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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Paul Manafort accepts a plea deal; Brett Kavanaugh accused of sexual assault; Jeff Bezos gets into the kindergarten racket

Seventeen years and one day after the 9/11 attacks; 16 years, 11 months and five days after beginning military operations in Afghanistan; and 15 years, five months and 23 days after launching the invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush held a closed-door event for an ex-CIA officer and congressman who is seeking a third term in Texas; the former president has announced appearances at fund-raisers for five other GOP candidates in midterm races.1 John Bolton, current national security adviser and former Bush Administration official, said he would sanction the International Criminal Court if it investigated US troops in Afghanistan and called the court “illegitimate” during a speech at the Federalist Society.2 Officials from the State Department and Department of Homeland Security, which was created during the Bush Administration, presented a “migrant removals pilot” plan to congress that would give $20 million to the Mexican government to cover bus and plane tickets for migrants in Mexico to return to their countries of origin.3 As part of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, $10 million was transferred from FEMA’s budget to ICE’s in order to build more detention centers; at last count, there were 12,800 minors in federally contracted shelters, a record high.4 5 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will restrict the number of refugees it will accept to 30,000 in the next fiscal year, a new low.6 A US Border Patrol agent was arrested on suspicion of killing at least four women, all of whom were sex workers.7 “We do consider this to be a serial killer,” said Webb County’s district attorney, Isidro Alaniz. In light of reports that China has been holding Uighurs and other minority Muslims in internment camps, the Trump Administration is considering sanctioning senior Chinese officials and limiting the sale of surveillance technology to the country.8 There are currently 40 detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay, down from 41 at the start of Trump’s presidency.9 New census data shows that the United States has the highest proportion of foreign-born residents since 1910, with the largest share of new arrivals coming from Asia.10

Paul Manafort accepted a plea deal and the Uranus Examiner, a new local newspaper based in Uranus, Missouri, was threatened with a boycott by the mayor of Waynesville, Missouri, for the innuendo of its title.11 12 South Carolina did not evacuate its prisons in anticipation of Hurricane Florence, which has caused the deaths of at least 35 people, including two mental-health patients who were chained inside the back of a van while being transferred to a different hospital.13 14 15 In a video statement issued through his Twitter account, President Trump said, “This is a tough hurricane. One of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water. Rarely have we had an experience like it, and it certainly is not good…There’s been a loss of life, and may God be with them and their families. That’s a tough one, it’s tough to understand, but this has been a really difficult time for a lot of people.”16 Flooding in Nigeria has killed at least 100 people; the EPA has made plans to weaken restrictions on methane emissions; and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke out against protestors who had criticized his involvement in an environmental conference.17 18 19 “It reminds me of people who want to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep people out from a country we go to for vacations. Something’s crazy here,” said the longtime supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline.20 A senator from Queensland, Australia, said that one of her constituents, a nine-year-old girl who refused to stand for the anthem out of respect for the aboriginal population, needed “a kick up the backside,” and Australia’s prime minister apologized for releasing an 11-second video of members of Parliament raising their hands to “Be Faithful” by Fatman Scoop, a song that contains profanity.21 22 The FDA has given manufacturers and distributors of e-cigarettes 60 days to prove they can keep their products away from minors, a new study by the CDC shows that one out of 11 teenagers has vaped marijuana, and a cousin of narco-terrorist Pablo Escobar, who is a senator in Colombia, criticized the former dean of the faculty of social sciences of Jorge Tadeo Lozano University for her recreational use of cannabis and proposed criminalizing the drug, which had been made legal for personal use in 1994.23 24 25

Christine Blasey Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of having sexually assaulted her while she was in high school.24 Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, withheld a letter from Blasey Ford from the public and her fellow committee members; Feinstein, who has served in the Senate since 1992, the year after Anita Hill testified about being sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas, issued a statement that she had “referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”25 Les Moonves, who was accused of sexually harassing six women and helped found the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which is chaired by Hill, resigned from CBS.26 27 The author of an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband” was arrested in Portland on suspicion of murdering her husband.28 On “Relentless,” an online NRA news video series hosted by Dana Loesch, characters from Thomas & Friends were depicted wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods in response to the long-running children’s program’s decision to add several female and international characters.29 Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, set aside $2 billion of his $150 billion fortune to create a fund that will help homeless families and create kindergartens in low-income communities where “the child will be the customer”; Amazon paid no federal income taxes in 2017.30 31 32 A new study by Baylor University revealed that universities with “chief diversity officers,” who are frequently paid in the six figures, do not increase the number of underrepresented racial or ethnic minority faculty members.33 “White Awake,” a weekly support group offered by the University of Maryland, College Park’s counseling service, pulled an advertisement that included the question, “Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable and confused before, during or after interactions with racial and ethnic minorities?”34 The group changed its name to “Anti-Racism and Ally-Building Group.”—Violet Lucca

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