Political news from WNPR

President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly this morning, his final speech before the international governing body.

As he nears the end of his two terms in office, the president spoke about some of his administration's biggest foreign policy initiatives, including the importance of the Paris climate accord, the nuclear deal with Iran and fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Here's what we know about Ahmad Khan Rahami, the suspect in weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey, who was taken into custody on Monday after a shootout with police and charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and two counts related to possession of a weapon:

  • He was born in Afghanistan on Jan. 23, 1988.

The Syrian military announced Monday it is no longer observing a cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia to allow food and medicine into besieged areas.

Seven days after the agreement was reached by Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the U.S., which backs anti-Assad rebels, the regime blamed the truce's collapse on the rebels, and unilaterally declared that the cease-fire is over.

NPR's Alice Fordham reports this about the cease-fire:

Administration Aims To Fight Crime With Job Training

Sep 20, 2016

The Labor Department will hand out $5 million in grants to fund job centers for people coming out of jails, part of a broader Obama administration initiative to help reduce recidivism, NPR has learned.

"The earlier you start investing in people who are incarcerated, the better the odds of a successful outcome," Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in an interview.

The new batch of funding means that 41 such grant projects in a number of states have now won federal funding, known as Linking to Employment Activities Pre-release.

For nearly eight years, President Obama has been putting his stamp on U.S. foreign policy both by what he's done and by what he chosen not to do.

His legacy includes achievements like the international climate agreement.

It also includes festering problems like the Syrian civil war.

Obama is summing up that legacy himself Tuesday, as he addresses the United Nations General Assembly for what's likely to be the last time as president.

Seth Capitulo / Flickr Creative Commons

How we make decisions is a thread that runs through today's Scramble.

First, Donald Trump called a press conference in his new Trump International Hotel in D.C. this past Friday to announce, "President Obama was born in the United States. Period.” He was late to the press conference and used it to promote both a new lie about Hillary Clinton and his new hotel - which ‘coincidentally’ opened last week. How did certain media organizations choose to cover this non-news event instead of say, Hillary Clinton addressing the Black Women’s Agenda Symposium, where she was talking about the economic challenges faced by women of color. Will this episode of "sewer dwelling” prompt the media to re-examine the role and privilege of a free press?

Democratic vice presidential nominee, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Steve Inskeep: I ran across an interview that you did in 2008, in which you said to Charlie Rose that, you said in this interview, that you believe that voters primarily decide on the character of a candidate.

Sen. Tim Kaine: I do. Yeah, I do.

Is that still true in 2016?

Connecticut Mission of Mercy

The ninth annual Connecticut Mission of Mercy free dental clinic is this Friday and Saturday in Hartford, and this year it could serve a couple of thousand people at the XL Center. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said his budget numbers are ugly. The more than $15 million in savings he was hoping for from union negotiations probably aren’t going to happen. 

The ground had barely stopped shaking from North Korea's most recent nuclear test last week when the international condemnations began.

Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remark has echoed through the political interwebs and produced many rounds of cable TV analysis.

Sure, conservatives pounced. And some liberals laughed in agreement. But does it matter in the real world?

Screenshot / C-Span

Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, spoke on the floor of the Senate Wednesday morning to express his frustration over the Republican leadership's inaction on number of issues, including a bipartisan bill he introduced earlier this year that would overhaul the nation's mental health care system.

The Obama administration wants the U.S. to increase the number of refugees it takes in next year to 110,000.

"Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers the administration wants to admit 110,000 international refugees in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1," As NPR's Scott Horsley tells our Newscast unit. "That's up from 85,000 refugees in the current year."

Kerry made the remarks to members of Congress on Tuesday, a senior administration official told NPR.

Four days after Secretary of State John Kerry announced — with many notes of caution — a new U.S.-Russia deal on a cease-fire in Syria, he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that it is the best option, and one to which the U.S. remains committed.

"What's the alternative?" he asks. Without the deal, he suggests, there would be even more deaths in a conflict that already has killed nearly 500,000 people.

Mike McGuire, as seen on 14th Street NW, Washington, DC // Creative Commons

Since last week's Wheelhouse, we had one candidate learn where Aleppo is, we heard one candidate refer to a "basket of deplorables," and we learned the same candidates campaign had been hiding a pneumonia diagnosis.

Women Warriors

Sep 13, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

There is still a debate about whether women belong in combat. It's been more than a year since Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered all branches of the military in 2015 to allow women on to the front lines of combat and generations since women silently fought alongside men in the Civil War.

Ron Cogswell flickr.com/photos/22711505@N05 / Creative Commons

Just days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. House unanimously passed legislation that would allow families of the victims to have their day in court. The bill, which passed the U.S. Senate earlier this year, now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk, where politicians speculate it may be vetoed. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The insurance company that will pay to finish Hartford’s minor league baseball stadium is already fighting to get its money back. Arch Insurance is demanding nearly $19 million from the developer and at least one other company. 

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both been criticized in recent weeks for activities related to their respective foundations. Clinton is accused of using her position as a way to give special treatment to foundation donors. Trump used foundation money to support the re-election of Florida Attorny General Pam Biondi to allegedly stop her from investigating Trump University. As it turns out, Trump has been using his foundation for things that have nothing to do with philanthropy. 

A Syrian cease-fire went into effect at sundown on Monday, at approximately 11:45 a.m. EDT.

Just hours before the start of the planned cease-fire, Syrian President Bashar Assad announced on state media that he plans to "reclaim every area from the terrorists," The Associated Press reports. Assad's government had earlier indicated it would abide by the negotiated truce.

Updated 2 a.m. ET, Sept. 12

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, according to a statement issued late Sunday afternoon by her physician, Lisa R. Bardack.

The Clinton campaign provided the statement after Clinton was examined at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. Sunday morning Clinton abruptly left a Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony in New York City. Her campaign later said she had "felt overheated."

Dr. Bardack's statement reads:

Updated 11:15 a.m. ET

North Korea confirmed it has conducted its fifth test of a nuclear weapon, the second this year. The test occurred Friday morning local time and triggered a magnitude 5.3 seismic event.

The North's state TV said the test "examined and confirmed" the design of a nuclear warhead intended for placement on a ballistic missile. It said there was no leakage of radioactivity. China's Ministry of Environmental Protection said radiation levels in its border region with North Korea were normal.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

After news of possible attempts to hack election systems in the U.S., along with warnings by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that this year'’s election could be,– in his words, –"rigged," there'’s renewed attention on protecting the integrity of the election process.

A forum designed to test the leading presidential candidates' capacity for military leadership Wednesday night displayed as much unpredictability as the rest of this election, as questions and answers veered off-topic and both candidates were put on the defensive several times.

It’s the 25th anniversary of Connecticut’s income tax. Opponents of that tax will tell you lots of reasons why it’s hurt the state. Proponents will tell you that it’s a necessary tool to pay for government services. But one reality has really taken hold over the last few years.