5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • U.S. to send 1,000 more troops to Middle East over Iran's 'hostile behavior'

  • Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan withdraws nomination

  • Trump to meet with China's Xi at G-20 summit

  • U.S. jails may have failed to stop inmate suicides, report finds

  • Facebook launches 'Libra' cryptocurrency

In response to attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, an additional 1,000 U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Monday. The U.S. says Iran is behind the attacks, and "hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups ... threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," Shanahan said. These troops, who will join 1,500 other soldiers sent to the region last month after similar tanker attacks, are "for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East," he added. Iran said that it will soon exceed the 300 kg of low-enriched uranium it can retain under its 2015 nuclear deal. On Tuesday, President Trump called Iran's actions "very minor."

Source: Politico

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will not go forward with his confirmation process for the full, permanent position, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday. Army Secretary Mark Esper will step into the temporary role. Reports published by USA Today and The Washington Post reveal a history of alleged domestic abuse in Shanahan's family. The FBI has investigated a violent 2010 dispute between Shanahan and his then-wife, Kimberley, in preparation for what would have been Shanahan's confirmation hearing. Additionally, in 2011, Shanahan's oldest son, William, who was then 17, assaulted his mother with a baseball bat. Kimberley required surgery as a result of the incident. Shanahan reportedly defended his son, writing in a memo that he acted in self-defense. He told the Post, however, that he never believed William's violent act was justified.

Source: Donald J. Trump, The Washington Post

President Trump on Tuesday announced plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, as the two look to hash out a deal between the U.S. and China amid an ongoing trade war. Washington and Beijing had previously engaged in talks, but they recently broke down; a Trump-Xi meeting in Osaka has been seen as a chance to rekindle the negotiations. Chinese officials have not yet confirmed the plans. Trump's tweet was enough to give a boost to U.S. stocks, signaling a sense of relief from investors who are concerned that the promises of eye-for-an-eye protectionist trade policies being doled out by both sides could have negative long-term effects on the global economy.

Source: Donald J. Trump

Many U.S. prisons fail to stop inmate suicides, an investigation by The Associated Press found. Suicide has long been the leading cause of death in U.S. jails. In just nine states, there were more than 300 suicides in local jails from 2015 to 2017. A series of lawsuits have argued that many of the deaths were avoidable. Of the 400 court files reviewed, 135 involved death by suicide, and another 30 involved suicide attempts. About a third of those cases allege that the inmates who committed or attempted suicide did so after staff refused to provide prescription medication to manage mental illness. The majority of suicides and attempts occurred within the first week of incarceration, and many inmates were not checked on regularly because of staffing shortages and inadequate training.

Source: The Associated Press

Facebook announced on Tuesday its first foray into digital currency, saying it will roll out cryptocurrency "Libra" next year. The coin, which uses blockchain, will be eligible for use on Facebook as well as other websites. Facebook's stock surged after the announcement, increasing by 2 percent in pre-market trading Tuesday. More than two dozen companies are backing Facebook's cryptocurrency venture, including Mastercard, PayPal, and Uber. The coin will be managed by the Geneva-based company Libra Association, of which many of Libra's backers are already members.

Source: MarketWatch
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