National News

5 Things for July 5: Immigration, nerve agent mystery, Poland

Posted July 5, 2018 6:06 a.m. EDT

— We hope you had a fun and safe Independence Day, fellow Americans. For everyone else, hey, there's only one more day until the weekend and that's always worth celebrating. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. Immigration

Another day, another facet of the ongoing immigration crisis revealed. According to a federal official, DNA testing is being conducted as part of the process to reunite some of the more than 2,000 children who have been separated from their parents at the southern border. The official said it was to identify victims of human trafficking and ensure only true family members were reunited, but immigrant advocacy groups are appalled because they claim the tests are an invasion of privacy, and could be a problem for young children who can't give consent.

Meanwhile, immigration protests dotted the country on the Fourth of July. In New York, a demonstrator managed to scale the base of the Statue of Liberty. Before being coaxed down by police, the woman said she wouldn't come down until "all the children are released."

2. Indonesian ferry

At least 34 people have been confirmed dead after a ferry sank yesterday off the coast of Indonesia's South Sulawesi province. Rough seas, bad weather and a leak on one side of the ship caused it to pitch and capsize, and according to lndonesian authorities, the captain actually purposefully crashed the ship to save as many lives as possible. At the time of the crash, the boat was filled over capacity, with a total of 189 passengers. Authorities said 155 people had managed to swim or were pulled to safety.

3. Nerve agent mystery

British investigators have descended upon a small English town to find out how two seemingly random individuals were exposed to the same Soviet-era nerve agent that nearly killed a former Russian double agent and his daughter earlier this year. A man and woman from Amesbury are currently in critical condition and being treated for exposure to Novichok, a highly toxic nerve agent first developed in secret by the Soviet Union. Investigators have been retracing the couple's steps and have cordoned off several businesses that they visited out of an abundance of caution. Amesbury is about 20 minutes from Salisbury, the town where Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March. However, police don't believe the Amesbury couple were intentionally targeted.

4. President Trump

Buckle up, because the next two weeks are going to be intense for President Trump. During that time, Trump is expected to enlist a new Supreme Court pick, meet the British Queen, and have a historic summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In between all of that, Trump will turn his eyes to the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. Things may get awkward -- if you recall, a few days ago news broke that Trump had sent letters to NATO allies demanding they increase their defense spending, and threatened to alter America's global military presence if they didn't. That's not the only place where Trump may receive a chilly welcome. His arrival to the UK on July 13th is expected to spark mass protests in London.

5. Poland

A controversial new law is sparking protests in Poland and has resulted in a serious show of defiance by one of the country's top leaders. The law, which went into effect yesterday, mandates that all Supreme Court judges over the age of 65 must retire, forcing 27 of the 72 judges off the bench. The head of Poland's Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, openly defied the law and came to the court building anyway. Critics say the Polish government is eroding the rule of law and that its so-called reforms are intended to give it control of the judiciary. But the government, led by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, insists the measures are needed and will strengthen democracy.

Number of the day

11 hours

That's how long a round trip takes for rescue workers to check on the 12 boys and their coach who are trapped in a cave in Thailand.

Breakfast Browse

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

3.3 million-year-old skeleton shows ancient toddlers climbed trees

Toddlers: Giving their parents heart attacks since the dawn of humanity

Some cities with fire risks are turning to drones instead of fireworks

Unfortunately, if there's one sound scarier than loud fireworks, it's thousands of drones buzzing together in unison.

Did you know Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day?

And that day was...JULY 4TH. (Really, same year and everything!)

Scientists have created 'test tube rhinos' in hopes of saving the species

As Dr. Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park; life, uh... finds a way.

A police officer danced with a 6-year-old in a wheelchair and maybe not everything is terrible all of the time.

It's never too early in the morning to cry so go ahead, click on it.

Quote of the day

"We want justice and to be reunited with our children as soon as possible. We are human beings and we are spending many nights suffering."

-- an excerpt of a letter written by an immigrant mother who was detained, separated from her child and sent to criminal court after crossing the border in May. A non-profit is publishing letters like this so immigrant parents can have their stories heard.

And finally...

Watermelons aren't just for snacking

What's better than some cool, crisp watermelon during this heat wave? How about a meticulously carved piece of watermelon art? (Click here to view)