“We want to keep families together.” That’s what President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House today, shortly before signing an executive order ending his administration’s controversial practice of separating immigrant children from their parents. Earlier, he’d hinted that halting the policy would be contingent on getting funding for his border wall. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was preparing a lawsuit against border separations, while a federal judge recently ruled a similar ACLU lawsuit can proceed. Trump added the “zero tolerance” policy would remain in place.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Under President Trump’s family separation policy, the government has already opened three south Texas shelters for children under 5 taken from their parents at the U.S. border. Another is reportedly planned for Houston, despite objections from Mayor Sylvester Turner. The head of the American Academy of Pediatrics called the policy “child abuse,” warning of lasting physical and psychological damage. Meanwhile, systemic disorganization has impeded parents from finding their children, and a former ICE director warned that many separations may become permanent as parents are deported.
The U.S. has opted to leave the international governing body on human rights just a day after the Geneva-based group called the Trump administration’s policy of family separation “unconscionable.” Ambassador Nikki Haley described the council as “hypocritical and self-serving” for what she characterized as an unfair focus on American and Israeli violations — despite offenses from member states Saudi Arabia, China and Venezuela. She said the U.S. would consider rejoining if reforms were made, and denied that the move was a retreat from America’s commitment to human rights.
Will his zeal seal the deal? White House sources say President Trump believes he has the better hand in his escalating trade war with China. He launched the first salvo Friday with new tariffs on $50 billion in goods from China, which vowed proportionate retaliation. That prompted Trump to threaten another $400 billion in Chinese imports — virtually everything heading stateside — causing the Dow to slide 1.1 percent Tuesday, after the Shanghai Composite dropped 3.8 percent. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro summed it up: “China has much more to lose.”
Know This: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shorted stock in a Kremlin-linked shipping firm last year after learning that journalists planned a damaging story on it — something Ross says is legal while government ethics experts disagree. Italy’s far-right interior minister has said he wants to register and expel Roma people, reminding some of 1930s fascist edicts. And today, OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Uruguay: Check out this Montevideo model and singer who’s helping lift the popular sense of feminine beauty up a few sizes.
Remember This Number: $6 million. That’s how many dollars Silicon Valley couple Charlotte and Dave Willner’s Facebook fundraising appeal has raised to aid organizations assisting families separated by “zero-tolerance” U.S. immigration policy.
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The maple syrup isn’t the only thing sticky icky. Canada is poised to legalize the drug as the Cannabis Act passed in the Senate yesterday — in defiance of some international treaties. After the country’s governor-general gives ceremonial approval, adults will be allowed to buy and grow marijuana on Canadian soil, fulfilling one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 campaign promises. Retail sales are expected to roll out within a few months, while individual provinces will be able to impose tougher rules like raising the minimum age for purchasing.
A country where cows outnumber people nearly 4-to-1 is looking to lead the continent in robotics — and with a relatively stable democracy and a highly educated workforce, it might just succeed. Uruguay’s “one laptop per child” policy has made every elementary school student a potential coder, while events like the Olympics for Robotics, Programming and Videogames have helped the cause. South America isn’t known for its tech scene, which will be in Uruguay’s favor as it attempts to lead what’s been dubbed a “fourth industrial revolution.”
More men, women and children were uprooted by war, violence and persecution last year than ever before, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. Of the 68.5 million forced from their homes — which amounts to an eviction every two seconds — at least half were children, and two-thirds of refugees were internally displaced within their own countries. Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, says the world is “at a watershed” that calls for a new approach to managing the unprecedented influx of displaced and vulnerable people.
When the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was publicly accused of misogynistic behavior last month by four female authors, including one who said he forcibly kissed her, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology opened an inquiry into his conduct. But he’s now been cleared to return to the school, where he teaches creative writing, for the next academic year. Diaz stepped down from the Pulitzer board last month, though the Boston Review refused to jettison him as fiction editor, sparking multiple resignations.
Although Egyptian soccer legend Mo Salah returned from injury to score against Russia, it wasn’t enough to beat the World Cup hosts. Egypt lost 3-1 at the Group A match in St. Petersburg and will be sent packing if Uruguay avoids defeat against Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, parts of Russia are having trouble keeping up with thirsty fans: Bars in Moscow have been shocked by the demand for beer, and some 7,000 Swedes reportedly drank the town of Nizjnij Novgorod dry after their country’s first World Cup win in 12 years.