Thursday Morning Briefing: Trump administration loses bid to lift bar on funds for border wall


A federal appeals court refused to lift an injunction barring the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion intended for the fight against illegal narcotics to build a wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico. In a U.S. border patrol facility in El Paso, Texas, labels on holding cells indicate whether migrants have been selected - “yes” or “no” - for a new Trump administration program that sends asylum seekers to wait out their U.S. court hearings in Mexico. Trump said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that immigrants unhappy with conditions at detention centers should be told “not to come.”

Border wall business: Supporters of Donald Trump’s border wall have sent $25 million in donations to nonprofits, PACs and businesses aimed at helping build it. Even though only a small sliver of it has been built, some backers express no regrets.


Officers of the Mexican federal police protested against the newly created National Guard, saying their superiors had threatened firings if they did not join the security force, in which they face pay cuts and loss of seniority benefits. The demonstrations spotlighted the concerns of several hundred officers over being absorbed into President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s new militarized police, formed this year to root out gang violence entrenched nationwide.

Deforestation in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon rainforest soared more than 88% in June compared with the same month a year ago, the second consecutive month of rising forest destruction under new President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for development of the region. According to data from Brazil’s space research agency, deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rainforest totaled 920 square km (355 square miles). Brazil will take action if concerns about an increase in deforestation are confirmed, the agriculture minister said as Brazil faces environmental pressure under the terms of the EU-Mercosur free trade deal.

Argentine soccer club River Plate opened the doors of its Monumental stadium to give shelter to people living on the streets, as temperatures fell during the Southern Hemisphere winter and a biting economic recession exacerbates poverty in the South American country. “From 6pm on Wednesday at River Plate, all night until Thursday morning, they’ll receive blankets and shelter,” Juan Carr, the creator of the community organization Red Solidaria which is helping coordinate donations, said on Twitter.


How many protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong on July 1? Reuters deployed teams to the July 1 march route to count protesters passing through and estimated that about 227,000 people marched through the city’s Admiralty neighborhood before heading to the end of the march or to government headquarters. The size of protesting crowds is a contentious issue in Hong Kong. The headcount is often treated as an indicator of popular sentiment, and can itself become a political struggle between protest organisers and government leaders.
A new public broadside by North Korean officials against U.S.-backed sanctions highlights the tough road ahead as negotiators prepare for talks in the wake of Sunday’s meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Media reports out of Washington have suggested the Trump administration may be willing to seek a partial deal to dismantle at least part of North Korea’s nuclear program.
Gibraltar said it had detained the supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of carrying crude oil to Syria in what a legal source said may be the first such interception under EU sanctions. Refinitiv Eikon mapping indicates the Grace 1 loaded Iranian crude oil on April 17, and if this were confirmed, the attempted delivery to Syria could also be a violation of U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports. The European Union’s executive declined to comment on the tanker detained in Gibraltar.
Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed for the first time that a secret military submarine hit by a fatal fire three days ago was nuclear-powered, prompting Russia’s defense minister to assure him its reactor had been safely contained. Russian officials have faced accusations of trying to cover up the full details of the accident that killed 14 sailors as they were carrying out what the defense ministry called a survey of the sea floor near the Arctic. Moscow’s slow release of information about the incident has drawn comparisons with the opaque way the Soviet Union handled the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster.
A former police general who oversaw the bloodiest years of the Philippines’ war on drugs shrugged off the killing by police of a 3-year-old girl in a sting operation, saying the world was not perfect, and “shit happens”. Ronald dela Rosa, a Senator who once led the crackdown that has killed thousands of mostly urban poor drug users and peddlers, said “collateral damage” was inevitable in police operations, referring to Sunday’s killing of toddler Myka Ulpina in a province near Manila.


China says existing U.S. tariffs must be removed for a trade deal

Existing U.S. tariffs will have to be removed if there is to be a trade deal between Beijing and Washington, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday. The leaders of the two countries agreed last weekend to relaunch trade talks that had stalled in May after U.S. officials accused China of pulling back from commitments made in the text of a pact negotiators had said was nearly finished.
1 Min Read

Samsung in hot water over splashy Australian phone ads

Australia’s consumer watchdog has sued Samsung's Australian unit for allegedly misleading consumers by promoting water-resistant Galaxy smartphones as suitable to use in swimming pools and the surf.
4 min read

In Brexit Britain, battling home lenders chase risk and pensioners

The framed coat of arms hanging in the headquarters of the Hanley Economic Building Society in Stoke-on-Trent depicts two squirrels in ermine robes above the motto ‘Save Safely, Build Surely’, which the mortgage lender’s customers have duly done for over 150 years. Now with Brexit looming, rock-bottom interest rates squeezing margins, and behemoth competitors cratering loan prices, ‘The Hanley’ as it is affectionately known in its central England hometown, is taking some radical steps.
10 min read

Top Stories on Reuters TV

Australian student released from North Korea

Armored tanks in U.S. capital ahead of July 4th

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