Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 10, 2018

Harold Maass
Brett Kavanaugh shakes Trump's hand


Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

President Trump on Monday nominated federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, to the Supreme Court, seeking to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, long viewed as the court's key swing vote, with a staunch conservative. Kavanaugh vowed to "keep an open mind with every case." Like Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed last year, Kavanaugh served as one of Kennedy's clerks in the 1990s. Kavanaugh's ties to George W. Bush, whose White House he served in, reportedly was a strike against him in Trump's deliberations, but his extensive conservative judicial record won over Trump, who called Kavanaugh "one of the sharpest legal minds of our time." Democrats vowed to vigorously oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation, which could cement a conservative hold on the court for a generation, and lead to rulings restricting abortion and rolling back ObamaCare. [The Washington Post, The Associated Press]


All 12 soccer players and their coach rescued from Thai cave

All 12 soccer players and their 25-year-old coach have been rescued from a Thailand cave where they were trapped by floodwaters for two weeks, Thai Navy Seals confirmed. The final group of boys and the coach were removed from the cave Tuesday. The divers began the rescue operation Sunday morning, extracting four boys. Four more were rescued Monday. The soccer team was stuck in the cave when monsoon rains struck unseasonably early. It took divers 11 hours roundtrip to extract each boy. [Reuters, CBC]


Judge rejects Trump request to detain migrant families long-term

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California on Monday rejected the Trump administration's plan to detain immigrant families for extended periods. Gee said the effort was a "cynical attempt" to scrap a longstanding court settlement limiting how long children can be detained after crossing the border illegally. The Justice Department had asked to revise the 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement to make it possible to follow up on President Trump's order to halt the separation of undocumented migrant children and their parents at the southern border, and instead hold them together. The Justice Department said it would appeal Gee's decision. "We disagree with the court's ruling declining to amend the Flores Agreement to recognize the current crisis of families making the dangerous and unlawful journey across our southern border," spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement. [The Associated Press]


Trump criticizes NATO allies ahead of summit

President Trump on Monday renewed his criticism of NATO allies ahead of his Tuesday departure for a summit that starts Wednesday in Brussels, accusing them of failing to contribute enough to the alliance while Europe maintains a trade surplus with the U.S. "The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country," Trump tweeted. "This is not fair, nor is it acceptable... they must do much more." Madeleine Albright and 15 other former foreign ministers from around the world sent Trump a letter saying he could "take some credit" for getting other NATO members to increase defense spending. They urged him to bolster America's "deteriorating relationship" with its Western allies, and to avoid cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet in Helsinki after the NATO gathering. [Reuters, Politico]


British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quits over 'soft' Brexit plan

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned on Monday in protest of Prime Minister Theresa May's approach to leading the U.K. out of the European Union. Johnson's departure came within 24 hours of the resignation of May's Brexit secretary, David Davis, who said May was tying Britain more closely to the EU than hardline conservatives want. "We are truly headed for the status of colony," Johnson said in his resignation letter. Britons voted two years ago to leave the trading bloc, but the negotiations on the terms of the change have proven complicated. Last week May appeared to have brought her divided ministers in line behind her plan to keep the U.K. closely linked with the EU, but the resignations have thrown her government into disarray. [CNN, The New York Times]


Judge grants more time as ICE starts reuniting small migrant kids with parents

A federal judge on Monday granted the Trump administration more time to reunite migrant families separated at the border. The government will be able to reunite only about half of the 102 migrant children under 5 who were separated from their parents by the Tuesday deadline set by a federal judge, Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian said. Some of the other children's parents already have been deported, or failed criminal background checks. Others could not prove they were the child's parents. Still others had been released from immigration custody, and agents could not reach them. [Reuters, NBC News]


Death toll from Japan flooding, mudslides exceeds 130

The death toll from flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan rose to 134, with more than 50 people still unaccounted for early Tuesday. Rescuers continued to search for the missing along riverbanks and the hardest hit parts of the Hiroshima area, where drinking water and relief supplies remained scarce. "I can't go back if I wanted to," 66-year-old retired self-defense serviceman Akira Tanimoto said in a shelter he and his wife reached after fleeing their devastated apartment complex. "Electricity is out, water is cut off, and there is no information there." Thousands of homes remained without clean water and power in the wake of unprecedented rains. [The Associated Press]


China frees widow of Nobel winning dissident Liu Xiaobo

China let Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winning dissident Liu Xiaobo, leave the country for Berlin on Tuesday. She had been under house arrest although she was never charged with a crime. She was freed days ahead of the one-year anniversary of her husband's death in prison on a sentence for inciting subversion. Human rights groups had pressured Beijing to release her after an ordeal that drove the poet into depression. "Sister has already left Beijing for Europe at noon to start her new life," her brother, Liu Hui, posted on social media. "Thanks to everyone who has helped and cared for her these few years. I hope from now on her life is peaceful and happy." [The Associated Press]


Starbucks to phase out plastic straws by 2020

Starbucks announced Monday that it would phase out plastic straws and replace them with lids that resemble a sippy-cup by 2020 in an effort to reduce waste and protect the environment. The move comes after Starbucks' birthplace of Seattle officially banned plastic straws, and the company says this will save more than 1 billion straws from the landfill. Starbucks first unveiled the new lids in 2016, using them on foam-topped drinks in just one Seattle store. By 2020, every iced drink except Frappuccinos will be served strawless, while Frappucinos will come with either paper or composted plastic straws made from plant material. Additionally, any customer will be able to request a sustainable straw for any drink. Starbucks is currently testing the new straws in the U.K. [USA Today]


'50s heartthrob Tab Hunter dies at 86

Actor and '50s heartthrob Tab Hunter, best known for his roles in Battle Cry and Island of Desire, has died, his husband Allan Glaser told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. He was 86. Glaser said he and Hunter were at home in Santa Barbara, California, when Hunter went into cardiac arrest after a blood clot in his leg went to his lung. Glaser said Hunter, born Arthur Gelien, wanted to be remembered first "for being a good human being." "That was most important to him than being an actor and a recording artist. He didn't place importance on his movie career or his celebrity." His early song "Young Love" was such a hit, his movie studio head, Warner Bros.' Jack Warner, launched Warner Bros. Records in 1958 aiming to profit from it. [Los Angeles Times]

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