More Than One Million Children Have Now Fled the South Sudan
HuffPo – More than one million children have now fled South Sudan to escape the brutal conflict that erupted there just three-and-a-half years ago, the United Nations announced Monday.
Nearly one child out of every five has been displaced by the cycle of violence and unrest that has plagued much of the young country’s history.
South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, collapsed into civil war amid explosive political tensions in late 2013, just two-and-half years after gaining independence from Sudan. Its residents are also grappling with a dire food crisis as famine spreads through parts of the country.
One million of South Sudan’s approximate 12.3 million people linger on the brink of famine, according to the U.N. And at least 100,000 are currently facing starvation.
North Korea Confirms 4th US Citizen Detained
CBS News – North Korea has detained another American citizen accused of committing unspecified hostile acts against the country.
The country’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim Hak Song was detained Saturday and that “a relevant institution is now conducting a detailed investigation into his crimes.”
He worked at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, the same workplace as another American, accounting instructor Kim Sang Dok, whose detention was announced last Wednesday. The KCNA didn’t say whether the two cases are connected.
The university said in a statement early Monday that Kim Hak Song was doing agricultural development work at an experimental farm. It said his detention was not related to his work at the university and therefore it could not comment further.
Travel Ban Challenge in Appeals Court Monday
CNN – President Donald Trump’s travel ban is back in the spotlight Monday with a high-stakes legal battle in front of a dozen federal judges in Richmond, Virginia.
Nearly two months ago, a federal judge in Maryland imposed a nationwide halt to the core portion of the President’s revised executive order that sought to bar foreign nationals from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days. The judge concluded, largely drawing on Trump’s past statements, that the travel ban likely violates the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims, and the Justice Department appealed that decision in March.
N￼ow the case is in the hands of a federal appeals court considerably reshaped by President Barack Obama’s six appointments to the bench.
Normally, such an appeal from a district court’s decision would be heard by a randomly assigned panel of three judges, and the losing party may ask for it to be reheard by the full court.
Pentagon Backs a $7.5 Billion Plan to Boost US Military Presence in Asia-Pacific, Report Says
TIME – The Pentagon has reportedly backed a proposal to support U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region with some $7.5 billion in investments to boost infrastructure, exercises, troop deployment and naval assets.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the plan, first proposed by Senator John McCain, is supported in principle by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and head of the U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris, though details have not yet been developed.
“I don’t understand all the details of Senator McCain’s plan, but I support the themes that he outlined and the importance he assigned to that region,” the Journal quoted Mattis as saying during a recent Congressional hearing.
The so-called Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative is viewed as an attempt to boost confidence in America’s commitment to the region in response to heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea and in light of President Donald Trump’s shift away from his predecessor’s “rebalance” to Asia policy.
Anti-protest Bills Would ‘Attack right to speak out’ Under Trump
the Guardian – More than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations since Donald Trump was elected, in a moved that UN experts have branded “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law”.
The proposed laws would variously increase the penalties for protesting in large groups, ban protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations and, in some states, protect drivers from liability if they strike someone taking part in a protest.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said more than 30 separate anti-protest bills have been introduced since 8 November in “an unprecedented level of hostility towards protesters in the 21st century”. Their introduction comes amid a huge increase in activism and engagement, much of it inspired by Trump’s election to the presidency.
The ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild have said many of the bills are likely unconstitutional. “The proposed bills have been especially pervasive in states where protests flourished recently,” said Vera Eidelman, who works in the ACLU’s speech, privacy, and technology project.