5 things for June 20: Immigration, United Nations, General Electric, Indonesia
Posted June 12, 2018 6:17 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — Our neighbors to the north just made a historic decision: Canada is now the second country (after Uruguay) to legalize marijuana. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
Just when you think it can't get more contentious, we hit a new low in the immigration battle. Ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski last night dismissed a report that a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome was separated from her mother while crossing the border, saying simply, "Womp womp." His cavalier comment stands in stark contrast to rising opposition to the Trump administration's "no tolerance" immigration policy. Protesters in Philly lined up children's shoes around the hotel where VP Mike Pence was staying for a fundraiser, and in DC, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was run out of a Mexican restaurant after protesters shouted, "Shame!" -- though Trump tweeted that she's doing a "fabulous job."
Meantime, more than 600 members of the United Methodist Church issued a formal complaint against Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding his "zero tolerance" immigration policy. They wrote: "As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members in engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage."
The President went to Capitol Hill yesterday to meet with Congressional Republicans, who are keen to secure an end to the policy of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. But as the GOP-led House preps for two big votes, many lawmakers said they were still unclear on what Trump wants -- or would support.
2. United Nations
The United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made the announcement yesterday, calling the Council "a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias" and criticizing what she claimed was the council's unfairly harsh treatment of Israel. Though the Trump administration has threatened to make this move for a while, the timing is interesting. The day before the decision, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the separation of children from their parents at the US border as "unconscionable."
3. General Electric
General Electric was just booted from the Dow Jones Industrial average, marking the first time in 110 years the company won't be a member of the elite 30-stock index. S&P Dow Jones Indices announced yesterday that the iconic maker of light bulbs and jet engines will not be appearing and will be replaced by Walgreens Boots Alliance. Being ousted from the Dow is the latest indignity for GE, which is dealing with a serious cash crisis caused by years of bad deals. GE has replaced its CEO, slashed thousands of jobs and cut its coveted stock dividend in half. Last year, GE was the worst-performing stock in the Dow, losing almost half of its value. GE is down by another 25% this year.
Authorities in Indonesia believe as many as 192 people were killed when a tourist ferry sank Monday night in Lake Toba. Rescue efforts have been going on since the wreck, but emergency responders say the chance of finding survivors is growing scant. The focus is now on recovering bodies still trapped in the ferry, possibly 1,600 feet underwater. Though weather at the time of the wreck was poor and the vessel was overcrowded, a police chief says "human error" also played a role. The boat's captain was taken into custody.
5. North Korea
As many as 200 sets of remains believed to be US service members who died during the Korean War may soon be coming home, according to several Trump administration officials. The transfer was a hoped-for result of President Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It is not known if the dog tags, remains of military uniforms, identification cards or other personal effects might be included. However, the US military has strict procedures for DNA matching before any American military families are notified about their loved one's remains. The Defense Department estimates there as many as 5,300 sets of US service member remains still somewhere in North Korea.
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Study up now, save yourself a frantic and itchy Google search later.
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Now don't get TOO relaxed ...
A head massage sounds amazing right about now, but hopefully we wouldn't get this blissed out. (Click to view.)