10 things you need to know today: September 19, 2023 – The Week

10 things you need to know today: September 19, 2023  The Week

Iran, US swap prisoners in a complex deal, Canada accuses India of role in Sikh leader’s assassination, and more

U.S. citizens released by Iran in prisoner exchange
U.S. citizens released by Iran in prisoner exchange
(Image credit: Karim Jaafar / AFP via Getty Images)

1. Iran, US release prisoners in complicated swap

Iran on Monday released five American prisoners under a deal that included the release of $6 billion in frozen funds South Korea owed Tehran for oil. The former prisoners included Iranian American businessmen Siamak Namazi, 51, and Emad Shargi, 59, and environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 67. The other two were not publicly identified at their families’ request. The United States released five Iranians who had been accused of such crimes as violating sanctions by exporting lab gear for Iran’s nuclear program. President Biden said the released Iranians posed no threat to the U.S. Some Republicans criticized the deal, arguing Biden was boosting Iran’s economy. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the exchange could “definitely help in building trust.” The Associated PressThe Washington Post

2. Canada accuses India of role in Canadian Sikh leader’s assassination

Canada said Monday it had found credible evidence linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh leader in British Columbia. Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and outspoken advocate for an independent Sikh homeland in northern India, was shot outside a Sikh temple in June. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said any foreign government involvement in such an attack would be “an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.” Trudeau said he expressed his concerns “in no uncertain terms” to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi. India called the allegation “absurd.” Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat it said was an intelligence agent, and India kicked out a Canadian envoy in response. ReutersThe Associated Press

3. GOP hardliners undermine McCarthy plan to avert shutdown

A dozen Republicans indicated Monday they would oppose a spending proposal unveiled a day earlier by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in hopes of averting a government shutdown at the end of the month. “The Republican House is failing the American people again and pursuing a path of gamesmanship and circus,” Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) said in a statement that called McCarthy a “weak speaker.” With its slim House majority, the GOP can’t pass the measure if a dozen members defect. Even without the far-right opposition, the plan, which includes an 8% spending cut for federal agencies and would only fund the government through October, stands almost no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate. The New York Times

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4. Jewish groups call Trump’s Rosh Hashanah message ‘antisemitic’

Jewish groups on Monday criticized former President Donald Trump for marking Rosh Hashanah — the Jewish new year that begins the High Holidays — with a social media post saying “liberal Jews” who opposed him “voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed in false narratives!” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told USA Today it was “dangerous and wrong to suggest an entire segment of the Jewish population voted to destroy America and Israel.” Amy Spitalnick, CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that Trump’s post was “antisemitic.” USA Today

5. Ukraine dismisses 6 deputy defense ministers

Ukraine on Monday fired all six of its deputy defense ministers as the government continued addressing reports of corruption in military procurement after its defense budget expanded during the war against invading Russian forces. Kyiv fired the defense minister two weeks ago. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy headed to the United States, where he is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. The housecleaning indicated he wanted to show leaders from the U.S. and other Western allies that “his government is not squandering — on either graft or mismanagement — the tens of billions of dollars in aid they have sent to Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. The New York Times

6. Hunter Biden sues the IRS over alleged privacy violations

Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, sued the Internal Revenue Service on Monday, accusing its agents of illegally releasing his tax records and violating his privacy rights in testimony to Congress. Two IRS agents, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, told lawmakers they believed the Justice Department slow-walked an investigation into Hunter Biden’s finances. Without naming the two agents as defendants, the lawsuit says they publicly revealed information that federal law says should be kept secret. “Mr. Biden has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen,” his lawyers wrote in the lawsuit. Shapley’s lawyers called the complaint “just another frivolous smear” intended to shift attention from Hunter Biden to the whistleblowers. CNNThe Wall Street Journal

7.Trump to skip 2nd GOP debate, address workers in Detroit

Former President Donald Trump plans to address a varied group of workers, from plumbers to autoworkers, in Detroit on the night of the second Republican presidential primary debate on Sept. 27, The New York Times reported Monday. Trump, by far the leading candidate in the GOP field, also skipped the party’s first debate. Trump’s plan to visit Michigan comes as the United Auto Workers stages a targeted, limited strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, with workers walking out at one factory each belonging to Ford, General Motors and Chrysler’s Stellantis. UAW President Shawn Fain said his union is focused on “fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers.” The New York TimesPolitico

8. Giuliani’s ex-lawyer sues over $1.4 million in unpaid fees

Rudy Giuliani’s former lawyer sued him on Monday, claiming the former New York City mayor owes him nearly $1.4 million in legal fees. Robert Costello and his firm, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, represented Giuliani for years through criminal investigations, including election interference inquiries by the Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney’s Office and federal special counsel Jack Smith, and the House Jan. 6 committee investigation. Giuliani told CBS News he was “personally hurt” by the complaint filed by Costello, a longtime confidant and supporter. “Their bill is way in excess to anything approaching legitimate fees,” Giuliani said. Costello, in a text message to CBS, called Giuliani’s sudden claim the bills were excessive “frivolous.” CBS News

9. Marines find wreckage of missing F-35B fighter jet

The U.S. military on Monday found the wreckage of a missing Marine Corps fighter jet after a massive search effort across South Carolina. The $90 million F-35B Lightning II jet crashed in a remote, swampy area more than 63 miles from the North Charleston neighborhood where the pilot landed Sunday after ejecting from the cockpit and parachuting to the ground. A search team that included military, law enforcement and civilian personnel discovered a “debris field” in a farming area in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. “It will take days to get this thing dug up,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Walter Shutler. The F-35 has a troubled history. The crash was the Marines’ third aviation mishap in less than two months. The Post and Courier

10. UAW says more walkouts could be coming Friday

The United Auto Workers will announce strikes at more General Motors, Ford and Stellantis plants on Friday unless there is “serious progress” in talks on a new contract, UAW president Shawn Fain said Monday night. About 12,700 union members, demanding wage increases and a shorter work week, walked out last week at three assembly plants — one belonging to each of Detroit’s Big Three automakers. “Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big Three,” Fain said in a video the union released online. “We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around.” GM said Monday it was “continuing to bargain in good faith with the union to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.” The Detroit NewsNBC News


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