they will challenge this.
4 — I reported last week that Trump had hired a new lawyer on his team for the Russia investigation after their head lawyer, John Dowd, resigned. But the new lawyer, Joe diGenova (and his wife and lawyer, Victoria Toensing) will not join due to conflicts of interest. Right now Trump has two lawyers.
Some reports say Trump is having a hard time finding new lawyers, but Trump tweeted that this wasn’t true.
A family of four from Iowa was found dead in Mexico on Friday. The family had been on vacation and were supposed to return home on Thursday. The family’s last name is Sharp -- the parents are 41 and 38. The kids are 12 and 7.
Mexican authorities said the family was renting a condo for their vacation when they died from inhaling toxic gas. They also said that there is no sign of any violent act or suicide. Mexican authorities have started an investigation, but it is not yet clear where the gas came from.
Last week, other family members began to worry because no one had been in contact with them since the first day of the trip and the family had not posted any photos or updates on social media like they usually did.
When they did not return the day they were expected to, other family members used the Find My iPhone app to locate Kevin Sharp’s phone. It showed that his phone had not moved from the same spot since Thursday morning.
The family was very active and involved in the community of their small town. The father, Kevin, was a passionate stock-car racer, often competing in events. On Saturday there was a candlelight vigil held at a racetrack that the family went to regularly.
Very tragic and terrible -- to die this way while on vacation.
Apple has proposed several new emojis to represent people with disabilities, including deaf people.
The images include guide/service dogs, canes (for blind people), a person signing, “deaf,” a hearing aid, motor/manual wheelchairs, and prosthetic arm/leg. The will be options for skin tone.
The proposal is sent to the “Unicode Consortium,” which is a nonprofit organization that coordinates text and emojis for computers and phones worldwide.
Apple said one in seven people worldwide has some type of disability, and hopes the new emojis will give them options to represent themselves. They mentioned they worked with the National Association of the Deaf in developing those.
For deaf people, this is another step of representation. Just recently we had a new “I Love You” emoji added, and now it is possible we will get the “deaf” and the “hearing aid” emojis.
Those could be used in combination with a service animal or a walking cane for deaf people who has additional disabilities, or “DeafPlus.”
What do you think?
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!