News Brief: New Tariffs On Chinese Goods, YouTube Shooting, MLK

Apr 4, 2018
Originally published on April 5, 2018 9:50 am
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NOEL KING, HOST:

There was a lot of news out of the White House yesterday. President Trump again talked about pulling troops out of Syria. He also said he wants to send in the U.S. military to patrol our border on the south with Mexico.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And then in the evening, the administration published a list of some 1,300 Chinese goods that it plans to slap with a 25 percent tariff. That is a lot - everything from electronics to the material for dental fillings. And China has already announced its response.

KING: We're here now with NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Good morning, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: All right. So how did China pick which stuff to put on the list of tariffs? And what does that mean for consumers here in the states? Are things going to get more expensive?

HORSLEY: Well, this was the Trump administration filling in the details of the tariffs the president first announced two weeks ago, what are the $50 billion worth of Chinese exports that will be targeted. The White House is trying to minimize pain to U.S. consumers while at the same time putting economic pressure on Beijing. So they're targeting sectors like aerospace and robotics. There was some relief that everyday consumer products like clothing and shoes are not on the U.S. list. Nevertheless, critics of these tariffs, like the National Retail Federation, warn it will raise cost for U.S. businesses and some consumer items like consumer electronics could be affected.

KING: All right. So how is all of this playing out in China?

HORSLEY: Well, there has been a quick retaliation. Although, at the moment, it appears to be largely a warning shot. The State Council in Beijing announced equivalent tariffs on U.S. exports totaling $50 billion and suggested those could target major categories of U.S. exports like aircraft and soybeans. Now, so far, the aircraft tariffs don't appear to hit big commercial jets from Boeing. But the farm tariffs certainly could have an impact. Beijing is not specifying a date just yet, so there still seems to be some wiggle room for dialogue, but this is at least a signal of how this could quickly escalate. Remember, on Monday, when Beijing announced a much smaller round of tariffs hitting just $3 billion worth of goods, we saw a sharp sell-off in the stock market. So I'm sure investors will be watching closely to see how the market responds this morning.

KING: Yeah, I imagine so. Hey, let me switch gears for a minute. President Trump said yesterday that he wants to bring Americans home from Syria, that he wants the military to rebuild here at home. Do we have any idea of what he means and what to expect?

HORSLEY: He was asked about this. These were comments he first made last week during a speech in Ohio, and he was asked about it during a White House news conference yesterday and reiterated that, yes, he does want to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria quickly now that ISIS is largely driven out of the territory it held there. Although military experts caution that a precipitous withdrawal could leave room for ISIS to regroup.

Meanwhile, in a separate action, the White House is talking about mobilizing National Guard troops to help to patrol the border with Mexico. That has been done in the past by the Bush administration, the Obama administration. What's interesting now is the timing because we're not seeing a surge in illegal immigration at the border. What this seems to be is a way for the White House to signal he - that President Trump is tough on border security even though he didn't secure a lot of money for a border wall in that recent spending bill.

KING: NPR's Scott Horsley. Thank you so much, Scott.

HORSLEY: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KING: All right. We're going to turn now to northern California to the city of San Bruno where a woman reportedly opened fire yesterday at YouTube's headquarters. She wounded three people, and then she took her own life.

GREENE: Yeah, Audie Cornish, the host of NPR's All Things Considered, was speaking to Zachary Vorhies, a senior software engineer at YouTube, yesterday afternoon.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ZACHARY VORHIES: When I approached the courtyard, that's when I heard a commotion. I heard a man yelling out, do you want to shoot me? And about 25 feet away from him was somebody on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound in the stomach. And he was bleeding out of his shirt, and he wasn't moving.

KING: KQED's Sam Harnett is covering this story. Sam, good morning.

SAM HARNETT, BYLINE: Good morning.

KING: So that's some really dramatic tape there. What is the latest in this shooting?

HARNETT: Well, the big news is that the San Bruno Police Department says it's confirmed the identity of the suspect, the woman who died from what appears to be a self-inflicted gun wound. It's a 39-year-old woman named Nasim Aghdam. And police say she's from San Diego in Southern California. Now, law enforcement is saying, quote, "at this time, there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of the shooting or that individuals were being specifically targeted." But the investigation is ongoing, and there are still lots of questions about what happened.

KING: Well, what more can you tell us about Aghdam? Why was she supposedly angry with YouTube?

