Sunday, 3 June 2018

Axios/Amy Harder: Exclusive: Pope convenes Big Oil, investors to talk climate change

Amy Harder Jun 1

Exclusive: Pope convenes Big Oil, investors to talk climate change
Pope Francis surrounded by executives
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Pope Francis is hosting a gathering next week at the Vatican with executives of major oil producers and investment firms to talk about how the companies can address climate change, according to several people familiar with the event.

Why it matters: It’s one of the most significant developments showing how corporations are working with other world leaders on climate change amid President Trump’s whole-scale retreat on the issue.
Jonathan Swan 1 hour ago
Trump’s 500-day coup of the GOP, conservatism
llustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Donald Trump has been President Trump for 500 days as of noon today, and everything has changed, and nothing has changed.

Be smart: In 500 days, Trump’s hijacking of the formerly conservative GOP is complete — an astonishing accomplishment. The majority party in America is fully defined by his policies, his popularity with the base, his facts-be-damned mentality, his ability to control and quiet virtually all Republican elected officials.
Shannon Vavra 27 mins ago
The big picture: American products that now face Trump's trade war
An illustration of a rubik's cube with Canada's and Mexico's flags on the blocks.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China, Canada, Mexico, and the EU are responding to Trump’s trade war against each of them with their own retaliatory tariffs — or threats of them — against products from bourbon whiskey to cheese to chocolate.

Why these products are targeted: As Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo told Mexican media earlier this week, it’s about targeting districts whose lawmakers may get angry calls from constituents and companies in their states, and who then may try to get a hold of Trump's ear to influence how he moves forward.
Khorri Atkinson 1 hour ago
Giuliani: Trump "probably" has power to pardon himself
President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani said on ABC News' "This Week" that Trump "probably does" have the power to pardon himself if special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation found him guilty of obstructing justice in the Russia probe.
He's not, but he probably does. He has no intention of pardoning himself, but that doesn't say he can't. That's really interesting constitutional argument: 'Can the president pardon himself? ... It would be an open question.
— said Giuliani, when host George Stephanopoulos asked if Trump has such authority.
Khorri Atkinson 1 hour ago
Thousands march across the country against gun violence
National Gun Violence Awareness Day march on Brooklyn Bridge in New York
Youths carry a symbolic casket in a march against shootings in schools across the country on Brooklyn Bridge during National Gun Violence Awareness Day in New York. Photo: Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Protests took place around the country Saturday with thousands marching across New York’s Brooklyn Bridge in a movement against gun violence.

The details: The march in New York City was led by the student group, Youth Over Guns, which was formed after the Parkland school massacre in February to call on lawmakers to pass gun control measures, reports the AP.
U.S. News
Stef W. Kight 1 hour ago
What we're watching: The DACA debate heats up on the hill
Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

There are still around 800,000 DACA recipients in limbo, and Trump's signature promise of "the wall" remains unfulfilled. Next week, Congress will be back from recess to duke it out.

Where things stand: Court injunctions have allowed DACA recipients to continue renewing their legal status, and by the end of this month the Trump administration could be forced to begin accepting new applications as well. But these court decisions are not a permanent solution. After the Senate failed to find a legislative fix, the House is now taking a whack at it.
Khorri Atkinson 1 hour ago
China warns U.S. sanctions will jeopardize trade talks
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrives to the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse to attend a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing on June 3, 2018.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attend a trade meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing Sunday. Photo: Andy Wong/AFP/Getty Images

China forewarned the Trump administration on Sunday that any trade deals currently being discussed will not go into effect should the U.S. implement proposed tariffs on Chinese goods, according to a statement published by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The backdrop: The warning came after a U.S. delegation, led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, held talks with Chinese officials in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday. The latest, sprawling discussion over trade disputes between both countries ended with neither a joint statement and nor did they released any details, per the AP. The White House had casted doubt on trade talks when it renewed a threat on Tuesday to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese technology this month.
Kim Hart, Kia Kokalitcheva 2 hours ago
Go deeper: How social media is changing how we shop
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As people spend more time online and get more comfortable with purchasing products there, social media and major tech platforms are increasingly a conduit for online sales.

Why it matters: Now more than ever, ad dollars for e-commerce are spent on platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon as they perfect the link between what consumers want and their ability to serve up other items the consumers might like.
Stef W. Kight 4 hours ago
International adoptions keep dropping in the U.S.

Domestic adoptions are back to the same level they were before the financial crisis, but adoptions of children from foreign countries continued to decline in 2017 — down from 22,989 adoptions in 2004 to 4,714 in 2017.
Data: Department Of Health & Human Services, Department of State; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Between the lines: This drop comes mostly due to changes in policy in Russia, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the past several years, where a majority of international kids adopted by the U.S. come from.
Michael Sykes 5 hours ago
What we're reading: The death of the phone call
Rotary telephone
A vintage rotary telephone. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The rise and fall of the phone conversation — from the normalizing of "hello" to all of the other formalities taught to kids who grew up with landline telephones — is revisited in a new piece from The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal.

The big picture: Picking up was once commonplace in a home for a ringing telephone. Now, people avoid phone calls and conversations at all costs, for reasons that include alternative options and the rise of telemarketer spam.
Shannon Vavra 13 hours ago
Erdogan: Uber is “finished” in Turkey
Man holds a Turkish flag in one hand and a sign that reads "Uber get out of our country" in the other.
Photo: Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Following pressure from taxi drivers in Istanbul calling for Uber to be banned in Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the “Uber business is finished. That does not exist anymore,” per Reuters.

