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Vox Sentences: Nicaragua expels the UN

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Trump cuts funding for Palestinian refugees; Nicaragua expels a team of UN human rights advocates.

The US will no longer send funds to Palestinian refugees

Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump has cut all funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees, according to a senior administration official. A formal announcement will be made in the coming weeks. [CNN / Clare Foran and Elise Labott]
  • The administration is also looking to reevaluate the number of Palestinians who are considered refugees. The UNRWA currently gives funding for food aid, operating schools, and running health centers to 5 million Palestinians currently recognized as refugees. [Guardian / Peter Beaumont]
  • The decision was reportedly made by the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. [Fortune / Renae Reints]
  • Officials and analysts believe the Trump administration’s decision is an attempt to back Palestinians into a corner and force them to agree to a peace deal with Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [Foreign Policy / Colum Lynch]
  • Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the funding cuts could seriously destabilize the region and put Palestinians in danger of violence from ISIS. But the cut has not deterred Palestinians from believing in the “right of return.” [Washington Post / Ruth Eglash and Hazem Balousha]
  • In the wake of the discovery, Germany has said its funding will get a “substantial” increase to compensate for the loss from the US. [Haaretz]
  • The US was previously the UNRWA’s largest and longest-standing benefactor. [UNRWA]

The UN points fingers at Nicaragua

  • Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has expelled a team of United Nations human rights advocates from the country after the team released a report detailing the government’s violent repression of opposition protests. [Al Jazeera]
  • The UN, which simply wanted to “make known what [it] had seen,” released a report on Wednesday condemning and blaming Nicaragua for repression on the streets, in jails, and in courtrooms. [AP / Luis Manuel Galeano]
  • The report came after months of turmoil and violence across Nicaragua that began in April. The government clashed with the opposition, which was protesting government plans to cut welfare benefits and, eventually, Ortega’s rule. More than 300 people died and 2,000 were injured as a result. [Economist]
  • The government has also made efforts to silence the media that was reporting on the crisis. [NPR / Carrie Khan]


  • A public filing revealed that the company behind the beloved burger chain In-N-Out donated $25,000 to the Californian Republican Party. The head of the state’s Democratic Party has called on residents to boycott the chain. [LA Times / Dakota Smith and Melissa Etehad]
  • Smokey Robinson, Al Sharpton, Barack Obama, and Ariana Grande all paid tribute to the recently deceased Aretha Franklin at her funeral on Friday. [CNN / Chloe Melas, Veronica Rocha, and Brian Ries]
  • Council members from Omaui, New Zealand, have proposed a plan to ban residents from adopting cats in the future in order to save the endangered birds that live within town limits. [The Verge / Angela Chen]
  • The Russian space organization, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency announced yesterday that the International Space Agency has developed a hole in its outer body. Astronauts aboard had to plug the hole ... with their thumbs. [BGR / Mike Wehner]


“Universities should not be serving as judge, jury, and executioner. ... University administrators have a conflict of interest, and should not be allowed to compromise justice. Students would be better served with sexual assault cases adjudicated in a proper, impartial courtroom.” [The Washington Examiner on why Betsy DeVos’s plan for dealing with campus sexual assault cases is not exactly wrong, but not exactly right either]

Watch this: Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

For leaders like Trump and Putin, telling big lies isn’t about persuasion — it’s about power. [YouTube / Carlos Maza, Coleman Lowndes, and Hunter Boone]

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