Gun legislation stalls — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Democrats are engaging in “theatrics” over gun control legislation, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that “people are dying” because the Senate leader refuses to act. After a summer of devastating mass shootings, Congress appears no closer to approving legislation to curb gun violence as President Donald Trump wavers on what kind of bill he wants the lawmakers to send for his signature. McConnell refuses to allow a vote on a House-passed bill to expand background checks for gun purchases because he says it’s not clear the Senate would be able to pass the legislation or that Trump would sign it into law. Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, took a similar hard line after a meeting of GOP leaders Tuesday at the White House. Still, the White House meeting reflected increased pressure for Congress to act following the spate of mass shootings that killed dozens of people.
Netanyahu vows to begin annexing West Bank — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday to annex the heart of the West Bank if he wins reelection next week, a move that could inflame the Middle East and extinguish any remaining Palestinian hope of establishing a separate state. Arab leaders angrily condemned Netanyahu’s remarks, and a U.N. spokesman warned the step would be “devastating” to the prospects for a two-state solution. Netanyahu said he would extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley — an area seen as the breadbasket of any Palestinian state — shortly after forming a new government and would move later to annex other Jewish settlements. Such action would swallow up most of the West Bank territory sought by the Palestinians, leaving them with little more than isolated enclaves. Netanyahu said it was important to act as President Donald Trump prepares to unveil his Mideast peace plan after the Sept. 17 election.
Iranian female soccer fan sets herself on fire — An Iranian woman detained for dressing as a man to sneak into a soccer stadium to watch a match has died after setting herself on fire upon learning she could spend six months in prison, semi-official news outlets reported Tuesday. The self-immolation death of 29-year-old Sahar Khodayari has shocked Iranian officials and the public, becoming an immediate hashtag trend across social media in the Islamic Republic. It also comes as FIFA is working with Iranian authorities to overcome a ban on women entering stadiums for men’s games, a ban in place since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Mugabe’s body heading home to Zimbabwe — The body of Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe was being returned to his homeland Wednesday to lie in state before his burial in the African nation he ruled for decades. Mugabe died Friday in a Singapore hospital at age 95. The ex-guerrilla leader took power when Zimbabwe shook off white minority rule in 1980. He enjoyed strong public backing in the initial years, but that support waned following repression, economic mismanagement and alleged election-rigging, and he was forced out of power in 2017. Many still regard him as a national hero, with some Zimbabweans even saying they missed him after his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, failed to revive the economy and used the army to crush dissent.
Anti-Muslim event canceled— A Bloomfield, Michigan, church is canceling an anti-Muslim event scheduled for Wednesday’s 9/11 anniversary after facing condemnation from Michigan representatives and organizations. Bloomfield Hills Baptist Church announced in a one-sentence email that it will cancel the two-day “9/11 forgotten? Is Michigan surrendering to Islam?” event. The event was slated to host two speakers, who would address topics like “How the interfaith movement is sabotaging America and the church” and “How Islam is destroying America from within.” The church’s pastor, Donald McKay, defended the event to Fox 2 last week, telling the station that “Islam is a growing threat in the United States of America,” and that while he couldn’t speak for his church, “we don’t hate Muslims, we hate the ideology they are identified with.” “I am an Islamophobe, I wear that badge proudly,” said McKay.
Environmental crackdown in the Amazon — A group of wildcat miners blocked a highway that cuts through the Amazon this week to protest a government crackdown on illegal mines, the latest challenge to President Jair Bolsonaro amid growing international pressure to protect the rainforest. Thousands of illegal miners operate in the Amazon, often digging up sparsely populated indigenous reserves and national parks for gold and diamonds. Now the miners are demanding that Bolsonaro, who was elected on a promise to open the Amazon up for business, come to their defense. Environmental protection agents this week destroyed excavators and tractors found at an illegal mine in a national forest.