Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 8, 2019

Tim O'Donnell
U.S.-Mexico Border
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Trump suspends planned Mexico tariffs after sides reach deal

President Trump announced on Friday the tariffs he had threatened to levy on goods from Mexico beginning June 10 are "indefinitely suspended." This comes as Trump says the United States reached a deal with Mexico after several days of talks. "Mexico, in turn, has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration through Mexico, and to our southern border," Trump wrote on Friday evening. Mexico reportedly agreed to expand a program that sends migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to Mexico while they await the outcome of their cases. The White House earlier in the day had said that Trump's tariffs were still scheduled to go into effect on Monday if a deal was not reached despite mounting Republican opposition, with Trump having said they would increase in the subsequent months. [Donald Trump, Reuters]


Trump administration reportedly rejects embassies' request to fly gay pride flags

The State Department has reportedly rejected a request from U.S. embassies to fly gay pride flags this month. The denial was even reportedly made to Richard Grenell, America's ambassador to Germany, who is the most senior openly gay person in Trump's administration. Additionally, Israel, Brazil, Latvia, and other countries, asked for permission to fly the pride flag on official flagpoles, and were reportedly denied. State Department policy dictates that embassies receive permission to fly other flags on their official flagpoles, and former President Barack Obama granted blanket approval to fly the pride flag during his administration. But the State Department's Undersecretary for Management Brian Bulatao has denied all their requests so far this year, saying they can display the flag in other places inside and outside the embassies instead. [NBC News, HuffPost]


Beijing reportedly warned tech companies not to cooperate with Trump's tech ban

The Chinese government reportedly held meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday with major tech companies from the United States and elsewhere, warning them they could face dire consequences if they cooperate with the Trump administration's ban on sales of American technology to Chinese companies, people familiar with the meetings told The New York Times. The meetings were reportedly led by China's central economic planning agency and the National Development and Reform Commission, and attended by representatives from its Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Chinese officials reportedly told U.S. companies they could face permanent consequences if they comply with White House policy. Meanwhile, non-U.S. companies were told that so long as they continue their current relationships, they would face no adverse consequences. [The New York Times]


Colorado school officials consider tearing down Columbine High School

Twenty years after the mass shooting at Columbine High School that resulted in 13 deaths, district officials are considering a proposal to tear down and rebuild the school. The Jeffco Public Schools district in Colorado is seeking input from its community on whether to reconstruct the school in response to a growing culture of "Columbiners" who are fascinated by the shooting and its perpetrators. The school administration is considering asking for an estimated $60 to $70 million from voters to rebuild the school, which would keep its name, mascot, and colors. District superintendent Jason Glass said a record number of people tried to trespass on the school's grounds upon the twentieth anniversary of the shooting, and that the proposal is in "the very preliminary and exploratory stages." [CNN, ABC News]


NASA to allow commercial travel to International Space Station

NASA will soon start letting commercial businesses use the International Space Station, it announced Friday. Private astronauts will be able to test products, conduct research, and even make movies in the zero-gravity environment. NASA has long resisted letting anyone using its side of the ISS for commercial purposes, but administrator Jim Bridenstine hopes business revenue could offset NASA mission costs and the $3 to $4 billion in annual operational costs. NASA released preliminary pricing for cargo storage and ISS facilities usage, with a one-night stay costing about $35,000. There will likely be stiff competition for the spots. NASA has also said it would eventually like private companies to take over the ISS full-time to cut those massive operating costs. [The Verge, The New York Times]


Trump administration preparing unlicensed facilities to house migrant children

The Health and Human Services Department's Office of Refugee Resettlement is opening a new emergency facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, to house up to 1,600 unaccompanied minors who crossed into the U.S., mostly from Central America. Up to 1,400 more children will be housed at three military bases in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Montana. None of the new facilities will be subject to state child welfare licensing requirements because they will be classified as temporary emergency shelters, said ORR spokesman Mark Weber. ORR cut several services for detained migrant children due to an influx of migrants. Attorneys and immigrant advocates say those cutbacks, and the extended incarceration of the child migrants, violate the Flores legal settlement governing housing of minor immigrants. [The Associated Press, The Hill]


U.S. ambassador says Israel has right to annex parts of West Bank

David M. Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel told The New York Times that Israel has a right to annex at least some, but "unlikely all," of the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to begin annexing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which would violate international law and could serve as a blow to any prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Much of the world considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal and many critics fear that annexation would foment violence and require military occupation of urban areas of Palestine for the first time in decades. [The New York Times, Haaretz]


G-20 split on need to resolve trade tensions swiftly

Financial leaders of the Group of 20 gathered on Saturday in Fukuoka, Japan, to discuss how to adapt global finance in the midst of trade battles and digital disruptions. The officials warned that trade tensions threaten an expected pick-up in economic growth in 2020, but there was no consensus among the group if the need to resolve those tensions is "pressing." One official from Japan's finance ministry told reporters there appears to be momentum toward reflecting the group's concern over trade in its official communique, but there is no conclusion yet. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, on the other hand, said the other leaders had not expressed concern over President Trump's protectionist trade policies. [Reuters, AP News]


France beats South Korea in first game of Women's World Cup

France took on South Korea in the first game of the the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in Paris, with France easily winning 4-0. The win came as no surprise, seeing as FiveThirtyEight lists the host team as the most likely to win the whole cup at 24 percent. The U.S. team came into the cup at No. 1 in the FIFA rankings and has a 17 percent chance to win it all. They'll play their first game against Thailand on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. Germany has a 10 percent chance to scoop the cup, and it'll play China in the next World Cup match at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday. Off the field, the U.S. women's team is still waging their lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for alleged gender discrimination. [FiveThirtyEight, ESPN]


Raptors push Warriors to brink

The Toronto Raptors are now just one game away from claiming the franchise's first NBA title after defeating the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, 105-92 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Friday. Toronto was trailing at the half, but surged to victory thanks to a 36-point, 12-rebound effort from Kawhi Leonard. Only once in NBA history has a team climbed back from a three games to one deficit in the Finals — that was in 2016 when the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers defeated Golden State in stunning fashion. The Raptors and Warriors will travel back to Toronto for Game 5 on Monday. [ESPN]