Monday morning news: September 16, 2019

Iran denies involvement in Saudi Arabia drone attack » Iran’s foreign minister said Sunday that his country did not launch Saturday’s drone attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. 

After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iran for the attacks over the weekend, Mohammad Javad Zarif fired back. He said quote—“Having failed at “max pressure,” [Pompeo’s] turning to “max deceit.” 

Houthi rebels in Yemen—Iranian allies—claimed responsibility for the drone attack. But U.S. intelligence officials told the Associated Press that evidence shows the strikes likely did not launch from Yemen.

Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway said the White House isn’t buying Iran’s denials. 

CONWAY: The Iranian regime is responsible for this attack on civilian areas and infrastructure vital to our global energy supply, and we’re not going to stand for that. 

Conway said all response options are on the table. She also said the “Department of Energy stands ready to tap into the strategic [petroleum reserves]” if needed to stabilize the global energy supply. 

White House: U.S. operation killed Osama bin Laden’s son » The White House announced over the weekend that U.S. forces killed Hamza bin Laden in a counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

The militant was the son of Osama bin Laden and had himself become an important leader within al-Qaeda. 

It’s not clear when the operation took place or whether the CIA or the U.S. military carried it out. 

A White House statement gave no further details. But it did say that Hamza bin Laden’s death undermines the group’s operations and—quoting here—”deprives al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father.” 

UAW votes for GM walkout » The United Auto Workers union announced Sunday that its roughly 49,000 workers at General Motors plants in the U.S. are heading to the picket lines. 

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said talks on a new contract broke down in recent days. 

ROTHENBERG: The reason that we’re on strike is over fair wages, affordable, quality healthcare, our share of profits, job security, a defined path to permanent seniority for temporary workers.

In a statement, GM said in labor talks it offered to invest more than $7 billion in U.S. factories and create more than 5,000 new positions. The statement also said it offered—quote—”best in class wages and benefits” and improved profit sharing.

But some 200 plant-level union leaders weren’t convinced. They voted unanimously in favor of a walkout on Sunday. 

Remains of unborn babies found at abortionist’s home » Law enforcement officers say they discovered more than 2,000 medically preserved fetal remains at the Illinois home of a former Indiana abortionist who died earlier this month.

Ulrich Klopfer’s family apparently made the discovery and contacted the Will County Sheriff’s Office last week. 

Authorities found the remains of 2,246 aborted babies. The sheriff’s office said there’s no evidence that he performed abortions at his home. 

The coroner’s office took possession of the remains, and authorities are investigating. 

Mike Fichter, the president of Indiana Right to Life, said in a statement, “we are horrified” by this discovery. He called for Indiana authorities to determine whether those remains have any connection to abortion operations in Indiana.

Hong Kong protests continue calls for intervention » In Hong Kong, protesters continue to call on free nations to stand up for the liberties of residents there. One week after protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate, demonstrators rallied outside the British Consulate. Many waved Union Jack flags and chanted God Save the Queen.

AUDIO: [Sound of protests] 

Demonstrator Sam Chow said the free world should speak out.  

CHOW: They need to, you know, recognize that the one country-two systems is not working in Hong Kong already. 

Some U.S. lawmakers agree that it’s time to take action. Republican Senator Marco Rubio recently sponsored a bill with a bipartisan group of senators…

RUBIO: Which would require the Department of State annually to review whether in fact Hong Kong retains its independent autonomous standing that the Chinese committed to when they signed that treaty almost 30 years ago—over 30 years ago. 

Rubio said “it’s clear that China is trying to control Hong Kong in ways that violate the agreements they made with the world.”

(AP Photo/Vincent Yu) Protesters hold placards and British flags during a peaceful demonstration outside the British Consulate in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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