Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Friday, July 9, 2021, 2:55 PM

In a reversal of a Trump-era policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will no longer detain pregnant, nursing and postpartum mothers for deportation, according to the Washington Post. The policy adds to the growing list of immigrants exempt from deportation, expanding on exemptions from the Obama administration. ICE officials said the new policy prioritizes the “health and safety” of new and expecting mothers and acknowledges “the time needed for infant development and parental bonding.”

Haitian authorities arrested several suspects in relation to the killing of President Jovenel Moïse on Wednesday, bringing the total number of arrested individuals to 17, writes the Associated Press. Eleven detained individuals had attempted to break into the Taiwanese embassy to seek refuge. The Colombian government revealed that Haiti had inquired about six of the suspects, two of whom were killed, and had identified them as retired soldiers. Haitian police are still seeking eight suspects.

Belarusian authorities blocked the website of leading online news outlet Nasha Niva and detained several of its journalists, according to Deutsche Welle. The Belarus Information Ministry cited the site’s unspecified “unlawful” information as the impetus for the action. The block comes during a widespread crackdown on free press in the nation, including the high-profile detainment of Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich in May.

The annual demographic report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligenceshowed that racial minorities and women continue to be underrepresented in upper level jobs at U.S. spy agencies, according to the Wall Street Journal. The study found that racial minorities in the intelligence community’s civilian workforce rose slightly to 27 percent from 26.5 percent last year, while the proportion of women stayed constant at 39.3 percent. In a statement accompanying the report, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines promised her organization is “committed to doing more to address this critical issue and accelerate our progress.”

The Taliban reportedly took control of multiple districts in the Afghan province of Herat, including the Islam Qala border crossing with Iran, reports Al Jazeera. The reports of the Taliban’s western advance come from senior Afghan officials speaking anonymously, though a spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry denied that the Taliban had taken control of the border crossing. Officials also reported that Afghan officials had fled into Iran, which Iranian state media corroborated. Taliban fighters have also taken control of parts of Afghanistan bordering China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in the past week.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned Colombian authorities for “excessive and disproportionate” use-of-force in response to anti-government protests in the nation, reports the BBC. The government insists instances of abuse were rare and are already under internal investigation. Protests began in April in response to a proposed reform that would lower the threshold at which salaries are taxed. The proposal failed but the movement grew to protest broader issues including police violence and poverty. The country’s ombudsman reported 50 deaths and more than 2,300 injuries resulting from clashes between civilians and police.

President Biden will sign an executive order directed at encouraging economic competition, according to the New York Times. The order will direct federal agencies to more closely monitor the tech industry, crack down on high fees charged by sea shippers and more. These policies reflect the Biden administration’s response to warnings from economists that a decline in competition is preventing economic growth by raising prices and reducing choices for consumers. Senior administration officials acknowledged the limited potential of executive authority but said the order includes the actions that have the best chance of driving change across sectors.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Quinta Jurecic and Evelyn Douek discuss the crisis of American journalism with Martha Minow.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast which covers the Kaseya ransomware attack, the new Florida “deplatforming” law and more.

Edina Harbinja analyzed the U.K.’s online safety bill and discussed its shortcomings.

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