What Happens To A Dream Deferred?
|IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ|
Trump Ends DACA: By all indications, calling for an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was conflicting for President Trump. Former President Obama instituted the program, which shielded from deportation the almost 800,000 young people brought to the US illegally as children. Because Congress failed to tackle immigration reform legislatively, Obama signed an executive action in 2012 allowing the youngsters, called “dreamers,” to remain without fear of immediate removal from the country and giving them the right to work legally. On Tuesday, Trump said Congress should pass replacement legislation in the next six months, before he will begin phasing out DACA protections. Unfortunately, despite broad and longstanding bipartisan support, legislation to protect the “dreamers” has repeatedly died in Congress.
A number of protests were ongoing at the time of the announcement, and additional angry reactions broke out immediately after. Obama wrote on Facebook: “Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us.” On Tuesday evening, Trump appeared to change his mind again, tweeting that Congress should “legalize DACA,” and warning lawmakers that if they do not legislate a program similar to Obama’s, he will “revisit this issue!” That statement, bound to inject more uncertainty into the ultimate fate of the dreamers, might even suggest to some lawmakers that they don’t have to act after all.
Hurricane Irma Hits Caribbean: Irma is one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic, and as of Tuesday was moving west with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph–well above the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5, the US National Hurricane Center said. Irma struck Barbuda early today, and forecasters are mostly concerned about the northeastern Caribbean, where the following islands are under hurricane warnings: Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and St. Barts. The hurricane center warned the storm is “potentially catastrophic,” especially if the worst conditions strike these islands at high tide. It’s too early for meteorologists to predict whether Irma will make landfall on the US mainland, but forecasts show it could move toward Florida over the weekend.
|NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ|
Azerbaijan’s Ruling Elite Is So Down-to-Earth They Prefer Using Laundromats: A scheme involving stolen money operated by Azerbaijan’s ruling elite from 2012 to 2014 to pay prominent Europeans, bribe politicians, buy luxury goods, and launder money through a network of four secret British companies was uncovered in an investigation by British newspaper The Guardian. The scheme, nicknamed the ‘Azerbaijani Laundromat,’ sent billions of dollars in cash through several paymasters in Azerbaijan and Russia, then to the British companies via the western financial system without raising red flags. One of Europe’s leading banks, Danske, which processed payments via its branch office in Estonia, first noticed the irregular payments in 2014.
The details of more than 16,000 covert payments come as an independent panel begins confidential hearings into alleged corruption at the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly (Pace) in Strasbourg, one of the world’s oldest human rights bodies. Luca Volontè, the Italian former chair of the center-right group in Pace, is accused by Italian prosecutors of accepting millions of euros in cash from Azerbaijan in exchange for supporting its government, which has been heavily criticized for subverting elections and jailing journalists and political opponents.
Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council of Europe since 2001. It was first accused of “caviar diplomacy” (using cash and gifts to buy influence) by the European Stability Initiative (ESI) think tank in 2012. ESI’s director said it had taken years for the Volontè case to generate a reaction: “The Pace code of conduct is more lax than that of FIFA,” he stated. The Volontè case revealed a “systemic” problem within Pace, which was established after World War II to safeguard democracy and human rights.
|KEEPING OUR EYE ON|
Syrian Fighters Take Deir Ezzor Back From ISIS: Syrian forces, backed by Russian air cover, broke a three-year ISIS siege of the strategic city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria. Syrian soldiers known as Regiment 137, who had been trapped in Deir Ezzor for nearly three years, were met by forces advancing from the west, which broke the hold ISIS had on the city. ISIS is under increasing pressure in Raqqa (its self-declared caliphate), and Deir Ezzor was viewed as the group’s last major position in Syria.
“Fearless” Indian Journalist Gunned Down Outside Her Front Door: Gauri Lankesh, 55, a prominent and outspoken Indian journalist, was shot in the head and chest by gunmen outside her home in the city of Bangalore. She was known for her secularist criticism of right-wing and Hindu nationalists, including members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), calling out what she viewed as their “fascist and communal politics.” Activists in the country say that Indian journalists are being increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists through harassment on social media, and many female reporters have been threatened with rape and assault. BJP ministers have even openly attacked journalists, using terms such as “presstitute” (a mix of press and prostitute) to describe them.
Lankesh’s murder follows killings of several other outspoken secularists, rationalists, and scholars in recent years. She was sympathetic to the Naxalites, or Maoist rebels, who have been carrying out an insurgency against the government, and she was also involved in the reintegration of former rebels. Her death has been decried across India, and protests have taken place in several major cities across the country, with more being planned for the next few days. The Editors Guild of India released a statement calling her murder an “ominous portent for dissent in democracy and a brutal assault on the freedom of the press.“
Your Daily Pnut Team: CEO–Tim Hsia. Editor in Chief–Vanessa Wu. Political Junkie at Large–Penelope Lary. Ninth Inning Reliever-Writer: Mike Briggs. Occasional Contributors: April O’Neil, Tintin, Clark Kent & Peter Parker.
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