Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims are fleeing a military crackdown in Burma and crossing the border into Bangladesh. Some news reports say, members of the group labeled the most-persecuted in the world were shot at as they fled, and Bangladeshi border guards turned them away. More than 1 million Rohingya live in western Burma, mainly in Rakhine state. They are not recognized as citizens of the predominantly Buddhist country also known as Myanmar, where they are seen as illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. Tensions began last month when the killing of nine Burmese officers in Rakhine was blamed on the Rohingya. In the crackdown that followed, activists say, the military burned hundreds Rohingya homes—a claim the government denies. More than 130 Rohingya have been killed in the unrest. The violence is the worst since 2012, when riots broke out and eventually rendered more than 100,000 Rohingya homeless, many of whom still live in makeshift camps.
Today's News: Nov. 17, 2016
Burmese military cracks down on Muslims, woman leads the ISS for second time, and more from the United States and around the world.
—Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims are fleeing a military crackdown in Burma and crossing the border into Bangladesh. More here
—Peggy Whitson will become the first woman to command the International Space Station twice. More here
—James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, says he has submitted his long-expected letter of resignation. He leaves office at the end of President Obama’s second term. More here
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
130 Rohingya Muslims Have Died in the Latest Burmese Military Crackdown
Appeals Court Blocks Brendan Dassey's Release
A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked the release of Brendan Dassey, the Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix true-crime documentary Making a Murderer, one day after a judge ruled Dassey must be freed later this week, the AP reports. The Wisconsin attorney general’s office has tried several times to stop Dassey's release, and has appealed a federal judge’s decision to overturn Dassey’s 2007 conviction on murder and sexual-assault charges. Dassey, now 27, and his uncle Steve Avery received life sentences in the killing a 25-year-old woman. Dassey's conviction was overturned in August when a judge ruled Dassey had been coerced into a confession during interrogation. He will now remain in prison while the state’s appeal plays out.
NASA Astronaut to Become First Woman to Command the ISS Twice
When Peggy Whitson reaches the International Space Station on Saturday, she will become the first woman to command the station twice. The NASA astronaut will launch to the ISS this afternoon from Kazahkstan with Oleg Novitskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency for a six-month stay. Whitson, a biochemist, has a handful of firsts to her name. In 2007, she became the first female commander of the ISS. (On her way back to Earth in that mission, a mechanical failure on the Soyuz subjected the crew to more than eight times the force of gravity, which is, you know, not good.) Two years later, she became the first woman to helm the astronaut office at NASA's Johnson Space Center. When she was growing up in Iowa, Whitson raised and sold chickens for $2 each to pay for her pilot’s license. After grad school, she turned down a job at a prestigious research institution to go work for NASA; the interviewer told Whitson she was making the biggest mistake of her life, but “I’m thinking it worked out pretty good for me anyway,” she said recently. At 56, Whitson is the oldest woman to fly in space.
FIFA Opens Disciplinary Action Against English and Scottish Players Who Paid Tribute to World War I Dead
Last Friday, November 11, English and Scottish soccer players wore black armbands embroidered with a red poppy to mark Armistice Day. They wore those armbands, despite a warning from FIFA, to mark the end of World War I and remember those killed in the conflict. Soccer’s governing body views the poppies, a traditional Armistice Day symbol in the U.K., as a “political, religious or commercial” message. The English and Scottish football associations had said they would appeal any sanctions imposed on the players by FIFA. They’ll likely have the opportunity to do so: FIFA said Thursday it had opened disciplinary proceedings against the two teams for their action. The BBC adds that while a points deduction is the most severe sanction available to FIFA, it is more likely to fine the teams, which can appeal—all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, if needed. Players have previously worn poppies on armbands under compromises worked out between the national football associations and FIFA, but the governing body was more inflexible this time; one official told the BBC: “Britain is not the only country that has been suffering from the result of war.”
How Much Would You Pay for a Dodo Skeleton?
