Witness in El Chapo Trial Claims Former Mexican President Nieto Accepted $100 Million Bribe; Saudi Woman Rahaf Mohammed Escapes from Family; Granted Asylum in Canada; U.S. Troops Killed in Syria Suicide Bombing; Hotel Attack in Kenya Kills At Least 14; Political News Briefs: Sen. Gillibrand Announces 2020 Run; Speaker Pelosi Asks Trump To Delay SOTU; Bipartisan Senate Effort For Temporary End to Shutdown; SSA Benefits Not Affected by Shutdown; Actress Jameela Jamil Turns Down Deaf Role
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, January 16. Ready for news?
Witness in El Chapo Trial Claims Former Mexican President Nieto Accepted $100 Million Bribe
The New York Times reported that a witness in the trial for drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman claimed that the former Mexican president, Enrique Nieto, accepted a $100 million bribe from him.
The witness worked with El Chapo from 2007 to 2013. He said Nieto first reached out after he was elected in 2012 and asked for $250 million in exchange for stopping a manhunt for him, and that amount was reduced to $100 million.
BBC News said as of this morning, Nieto has not responded to this, but that he has previously denied being a part of corruption.
Fox 5 San Diego reported that former drug cartel members testified that most of the drugs that were brought into the U.S. were on fishing boats, trains, semi-trucks, and cars that went through legal ports of entry. Some said they used tunnels. None of them said they used border crossing in areas without a wall.
Saudi Woman Rahaf Mohammed Escapes from Family; Granted Asylum in Canada
A 18-year old woman from Saudi Arabia, Rahaf Mohammed, has been in newspaper headlines for the past week after she fled her home country and found refuge in Canada.
Rahaf explained in an interview with the Toronto Star that two years ago, she decided she would no longer observe Islam and was punished by her family. She said she did not agree with strict Saudi customs that demanded women ask male family members for permission to travel or to marry.
BBC News explained that when Rahaf went on a family vacation to Kuwait on January 5, she secretly got on a plane to Thailand, seeking to get on a connecting flight to Australia. But she said in Thailand, a Saudi diplomat seized her passport. She went in a hotel room and used social media to ask the world to help her. The Thai government allowed her to stay. The United Nations assessed her claim for asylum.
Last Friday, Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau said they would accept Rahaf as a refugee. She was welcomed at the Toronto airport.
Rahaf said she feels very safe in Canada because the country respects human rights. An immigrant organization has hired a private security guard for her because she has received many death threats.
Rahaf removed her family name, Alqunun, saying they have disowned her. The family said she was a naughty daughter who embarrassed them.
U.S. Troops Killed in Syria Suicide Bombing; Hotel Attack in Kenya Kills At Least 14
There were two terrorist attacks in the past two days, one in Syria and the second in Kenya.
Reuters reported that there was a suicide bombing at a restaurant in northern Syria that killed at least two U.S. soldiers and wounded others. It could be up to 4 soldiers killed, the numbers are not confirmed. ISIS claimed responsibility. This is the deadliest attack on U.S. soldiers since they first arrived in 2015.
We know that President Trump recently announced that U.S. forces would be withdrawing from Syria and that ISIS was defeated.
Reuters reported that in Kenya at a hotel in Nairobi, the capital city, five men with guns and explosives killed at least 14 people, including an American. It started with a suicide bombing, followed by gunfire.
Kenyan security forces responded, helping to evacuate over 700 people. There was a 20-hour, overnight siege that ended with the gunmen all dead. There are still people who are missing, so the death toll could increase. An al Qaeda group, al Shabaab, claimed responsibility.
The American who died was Jason Spindler. He survived the 9/11 attacks, served in the Peace Corps, and worked in Kenya to support local businesses.
Political News Briefs: Sen. Gillibrand Announces 2020 Run; Speaker Pelosi Asks Trump To Delay SOTU; Bipartisan Senate Effort For Temporary End to Shutdown
Here are three political news briefs.
