June 20, 2018 / 12:51 PM / 5 months ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

U.S. withdraws from U.N. human rights body, Pope Francis criticizes Trump policy on migrant family separation and EU to impose duties on U.S. imports.

Overview of the Human Rights Council one day after the U.S. announced their withdraw at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland June 20, 2018. Picture taken with a fisheye lens. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

United Nations

The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform, a move activists warned would make advancing human rights globally even more difficult.

China expressed regret on Wednesday over a U.S. decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, with state media saying the image of the United States as a defender of rights was “on the verge of collapse”.

United States

Trump told Republican lawmakers he would back either of the immigration bills making their way through the House of Representatives, as the outcry grew over his administration’s separation of immigrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a political opponent of Trump, said that the state would sue the Trump administration for separating children of immigrants from their parents when apprehended illegally crossing the U.S. border. 

Commentary

The Trump administration is taking a dangerous approach to trade by blocking appointments of new judges to the appeals court of the World Trade Organization, writes policy analyst and former WTO lawyer Simon Lester. “The Trump administration has now taken confrontation to the extreme… Holding the system hostage without proposing specific reforms is unproductive.”

World

Pope Francis kisses a baby during the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Exclusive: Pope Francis has criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying populism is not the answer to the world’s immigration problems. Speaking to Reuters, the Pope said he supported recent statements by U.S. Catholic bishops who called the separation of children from their parents “contrary to our Catholic values” and “immoral”. Pope Francis also voiced optimism for improved ties between the Vatican and China

Pope Francis appealed for greater press freedom around the world, citing the case of two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar on accusations of possessing secret documents. Follow the latest updates on the case 

Fears of a humanitarian crisis in Yemen’s main port city Hodeidah grew as battles spilled into residential districts after Arab coalition forces seized the airport from the Iran-aligned Houthis.

Business

The European Union will begin charging import duties of 25 percent on a range of U.S. products on Friday, in response to U.S tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminum early this month, the European Commission said.

A $2 billion fraud at India’s Punjab National Bank (PNB) may have been orchestrated by a few rogue employees, but it escaped detection because of widespread risk-control and monitoring lapses in many areas of the bank, the bank’s own internal probe has found.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb said 35 billion won ($31.5 million) worth of virtual coins were stolen by hackers, the second local exchange targeted in just over a week as cyber thieves exposed the high risks of trading the digital asset.

Reuters TV

Canada’s Senate has approved a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, setting the stage for the country to be the first Group of Seven nation to legalize cannabis.

Canada legalizes recreational marijuana
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