An investigation by The New York Times shows that Israeli troops "paid little heed to warnings to safeguard" United Nations schools in Gaza, one of which was bombarded by artillery shells on July 30, killing 21 people, including many children. The report is the latest to question Israel's tactics in its ongoing conflict with the Islamic militant group Hamas, with critics contending that Israel has fired indiscriminately into civilian areas that exist cheek by jowl with militant hideouts in Gaza's crowded neighborhoods.
The Times reports that the Israeli military used artillery shells, rather than "smart" weaponry, to target the school. Such tactics are bound to result in civilian casualties, according to experts interviewed by the Times:
Artillery is a "statistics weapon," not a "precision weapon," experts said, generally fired from up to 25 miles away and considered effective if it hits within 50 yards of its target.
"Heavy artillery shelling into a populated area would be inherently indiscriminate," said Bill Van Esveld, a Jerusalem-based Human Rights Watch lawyer who investigates war crimes. "You just can't aim that weapon precisely enough in that environment because it's so destructive." [The New York Times]
An Israeli general who declined to speak on the record told the Times that such tactics were inevitable in war. "The orders are clear. But I find it very difficult to judge those fighters under fire and tell them, 'Look, please open your textbook and read out loud what we told you,'" he said. Ryu Spaeth
But these facilities aren't necessarily run by the government. Private prisons were home to 62 percent of immigrant detention beds and ran nine of the 10 biggest facilities in 2015, the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute found in a report published last month. And they've been reaping major profits for decades.
Despite transferring some detainees to federal prison earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement still relies on private detention and spends $2 billion on it annually, NPR reported last year. That's $126 per day per immigrant in 2017, per MPI.
Proponents of private immigration insist competition drives costs down, MPI notes. But three major companies dominate 96 percent of private prison beds, and the largest, GEO Group, saw its profits triple from 2007 to 2014. GEO Group also spent $1.7 million on lobbying last year, made sizable donations to a pro-Trump super PAC, and has seen its stocks soar since President Trump's election.
The argument that private competition improves the quality of detention centers also seems moot. Human rights abuses are notoriously worse at private prisons, which is why the Justice Department tried to sever its ties with these companies in 2016, says MPI. But the Trump administration reversed, and major connections to private prisons persist to this day. Kathryn Krawczyk
Per Cruz's press release, the Protect Parents and Kids Act would prohibit family separations "absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children," authorizing the construction of "new temporary shelters" that can house families intact. It would also require that asylum cases be adjudicated within 14 days and, to that end, nearly double the number of federal immigration judges to a total of 750.
"All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers. This must stop. Now," Cruz said. "The answer is not what congressional Democrats are proposing: simply releasing illegal aliens and returning to the failed policy of 'catch and release.' Rather, we should fix the backlog in immigration cases, remove the legal barriers to swift processing, and resolve asylum cases on an expedited basis."
The Democratic bill Cruz referenced has the support of all 49 senators in the Democrats' caucus. The Keep Families Together Act would also prohibit separation of migrant families within 100 miles of the border except in some circumstances, such as those involving abuse or neglect. It requires development of procedure to reunite families already separated and expressly bans family separations "solely for the policy goal of deterring individuals from migrating to the United States or for the policy goal of promoting compliance with civil immigration laws." Bonnie Kristian
Japan stunned Colombia on Tuesday in the World Cup, with the heavy underdogs winning the match 2-1. The victory made Japan the first Asian country to beat a South American nation in World Cup history, CBC reports.
The upset began within the first 10 minutes of the game, when Carlos Sanchez used his hand to block midfielder Shinji Kagawa's shot. Sanchez received a red card and Kagawa scored on the penalty. Playing with just 10 men, Colombia's Juan Quintero managed to score the equalizer on a free kick in the 39th minute, but Japan pulled ahead again in the 73rd minute thanks to striker Yuya Osako.
Colombia, which lost 2-1 to Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinals in 2014, is stuck at 0 points in the group stage due to their loss Tuesday. In a preview of the match, The Washington Post had observed that Japan "looked inconsistent and confused in the qualifications, partly a result of shifting managers. We'll know if this team is for real after this tough early test." Certainly they've proven themselves — FiveThirtyEight now gives Japan a 76 percent chance of advancing to the Round of 16.
Watch Japan's game-opening goal below. Jeva Lange
What a start!
Carlos Sanchez is sent off for a goal-saving handball after only 3 minutes, but Kagawa scores from the spot anyway and it's 1-0 Japan. pic.twitter.com/vjmddm5ijD
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 19, 2018
Fox News host Laura Ingraham absurdly compares immigrant detention centers to 'summer camps' for kids
Laura Ingraham joined her fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson in offering up a ridiculous defense of the Trump administration's separation of immigrant families, claiming the facilities where immigrant children are kept are just havens for fun.
"As more illegal immigrants are rushing the border, more kids are being separated from their parents,” Ingraham said. “And temporarily housed at what are essentially summer camps."
The Fox News host also leaned on a newspaper article that compared the facilities to boarding schools, scoffing at the notion that anyone would be reminded of Nazi concentration camps when they hear the devastating audio of children crying for their parents or hear lawmakers describe the facilities as "dog kennels."
Ingraham spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has headed up the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that prosecutes all adults who enter the U.S. without authorization, which has led to the practice of separating parents from their children. She agreed with his evaluation that the government is "doing the right thing." Watch the clip below, via Fox News. Summer Meza
It's June 19, and you know what that means: It is Garfield's birthday. But not "President Garfield," as then-Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told the House during a charming floor speech 15 years ago, "but probably someone more famous in this day and age than that. A large, orange, slovenly, lazy cat born in the mind of an Indiana native by the name of Jim Davis."
Standing with a poster featuring a cartoon Garfield bursting out of a chocolate cake, Pence told his colleagues that "it's said people relate to Garfield because Garfield in many ways is them." The man who would one day be vice president of the United States observed that Garfield "loves TV and hates Mondays, he'd rather pig out than work out — in fact, his passion for food and sleep is matched only by his aversion to diet and exercise. A cat after my own heart."
Watch Pence's adorable tribute to Garfield here, or below beginning at 8:17:14. Jeva Lange
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China on Tuesday for a two-day visit, his third trip since March. Kim is expected to brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on his recent summit with President Trump. Kim and Trump agreed to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump also offered to guarantee the security of the North Korean regime and promised to end "war games" with South Korea, which both North Korea and China have criticized as provocative. The long-reclusive Kim also is expected to use the clout he gained from his meeting with Trump to push for relief from tough international economic sanctions. Harold Maass
Italy's interior minister wants to count the country's Roma population, expel those without citizenship
Italy's far-right anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has called for a census of the country's Roma community with the intention of potentially expelling those without citizenship, France 24 reports. "As for the Italian Roma, unfortunately one has to keep them at home," Salvini said in comments to a local television station in Northern Italy.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte slammed Salvini's remarks as going "too far" and the leader of the populist, Eurosceptic Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, said such a census would be "unconstitutional," The Guardian reports. "The interior minister does not seem to know that a census on the basis of ethnicity is not permitted by the law," said Carlo Stasolla, the president of the Associazione 21 Luglio, which supports Roma rights.
Salvini described the count and subsequent expulsion of non-Italian Roma as being the "answer to the Roma question." Up to 180,000 Roma live in Italy, with about 43 percent holding Italian citizenship.
"We … recall that Italian Roma have been present in our country for at least half a century and sometimes they are 'more Italian' than many of our fellow citizens," said Stasolla. Jeva Lange