The first — Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced last night she will run for president in 2020. She has formed an exploratory committee, a major step. She has been a Congresswoman since 2007. She is well-known for her advocacy on women’s issues and activism against sexual harassment.
The second news — Politico reported that Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Trump to reschedule his State of the Union speech or release it in writing if the government is still shut down. The speech is set for January 29th.
Pelosi said there were security concerns because the U.S. Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department are affected by the government shutdown. As of noon today, President Trump has not responded. Republicans criticized her for not being willing to sit down at the table to negotiate.
Yesterday Democrats refused to sit down for a lunch meeting at the White House to discuss border security. It is the 26th day of the shutdown.
The third news — Fox News reported that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) are leading a bipartisan effort to ask President Trump to end the shutdown for three weeks to give Congress time to develop and vote on an agreement on various issues, including the Southern border. The two are working on getting signatures on a letter that will be sent to Trump.
I want to note that I’ve been following Attorney General nominee William Barr’s confirmation hearings. Today is his second day. I will give a recap tomorrow.
Bipartisan Effort: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pelosi-urges-trump-to-delay-state-of-the-union-until-partial-shutdown-ends
SSA Benefits Not Affected by Shutdown
Will the shutdown affect social security benefits? An article in Kiplinger explained that the government shutdown would not affect people’s social security benefits because the Social Security Administration (SSA) is already funded through September 2019.
The checks will arrive in time. SSA offices will continue to be open at normal hours.
Actress Jameela Jamil Turns Down Deaf Role
Actress Jameela Jamil, who is a star on NBC sitcom “The Good Place,” said in an interview with independent.ie that she has turned down an offer for a role of a deaf woman because it wouldn’t be appropriate. She said that they should find a brilliant deaf woman to play that role.
She said she thinks you have to make those choices and not be too greedy and make space rather than take space.
Jamil tweeted about this last night. See this.
@Jameelajamil: “I feel very passionately about this, about making sure we all take on the fight to demand more roles for minorities, especially for LGBTQ and disability, so that we can continue to see on screen what we are living amongst in this world.”
This is a signal to The Daily Moth that Hollywood is starting to get the memo that it is not okay for actors who can hear and speak to take roles of people who are deaf.
We’ve seen recent signs of change with CJ Jones’ role on “Baby Driver.” The director, Edgar Wright, was determined to cast an authentic deaf actor.
The same happened with Millicent Simmonds’ role on “A Quiet Place,” with director John Krasinski pushing for her casting.
Another positive sign for disabled actors in general is “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah’s commentary on the controversy over actor Bryan Cranston taking a role of a man in a wheelchair.
Noah said he initially didn’t understand why it was a big deal. But when he read an online comment by an actor in a wheelchair who explained that it is rare to see an acting opportunity for a leading role of a person in a wheelchair, then an abled person takes that role, but people in wheelchairs don’t take abled people’s roles, Noah’s perspective changed.
Noah said maybe next time, an A-list star could play opposite an unknown disabled actor. You can view that video on Twitter, it is captioned.
Marlee Matlin responded in a tweet saying she was an unknown when she was cast in “Children of A Lesser God” oppose an A List actor and she went on to win an Academy Award.
See this tweet.
@MarleeMatlin: “Dear @Trevornoah A great discussion of representation. I was an unknown when I was cast in "Children of A Lesser God" opposite an A List actor and I went on to win an Academy Award. I was acting AND it was authentic. Interesting eh? Thank you for bringing attention to this.”
So, with Jamil’s comments, the previous instances, and the discussions, all this shows positive signs of change in Hollywood.
Jameela Jamil: https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/jameela-jamil-reveals-why-she-turned-down-role-of-deaf-woman-37712416.html
Trevor Noah and Marlee Response: https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1084451499646832645
Baby Driver: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/baby-driver-breakout-scene-stealing-deaf-actor-cj-jones-wowed-edgar-wright-201023904.html
Quiet Place: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/a-quiet-place-john-krasinski-pushed-cast-millicent-simmonds-1100644
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!