Morning Update: Khashoggi's Murder Won't Change The US–Saudi Relationship Much

The US sends more troops to the border, prosecutors seek the death penalty for the Pittsburgh suspect, Angela Merkel is stepping down. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, October 30.

The US will soon have more troops along the Mexican border than it has fighting in Iraq and Syria

Yesterday, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of US Northern Command, announced that 5,200 troops would be joining the 2,092 National Guard members who were deployed in April along the US–Mexico border.

That will bring the total number of US troops there to roughly 7,300. For context, that’s more than the combined number deployed to Iraq and Syria, where the US has 5,200 and 2,000 troops, respectively.

In those numbers, the soldiers would outnumber the caravan of migrants moving toward the border by more than two to one. Two-thirds of those migrants are women and children.

O’Shaughnessy emphasized that the troops will be there “in a support role.” Exactly what they will be doing remained uncertain. US law prohibits the military from engaging in law enforcement activities.

In fact, a Pentagon spokesperson told us that the current deployment would operate under a directive issued in April that prohibits them from interacting with migrants.

Some more context: There is a lot of fear being whipped up about the caravan. For example, Fox News is now saying, without evidence, that the migrants might spread “diseases.” We are tracking the misinformation here.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the accused Pittsburgh shooter

Federal authorities are seeking the death penalty against Robert Bowers, who frequently made anti-Semitic posts online, for allegedly killing 11 people and wounding six others in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The suspect allegedly expressed his hatred for Jews during the 20-minute shooting and told police, “They're committing genocide to my people.”

He faces 29 charges, including 11 of using a firearm to commit murder and the hate crime of obstruction of exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death.


Angela Merkel is standing down as the leader of her party. But not quite yet. The German chancellor announced that she will not seek reelection as chair of the Christian Democratic Union. She will, however, serve the rest of her term as chancellor, which concludes in 2021. Here’s our analysis of what her departure means. Back in June, European government officials told us they fear for Europe once Merkel goes.

A vegan journalist pitched to a food magazine, and the editor replied proposing a series on killing vegans. Selene Nelson pitched a “plant-based meal series” to Waitrose Food magazine, and the editor replied, “Thanks for this. How about a series on killing vegans, one by one. Ways to trap them? How to interrogate them properly? Expose their hypocrisy? Force-feed them meat?” After we contacted the publication, the editor apologized “to anyone who has been offended or upset by this.” A spokesperson for Waitrose said he had “gone too far.”

Journalists at a Russian newspaper keep receiving bizarre and threatening gifts. After independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a series of critical reports on Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria, its staff started receiving strange gifts. Last week, it was a funeral wreath and a severed goat’s head. This week, nine live caged sheep, wearing flak jackets with “PRESS” printed on them.

Google engineers are organizing a walkout to protest the company’s protection of an alleged sexual harasser. A group of more than 200 employees at the company are organizing the “women’s walk” later this week, in response to a news story about Google paying and protecting former executive Andy Rubin following an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.

Cardi B just clapped back at Nicki Minaj in an epic 11-post Instagram rant. The twists and turns of the Cardi–Nicki beef are far too numerous to recount here, but in its latest escalation, Cardi B went off, pushing back against Minaj’s recent account of the fight between the two at a party. If you’re just dipping into this feud, I suggest you pull up a chair and read this, as we guide you through the whole thing. It’s a journey.

Here’s why you shouldn’t expect much to change in US–Saudi relations after Khashoggi’s murder

Saudi Arabia has conceded that the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul was in fact a premeditated plot.

This raises a flurry of legal and moral questions for the US, chief among them this: How does the killing of a permanent US resident by representatives of an allied nation affect the long-term relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States?

You shouldn’t expect anything to change between the two nations. As Emily Tamkin writes in a thorough analysis of the fallout of Khashoggi’s murder, “The US–Saudi relationship has faced major crises before, and survived, largely because of a tightly spun web of financial connections and overlapping interests that leave the United States with little incentive to punish the Saudis.”

Read the rest of her piece here.

The photographer found the couple from that viral Yosemite wedding proposal

Matthew Dippel is a landscape photographer. Earlier this month, he was shooting in Yosemite National Park, as you do if you’re a landscape photographer.

He spotted in the distance what appeared to be a wedding proposal, and he captured it beautifully. Shortly after taking the photo, Dippel became determined to track the couple down.

After the picture went viral and was shared more than 20,000 times, the couple have been found! Now, enjoy the magical photo:

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