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Curated top stories of the day
- China clampdown on criticism of Xi plan — China’s move to remove presidential term limits, which could allow President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely, has sparked social media backlash on Chinese blogging site Weibo. Some users compared the decision to the authoritarian rule of North Korea. Many users turned to memes to protest the plan. China removed the comments and blocked the search term “two-term limit” on Sunday. (Help us expand on this story here.)
- Supreme Court says Trump must maintain “Dreamers” protections — Donald J. Trump’s administration will need to keep Obama-era protections for immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children after the U.S Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on the issue. The White House aimed to end protections for so-called “Dreamers”, however, a federal court temporarily blocked the administration’s plans to repeal those on January 9. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is estimated to cover hundreds of thousands of people, and was due to be phased out in March.
- Police say Slovakian journalist likely killed due to his work — The death of a Slovakian journalist appears to be linked to his investigative work, according to police. Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend were found shot dead on February 25. On February 26, Prime Minister Robert Fico said that if it’s proven Kuciak was killed due to his work, it would constitute an “unprecedented attack on freedom of speech and democracy in Slovakia.” Kuciak reported on tax fraud and real estate businesses with links to the government. The International Press Institute called the deaths, which follow the killing of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017, “a terrible sign for journalism in the EU.”
- Syria urged to implement ceasefire — U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called on the Syrian government to implement a 30-day ceasefire after violence continued in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta. The Security Council unanimously voted to demand a ceasefire on February 24, but this was followed by further reports of bombing by the Syrian air force. The volunteer organization known as the “white helmets” that operates in rebel-held areas also said on Twitter that civilians had been subjected to chemical weapons. (Read more: Damascus urban warfare matches pattern of “indiscriminate” attacks).
- U.S. says NK talks will depend on ending nuclear program — The White House says any offer of talks with North Korea must lead to efforts by Pyongyang to denuclearize and terminate the country’s nuclear program. Senior North Korean officials visiting South Korea for talks with President Moon Jae-in on Sunday expressed a willingness to engage in talks with the United States. “We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization,” the White House said in a statement.
- 110 girls confirmed missing after Boko Haram attack — Nigeria confirmed that 110 girls are missing from a school in northeast Nigeria one week after a suspected attack by Boko Haram militants. Reuters reports that it may be one of the largest abductions since the Chibok kidnappings of 2014. The Islamist militant group attained global attention after abducting more than 270 schoolgirls from the town. That incident led to a high-profile social media campaign “Bring Back Our Girls.”
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- White House hints at separate system for agricultural workers – The Trump administration’s hard-line immigration stance may not apply to agricultural workers. At an industry conference, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, said that the White House supports a separate immigration process for farm workers. “The people who come to America to work on farms and ranches are not taking jobs from Americans,” Perdue said according to Reuters. Read and contribute to WikiTribune’s report on the announcement.
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- For generations, fishermen in Amuay, Venezuela, have fished to feed their families. But an oil plant that is part of the largest refinery complex in Venezuela, has from time to time spewed contaminants into the bay and the adjoining Caribbean Sea. As the New York Times reports, the trend threatening the livelihood of families living in this poor fishing village of several thousand on the country’s northwest coast. – Charles Anderson
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