theNewsWorthy: Wednesday, June 20th, 2018
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All the news stories mentioned in today's episode are listed with links below, so you can spend as much -- or as little -- time as you want perusing the latest happenings...
U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL WITHDRAWAL
The U.S. is saying so long to the UN Human Rights Council, which is considered the world’s most important human rights body.
So why is the U.S. leaving? To protest. The Trump administration says the Human Rights Council criticizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians too often. The American Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, even called the council “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”
She said this doesn’t mean the U.S. will stop caring about human rights, but it wants to see the council make reforms. Bloomberg reports Haley warned a year ago that the U.S. might quit if the council doesn’t deal with what she called a bias against Israel. She added that its own members have human rights issues, like China and Saudi Arabia.
Critics say dropping out is a big mistake because it’ll allow those other countries to make important decisions about human rights (since the U.S. will no longer get a vote). Also, this announcement comes one day after the U.N. Human Rights chief called out the U.S. for separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
FAMILY SEPARATIONS LATEST
Lawmakers are still trying to figure out what bill to try and pass to make sure families stop getting separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. The WSJ reports President Trump met with House Republicans last night and told them he would support broad immigration legislation, that also allows children to be detained with their parents.
Remember, this is an issue we’ve been talking about in the last few days. Basically, the Trump administration's new ‘zero tolerance policy’ means more people caught crossing the border illegally are put in jail and criminally prosecuted -- and any kids they’re with get taken away and put in government-run shelters. In the past, adults with kids would essentially be let go and told to come back for a court date. Either way: the policy has been not to put kids in jail. But that could change, depending on what Congress decides. Some say President Trump could change this policy himself, but Trump says it’s up to Congress.
So that’s the other issue: President Trump doesn’t want Congress to just pass something about the family separations. He wants lawmakers to pass a bigger immigration bill that deals with more immigration issues, which is more complicated. It’s not clear yet if enough lawmakers can agree to actually get something passed.
In the meantime: NBC News says, there are some lawsuits against the Trump administration over this. One is a mom from Guatemala who crossed the U.S. border and says she’s suing because no one will tell her where her 7 year old son is. The state of New York is also suing, saying the children’s constitutional rights are being violated.
The White House hasn’t responded to the lawsuits, but has said the children are being treated well.
HEALTH CARE RULE
A new Trump administration health care rule has been revealed.
The Wall Street Journal says the rule makes it easier for small businesses and the self-employed to band together and create what’s called “association health plans” for themselves and their employees. Those plans won’t have to follow all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
Those new plans could have fewer benefits. For example, they wouldn’t have to have maternity leave or mental health coverage. On the flip side, they would cost less for people to enroll.
Business groups are on board, saying small businesses need this kind of flexibility and cost-savings. Critics call it “junk insurance” and say it’ll actually drive up the costs for others, like people with pre-existing conditions.
For now, the Labor Department expects about four million Americans to enroll in these types of health care programs by 2023.
CANADA LEGALIZES WEED
The entire country of Canada just legalized weed -- and not just the medical kind. Yesterday, Canada's Senate approved the bill known as the Cannabis Act. That was the final step needed, so now the country's leaders will set a date for the law to officially go into effect. Once it does, it’ll mean it’s ok to possess marijuana and grow it at home. Licensed retail sales will also be allowed to sell marijuana (it'll still be illegal for minors).
CBS News says the new law is expected to go into effect in September. Canada is the first wealthy nation to legalize recreational marijuana and the second country overall (the first was Uruguay.)
In the U.S., nine states have legalized recreational marijuana and 29 states have allowed medicinal pot.
DOW BOOTS GE
GE is out and Walgreens is in -- at least when it comes to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow measures the performance of 30 big companies.
CNBC says GE was one of the original stocks part of the Dow back in 1896 but now the stock has taken a beating as GE overhauls the business.
Read more: CNBC
STARBUCKS CLOSING 150 STORES
Starbucks may not be on every corner after all. Bloomberg reports Starbucks will close 150 U.S. locations next year and its growth has slowed. The closing stores are expected to be in major metro areas where expenses are higher.
Today's Life Lesson:
"Sometimes we must suffer heartbreak to truly open us up and let out all the greatness we hold within."
From Optimal Living Daily
CELL PHONE LOCATION DATA
Verizon and AT&T say they’ll stop selling customers’ location data to other companies.
The new plan not to sell your info is happening because of a U.S. senator’s concerns. Reuters reports the senator found a prison phone company had access to customers’ location data and then let law enforcement use it to track people without their knowledge.
The Verge says that typically phone companies allow third parties to see location info for things like fraud protection and roadside assistance, but those companies aren’t in full control of what third parties are really doing with the data.
All major phone carriers said they cut off access to that one prison involved, but not all of them promised to stop selling info completely.
Get ready for longer videos on Instagram. TechCrunch cites sources saying it’ll be called IGTV and it’s launching today.
It’ll reportedly be part of the ‘Explore’ tab on Instagram. You’ll be able to watch videos or vlogs up to 10 minutes. Right now, Instagram stories can only be 15 seconds each and videos in feeds are one minute max.
TechCrunch says the videos won’t try to compete with Netflix; it’s more about competing with YouTube with a more casual vibe. Expect to learn a whole bunch more today. Instagram’s big announcement is at 9 a.m. Pacific.
Read more: TechCrunch
UBER TESTS WAIT TO SAVE
Uber is wondering if you’ll wait longer for a ride to save money.
CNET reports Uber is testing a feature that would pop up to offer a discount -- say a 25% discount -- on the ride if you’ll wait several more minutes for the Uber car (or however much longer). Uber is testing this with employees in LA and San Francisco. Stay tuned to see if it rolls out to everyone.
Read more: CNET
AMAZON ALEXA IN HOTELS
Amazon Alexa could be inside your next hotel room. TechCrunch reports it’s dubbed “Alexa for Hospitality.” It’s meant to bring Amazon’s smart speaker (with the voice assistant Alexa) to chain hotel rooms and vacation rentals.
You could then ask Alexa for key info, checkout times, pool hours, and more. It could also let you request room service or change the thermostat. There may even be a feature in the future to connect with your own Amazon Alexa so you could have your own music, podcasts and commands while you’re out of town.
Amazon is partnering with Marriott to get started.
Today’s the day the first ever scratch-n-sniff forever stamps are revealed. Yep, you won’t just lick stamps anymore-- you may want to sniff them. The postal service says the picture on the stamps will be of colorful icy pops on a stick and there will be ten different designs (all with the same scent).
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