HARNETT: Well, Aghdam actually created videos for YouTube and other outlets like Instagram and Facebook. She went by a pseudonym, Nasime Sabz, and her videos were of a pretty random assortment. She had some exercise videos where she's working out. And other video clips are kind of hard to describe. She talks to the camera, and then it cuts to music videos. In some, she speaks English. In another video, she speaks Farsi or Turkish.

Now, over the last few years, YouTube has made changes in how it allows content creators like Aghdam to monetize their channels with advertisements. And the platform has also changed how it flags and removed content that's deemed inappropriate. Now, both of these things have angered those like Aghdam who make content for YouTube to try to earn some income. There's a video of Aghdam from 2017 in which she accuses the company of censoring her and cutting into her advertisement revenue.

KING: Oh.

HARNETT: Yeah. Aghdam's father, Ismail, has been speaking to news outlets. I mean, he's been telling them that the family actually called the police to report that his daughter was missing on Monday because she hadn't answered her phone for two days. He says she told the police that she might be going to YouTube because she, quote, "hated the company." He also adds that he had no idea that she owned a gun.

KING: Sam, can you remind us quickly what exactly happened on the YouTube campus yesterday?

HARNETT: Yeah, sure. So police here started getting 911 calls right around lunchtime. They immediately entered the building. They went to the scene, entered the building, and they were searching for a possible suspect. That's where they encountered numerous employees fleeing the premises. There was that witness who told NPR that they saw a victim lying on his back in the courtyard bleeding with an apparent bullet wound to his stomach.

KING: And in the last couple seconds we have left, what do we know about the people who were shot? Are they doing OK?

HARNETT: Well, we don't know much. There were three victims. But authorities haven't said if they knew the shooter or why they were shot. They still haven't released those people's names. All three were taken to San Francisco hospitals. The hospitals have identified them as a 36-year-old man who's in critical condition, a 32-year-old female who's in serious condition and a 27-year-old female who is in fair condition.

KING: Sam Harnett from member station KQED in San Francisco. Thank you, Sam.

HARNETT: Yeah, thanks, Noel.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: All right, Noel, so today marks 50 years since the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968.

KING: Right. And I've been in Memphis this week where a lot of events are underway taking place to reflect on Dr. King's legacy. And NPR's Debbie Elliott has also been covering this. She's with me at member station WKNO. Good morning, Debbie.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Good morning.

KING: All right, so one of the big events last night was a speech at the Mason Temple. This is where 50 years ago Dr. King gave his "Mountaintop" speech. What was it like last night?

ELLIOTT: You know, it was a full house, very much like it was 50 years ago. There was this really powerful moment where the church was dark and a spotlight shone down on the pulpit of the church. And they played his speech, and people were reacting much like they did 50 years ago. It was just a powerful moment. And then others were speaking about what King's legacy meant. And one of the most powerful speeches came from his close confidant, former Atlanta mayor and ambassador Andrew Young. And he remembered being with King the next day at the Lorraine Motel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREW YOUNG: Yes, I was there when a bullet struck. But, you know, Africans say you ain't dead till the people stop calling your name.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yep, yep.

ELLIOTT: And he went on to say, you know, that bullet only released his spirit, that more happened after that moment. So people were talking about what King's legacy has meant for the movement now today.

KING: Well, yeah, the theme of the city this week was where do we go from here, right? Memphis, where do we go from here? What were people saying about that?

ELLIOTT: You know, two of Dr. King's children were there last night, Bernice King, the youngest child, and Martin Luther King III. And both of them were quoting some of their father's other speeches, talking about this need for a rededication to what he was focused on when he died. That was fighting racism, fighting income inequality and fighting a culture of militarism. And very much there was this sense that while that movement was cut short, now new movements are emerging today, things like students fighting gun violence, things like Black Lives Matter. There's even a new Poor People's Campaign getting started, and that's something that King was working on when he was killed.

KING: And just quickly, what's happening in Memphis today?

ELLIOTT: You know, there's going to be a march by labor groups recreating that I Am A Man march by striking sanitation workers 50 years ago, the cause that brought King to Memphis in the first place. And then they'll be at the Lorraine Motel today, a day of tributes and a formal program commemorating King that will culminate with a bell ringing from the balcony and around the city at 6:01 p.m., the time that King was shot.

KING: NPR's Debbie Elliott, thank you so much.

ELLIOTT: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF AHMAD JAMAL'S "MORNING MIST") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.