Donald Trump and other leaders of the world’s largest economies have gathered in Quebec City, Canada, for this year’s G7 summit, with the U.S. president increasingly isolated over trade and climate change. The G7 meeting comes after President Trump ordered tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and the European Union, prompting world powers to talk of uniting against the U.S. in a trade war. Reuters quoted French President Emmanuel Macron as saying Thursday, “we don’t mind being six, if needs be.” Macron echoed that comment in a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
President Emmanuel Macron: “The six other countries of the G7 represent a larger market than the American market. Let’s face it, there is no world hegemony if we find a way to organize ourselves. And we don’t want there to be.”
President Trump is scheduled to leave the G7 summit early, tomorrow morning, ahead of next week’s meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. With his early departure, Trump will miss a discussion on climate change, which will center around Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. This comes as Trump said Thursday he’s prepared to invite Kim Jong-un to the White House if next week’s summit between the two leaders goes well.
Federal agents arrested a former senior aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, charging him with repeatedly lying to the FBI in a probe of who leaked classified information to reporters. The arrest of James Wolfe came just hours after The New York Times reported it had discovered that federal agents had secretly captured years’ worth of phone and email data from reporter Ali Watkins—who broke several high-profile stories related to the Intelligence Committee’s work for the Times and other outlets. The Times reports Watkins and Wolfe previously had a 3-year romantic relationship. A New York Times spokesperson blasted the Trump administration’s efforts to spy on its reporter, saying, “Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy, and communications between journalists and their sources demand protection.” This all comes exactly one year after the Trump administration arrested former U.S. intelligence contractor Reality Leigh Winner, who’s accused of leaking a top-secret document claiming Russian military intelligence launched a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before the 2016 election. Winner has pleaded not guilty and remains jailed awaiting trial.
The Trump administration said Thursday it will not defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, as a number of states, led by Texas, challenge the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature healthcare law. In court filings, Justice Department lawyers sided with the Republican-led effort to overturn the ACA, in a move that would allow insurance companies to charge more or refuse coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions. This came as the White House lobbied Republican congressional leaders to vote down a bipartisan bill that would fully fund an expansion of veterans’ healthcare that Trump signed into law on Wednesday.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats are urging House Republican leaders to hold a vote on a bill that would reverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules. Without congressional intervention, the FCC’s new policy will go into effect on Monday. It would allow internet service providers to throttle internet traffic speeds according to how much customers pay—or based on which websites they wish to favor. Last month, the Senate voted 52 to 47 to reverse the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality rules. On Thursday, the entire Senate Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan demanding he bring a companion bill to the House floor.
The Trump administration said Thursday it is transferring about 1,600 immigrants held in ICE custody to federal prisons, in the first large-scale transfer of this kind. ICE told the Reuters news service it’s moving the prisoners to five federal penitentiaries, with the majority headed to a prison complex in Victorville, California. Most of those being transferred have no criminal records and are awaiting civil immigration court proceedings. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project reports up to 120 people being held at SeaTac prison in Seattle are asylum seekers who are separated from their families.
Meanwhile, a high school student from Iowa was found murdered in Mexico’s Zacatecas state in May, just three weeks after he left the United States under threat of deportation. Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco was found with his throat slit, in what his family believes was a gang-related murder. He was just 19 years old. Cano Pacheco was brought to the U.S. when he was just 3 years old. He’d previously been granted protected status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which President Trump has been working to phase out. After he was convicted of two minor drug charges, he lost his DACA status and chose to enter Mexico as deportation appeared likely.
In Brooklyn, New York, immigrant rights groups and elected leaders are calling for the release of a delivery worker who was arrested by ICE last week after dropping off a pizza at the Fort Hamilton Army base. Pablo Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian immigrant, presented his New York City-issued ID card to soldiers at the entrance to the base, as he’s done on many previous delivery runs. But this time he was denied access and told he needed a driver’s license to enter the base. After a military police officer ran a background check, he discovered an ICE warrant from 2010 and called in immigration agents. Villavicencio is now being held at an ICE detention center in New Jersey and is scheduled to be deported. On Wednesday, New York City Councilmember Justin Brannan spoke to reporters outside the gates to the Army base, accompanied by Villavicencio’s wife, Sandra Chica, and the couple’s two young daughters.
Councilmember Justin Brannan: “Does the Army now have some new policy that demands all nonmilitary personnel show proof of citizenship to gain access onto the Army base? Otherwise, what happened here? Is this part of some new Donald Trump deportation strategy? … You’re tearing families apart. For what? How are we any safer today than we were yesterday?”
Sandra Chica: “It’s cruel that they have to, that they’re going to separate my daughters from him. He is supporting the family. Now I’m going to be by myself, alone with two kids.”
On Thursday, scores of protesters gathered outside immigration court in Lower Manhattan chanting “Free Pablo now!” Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said his office will pay Villavicencio’s legal fees.
In Nicaragua, hundreds of mothers marched through the streets of Managua Thursday, calling for justice for the more than 100 sons and daughters killed by police and vigilantes in recent protests calling on President Daniel Ortega to resign. This is protester Ana María Pizarro.
Ana María Pizarro: “Children are showing up, having been tied up, tortured and beaten up. And many times, after many days of complaining, the authorities call on mothers to collect the bodies. Official organizations should be giving information on victims from day one.”
Britain’s highest court ruled Thursday that Northern Ireland’s near-total ban on abortions is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The ruling by Britain’s Supreme Court won’t require a change in Northern Ireland’s laws, but pro-choice activists say it’s a step toward forcing the government of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to intervene. This is Grainne Teggart, Northern Ireland campaigner for Amnesty International.
Grainne Teggart: “Theresa May must now demonstrate that, like us, she trusts all women in the U.K. and that she will end the inequity that women in Northern Ireland face. They should not have to travel to the rest of the U.K. for this healthcare. So we will continue to pressure government to change the law to enable free, safe and legal abortions in Northern Ireland.”
In Ontario, Canada, voters have elected a new conservative government, led by Doug Ford, brother of the infamous former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, who died of cancer in 2016 after battling drug and alcohol addiction while in office. Doug Ford, who many have compared to Donald Trump, saw his Progressive Conservative Party win the most votes in provincial elections. Speaking on Democracy Now! earlier this week, journalist Naomi Klein called Ontario’s election the most important of her lifetime.
Naomi Klein: “And what’s really, really worrying about this is that he’s running on this platform to cut taxes in various ways—to cut corporate taxes, to cut individual income taxes, to do away with Ontario’s cap-and-trade policies. So it’s a plan to blow a massive, multibillion-dollar hole in the budget. But he has refused to say how he will pay for it.”
New weather data show the month of May was the hottest ever recorded in the contiguous United States, with temperatures that soared more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above 20th century averages. Climate scientists say May’s heat toppled the previous record, set in 1934 at the height of the Dust Bowl, and is consistent with models for global warming. The record U.S. temperatures came as 2018 is on track to be Earth’s fourth-hottest year on record—while the five warmest years on record all have taken place since 2010.
Celebrity chef and television presenter Anthony Bourdain has died by suicide. The 61-year-old was found dead in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he was filming an episode of his CNN program “Parts Unknown.” Bourdain’s death came just days after fashion designer Kate Spade was found hanged to death in her Manhattan apartment in an apparent suicide.
The high-profile suicides came as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the U.S. suicide rate rose by 25 percent over the past two decades. Topping the list was North Dakota, where suicides have risen by 57 percent from 1999 levels.