He’s not sitting this one out. With the Persian Gulf reeling from its most serious diplomatic crisis in years, President Donald Trump threw himself into the mix on Tuesday by siding with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in their isolation of Qatar. Here’s the thing, though: the small Gulf nation is home to a crucial U.S. military outpost, which is one of several reasons Washington had long kept quiet about Qatar’s alleged support of radical Islamic groups. Trump also appeared to take credit for the diplomatic spat.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The fight begins. U.S.-backed Syrian forces on Tuesday began their assault on Raqqa, the Islamic State stronghold in Syria that serves as the group’s de facto capital. The coalition commander says the fight will be “long and difficult,” with some 3,000 IS fighters estimated to have hunkered down for the attack. Civilian casualties, meanwhile, are a frighteningly real prospect. While IS is losing ground in Syria and Iraq, experts believe the group is shifting its focus to staging attacks abroad, such as last weekend’s attack in London. The Raqqa operation also coincides with the ongoing U.S.-backed effort to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from IS hands.
Using her work computer was probably a mistake. After The Intercept published a classified NSA document that described Russian cyberattacks on a U.S. voting software supplier and over 100 local election systems, FBI agents zeroed in on 25-year-old Reality Winner. The federal contractor apparently printed the document and emailed journalists from her government computer. Winner’s reportedly confessed and will have a detention hearing later this week — just as former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about Russia’s election meddling.
It’s a matter of record. As it emerged that a previous investigation into one of the London Bridge attackers, Khuram Butt, was dropped, Prime Minister Theresa May has come under fire for cuts to police funding made while she was Home Secretary. With Thursday’s general election looming, critics are also questioning May’s close relationship to President Donald Trump, who tweeted snide comments about London Mayor Sadiq Khan immediately after this weekend’s terror attack. Some, including Khan, are calling on May to cancel Trump’s planned state visit in response.
Who’ll be the peacemaker? As several nations including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia shut off airspace to Qatari planes today, part of a concerted effort to shun the country over its alleged support of terrorist groups, some Middle Eastern banks are reportedly stepping back, postponing doing business with Qatari institutions. Some worry Qatar’s 2.24 million people will see a food crisis as supply trucks are stopped at the border, and ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is reportedly asking Kuwait’s leader to step in and mediate the situation.
He’s not doing himself any favors. Lawyers defending President Trump’s currently suspended travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries had maintained that his campaign rhetoric about banning Muslims shouldn’t be taken into account when considering his executive orders. But Trump’s tweets Monday not only insisted the order is a “travel ban” but criticized the Justice Department for their “watered down” revision, despite the fact that Trump himself signed it. Now conservative attorneys are warning that Trump’s remarks will likely be included in upcoming Supreme Court filings, and could affect the order’s final appeal.
Know This: Authorities have named the third attacker in last weekend’s terror rampage in London: 22-year-old Youssef Zaghba, an Italian citizen, was prevented from boarding an international flight in 2016. Civil rights groups expressed concern over a Facebook post from Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins in which he said “all of Christendom” is at war with “Islamic horror” and exhorted readers to “kill them all.” Qatar’s sudden rift with its neighbors has placed its hosting of the 2022 World Cup in doubt. And one of the top U.S. diplomats in Beijing has submitted his resignation to protest President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.
Read This: While beauty pageants often come with controversy, the Miss Tibet competition faces not only conservative backlash against the concept, but nationalist backlash from China.
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Don’t tell them it’s a myth. For the residents of Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles, climate change means a creeping coast forcing them from their homes. Those in the Alaskan village of Newtok are in a similar situation. As America’s first wave of climate refugees, locals in these communities threatened by rising water and vanishing land are using federal disaster relief money to relocate whole towns en masse. With much of the U.S. population centered in coastal areas, such resettlements could be an important test for future climate refugees.
That five-finger discount will kill your bottom line. With $45.2 billion lost to retail theft in 2015, some stores — hoping to avoid the estimated tens of thousands it costs to employ a two-person security team — are turning to higher tech solutions that don’t need to be paid overtime. Technology like facial recognition software that keeps an electronic eye out for known shoplifters can be tough for small independent retailers to afford. But proponents say it doesn’t just catch shoplifters, it discourages them in the first place.
Knowledge is power. No longer only for elite expatriates, international schools around the world are experiencing a surge in popularity among local communities. Whether in Africa, Asia or the Middle East, Western-style education is forging new, increasingly large cadres of globally minded, English-speaking citizens. That’s good news for native English speakers, too: The eightfold increase in international schools over the past 20 years has also created more Anglophone teaching positions abroad — which become even more attractive as teaching jobs stateside are cut and class sizes balloon accordingly.
Or is it just art? The famed muralist posted on his website that anyone in Bristol, England, who sends a photo of their ballot showing a vote against the ruling Conservatives in Thursday’s general election will be mailed a special limited edition print, to be released Friday. While there’s a disclaimer beneath the offer saying the “U.K. election souvenir” is solely for “amusement purposes,” local police have opened an investigation against Banksy for electoral fraud. They warn voters that anyone trying to take him up on it could be prosecuted too.
It’s anyone’s trophy. Last night in Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who struggled in Game 2, delivered 23 saves on 24 shots, smothering Pittsburgh 4-1 to tie the series 2-2. Nashville rookie Frederick Gaudreau scored his third NHL goal — all three in these finals — and Pens captain Sidney Crosby made his first Stanley Cup Final goal since 2009, but it wasn’t enough. The Predators, with a 9-1 record on home ice this postseason, will now return to Penguin territory for Game 5 Thursday night.