Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 2, 2017

Trump announces withdrawal from Paris climate deal, Trump administration asks Supreme Court to unfreeze travel ban, and more

1

Trump announces withdrawal from the Paris climate accord

President Trump announced Thursday that he is pulling the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate agreement, honoring a campaign promise but prompting swift condemnation from world leaders, environmentalists, and corporate executives. Trump said the accord was unfair and would cost U.S. jobs while benefiting other countries, framing his decision as a "reassertion of America's sovereignty." The U.S., the biggest carbon polluter in history, now joins Syria and Nicaragua, which wanted a tougher deal, as the only countries in the world that oppose the 2015 accord. Trump said he would try to negotiate a better deal for the U.S., but the leaders of France, Germany, and Italy in a joint statement rejected the idea. "We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies, and economies," they said.

2

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to unfreeze travel ban

The Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court late Thursday to immediately reinstate President Trump's revised temporary ban on travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim nations, which has been blocked by lower courts. Last week, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, said the policy violated the First Amendment because it targeted Muslims out of religious intolerance. The Trump administration said Trump was within his rights as president, because he has the authority to say who can and cannot enter the country, but the court's majority of Democratic appointees found that Trump's campaign pledge to ban all Muslim immigrants indicated that the policy was a pretext for religious discrimination. The court's minority of Republican appointees dissented.

3

Obama says leaving Paris climate deal shirks U.S. leadership

Former President Barack Obama on Thursday harshly criticized President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, avoiding mentioning Trump by name but saying the decision amounted to abandoning America's leadership role on the world stage. Obama said he was "confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way." The Democratic governors of California, Washington state, and New York said Thursday that they had formed the U.S. Climate Alliance to honor the Paris climate agreement and work to get U.S. carbon emissions down by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels despite Trump's decision to leave the 2015 global accord. California Gov. Jerry Brown called Trump's decision an "insane move." Trump said his decision was best for the U.S., noting, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto also vowed to "follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy, & future."

4

Putin says 'patriotically minded' Russian hackers might have targeted election

Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped back from his flat denial that anyone in his country tried to interfere in last year's U.S. presidential election, saying that "patriotically minded" independent Russian hackers might have staged cyberattacks but continuing to insist that his government played no role. "Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting," Putin said. "If they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions — which are right, from their point of view — to the fight against those who say bad things about Russia." President Trump has made similar remarks, dismissing allegations of Russian meddling as an excuse concocted by Democrats to explain the unexpected defeat of their candidate, Hillary Clinton.

5

Trump backs off pledge to move embassy to Jerusalem

President Trump on Thursday signed a waiver deferring the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, staving off a law passed in 1995 that made it U.S. policy to move the diplomatic headquarters. Trump had promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem during his presidential campaign. The location of the U.S. embassy is a symbolic struggle, as Jerusalem is claimed by both Jews and Arabs as a religious capital, while Tel Aviv is secular. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "disappointed" by Trump's decision to delay the move, while the Palestinian ambassador to the U.S., Husam Zomlot, said the deferral "gives peace a chance."

6

Report: Nigel Farage becomes 'person of interest' in Russia investigation

Nigel Farage, who was a leader of the U.K.'s Brexit campaign, is a "person of interest" in the U.S. investigation into Russian meddling in last year's U.S. presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and President Trump's campaign, The Guardian newspaper reported Thursday. Sources informed about the investigation said FBI investigators became interested in Farage because of his ties to both Trump associates and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose whistleblower website published hacked Democratic emails that damaged Hillary Clinton's campaign. As a person of interest, he is not a suspect, but someone investigators believe could have valuable information. Farage's spokesman described the report as "verging on the hysterical," saying, "Nigel has never been to Russia, let alone worked with their authorities."

7

Attacker sets fire in Philippines casino, killing 36

A gunman stormed a Manila casino early Friday and set fire to gambling tables, filling the crowded gambling area with smoke that killed at least 36 people. The alleged attacker took $2 million in casino chips and fled to an adjoining hotel, where he reportedly forced his way into a room and killed himself. President Trump referred to the incident as a terrorist attack, but authorities in the Philippines said the attack on the Resorts World Manila complex appeared to be a robbery, with no link to an uprising by Islamist militants in the southern city of Marawi. National police chief Ronald dela Rosa said the gunman "would have shot all the people gambling" if he had been a terrorist, but none of the victims had been shot. "Either he lost in the casino and wanted to recoup his losses or he went totally nuts," said Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde.

8

Musk and Iger quit Trump's CEO council over Paris accord withdrawal

Tesla CEO Elon Musk followed through Thursday on a vow to quit two White House advisory councils due to President Trump's decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement. Musk has become a leading representative of the clean energy movement for his push to develop electric cars and solar power alternatives for the home, such as Tesla's new solar roof tiles. Musk faced pressure to quit Trump's advisory panels before, but said it was better to keep a seat at the table so he could make his voice heard. Trump's rejection of the Paris deal suggested that Musk had not managed to sway the president's thinking on the environment. "Climate change is real," he tweeted. "Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world." Disney CEO Robert Iger also quit Trump's council over the decision.

9

12-year-old Californian Ananya Vinay wins national spelling bee

Twelve-year-old Ananya Vinay of California won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, beating 14-year-old Rohan Rajeev of Oklahoma in a tense, 45-minute spell-off. Vinay won when she correctly spelled marocain (a type of dress fabric) after Rajeev misspelled the word marram (a type of beach grass). Vinay, who became the 13th Indian-American in a row to win the national bee, said she felt "amazing" about winning, and that she planned to split her $40,000 prize money with her 7-year-old brother, with her share going toward college. "It was just fun to see how far it would go," she said.

10

Warriors trounce Cavaliers in Game 1 of NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-91, in Oakland to take Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. The Warriors and the Cavaliers split the last two championships and are the first two teams to face off in the championship series for the third straight year. The Warriors entered the series with home-court advantage as the overall top seed. They have gone 12-0 in this year's playoffs, while the Cavaliers are looking to repeat as champions after their legendary Finals comeback last year. The series features seven All-Stars, including Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant of the Warriors, and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers. ESPN noted that the team that wins Game 1 of the Finals has emerged as the champion 49 out of 70 times.

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