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June 19, 2018

The U.S. is officially withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jointly announced Tuesday.

Haley first threatened to leave the council in a U.N. speech last June, slamming its inclusion of human rights abusers such as Venezuela as council members and condemning what she said was anti-Israel bias. Haley cited that warning in her announcement Tuesday, saying the human rights group was "not worthy of its name," per NBC News.

"Human rights abusers continue to serve on and be elected to the council," Haley said. She also criticized the council's five resolutions against Israel this year, "more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran, and Syria combined."

The move comes just a day after the council's high commissioner bashed the U.S. for "forcibly" separating children and parents at the border, calling on the U.S. to end this "abuse." Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new "zero tolerance" immigration policy last month.

Former President George W. Bush refused to join the council when it was created in 2006, per The Washington Post, but the Obama administration opted for seat at the table in 2009. Kathryn Krawczyk

January 16, 2019

A new study shows that stem cell transplants could stop symptoms in some people with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects 2.3 million patients worldwide.

MS targets the central nervous system, with the immune system attacking the protective sheath covering nerves. During the clinical trial, patients were admitted to the hospital for two weeks, and they had their own stem cells collected and stored. They received high-dose chemotherapy treatments, which wiped out their immune systems. Their stem cells were then infused back into their bodies, giving their immune systems a reboot. Fewer than 10 percent of participants subsequently reported that their condition got worse, versus more than 75 percent of patients whose disease got worse after taking medications for MS over a five-year period.

Dr. Richard Burt, who led the trial at Northwestern School of Medicine, told CBS News: "Transplants ended up being markedly superior in all the perimeters we looked at. You have to select the right group of patients ... there's these really aggressive ones that are very relapsing and inflammatory that it works extremely well in." One of the patients who participated in the trial, Amanda Loy of Alaska, said before the transplant, her arms were numb, she had bladder issues, and her balance was off. Loy has relapsing-remitting MS, and said she can now run, something she couldn't do easily before, and plans on participating in the Chicago Marathon. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

In response to the housing crisis in Seattle, Microsoft announced late Wednesday it is pledging $500 million to build affordable housing in the region.

Microsoft is based in the suburb of Redmond, and in many areas where tech giants have their headquarters, low-and middle-income homeowners are being priced out. During a meeting attended by New York Times reporters earlier this week, Microsoft President Brad Smith and CEO Satya Nadella said they were worried about their employees being able to afford housing in an area where prices are skyrocketing. "We are going to invest quite a bit," Nadella said. "Of course, we have lots of software engineers, but the reality is that a lot of people work for Microsoft. Cafeteria workers, shuttle drivers. We have a real challenge. We don't have enough affordable housing units."

In December, the government published a report that found the Seattle region needs 156,000 more affordable housing units, and if the area continues to grow at its current rate, an additional 88,000 units are needed by 2040. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

A Georgia man was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a plot to attack the White House using an anti-tank rocket, federal authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Byung J. "BJay" Pak said Hasher Jallal Taheb, 21, of Cumming has been charged with attempting to damage or destroy a building owned by the United States using fire or an explosive. In an affidavit filed in court Wednesday, an FBI agent stated that in March 2018, a local law enforcement agency received a tip about Taheb; the person said Taheb had been radicalized, was using a new name, and planned to travel overseas.

The complaint says that in October, Taheb told a confidential FBI source he wanted to travel to a territory controlled by the Islamic State, but because he didn't have a passport, he was going to instead attack the White House and Statue of Liberty. He went on to meet with an undercover FBI agent and the FBI source multiple times, and allegedly told them he wanted to use an anti-tank weapon to blow open a door to the White House, taking out as many people as possible. He was arrested by FBI agents while inside a rental car, after he traded his own car for semi-automatic assault rifles, three explosive devices with remote detonators, and an anti-tank rocket. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

Jack Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group and creator of the index fund, died Wednesday. He was 89.

Vanguard is the world's largest mutual fund organization, now managing $4.9 trillion in global assets. When he created what is now known as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, he was ridiculed by Wall Street, with the fund dubbed "Bogle's Folly." In his letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in February 2017, billionaire investor Warren Buffet praised Bogle, saying that he was "frequently mocked by the investment-management industry," but "he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me."

Bogle grew up during the Great Depression, and studied economics at Princeton. He founded Vanguard in 1975, and served as chairman and CEO until 1996. Bogle also wrote 13 books about investing, with his final tome, Stay the Course: The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution, published in December. He is survived by his wife, Eve, and six children. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

The Pentagon is finalizing a policy to closely examine recruits who have green cards or other foreign ties, an initiative that would likely target thousands of people every year, two Department of Defense officials with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.

Last year, a federal judge blocked a similar effort to target green-card holders. The Pentagon is concerned about espionage and terrorism, and this new vetting process will screen "foreign nexus" risks, the Post reports; this could include people with foreign citizenship and those with family members who are not U.S. citizens.

Some U.S. citizens could also be targeted, including those with foreign spouses or relatives with dual citizenship. Anyone chosen for this screening would not be allowed to go to recruit training until they are cleared, which could take days for some and much longer for others. Defense Department officials told the Post the new policy will be distributed to military services no later than Feb. 15. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

A 27-year-old Marine veteran with PTSD was held for three days in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Michigan, despite being born in the United States, his lawyers said Wednesday.

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez pleaded guilty last month to trespassing and damaging a fire alarm at a hospital in Grand Rapids, the ACLU said. He spent some time in a Kent County jail, and was set for release on Dec. 14 to await sentencing. ICE contacted the jail and asked that Ramos-Gomez be held for pickup, and he was then driven 70 miles to Battle Creek. He was there for three days before a lawyer working for his family called the ICE detention center and told authorities Ramos-Gomez is a citizen.

In an interview with NBC News, ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman asked why ICE, which has access to fingerprint records, thought Ramos-Gomez should be deported. "Why did they think he was a non-citizen? Did they get him confused with someone else? Who knows. This is an individual who's incredibly vulnerable with a mental illness." Ramos-Gomez was a lance corporal in the Marines, and earned awards for service in Afghanistan. He is now receiving mental health care for his PTSD.

The ACLU is calling on the Kent County sheriff and county commissioners to look into why the jail released Ramos-Gomez to ICE. Kent County Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt told NBC News that once Ramos-Gomez "was released from our custody, he was under the domain of ICE. Where they take him is their process. Our procedures were followed." Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

Federal workers will get a paycheck at some point.

President Trump signed a bill Wednesday that ensures federal employees furloughed during the partial government shutdown will get back pay once it's over. Trump has long shown support for the bill, which was introduced by Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner last week and easily passed both houses of Congress.

Federal employees working without pay throughout the shutdown were already guaranteed back pay once the government reopened. This new law grants back pay to those furloughed during the shutdown. But it doesn't guarantee a paycheck for federal contractors, something Warner pushed for in a Wednesday tweet. He also, of course, advocated for the government to reopen after its 25-day-long shutdown. Kathryn Krawczyk

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