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Protests against the governor in Puerto Rico lead to violence; Iran seizes a foreign oil tanker, increasing tensions with the US.


Puerto Ricans demand the governor’s resignation

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  • Thousands of Puerto Ricans have been marching in the streets for days to demand Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation, following leaks of his vulgar group chats and a string of arrests of those in his government on corruption charges. [AP / Michael Weissenstein]
  • Last week, the Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of private group chats between the governor and his close aides, which included homophobic and misogynistic language. Two of Rosselló’s cabinet members have already resigned amid criticism. [CNN / Ray Sanchez]
  • The protests are also fueled by the recent wave of corruption investigations against top officials in Rosselló’s government; just last week, the FBI arrested a former cabinet secretary and agency director.
  • Tensions are high as protesters and police continue to clash. Officers fired tear gas into crowds, and rubber bullets were used while chasing down demonstrators. [NPR / Merrit Kennedy and Adrian Florido]
  • Cruise ships have been avoiding the San Juan docks amid the civil unrest, which is beginning to concern some business owners who rely on the tourism industry. Businesses are also concerned that investors will be scared off, leading to long-term damages. [NYT / Patricia Mazzei and Frances Robles]
  • President Trump joined the criticism against Puerto Rico’s leadership via Twitter, calling them corrupt and incompetent. His feud with the local government dates back to when his administration was slow to deliver disaster aid to the land following Hurricane Maria in 2017. [Politico / Rishika Dugyala]
  • Mass demonstrations like this aren’t common in Puerto Rico, and show how deeply rooted the frustration against the government is. Even if Rosselló continues to resist calls to resign, he will have to address the distrust of his people, which stems from a long history of government corruption accusations. [NYT / Patricia Mazzei and Frances Robles]

Iran seizes a tanker accused of smuggling fuel

  • Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has detained a foreign oil tanker that was passing through the Strait of Hormuz with 12 crew members on board, Iranian news media reported Thursday. [NYT / Thomas Gibbons-Neff]
  • According to the Revolutionary Guard, the detained tanker had been carrying 1 million liters of contraband fuel. They have yet to identify the tanker or its nationality. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • Some outlets, however, have used released footage to identify the seized tanker as MT Riah, a United Arab Emirates-based tanker with a Panama flag that went missing over the weekend after entering Iranian waters. [CNN / Nada Altaher and Schams Elwazer]
  • US officials had expressed concern that MT Riah had been seized by Iran, a claim that Iran’s foreign ministry vehemently denied. Rather, Iran said on Wednesday that they had rescued the ship after it had sent distress signals and towed it to the shore for repairs. [WSJ / Benoit Faucon and Aresu Eqbali]
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was unable to answer whether the detained tanker that was allegedly smuggling fuel was the same ship that was rescued. He did, however, say that his country was actively engaging in anti-smuggling efforts. [Washington Post / Liz Sly]
  • The seizure could be seen as Iran’s attempt to exert dominance over the strait and send a message to the UAE, which has long pushed the US to take tougher policies toward Iran. [AP / Aya Batrawy and Nasser Karimi]
  • Tensions in the region are high because of the dispute between the US and Iran –– and things have just gotten worse. The US announced it had shot down an Iranian drone that got too close to a Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz, the same day that Iran announced its seizure of the tanker. [NBC News / Adam Edelman]
  • Just a month ago, Iran shot down one of the US’s drones, provoking the ire of the Trump administration. Although both sides have expressed reluctance toward an armed conflict, tensions continue to run high. [Guardian]

Miscellaneous

  • At least 33 people have died after a man set fire to Kyoto Animation’s studio. The Japanese company has long been beloved by fans for its quality work and intimate storytelling. [NYT / Julia Jacobs]
  • FaceApp, the viral smartphone app that uses AI technology to digitally age photos, was developed in Russia. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is now calling on federal agencies to investigate. [CNN / Donie O’Sullivan]
  • After A$AP Rocky was detained in Sweden for questioning about a street fight, Kim Kardashian West reportedly reached out to Jared Kushner for help. Now President Trump has directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to lead efforts to release the rapper. [Axios / Jonathan Swan]
  • Can you use artificial intelligence to immerse students in foreign culture — without having to travel? Here’s how this class is trying to gamify learning. [Daily Beast / Shira Feder]
  • Do you like Chicago-style hot dogs? Then maybe you’ll like Airbnb-ing the Chicago-based Oscar Mayer Wienermobile; it comes fully loaded with a fridge filled with Oscar Mayer hot dogs, a grill, and “hot dog-inspired accessories.” [Vice News / Jelisa Castrodale]

Verbatim

“I have never seen or heard of a transparent government. I haven’t lived under a government that hasn’t been corrupt. This is why we came.” [Protester Vanessa Ruiz on why she decided to join the demonstrations in Puerto Rico]


Listen to this: How to solve the asylum crisis

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