Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 30, 2017

Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies, Trump condemns Portland attack, and more

1

Ousted Panama dictator Manuel Noriega dies at 83

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who was ousted by a 1989 U.S. invasion, has died, Panama's government announced early Tuesday. He was 83. No official cause of death was immediately announced, but Noriega had been in intensive care since March due to complications from surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. While in prison in the U.S., France, and finally Panama, Noriega had suffered strokes and other ailments. General Noriega, a career soldier, was sometimes an ally and sometimes an enemy of the U.S., working with the CIA and U.S. drug agencies while at the same time trafficking cocaine and selling secrets to U.S. adversaries. He was indicted by the United States in early 1989 on racketeering, laundering drug money, and drug smuggling charges, and in 1990, he surrendered. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1992, and was convicted in absentia of murder and laundering $2.8 million in drug money by purchasing property in France. Noriega was extradited back to Panama in 2011.

2

Trump calls deadly attack by man on anti-Muslim tirade 'unacceptable'

President Trump tweeted Monday that a deadly attack by a man shouting insults against Muslims on a Portland, Oregon, light-rail train was "unacceptable." Two men were killed when they came to the aid of two young women, one wearing a traditional Muslim headscarf. The victims were "standing up to hate and intolerance," Trump said. The tweet was posted on the official presidential Twitter account, @POTUS, rather than the personal @realDonaldTrump account that Trump controls and uses to speak his mind directly to followers. Critics had slammed Trump for staying silent after the Friday attack despite being quick to condemn violence committed by Islamist extremists.

3

Trump says fallen service members died 'so we could live in peace'

President Trump paid tribute to fallen U.S. military service members in a traditional Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Monday. "They died in war so we could live in peace," Trump said, marking his first Memorial Day as commander-in-chief. "We only hope that every day we can prove worthy, not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by the families and loved ones they left behind," Trump said. In his first public remarks since returning from a nine-day foreign trip, Trump made special mention of Robert Kelly, a son of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly who died in Afghanistan after stepping on a mine. He also generally thanked all Gold Star families, telling them their lost loved ones' "legacy will endure forever."

4

Investigators examine Kushner meeting with Russian banker

Federal and congressional investigators are looking into the purpose of a December meeting between Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, and a Russian banker with ties to President Vladimir Putin. The half-hour meeting between Kushner and banker Sergey N. Gorkov occurred as Trump clashed with U.S. intelligence agencies that believed Russia had tried to influence the U.S. election in Trump's favor. U.S. officials say investigators are examining whether the meeting was part of Kushner's recently reported effort to open a direct line of communication between Trump and Putin outside of traditional diplomatic procedures. White House officials over the Memorial Day weekend defended Kushner, saying that back-channel communications are an acceptable way to build dialogue with foreign governments.

5

Macron talks tough on Russia after Putin meeting

Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin came out of a meeting at Versailles on Monday promising to work together to fight terrorism, but clashing over the independence and integrity of state-sponsored Russian news outlets RT and Sputnik. Macron said the Russian outlets, which he refused to accredit during his campaign, spread "deceitful propaganda" and operated like "organs of influence," promoting misinformation that had favored his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen. Putin denied Russia tried to influence France's election. Macron also warned that France would respond forcefully if anyone crosses the "red line" of using chemical weapons in Syria, where Russia backs the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.

6

Germany's top diplomat says Trump policies weakening the West

Germany's foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said that President Trump has "weakened" the West with his unraveling of environmental protections, threats of military action in conflict regions, and other policies. "Anyone who accelerates climate change by weakening environmental protection, who sells more weapons in conflict zones, and who does not want to politically resolve religious conflicts is putting peace in Europe at risk," Gabriel said. The remarks came a day after Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Europe could no longer completely depend on traditional allies such as the U.S. During his recently completed foreign trip, Trump scolded NATO leaders for failing to pay their fair share for the military alliance's common defense, and declined to say immediately whether he would honor the Paris climate accord.

7

British Airways chief apologizes for 'catastrophic' IT glitch

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz said Monday that he was "profusely apologetic" about a "catastrophic" computer failure that led to the cancellation of dozens of flights and disrupted travel for 75,000 passengers over a U.K. holiday weekend. Cruz said such a meltdown would "never again" be allowed to disrupt flights. He said he would not resign over the incident, which he said had nothing to do with cost savings measures he implemented after taking over leadership of the airline last year. Union leaders have said that IT outsourcing to India opened the door to computer-system glitches. The company said its IT systems were running normally on Tuesday.

8

Texas legislature closes with chaotic session

A session of the Texas state legislature erupted in chaos on Monday, as lawmakers exchanged alleged death threats, and one Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives said he called Immigration and Customs Enforcement on demonstrators protesting a new law banning sanctuary cities. The arguments marked the symbolic end to a polarizing legislative session that has included debates over controversial bills on sanctuary cities and rules on which bathrooms transgender teens can use in school. State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) said he called ICE after seeing demonstrators with signs saying they were undocumented, and Democrats bragged about the protest. "F— them," he said. Rinaldi also said Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass) "threatened my life on the House floor" and said "he would 'get me.' I made it clear that if he attempted to, in his words, 'get me,' I would shoot him in self-defense." Nevárez said that never happened and called Rinaldi a "liar."

9

U.S. tells WTO it is considering 'safeguard' tariffs on solar cells

The Trump administration has notified the World Trade Organization that it is considering imposing emergency "safeguard" tariffs on imported solar cells to protect American companies, according to a filing with the 164-member WTO published Monday. The U.S. is competing with China and India to lead the fast-growing solar power industry, triggering an exchange of complaints about unfair trade practices. Last September, the WTO found that India was illegally discriminating against U.S. solar-cell exports, and India claimed that solar subsidies in eight U.S. states were giving producers there unfair advantages.

10

Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida

Golf great Tiger Woods was arrested early Monday on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Woods, who was stopped near his Jupiter Island, Florida, home and later released on his own recognizance, blamed an unexpected reaction to prescription medication, saying alcohol was not involved. He has been recovering from April back surgery, hoping to make a comeback after years of struggles on the course and in his personal life. He has won 14 major championships, putting him at No. 2 on the all-time list. His last tournament victory came in 2013, before a string of four back surgeries. His last major victory came in 2008, before revelations that he had several extramarital affairs, leading to his divorce from his wife, Elin, and a four-month break from golf.

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