At auction houses, the rarer the item up for sale the better. That’s why a dodo skeleton is expected to fetch up to £500,000 ($623,000) when it goes to auction next week in Britain, the first of its kind to be up for sale in 100 years, The Guardian reports. Dodos, the three-foot-tall flightless birds, went extinct less than 100 years after their discovery in the 1500s on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Only two nearly complete skeletons exist today; one is on display on the island, and the second resides in London’s Natural History Museum. The skeleton up for sale next week is 95 percent complete, with all the bones originating from a single animal, and took the seller, whose identity is unknown, two decades to assemble. Mauritius prohibits the removal or export of dodo bones, so the chances of finding another skeleton are pretty much, well, extinct.
The Oldest-Known Stone Carving of the Ten Commandments Just Sold for Under $1 Million
The oldest-known stone carving of the Ten Commandments sold at a Beverly Hills auction Wednesday for $850,000. An unknown buyer bought the two-foot marble tablet, which is inscribed with 20 lines of an early Hebrew script called Samaritan. The artifact is believed to date to the Roman or Byzantine era, around 300 AD, and the writings likely adorned the entrance of a synagogue in Yavneh, now western Israel, that was destroyed either by Romans, or by Crusaders in the 11th century. The tablet was discovered in 1913 during excavation for a railway, and features only nine of the Ten Commandments as they appear in the Book of Exodus—the commandment against taking the Lord’s name in vain has been replaced by a directive to “raise a temple” on the ancient Mount Gerizim, a site revered by the Samaritans. The tablet is worn, and with ownership comes a caveat that it must be displayed to the public. That may be the reason it sold for seemingly so little. By way of comparison, on Thursday a Monet painting sold for $81.4 million; a Patek Philippe wristwatch sold this week for $11 million; and Wu-Tang Clan’s exclusive Once Upon a Time in Shaolin album sold last year for $2 million.
Who Owns the Calissons d'Aix?
Calissons d’Aix may be a traditionally French treat, but that didn’t stop a Chinese company from snatching the fruity, almond-shaped candy’s trademark. Now Ye Chunlin, a Shanghai-based firm located nearly 6,000 miles away from Aix-en-Provence, the French city from which the Calissons gets its name, owns the rights to the brand—and the union representing the French makers of the popular treat are fighting to get it back, as La Provence reports. But it may not be that simple: Calissons have enjoyed a protected status in France since 1991, thus ensuring that those making the treat comply with certain methods. This protection, however, doesn’t extend outside of the country, allowing Ye Chunlin to file its own copyright claim with the Chinese intellectual-property office, Sipo. French Calisson-makers aren’t giving up—in addition to filing a counter-claim to Sipo, they’re also applying for an EU designation to protect their product from other foreign firms.
James Clapper to Leave His Post at the End of Obama's Term
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday that he submitted his letter of resignation “last night” and has 64 days left on the job. That would coincide with the end of President Obama’s term in the White House. “It felt really good,” he said. Clapper has long said he wanted to leave his position at the end of Obama’s term in office. He has spent decades in the intelligence community, starting as an analyst during the Vietnam War. Controversy dogged Clapper earlier this year when it emerged he had misstated the National Security Agency’s domestic-surveillance activities to a Senate panel. He had said the NSA did “not wittingly” collect data on Americans. When it emerged that the agency, in fact, did, Clapper said he had “made a mistake” but “did not lie.”
The International Dyson Award for Design Goes to a Paper Bicycle Helmet
Isis Shiffer’s design of a bicycle helmet made of paper has won this year’s international Dyson Award. The award is given each year to a university design student. Shiffer, a 28-year-old recent graduate of the Pratt Design Institute in New York, will win about $48,000. She acknowledged the idea of a paper helmet may be a “tough sell” as far as convincing people that paper can protect their heads, but her EcoHelmet design is similar to the folding paper decorations that unfurl with a honeycomb structure. That’s what makes the helmet surprisingly tough, and good at absorbing impact. Shiffer envisions her single-use helmets being sold in vending machines near bike-share stations; they would likely go for $5.
