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5 things for September 4: Gordon, Kavanaugh, Brazil museum fire, Myanmar, NBC News

Posted at 4:04 AM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 06:04:53-04

It’s the day after Labor Day, so summer really is over. Try to console yourself by checking out the 12 best islands in America. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Tropical Storm Gordon

Almost 2 million people are under a hurricane warning this morning as Tropical Storm Gordon speeds toward the Gulf Coast. It is expected to strengthen into a hurricane before it hits the north central Gulf Coast late today, the National Hurricane Center says. States of emergency have been declared in Mississippi and Louisiana, and a voluntary evacuation notice was issued in New Orleans for areas outside the levee system. This morning, Gordon was about 280 miles east-southeast of the mouth of Mississippi River. The storm, headed west-northwest, had maximum winds of 65 mph. You can track Gordon here.

2. SCOTUS hearings

Confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh start this morning. Democrats — still fuming that the Trump administration held back more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh — have promised the mother of all Supreme Court confirmation battles as they try to stop the conservative nominee. The stakes don’t get higher than this. With four reliably conservative members already on the bench, Kavanaugh’s confirmation would tilt the Supreme Court rightward for a generation. But for all their bluster, the Dems know they have absolutely no chance of stopping Kavanaugh. Here’s what to watch for during the hearings. You can also read where Kavanaugh stands on the big issues and listen to him in his own words.

3. Brazil museum fire

An unimaginable loss. There’s no other way to describe the destruction of the 200-year-old National Museum of Brazil, which was gutted in a devastating fire over the weekend. An estimated 20 million artifacts — spanning 11,000 years — may have been wiped out in just hours. And Brazilians are angry. Protesters took to the streets over reports linking the fire with government spending cuts and inadequate maintenance of key infrastructure, including the building’s sprinkler system. Many protesters claimed money meant to fund restoration projects at the museum had been diverted by the government. A candidate in the country’s upcoming presidential election called the fire “a lobotomy of the Brazilian memory.”

4. Myanmar

Two Reuters journalists were sentenced to seven years in prison after investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar’s military-dominated government said the men — Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 — broke the country’s Official Secrets Act. But Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler said the men “were just doing their jobs.” The journalists were detained in December while reporting on the mass killing of a number of Rohingya villagers in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Reuters, which said the men had photographic evidence of the massacre, says it’s evaluating legal options. Activists and commentators are calling on de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government to pardon the journalists.

5. Ronan Farrow

Journalist Ronan Farrow said legal and standards teams at NBC News cleared his reporting about Harvey Weinstein “twice” before executives blocked it by refusing to allow him to get comment from the Hollywood mogul. That extraordinary claim is Farrow’s first comments in the controversy over his reporting, which accused Weinstein of sexual assault and misconduct. Farrow’s work eventually ended up being published last fall by The New Yorker. Farrow spoke out after NBC News chairman Andy Lack pushed out a memo disputing allegations that the news network tried to kill Farrow’s work.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“After some time, I could almost no longer feel the pain.”

Ugandan politician and pop star Bobi Wine, detailing abuse he claims he suffered at the hands of the country’s military. He says he was beaten with an iron bar, punched, kicked, hit with pistol butts and had his ears pulled with “something like pliers.” Wine, the leader of a youth movement that has rattled the regime of President Yoweri Museveni, is in the US for medical treatment.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Change of scenery

When “The Conners” premieres this fall, Roseanne Barr won’t be on the screen — or even in the US. She says she’ll be in Israel when the spin-off airs.

No shame in his game

Fans and actors rose up for “Cosby Show” alum Geoffrey Owens — who played Elvin — after someone tried to job-shame him for working at Trader Joe’s.

He’ll be back

Bono promises that he and his voice will be back, after he suffered “a complete loss” of it during a concert in Berlin over the weekend.

‘Sacrificing everything’

Colin Kaepernick may never play in the NFL again, but he still has fans at Nike, which is including him in 30th anniversary ads for its “Just Do it” slogan

Cartoon characters

Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) is back with another video that everyone will be talking about. “Feels Like Summer” dials back politics for cartoons.

HAPPENING LATER

Primary day

It’s Massachusetts’ turn to hit the polls, as a rising Democratic star takes on a 10-term progressive stalwart and US Sen. Elizabeth Warren tries to put “Pocahontas” behind her.

TODAY’S NUMBER

55

The world ranking of John Millman, the Australian who knocked five-time US Open champ Roger Federer out of this year’s tournament

AND FINALLY

Take flight

Want to make the world’s best paper airplane? Here’s a lesson from the guy who designed the current world-record holder. (Click to view.)