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The State Department plans to cut aid to Central America amid migrant crisis; the Catholic Church considers allowing married men to become priests.


The Trump administration announces cuts to Central American aid

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Trump administration officially announced Monday that it would cut aid for Central America — just not as much as President Trump had initially threatened. [CBS News / Camilo Montoya-Galvez]
  • In late March, Trump ordered the State Department to cut off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to hold them accountable for the growing number of Central American migrants heading to the US. [NYT / Megan Specia]
  • While Trump had ordered the entire $615 million in assistance to be cut, the State Department announced that projects and grants that have been approved, valued at about $432 million, will be continued. [AP / Matthew Lee]
  • However, there will be no new projects until the flow of migrants is reduced. The administration will reallocate $370 million in aid from fiscal year 2018 and suspend $180 million from fiscal year 2017. [Reuters / Lesley Wroughton and Patricia Zengerle]
  • Many, however, are concerned that the suspension of aid will only make the problem worse. The money is often used to address the root causes of migration, such as violence in communities and food insecurity. [Financial Times / Demetri Sevastopulo, Aime Williams, and Jude Webber]
  • These concerns will most likely lead to stiff opposition to the plan from Congress. Several Democrats have criticized the administration’s decision as callous. [Fox News / Gregg Re]
  • The State Department’s most recent move is characteristic of Trump’s approach to addressing the migration problem: endless pressure and threats. Whether this is an effective strategy remains to be seen. [Washington Post / Sarah Bermeo]

Could married men become Catholic priests?

  • In a historic shift, the Vatican will consider ordaining older married men as priests to address the shortage of clergy in remote areas of the Amazon. [BBC]
  • A proposal from the Vatican announced that bishops would debate introducing the idea of “viri probati” — married men of proven character — during an upcoming summit in October. These men would be indigenous, respected members of the local Catholic community with grown-up families. [Reuters / Philip Pullella]
  • The document also includes other progressive ideas such as giving women leadership roles and promoting the need to protect the environment in the Amazon. [France 24]
  • The idea of ordaining married men has been around for decades but received renewed attention under Pope Francis. As the first Latin American pope, he is familiar with the challenges that churches in the Amazon face. [AP / Nicole Winfield]
  • This wouldn’t be the first time married men would be allowed to become priests. Some married Anglican priests can still be ordained when they convert to Catholicism. [NYT / Jason Horowitz]
  • Ultimately the document wants Catholicism, which as of now is barely present in the region, to be deeply rooted there. The only way to do so is by being more inclusive and incorporating indigenous culture, the document says. [Financial Times / Davide Ghiglione]
  • It’s undeniable that there is a shortage of priests in the Amazon’s remote areas: Catholics in the region may go months without attending Mass. Ordaining married men has the potential to change the course of the church’s growth in the area. [NYT / Jason Horowitz]

Miscellaneous

  • Doctors could possibly detect diseases better by monitoring social media posts. But at what cost to privacy? [Vice / Madeleine Gregory]
  • Google Calendar was down today for users around the world. Cue panic. [Washington Post / Hamza Shaban]
  • Facebook is getting into the cryptocurrency world by introducing its own coin, Libra. The goal? To create a totally new alternative financial system. [NYT / Mike Isaac and Nathaniel Popper]
  • No wonder it’s so hard to resist “puppy dog eyes”: New research suggests dogs literally evolved to make better eye contact with humans. Special muscles around their eyes help make them more expressive (and adorable). [Atlantic / Haley Weiss]
  • A man was discovered at JFK Airport trying to smuggle 34 Guyanese finches in plastic hair curlers. The birds are used in “singing contests,” and each one was going to be sold for about $3,000. [CNN / Anna Laffrey]

Verbatim

“Cutting off desperately-needed aid to Central America is not the answer to fixing our immigration system. In fact, it would exacerbate the crisis, driving children and families to our southern border.” [Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s (D-NV) response to the State Department cutting aid to Central America]


Watch this: Astronauts left poop on the moon. We should go get it.

What astronaut diapers can teach us about the origins of life. [YouTube / Brian Resnick]


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