5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Mexico ratifies USMCA trade deal

  • House panel considers commission on reparations

  • NXIVM leader Keith Raniere found guilty on all counts in sex cult case

  • Sudan's military council calls on opposition to reopen talks

  • Pixar announces original movie Soul, to hit theaters in 2020

On Wednesday, Mexico's senate overwhelmingly voted to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. The deal is an update of North American Free Trade Agreement, and comes despite President Trump threatening tariffs on Mexico a few weeks ago. Mexico's Senate voted 114-4 to approve the deal, with three lawmakers abstaining. Some of those voting for the deal were cautious, seeing as Trump has been unpredictable when dealing with his southern neighbor, but said the bill was essential in guaranteeing Mexico's economic viability. Despite largely voicing opposition to Trump, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also pushed for the deal, essentially ensuring its passage. The deal contains many of the same provisions as NAFTA, but calls for more automotive manufacturing within the three countries.

Source: The Washington Post

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held a hearing to discuss the creation of a commission to explore reparations for black Americans affected by slavery. Lawmakers are considering a bill, HR 40, that would evaluate proposals to aid descendants of former slaves, a possibility that has long been debated. Nearly 60 House Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) support the bill, as do Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who attended the contentious hearing. Attendees, like author and essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates, criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for saying on Tuesday that reparations are unnecessary. The bill would authorize $12 million for a 13-member commission to examine the effects of slavery and discrimination and make recommendations to Congress.

Source: The New York Times

NXIVM founder Keith Raniere was found guilty on all counts on Wednesday. Raniere, who prosecutors said ran a "sex cult" within his purported self-help group, was found guilty on seven counts, including racketeering conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, and sex trafficking conspiracy. Members of group within NXIVM were allegedly branded with Raniere's initials and blackmailed with compromising photos of themselves, prosecutors say. Victims were reportedly sexually exploited and referred to as "slaves." Raniere had pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer during trial said that all of the relationships Raniere had with members of the organization were consensual. The jury found him guilty within a few hours of deliberation. Raniere will be sentenced on Sept. 25 and faces life in prison.

Source: NBC News, BuzzFeed News

Sudan's ruling military council on Wednesday said that it is once again ready to continue talks with the country's opposition alliance. Sudan has been mired in a struggle to transition to democracy after the military ousted longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir after weeks of protests. The negotiations between the military council and the civilian opposition collapsed following a violent dispersal of a protest camp in Khartoum earlier in June. Protesters said more than 100 people were killed, while authorities said the number of deaths was 61. The opposition alliance has said it refuses to engage with the military council until the initiation of an international inquiry into the violence, but the council is nevertheless trying to persuade them to meet without any preconditions.

Source: Reuters

Pixar on Wednesday announced its new animated film Soul from Up and Inside Out director Pete Docter. An official description for the film reads, "Ever wonder where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from?" and announces a 2020 release for "a journey from the streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life's most important questions." Before Soul will be Onward, which hits theaters in March 2020. Disney had previously slated an untitled Pixar film for June 2019. While the studio has produced several sequels rather than original properties in recent years, executives say after the release of Toy Story 4, the studio's slate will be "all original films."

Source: Pixar
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