Jared Kushner’s long-not-really-awaited peace plan will propose giving Palestinians money instead of rights
The Trump administration will unveil economic proposals for development in the Palestinian territories next month as part of a proposed Arab-Israeli peace package, it announced Sunday, but will hold back crucial details about a potential political settlement to the conflict.
Bahrain will host a two-day economic conference in June described as a working session to develop ideas and drum up investment from Arab governments, business and investment figures, and nations outside the region, including in Asia.
In announcing the session, the Trump administration did not describe any plans for Palestinian self-governance or a future state. The initiative developed by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to call for a multibillion-dollar package of loans, grants and investment for Palestinians and in neighboring states affected by the conflict, but to stop short of endorsing a separate, fully sovereign state alongside Israel.
Way better than a boring speech
Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate at Morehouse College’s Sunday morning graduation exercises, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school. But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire Class of 2019.
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, is running for office
Thrust into the national spotlight and a life of activism after the shooting of her teenage son, Sybrina Fulton has spent the better part of the last seven years advocating for an end to gun violence and promoting social justice. She has appeared on network TV, co-written a book and helped form a non-profit organization — the Trayvon Martin Foundation — named in her son’s memory and based in his hometown of Miami Gardens.
Now she’s challenging the city’s mayor for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
“Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” she said in a statement Saturday. “But the work is not done. I am proud to announce that I will run to represent District 1 on the county commission.” Fulton announced Saturday that she would launch her campaign for the District 1 seat, which will be relinquished in 2020 by the term-limited Commissioner Barbara Jordan. Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert is also running for the seat, one of five up for grabs after Miami-Dade voters approved a two-term limit for the 13-member board in 2012. Miami Gardens is the biggest city in District 1.
Where there is still a catastrophic political cost for openly courting Russian influence
Turns out Russian collusion isn’t a “witch hunt hoax” after all. At least not in Austria. The country’s government collapsed on Saturday after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he was pulling the plug on his ruling coalition after just 17 months in office.
The move came barely 24 hours after the release of a bombshell video showing Heinz-Christian Strache, the far-right leader of his junior coalition partner, trying to trade public contracts for party donations from a woman he believed to be the wealthy niece of a Russian oligarch. [(He resigned on Saturday.)] …
The government crisis was a blow to the youthful chancellor who sees himself as the future of European conservatism and whose international stardom won him a private dinner with Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner in February. …
Given the gravity of the scandal — in the video Strache offered to exchange lucrative government contracts for campaign donations with a supposed Russian millionaire and discussed how to hide the payments from authorities — Kurz appeared to have concluded that pulling the plug was the only way he could shield his own party from the affair.
The moral stain that keeps getting bigger
The Trump administration has identified at least 1,712 migrant children it may have separated from their parents in addition to those separated under the “zero tolerance” policy, according to court transcripts of a Friday hearing.
U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw ordered the Trump administration to identify children separated before the zero tolerance policy went into effect in May 2018, resulting in the separation of over 2,800 children. Sabraw previously ordered those migrant families to be reunited, but the additional children were identified more recently when the Inspector General for Health and Human Services estimated “thousands more” may have been separated before the policy was officially underway.
Other potentially separated migrant children could still be identified. The government has reviewed the files of 4,108 children out of 50,000 so far.
Conservatives, PM Morrison hold onto power in Australia after shock win in national elections
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has claimed victory in a stunning political “miracle” that has devastated the Labor Party, forced Bill Shorten to step down as its leader and reshaped Australian politics. Mr Morrison vowed to get “back to work” after holding power at the federal election in a shock result that puts the Coalition on course for a narrow majority in federal Parliament. …
The Prime Minister said the election was a victory for the “quiet Australians” rather than about the Liberal Party or himself. …
Mr Shorten said he had wanted to achieve victory for Australians who needed better healthcare, an expanded Medicare, greater school funding and other policies. …
Mr Morrison’s presidential-style campaign focussing on income tax cuts and risks to the economy under Labor led the Coalition to significant gains in Queensland and Tasmania while limiting losses NSW and Victoria. His staunch opposition to Mr Shorten’s plans to tax higher-income earners appears to have resonated with voters living outside inner-city seats.
Just another normal week at the White House
An attempt by President Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Miller to engineer a new shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security was blocked this week by Kevin McAleenan, the department’s acting secretary, who said he might leave his post unless the situation improved and he was given more control over his agency, administration officials said.
The closed-door clash flared over the fate of Mark Morgan, the former FBI official the president has picked to be the new director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With Morgan eager to move into the top job at ICE, Miller on Wednesday urged the president to have Morgan installed as the new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) instead.
McAleenan the next day told senior White House officials that he — not Miller — was in charge of the department, said three Trump administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal tensions one Trump aide likened to an “immigration knife fight.” McAleenan also argued that he should make personnel decisions at his agency, or at least be involved in them, these people said, and that communication needed to improve. McAleenan met with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, among others, the officials said. McAleenan prevailed in the dispute.
Fentanyl has effectively won the war on heroin, and that’s essentially a death sentence for many longtime heroin users
This is not an elegy for heroin, a dangerous drug in its own right that spread from cities into suburbs and rural areas about a decade ago, when addictive prescription painkillers became harder to get. But for longtime urban users like [64-year-old William Glen Miller Sr.,] many of them African-American, its disappearance is taking a particular toll. From 2016 to 2017, the fatal overdose rate from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased by 61 percent among black Americans, compared with a 45 percent increase for whites.
The number of overdose deaths involving heroin has been dropping, even as overdose deaths over all have kept climbing because of fentanyl. In Maryland, deaths involving heroin fell by 38 percent from 2016 through 2018, according to preliminary data. In Massachusetts, heroin or likely heroin was present in 71 percent of opioid-related deaths in 2014; in the third quarter of 2018, it was present in only 34 percent.
Mueller disappoints Democrats, yet again
House Democrats, frustrated by President Trump’s efforts to stonewall their investigations and eager to stoke public anger about the president’s behavior, are pinning their diminishing hopes on Robert S. Mueller III yet again.
They had a plan: dramatize the special counsel’s damning but dense report on national television in their committees, animating his prose with vivid testimony from witnesses who would discuss Mr. Mueller’s findings on Russia’s election interference and Mr. Trump’s possible obstruction of justice.
But so far Mr. Trump and his allies have successfully parried every one of their moves. Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel and a central player in the story, is expected to either flout a subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next Tuesday or refuse to answer questions. The White House has claimed executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report and all the evidence underlying its 448 pages, and administration officials refuse to satisfy virtually any other request — setting up months, possibly years, of legal wrangling.
Mr. Mueller, who was invited to testify by the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees a month ago, has not agreed to do so.