IADB President Luis Moreno on misperceptions of Latin America
See also: The romanticization of Pablo Escobar and El Chapo...
As part of an assertive "America First" national security strategy that President Trump will unveil Monday, he will accuse China of "economic aggression," the Financial Times' Demetri Sevastopulo and Shawn Donnan scoop:
Winner: Steve Bannon. When I texted him the FT article, he replied: "#winning."
Losers: Several top officials within the Trump adminstration's national-security apparatus, who opposed adding what one called a "political lens" to the strategy.
CFR President Richard Haass — author of "A World in Disarray" (paperback out Jan. 2) — tells Axios from in-flight Wi-Fi that slapping Beijing could be costly:
Sanctions against North Korea could increase cases of acute malnutrition among children, and hamper humanitarian efforts, according to a Washington Post report.
Why it matters: While sanctions were enforced with the intent of punishing the regime for its nuclear threats and missile launches, an American neurosurgeon who operates in North Korea, Kee Park, told the Post "they're hurting the wrong people."
The Pentagon has officially confirmed the existence of its $22 million program to investigate unidentified flying objects (UFOs), reported by Politico and the New York Times almost simultaneously today.
Why it matters, per Politico's Bryan Bender: "The revelation of the program could give a credibility boost to UFO theorists, who have long pointed to public accounts by military pilots and others describing phenomena that defy obvious explanation, and could fuel demands for increased transparency about the scope and findings of the Pentagon effort, which focused some of its inquiries into subjects such as next-generation propulsion systems."
The details of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program:
The program's funding ended in 2012, though some of the program's backers say it continues to operate. A Pentagon spokesman, Thomas Crosson, told NYT: “It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding, and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change."
Why now: Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence officer who helped run AATIP, resigned in October because he said there wasn't sufficient time and effort put into the UFO investigation, according to his resignation letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"[A]mid worries about endemic binge drinking, sexual assault and a startling spate of deaths, schools are going beyond the old practice of shutting down individual [fraternity] houses to imposing broad restrictions on all Greek life," the N.Y. Times' Anemona Hartocollis reports atop column 1:
Go deeper: The state of college Greek life.
Americans are pessimistic about Washington and think the country is on the wrong track (69%), but are optimistic about their local communities.
That's the encouraging finding of an AP-NORC (University of Chicago) poll:
The Mexican military will be granted more control in the fight against the country's drug war, which has increasingly become more violent under President Enrique Peña Nieto, after a law passed in Mexico's Congress yesterday.
Why it matters: Critics of the law — including United Nations officials and human rights groups — argue that it would "will vastly expand military authority without checks and balances and offers no exit strategy to cede eventual leadership of the campaign to combat drugs to an effective police force," per NYT.
Why now: Violence from Mexican drug cartles has gotten worse under President Peña Nieto's tenure — NYT notes that 2017 has been "the deadliest in two decades." And since troops were first sent to combat the drug gangs in 2006, "more than 200,000 people have been killed in the drug war and 31,000 people have gone missing," according to official statistics cited by NYT.
A White House document circulating within the Trump administration lays out a case for imposing new trade restrictions on imports of solar panel equipment from Asia, according to a report in Politico.
Why it matters: It's the latest sign that President Trump's hawkish trade stance toward China will soon lead to tariffs that U.S. solar energy developers fear will sharply drive up costs and curtail new project development.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) concluded in September that low-cost imports — many of which come from Chinese owned companies operating in Asia — were a cause of "serious injury" to domestic panel manufacturers.
The finding came in response to a petition from two financially distressed manufacturing companies, Suniva and SolarWorld.
What's next: The White House is slated to make a decision as soon as next month on whether to impose tariffs or perhaps some other forms of solar trade restrictions.
In November the ITC recommended tariffs that are less aggressive than what the petitioners sought. But the White House has wide latitude to decide what form of penalties, if any, to impose.
The Trump administration cut the Affordable Care Act federal insurance enrollment period in half (to 45 days), which has people scrambling to get insurance before time's up. But the administration's cutbacks to the program overall could have a disproportionate effect on minority communities, per NYT.
Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act has reduced the disparities in coverage across minority groups, even as African Americans and Hispanics throughout the country remain more likely than whites to be uninsured.
By the numbers:
One example of how the administrations cuts is already affecting minority communities, detailed by NYT, is at the Center for Family Services in New Jersey. The nonprofit center assists local residents across seven counties. After its federal funding was cut by 64%, the staff of 21 members who collectively spoke six different languages has been reduced to a staff of six that only speaks English and Spanish.
With a reduced enrollment period and a smaller staff, it's difficult for nonprofit groups like this to serve residents who need help signing up for insurance. “We're still getting out there and doing events," Pamela Gray, a navigator with the group, told NYT, “but the less people, the less people you're able to serve."
Despite President Trump's tough-on-immigration rhetoric, there were around 177,000 fewer deportations this year than in 2009, Obama's first year in office. That number is lower than any year during Obama's presidency, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data.Data: Immigration and Customs Enforcement via FOIA office; Chart: Andrew WItherspoon / Axios
One big thing: The numbers didn't really start to decline for Obama until after he signed DACA in 2012. It protects illegal immigrants from deportation if they came here as children, but in September, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the program.
Why it matters: Sessions gave Congress six months to figure out what to do about the Dreamers, and if nothing is done, the removal of DACA's protections could lead to an uptick in deportations.
Trump vs. Obama: ICE officers in Texas feel a "night and day" difference in their work between Trump's and Obama's presidency, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Axios in October. He said that during the Obama administration "they were basically told not to do their job."
By the numbers:
Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told by the Trump administration on Thursday that they are not allowed to use the words like "science-based," "evidence-based" and "transgender," in their budget documents, according to a CDC analyst who spoke to The Washington Post.
Why it matters: The administration wants to control what it considers controversial wording from agencies as they submit documents for the president's budget for 2019, expected to be released in February. However, the analyst told the WashPost they "could not recall a previous time when words were banned from budget documents" due to ideology.
The details, per The Washington Post:
Other CDC officials confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words, the article said, although spokespeople from CDC or OMB did not comment by their deadline.
Photo: Jaap Arriens / Getty Images
Confirming much of his testimony in court, a letter written by a former Uber employee's attorney outlines claims that the ride-hailing company was using covert methods of communications to evade legal discovery and gather information about competitors, including trade secrets.
Yes, but: During his testimony in court, Jacobs backtracked on the letter's claim that he had knowledge of Uber using special covert tactics to steal trade secrets from Waymo.
More: Earlier on Friday, the court's special master assigned to the case issued a report on the matter, in which he concluded that while Uber did not have to turn over Jacobs' resignation email and eventual settlement as part of the requested documents, it should have disclosed his 37-page letter.
Backstory: The letter emerged in this lawsuit in late November after the Justice Department notified the presiding judge of its existence because it includes claims about Uber's theft of Waymo's trade secrets. In court, Uber's assistant general counsel Angela Padilla said that the company perceived that letter as an attempt to extort money from Uber (it eventually settled with Jacobs and his lawyer for a total of $7.5 million). Other then-Uber employees testified that Jacobs was fired for poor performance, not for objecting to illegal and unthetical practices. Jacobs denied this, saying he had never received negative performance feedback until that point.
Here's the full (court-redacted) letter: