JLF'S MARTINEZ GETS CALLED OUT FOR CLIMATE CHANGE DENIALISM DURING "FAKE NEWS" FORUM: Toward the end of the forum, an audience member suggested that journalism that simply builds a story around quotes from people with two opposing views without digging deeply into their words can result in an inaccurate report, especially when science is involved. Another audience member echoed that, and suggested stories about climate change fell into a similar category. To that, Martinez responded that the science was not clear on that issue. Audience members reacted with vocal criticism – prompting Martinez to say the reaction showed an unwillingness to listen to opposing opinions. Some in the audience then responded with another phrase that has taken off on social media during the presidency of Trump – “alternative facts,” several called out to Martinez.
EFFORTS TO REMOVE STUDENTS PROTESTING SILENT SAM GET MIXED RESULTS: Students staging an around-the-clock protest against a Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina were joined by hundreds of supporters Thursday after police took away picnic tables and other equipment used for the sit-in. Police oversaw the removal around 9 a.m. of the tables, tarps, signs and other belongings used by the protesters who have been sitting and sleeping for more than a week at the statue known as Silent Sam. The sit-in grew out of an anti-statue demonstration in the aftermath of a violent rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia. The organizers vowed to continue their activism, but announced late Thursday that the sit-in was ending after the police sweep. At midafternoon, hundreds marched across campus to Silent Sam as part of a previously planned rally that was also decrying proposed changes to the school's Center for Civil Rights.
NC REPUBLICAN LEADERS SCHEDULE ANOTHER "SPECIAL" SESSION FOR OCTOBER: State lawmakers left Raleigh on Thursday with plans to return in October for the third time since their regular session ended in June. And under an adjournment resolution that outlines their plans, they’ll be able to take votes on just about any matter they want – including redrawing the state’s judicial districts and setting in motion impeachment proceedings. Rep. Darren Jackson, the House Democratic leader, opposed the resolution Thursday morning before it cleared the Republican-controlled General Assembly – calling it “open-ended.” “It’s wide open – we can do about anything we want,” Jackson said. “I signed up to serve in a part-time legislature. I don’t know about you, I would like to see us return to those days.”
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CLOSES MORE RUSSIAN DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES IN ONGOING FEUD: Escalating a diplomatic tit-for-tat, the United States abruptly ordered Russia on Thursday to shutter its San Francisco consulate and close offices in Washington and New York, intensifying tensions between the former Cold War foes. Washington gave Moscow 48 hours to comply. The Trump administration described its action as retaliation for the Kremlin’s “unwarranted and detrimental” demand earlier this month that the U.S. cut its diplomatic staff in Russia. But Moscow declared it a major escalation, with a top Russian lawmaker saying the move heralded “the hot phase of diplomatic war.” It was a harsh welcome to Washington for new Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who arrived only hours after the U.S. announcement. At the airport, Antonov cited a maxim of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin as he urged caution and professionalism. “We don’t need hysterical impulses,” Russian news agencies quoted Antonov as saying.
AMERICAN MUSLIMS TRAVELING TO SAUDI ARABIA ON HAJJ WORRIED ABOUT RETURNING TO US: Some 16,000 Muslims from the United States are in Saudi Arabia this week to perform the hajj pilgrimage, one of Islam's most sacred experiences. If the hajj is performed with sincere intentions, Muslims believe it can wipe away past sins, purify the soul and alleviate worldly stresses. This year, however, Muslims say they have never been more anxious traveling abroad than now, under the Trump administration's rules, which unleashed protests across the country and confusion at airports earlier this year. Those performing the hajj say that while it's never been exactly stress-free to fly as a Muslim in America, the new climate under President Donald Trump has heightened anxieties about traveling to Saudi Arabia, where the hajj is performed. The hajj, which runs for five days and ends Monday, draws some 2 million people from around the world each year. All Muslims with the means to do so are required to make the pilgrimage at least once.