Rio's Ex-Governor Arrested on Corruption Charges
Brazilian federal police have arrested Sergio Cabral, the former governor of Rio de Janeiro state, amid a corruption investigation linked to the soccer World Cup in 2014. Prosecutors say Cabral and his allies embezzled the equivalent of $64 million from funds earmarked for construction. Cabral is the second member of the ruling Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) to be arrested in connection with the corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash. Eduardo Cunha, who resigned as parliamentary speaker in July, was the other. But the scandal is by no means restricted to PDMB. Indeed, it has embroiled the former leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and indirectly led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s handpicked successor. Officials from across Brazil’s political spectrum have also been linked to the scandal.
Archaeologists Discovered an Ancient Pyramid Inside Mayan Ruins
Archeologists in Mexico said Wednesday they discovered what may be the original structure built at the core of the Mayan pyramid of Kukulkan. The outer pyramid is 80 feet tall, one of the central structures of the Chichen Itza ruins, located on the Yucatán Peninsula. This latest discovery would actually make for the second structure found buried beneath the pyramid, which is compared to Russian dolls in the way ancient Mayans often built over and enveloped older structures in the shells of new design. Archeologists say they believe the inner pyramid is about 33 feet tall. It is nestled inside a larger 66-foot structure, which itself is covered by the 80-foot pyramid seen today. They believe Mayans built the first pyramid in about 500 AD, which is 400 years older than the outer pyramid.
Mayan 'nesting doll pyramid' discovered in Mexico https://t.co/P0dm4ySCXJ pic.twitter.com/pW0MAosTdq— Ticia Verveer (@ticiaverveer) November 17, 2016
Fed Chair Yellen Signals an Interest-Rate Increase Next Month
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in prepared remarks to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, says “U.S. economic growth appears to have picked up from its subdued pace earlier this year,” suggesting the central bank will raise interest rates next month. Yellen added: “Were the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] to delay increases in the federal funds rate for too long, it could end up having to tighten policy relatively abruptly to keep the economy from significantly overshooting both of the Committee's longer-run policy goals. Moreover, holding the federal funds rate at its current level for too long could also encourage excessive risk-taking and ultimately undermine financial stability.” The Fed has suggested for months now that rates are likely to be raised in December and Yellen will press that point later today when she appears before the congressional panel for the first time since Donald Trump was elected president.
JPMorgan Settles a Federal Investigation Into Its Hiring Practices in China
JPMorgan Chase will pay $264 million to settle a year-long federal corruption investigation into its hiring practices in China, where the financial giant hired the children of senior Chinese officials as a way to win business, The New York Times reports. An announcement of the settlement could come Thursday. The Times adds: “The bank argued that the hiring of well-connected employees was routine in China, and that its own hires fell into a gray area of foreign bribery laws. The United States government, however, concluded that in several instances, senior JPMorgan bankers explicitly linked those jobs or internships to securing deals with Chinese government-run companies, the people briefed on the matter said.” Update: Here’s the announcement from the SEC.
WATCH: Hillary Clinton's First Speech Since Her Election Defeat
Hillary Clinton says she wanted to “curl up with a good book and never leave the house again” after her loss to Donald Trump in last week’s presidential election. Her remarks came in a speech Wednesday evening in Washington, D.C., at the Children's Defense Fund. She said: “I know this isn't easy. I know that over the past week a lot of people have asked themselves whether America is the country we thought it was. The divisions laid bare by this election run deep, but please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country, fight for our values and never, ever give up.” Most polls and pundits had picked Clinton as the winner in the November 8 election. She won the popular vote, but Trump easily took the electoral college. Watch her speech here:
Donald Trump to Meet Japan's Prime Minister
President-elect Donald Trump will meet Thursday with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, at Trump Tower in New York. It’s Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since he won last week’s presidential election. During the presidential campaign, Trump said Japan must pay more to keep the U.S. troops on its soil, criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Japan has signed, and suggested Japan should acquire nuclear weapons. Speaking in Tokyo, Abe said he wanted to “build trust” with the president-elect. Japanese officials told media there is considerable “confusion” surrounding the meeting because the U.S. State Department, which is normally involved in making such arrangements, has not been involved. A U.S. State Department spokesman said Wednesday there was no outreach from the Trump transition team about the meeting. Japan has been the most important U.S. ally in Asia since the end of World War II.