The politics: Erdogan is likely making a last-minute appeal to his constituents — he is running for reelection in a few weeks, and Istanbul's taxi-drivers have taken Uber to court in the past, accusing it of hurting their business.
Lauren Meier 14 hours ago
Under cloud of tariffs, a U.S. trade delegation arrives in Beijing
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A high-level delegation of U.S. officials led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is in China to "discuss rebalancing the bilateral economic relationship between the United States and China," according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: On Thursday, the Trump administration announced it will impose tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum on countries within the European Union, as well as Canada and Mexico, just months after announcing similar tariffs on China.
Shannon Vavra 16 hours ago
Hacking group targets industrial safety systems
Industrial protective gear including a hardhat
Photo: sarote pruksachat/Getty Images

A hacking group known as XENOTIME, which shut down an industrial plant in the Middle East last year, is expanding its targets and could launch destructive attacks on the safety components of industrial control systems, the cybersecurity firm Dragos reports in a blog post.

Why it matters: Such attacks could affect operations at nuclear, chemical, and other industrial plants, and outcomes involving death or physical harm could be either a goal or an acceptable outcome of the attacks. Per Dragos, "XENOTIME is easily the most dangerous threat activity publicly known ... which can lead to scenarios involving loss of life and environmental damage."
Axios 17 hours ago
What they're saying: The backlash to Vogue's Saudi princess cover
Saudi Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud poses behind the wheel of a convertible
Cover of June Vogue Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia will be legally allowed to drive on June 24, and Vogue Arabia is marking the sea change with its June cover featuring Saudi princess Hayfa Bint Abdullah Al Saud behind the wheel.

Yes, but: The glowing cover contrasts with the Saudi administration's continued crackdown on women's rights activism. Human Rights Watch reports that at least 11 activists have been arrested in Saudi Arabia since mid-May.
Lauren Meier 18 hours ago
Cuba to begin constitutional reform process
A meeting of the Cuban parliament
The Cuban parliament meets in Havana. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

The national assembly of Cuba is expected to begin a rewrite of its constitution that will give "legal backing to the Communist-run island’s economic and social opening while upholding the "irrevocable nature of socialism," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Cuba has come a long way socially, as it only recently approved sex-change operations and discriminated against homosexuals following the 1959 revolution, per Reuters. The last time it changed its constitution was in 2002, when it made socialism "irrevocable."
Lauren Meier 19 hours ago
Big money pours in ahead of San Francisco vaping vote
Man vapes CBD oil at Virgil Grant's dispensary in Los Angeles. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The tobacco company R.J. Reynolds has launched a $12 million campaign in an attempt to encourage voters to strike down San Francisco's ban on selling flavored vaping products, hookah tobacco and menthol cigarettes in a Tuesday vote, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Younger generations of kids, including high school and middle schoolers, are becoming hooked on the popular tobacco products that come in flashy packaging and fruity flavors. R.J. Reynolds calls the ban "government overreach," but anti-tobacco advocates say the campaign to stop the ban is a "warning shot to other local governments eyeing similar restrictions," Politico adds.
David Nather 19 hours ago
Trump's lawyers: He's legally incapable of obstructing justice
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump's legal team is making a bold new claim in a letter to Robert Mueller that says he can't obstruct the Russia investigation because his presidential authority is so broad that it makes obstruction impossible, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: That claim would push the boundaries of executive power and probably set up a legal fight over whether he can be ordered to answer questions. The letter from the president's legal team claims that the Constitution gives Trump the power to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 news 20 hours ago
Israel denies new deal with Russia in Syria
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images

Israel denied claims today by Russian officials and reports in Arab media outlets about new understandings that were allegedly reached about the situation in Southern Syria. An Israeli official told me that no deal was reached with the Russians so far.

Why it matters: The Syrian army is about to start a military operation against rebels in Southern Syria near the Israeli and Jordanian borders, which would violate a ceasefire deal signed by the U.S., Russia and Jordan last July.
Lauren Meier
Ireland seeks to repeal school baptism law
Schoolchildren arrive at a shrine in Tuam, County Galway. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland is taking on another battle with the Catholic church after the country voted to repeal a long-standing abortion law last week. The New York Times is reporting that Ireland is seeking to end "a provision that gives preference in most of the country’s elementary schools to children who have been baptized."

The state of play: Right now, 90% of the country's public schools are owned by the Roman Catholic Church giving non-Catholic families very few options for their child's education. The proposed bill, that passed in parliament's lower house this week, "Catholic elementary schools would be barred from discriminating in favor of children of their own 'religious ethos.'" Per the Times, analysts say the bill will likely be approved by the upper house who will review it this month.
Lauren Meier 20 hours ago
The Pentagon is taking over the security clearance process
Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. Photo: Andy Dunaway/USAF via Getty Images

The Defense Department will start conducting security clearance checks for the federal government, hoping to fix a flawed system that allowed people like the Navy Yard shooter and Edward Snowden to obtain high-level clearances, the Associated Press reports, citing U.S. officials.

The details: The department aims to use "increased automation and high-tech analysis to tighten controls and tackle an enormous backlog of workers waiting for security clearances," the AP adds. The department says it plans to take over full responsibility for every background check of its military and civilian employees over the next three years, as well as outside contractors that work with the military.
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