5 things to know for July 17: Trump tweets, Julian Assange, Planned Parenthood, Myanmar, Disney

Posted at 4:15 AM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 06:15:24-04

It’s World Emoji Day, so go ahead and make liberal use of your favorite little hieroglyphs. The ancient Egyptians would be proud. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Trump tweets

Outrage over President Trump’s racist tweets about four Democratic congresswomen has reached a fever pitch. In a dramatic session last night that involved gavel-throwing by a frustrated Democratic representative and harsh words from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House voted to officially condemn Trump’s language. Four Republicans and one independent voted for the official denunciation. Trump defended his tweets in even more tweets yesterday, saying his words “were NOT Racist” and urging Republicans to vote against the resolution. Meanwhile, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway drew ire yesterday when she asked the ethnicity of a reporter questioning the intention of Trump’s Twitter language.

2. Julian Assange

Ex-Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa confirmed suspicions raised by CNN reporting: Julian Assange was interfering in the 2016 US presidential election while living under political asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London. Despite aligning himself for years with Assange on anti-US sentiment, Correa downplayed his ties to the Wikileaks founder. Correa said he’d never spoken with Assange in person and that claims Assange practically ran the embassy during his time there are “nonsense.” Critics say the Ecuadorian government’s support of Assange allowed Wikileaks to leak information about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 race. Correa denied that his government worked with Assange to help Trump win and said he preferred Clinton, calling Trump “an enemy of our migrants.”

3. Planned Parenthood 

Planned Parenthood’s president has been ousted after less than a year on the job. Dr. Leana Wen hinted in a Facebook statement that she was pushed out because of differing opinions on how to present the issue of abortion to the public. Wen said in a statement that she thinks access to abortion “is not a political issue but a health care one.” It’s no secret that it’s a dire time for reproductive rights advocates. Republican leaders across the country are moving to tighten access to abortion services, and the Department of Health and Human Services just announced that new rules prohibiting taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients are now in effect. Planned Parenthood has called the new regulations “devastating, illegal, & unethical” and says it will not abide by them.

4. Myanmar

The State Department has sanctioned four top Myanmar military officials for human rights abuses. The move was in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis involving the country’s Rohingya population. If you’ll recall, the Rohingya are a stateless Muslim ethnic group that have been subject to extreme discrimination and violence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctioned officials were responsible “for gross human rights violations,” including extrajudicial killings, during the campaign of violence against the Rohingya that began in 2017. Several international groups have condemned Myanmar’s military leaders for their role in the ongoing crisis. The United Nations has called for Myanmar’s military leaders to be prosecuted for war crimes and genocide.

5. Disney

Abigail Disney visited Disneyland undercover, and she says she’s “livid” at what she saw. The family heiress, filmmaker and activist says she was prompted to take a secret trip after a park employee messaged her on Facebook, and she was shocked at the working conditions that low-paid park workers described. After her trip, the heiress called on Disney CEO Bob Iger to address the pay inequity between him and the average Disney worker. “Bob needs to understand that he is an employee just the same as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk are employees, and they’re entitled to the same dignity and human rights that he is,” she said. Disney has regularly criticized Iger’s pay package ($66 million last year), and she addressed Congress in May about capitalism and human rights.


“He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom, and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, remarking on retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who passed away yesterday at the age of 99

“Facebook is dangerous. Like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over, and called every arson a learning experience.”

US Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, during a Senate hearing regarding Facebook’s proposal for a new digital currency, called Libra


Chicago’s Humboldt Park alligator, ‘Chance the Snapper,’ has been (humanely) caught

Chicagoans, you may now return to your regularly scheduled summer.

Girls have stronger reading skills than boys, which could contribute to the math gender gap

But on the whole, girls are just as good as boys at math. Whew, that’s a stereotype that needed to be busted.

Nestle is introducing a new chocolate with no added sugar

We’ll take it. Any chocolate is good chocolate.

Everyone’s having fun with FaceApp, an app that can show you what you’ll look like when you get older

But what if you’re already older? Does it just sense that and kindly leave you alone?

A man went to the doctor with something in his eye, and they pulled out a tick



A kingpin’s fate awaits

Today could be the last day the public — and even some of his relatives — see convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. He’s set to be sentenced on 10 federal counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.



Juggling from a different point of view

From this angle, it almost doesn’t look that hard! Key word here being … almost. (Click here to view.)