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Daily Brief: Hundreds Dead After Mexico's Second Quake in Two Weeks

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September 20, 2017

Daily News Brief

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Hundreds Dead After Mexico's Second Quake in Two Weeks

At least 216 people were killed after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck southern Mexico on Tuesday. The quake comes just two weeks after Mexico registered its strongest earthquake in a century, at a magnitude of 8.1, killing at least ninety and destroying thousands of residences.

The disaster, which fell on the anniversary of a 1985 quake (NYT) that killed as many as ten thousand, caused dozens of buildings to collapse in the capital of Mexico City and elsewhere. Soldiers and rescuers worked through the night searching for survivors under debris (WSJ). The U.S. Geological Survey predicted the earthquake may cause up to one thousand deaths (Guardian).


"Earthquakes do not kill; but inadequately designed and poorly constructed buildings, infrastructure, and lifeline systems can," Behzad Fatahi said in an interview with CNN.

"Mexico sits in one of the world's most seismically active areas, as the floor of the Pacific Ocean south of the country is sliding underneath the North American plate," Kate Linthicum, Rong-Gong Lin II, Alexandra Zavis, and Ruben Vives write for the Los Angeles Times.

"There could be the chance that the previous earthquake added more stress to a fault that was close to rupture. However, it will take time to determine if this was actually the case," Erik Klemetti writes for Discover. 


U.S. to Take Dozens of Refugees From Australia

Australia announced that the United States will take fifty-four asylum seekers (SMH) from its offshore detention centers on the islands of Manus and Nauru. Some of the more than two thousand refugees, largely from Afghanistan, Iran, and Sri Lanka, have been in detention camps there (AP) for more than four years.

MYANMAR: The United Kingdom has suspended more than $400,000 in financial aid (BBC) to the Burmese military, citing concerns over human rights abuses amid "ongoing violence."

CFR's Catherine Powell discusses Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi's absence from the UN General Assembly.


Kyrgyzstan Protests Kazakh Visit With Opposition

Kyrgyzstan has protested a meeting between Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Kyrgyz opposition candidate Omurbek Babanov, charging its neighbor with interfering in its October 15 presidential election (Reuters).

UZBEKISTAN: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in his first address to the UN General Assembly, cited a recent border treaty with Kyrgyzstan (RFE/RL) as creating a "new political atmosphere," saying his government will continue to improve stability in the region.


Britain, Saudi Arabia Sign Military Deal

The UK defense secretary met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah to sign a military cooperation deal (AFP), Saudi state press said Tuesday. Officials gave no further details on the agreement, which comes shortly after Saudi rival Qatar agreed to buy fighter jets from the United Kingdom.

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: The militant group Hamas invited West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to send authorities to the Gaza Strip (AP) to resume control there as Hamas disbands the committee that has controlled the area in recent months. 


DRC Begins Conference on Kasai Violence

President Joseph Kabila opened a peace conference on Tuesday (ANA) to address a year of conflict between government forces and militia groups in the country's Kasai region, which has killed more than 3,300 people (AP), according to the Catholic Church. Kabila blamed the loss of life on "terrorist militia."

AFRICA: The Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia have lost their UN voting rights (Africa News) over not paying membership dues. 


Spanish Police Arrest Catalan Officials

Spain's national police raided Catalan government offices in Barcelona on Wednesday morning and arrested at least three officials, including the secretary-general of the Catalan vice presidency. Madrid is opposed to an independence referendum (FT) Catalonia plans to hold in less than two weeks.

RUSSIA: An errant missile launched during joint war games hosted by Russia and Belarus this week narrowly missed hitting spectators (VOA). Several Russian media outlets reported three people were injured.  


Hurricane Maria Makes Powerful Landfall in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm (NYT) with winds of up to 155 miles per hour early Wednesday morning. Officials fear the debris leftover from Hurricane Irma (BBC) two weeks ago may create an additional hazard during the storm.

Stephen Flynn discusses U.S. disaster resilience on the President's Inbox


Trump, in UN Speech, Threatens to Destroy North Korea

U.S. President Donald J. Trump said in his first address to the UN General Assembly that he would "totally destroy North Korea" if the United States is forced to defend itself. Trump also called the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (NYT) an "embarrassment."

CFR's Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes for CNN that Trump brought his 'America First' ideas to the United Nations on Tuesday. 

Three Democratic members of Congress were arrested at a protest (AP) outside Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. Demonstrators were demanding that Congress pass legislation to protect immigrants brought into the country as children from deportation.

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