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Curated top stories
- The major U.S.-based internet companies came out in support for the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), a U.S. Senate bill aimed at curbing sex trafficking on online forums. Tech companies and internet freedom advocates previously opposed the legislation when it held internet companies legally accountable for hosting prostitution. The current bill included language saying that internet companies will only be culpable if “they knowingly” facilitate trafficking.
- A military judge decided that U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will be dishonorably discharged but not receive prison time for pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior in front of the enemy. In 2009, Bergdahl walked off of a U.S Army base in Afghanistan and into hostile territory, where he was captured and held for five years. President Donald J. Trump – who prior to taking office had called for Berghdahl to be executed – tweeted Friday that the judge’s ruling was a “disgrace.” Berghdahl had faced life in prison.
- South African prosecutors are pushing for a longer sentence for Oscar Pistorius. The Paralympic athlete was imprisoned last year after being found guilty on appeal of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013. State prosecutors said the six-year sentence was “shockingly lenient,” calling for the right to launch an appeal. They said he should get 15 years in prison.
- President Donald J. Trump embarks today on an 11-day tour of Asia, which will include stops in Japan, South Korea, China, the Philippines and Vietnam. It will be the longest trip by a U.S. president to Asia since George Bush Sr. visited in 1992. Trump’s interactions with regional allies will be closely watched given tensions with North Korea. (More on Trump’s trip)
- One current and three former female members of Congress told the Associated Press that they had been harassed or subject to “hostile sexual comments” by fellow members of Congress. The allegations are the latest in a flood since the Harvey Weinstein scandal emerged last month. In the UK, a senior cabinet minister resigned earlier this week following allegations of a similar nature.
What we’re reading
- While the EU has consistently tried to stay out of the crisis in Catalonia, the Catalan leader’s travel to Brussels this week may force the bloc’s leadership to take a side, reports The Atlantic. – Jack Barton
- The New York Times reports on the Democratic Party’s search for its soul – and voters – since the 2016 presidential elections. It’s a great read for anybody wondering what the bigger picture may be as the U.S. heads towards the 2018 election. – Lydia Morrish
- An investigative series by French director Cécile Allegra and published on The Guardian and Le Monde looks at how male rape is being used as a weapon of war in Libya. – Lydia Morrish