What to Know
- The United States has spotted "potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack" by the Syrian government, the White House says
- A Senate Republican proposal to replace ACA aims to reduce funding for Medicaid, the largest source of health care coverage in the U.S.
- Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling marked 20 years since her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997
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White House Warns Syria Against Chemical Attack "Preparations"
The United States has spotted "potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack" by the Syrian government, the White House said in an unusual statement. It warned that Syria would "pay a heavy price" if any such attack proceeds, NBC News reported. In the brief statement, the White House gave no details of the purported preparations or of how they had been detected. It said only that "the activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017, chemical weapons attack." Russian officials responded to the statements Tuesday, accusing the U.S. of "readying a new attack on Syrian forces" and preparing an "unprecedented provocation... presented as a chemical attack" to prompt a U.S.-led strike on Assad's forces.
Trump Says "Clear Victory" as Travel Ban Partly Reinstated
The Supreme Court is allowing President Trump to forge ahead with a limited version of his ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to the U.S. Trump hailed the decision as a "victory for national security," but it's likely to set off a new round of court disputes over anti-terror efforts and religious discrimination. The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation and pointed rebukes from lower courts saying the administration is targeting Muslims. Until then, the court said Monday, Trump's ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States." The ruling sets up a potential clash between the government and opponents of the ban over the strength of visitors' ties to the United States. A senior official said plans already had been written to enforce the ban aggressively. But immigrant groups said relatively few people try to enter the United States without well-established ties. Those groups said they will be sending lawyers and monitors back to American airports, where the initial, immediate implementation of the ban in January caused chaos and confusion. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the ban would be implemented starting 72 hours after being cleared by courts. That means it will take effect Thursday morning.
College Cuts Ties With Professor After Otto Warmbier Comments, School Says
The University of Delaware will not rehire a professor who wrote controversial comments about Otto Warmbier on social media, the school announced. Anthropology professor Katherine Dettwyler wrote a since-deleted Facebook post that criticized Warmbier, who died last week after being detained in North Korea for over a year, NBC News reported. Dettwyler described the 22-year-old University of Virginia student as “typical of a mindset of a lot of the young, white, rich, clueless males who come into my classes.” After the comments prompted outrage on social media, the University of Delaware issued a statement condemning the comments and said it would not rehire Dettwyler in the future.
Seniors Concerned Senate Republican Health Care Plan is an “Age Tax”
A Senate Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act aims to reduce funding for Medicaid, the single largest source of health care coverage in the United States. Organizations like AARP are concerned that the cuts unfairly target senior citizens. AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement that the Senate bill imposes an “age tax” on older adults. “AARP is adamantly opposed to the Age Tax, which would allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more for coverage than everyone else while reducing tax credits that help make insurance more affordable,” LeaMond noted. The advocacy organization notes on its website that the current law keeps insurers from charging older adults more than three times as much for premiums as they charge those who are younger for the same coverage. Both the Republican House and Senate legislation would "allow insurers to charge older adults five times as much, and states could receive waivers to remove even that limit."
J.K. Rowling Marks 20 Years Since Harry Potter Appeared
Wizarding legend Harry Potter's tale has turned 20. Author J.K. Rowling's first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. The books' magical world has inspired multiple films, spinoffs, memorabilia and amusement park attractions. The White Elephant Cafe, the Edinburgh spot where Rowling wrote the first book, has become an international tourist destination. "20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others," Rowling tweeted. "It's been wonderful. Thank you."
DeMario Jackson Sits Down for First Interview Since “Bachelor in Paradise” Controversy
DeMario Jackson is ready to share his side of the story once and for all. Close to one week after Warner Bros. cleared "Bachelor in Paradise" and its producers of any misconduct, Jackson spoke out for the first time in a sit-down interview about what happened in Mexico with co-star Corinne Olympios. At the same time, he's opening up about how much the media scrutiny and allegations affected his family. "It was stressful. For me, mostly for my mother," Jackson says. "It's hard to see your mom cry every single day. It was very difficult." An internal investigation was launched after a sexual encounter between Jackson and Olympios on the first day of production led two producers to file misconduct complaints, questioning whether Olympios was able to give consent. Ultimately, Warner Bros. found the footage did not support misconduct allegations. Filming for the new season just resumed in Mexico. As for Olympios and her legal team, they plan on pursuing a separate investigation.