By NATALIE RICH /// Senior Staff Writer
On Sept. 9, North Korea conducted its fifth underground nuclear test, according to South Korea. North Korea’s nuclear weapons institute stated that the weapon had characteristics of a “nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on” ballistic missiles. The Defense Ministry estimated that the detonation was equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT, making it North Korea’s most powerful detonation to date. The Pentagon recently told Congress that North Korea’s new missiles, if perfected, could reach the continental United States. Source: The New York Times
On Sept. 11, 800,000 Catalans protested in the streets of Barcelona and other Spanish cities to urge politicians to vote for Catalan’s independence. Spain has repeatedly blocked attempts at a referendum on Catalan independence in the past. Catalan Regional President, Carles Puigdemont joined the protest and promised to use a parliamentary vote of confidence to bring about a referendum on Catalan independence soon. Source: BBC.
On Sept. 13, Chelsea Manning, the US soldier who was imprisoned for giving information to Wikileaks, announced that she was ending her hunger strike. The news came on the heels of the army announcing that it would permit Manning to undergo gender transition surgery. In July, the military ended its ban on transgender people serving in the military. Manning started her hunger strike on Sept. 9 as a protest against what she said was the army denying her treatment. In April, psychologists recommended that Manning receive gender transition surgery. Manning gave a statement, saying, “I am unendingly relieved that the military is finally doing the right thing. I applaud them for that. This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me.” Source: BBC
The US and Russia agreed on a ceasefire in Syria on Sept. 10 to take effect on the evening of Sept. 12. US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the agreement would require the Syrian government and its opposers to adhere to the ceasefire. Specifically, President Bashar al-Assad’s air force would be forbidden from flying any missions, as Kerry labeled the air force the “main driver of civilian casualties.” However, Congress has passed a law making military cooperation with Russia illegal. Therefore, for the deal to become legal, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who has been unsupportive of the deal so far, must sign off on it. Source: CNN, The Associated Press.
On Sept. 13, Samsung announced that it will be updating the software on the Galaxy Note 7, which was recently recalled for problems with the device overheating. The software would nullify the recall by limiting the Note 7’s charge ability to max out at 60%, thus stopping the device from overheating. Samsung sent out a statement via advertisement, saying, “It is a measure to put consumer safety first but we apologize for causing inconvenience.” Source: The Associated Press.
The CEO of Dakota Access announced that it plans to finish the Dakota Access pipeline, despite vocal opposition from the local Native American reservation, politicians and celebrities, and even a federal order from the Obama administration to voluntarily halt construction. The pipeline project is projected to cost $3.8 billion and will stretch 1,172 miles across four states, including historically Native American lands, which is the source of the opposition. Source: The Associated Press.