- Reuters interviewed Donald Trump and asked him about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump said, “I think many people would have held that meeting.” The wrong sort of people would have held that meeting, which is the problem.
The Associated Press believes Donald Trump has a made-up friend in Paris named Jim:
The way Trump tells it — Jim is a friend who loves Paris and used to visit every year. Yet when Trump travels to the city Thursday for his first time as president, it’s unlikely that Jim will tag along. Jim doesn’t go to Paris anymore. Trump says that’s because the city has been infiltrated by foreign extremists.
Whether Jim exists is unclear. Trump has never given his last name. The White House has not responded to a request for comment about who Jim is or whether he will be on the trip.
- The Senate parliamentarian ruled in Republicans’ favor on using reconciliation to pass the House’s ObamaCare “reform” bill.
Oregon’s legislature passed a bill making abortion free, both for residents and non-residents. Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill — she’s a former abortion lobbyist.
A Dallas County, Texas grand jury indicted Miguel Hernandez on a charge of illegal voting during May’s election:
He’s accused of visiting a woman in April and collecting her blank absentee ballot, then filling it out and forging her signature before mailing it to the county. Dozens of senior citizens in West Dallas and Grand Prairie filed complaints about receiving mail-in ballots they had not requested.
- Helen Raleigh explains why China’s government is afraid of dissident Liu Xiaobo even though he’s on his deathbed from liver cancer:
Since 1989, Chinese authorities have punished Liu for his various pro-democracy activities by putting him in prison several times. In 2008, modeled after Czechoslovakia’s Charter 77, Liu co-authored Charter 08, a manifesto calling for Chinese government to implement things Americans have taken for granted, such as freedom of expression, an independent judiciary, and freedom of association. Liu was promptly arrested and later sentenced to 11 years in prison. He has been in prison ever since.
What China didn’t expect was that its repression probably helped turn Liu into an internationally renowned political activist. In 2010, Norway’s Nobel committee awarded Liu the Nobel Peace Prize. Beijing was so furious, it froze diplomatic ties with Norway and heavily censored any Nobel-related news that year.
Liu was the first Chinese citizen to win a Nobel Prize, but he wasn’t allowed to claim it and his wife has since been put under house arrest. The picture of an empty chair representing him at the Nobel Prize ceremony is as iconic an image as the photo of the “tank man.” Both symbolize the Chinese people’s struggle for freedom.
The news of Liu’s illness has renewed people’s interest in him and brought back discussions of his work, his struggle, and the part of China’s history that the government still eagerly suppresses. Liu’s ailing picture has cast a long shadow on China’s painstakingly crafted image of a benevolent and progressive global leader. Liu said before that he hoped he “will be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisitions and that from now on no one will be incriminated because of speech.” Unfortunately, Liu won’t be China’s last sacrificial lamb. China today is less free than back in the 1980s, and the fight for freedom goes on, only becoming more difficult.
China dispatched troops to its first overseas naval base, which is in Djibouti.
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted of corruption charges and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison. He’ll appeal the conviction.
The New York Times published photos of what’s left of Mosul after ISIS was (largely) driven from the city.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won’t end the state of emergency that’s been in place since last year’s failed coup. Five Swedish members of parliament filed a lawsuit calling for Erdogan to be charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
Self-immolation is now the second most common form of suicide in Tunisia. The self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor triggered the Arab Spring uprisings.
The EU trained and funded Libya’s coast guard to help with the flow of refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea, but now that warlord-led coast guard is accused of beating up refugees, stealing from them, housing them in squalid detention camps, and engaging in human trafficking.