news·5 min read

Daily Skimm: Moscow Protests, Rohingya Refugees, and 'Baby Shark' Cereal

Protests in Moscow
Getty Images
Jul 29, 2019


The Story

People in Moscow want free and fair elections. Now.

What's this about?

The Russian capital's city council election, set to happen in September. It has 45 seats that have five-year terms and all of them are up for grabs. It's currently controlled by a pro-Kremlin party that can't quite figure out how to handle the opposition.

I'll take an example for 200, please.

Earlier this month, election authorities barred some opposition candidates from running. Allegedly for not having enough signatures to qualify. Last weekend, tens of thousands of people showed up to protest that move. Then opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested and sentenced to 30 days in jail for calling for another protest this weekend.

Did people show up?

Yep, thousands. More than 1,300 people were detained – the largest crackdown in years. Most were released without charges. But at least 150 remained in custody and may be headed to court this week. And that's not the only thing that happened.

Go on.

Yesterday, Navalny was hospitalized with a "severe allergic reaction." His spokeswoman said Navalny didn't have any known allergies before this. He's reportedly in "satisfactory condition." People are calling it 'pretty sketchy.'

What does the Kremlin have to say about all of this?

Unclear. But what's going on in Moscow is a larger reflection of the state of things under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

How so?

The Kremlin's hold on local elections – like Moscow's city council – stops Putin's critics from getting any type of political power. And this challenge comes at a time when Putin is already dealing with declining public supportlow incomes, and protests over pension restrictions.


Last year's presidential election ended up with Putin winning a fourth term in office. His main opponent then – Navalny – was conveniently banned from running. The same thing appears to be happening with the capital's city council election. And the people of Moscow are fighting back.


What people are paying attention to...

Gilroy. Yesterday, a gunman opened fire at Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California – one of the largest food festivals in the US – killing at least three people and injuring at least 11 others. It's unclear what the motive was. The gunman is dead, but police are searching for a potential accomplice. President Trump, California's governor, and others have spoken out to do things like update the public and encourage those in the area to stay safe.

Who's being called racist again...

The president. Here's what happened this time: over the weekend, he criticized House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Cummings has been a vocal critic of the president and recently criticized the conditions at the southern border – which is how this beef seemingly got started. But then Trump stated that Cummings's district was "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and that "no human being would want to live there." He later continued by saying that Cummings does nothing for his "very poor, very dangerous and very badly run district" – topping it off with #BlacksForTrump2020. Prominent Democrats and Maryland leaders have condemned Trump's tweets as racist against Cummings and his majority-black district.

  • Doubling down: Trump pushed back on his critics, insisting his comments weren't racist and that Cummings was the racist one. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney also said that everything the president does "is offensive to some people."

Who's fighting for recognition...

Rohingya refugees. Over the weekend, Rohingya leaders met with Myanmar officials to talk about potentially returning to the country. Reminder: Rohingya are a Muslim minority group that have lived in mostly-Buddhist Myanmar for generations. In 2017, a military crackdown that killed thousands and forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh, where they've lived ever since, fearing for their safety if they return. Myanmar currently denies Rohingya citizenship, limits their movements, and says many are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Last year, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to start repatriating the Rohingya. But the repatriation process stalled because no Rohingya wanted to return. Now, Rohingya leaders said they won't go back unless they're recognized as an ethnic group with citizenship. It's unclear if Myanmar officials will give them what they're asking for

Who's got a job update to share...

Wanda Vázquez. Yesterday, Puerto Rico's justice secretary and next in line to be governor announced that she doesn't want the job. Which is probably fine, considering not too many people there wanted her to have it. She says she hopes Gov. Ricardo Rosselló – who's expected to step down at the end of this week because of "Chatgate" – will appoint a secretary of state before then. If Rosselló's choice isn't approved, the next in line would've been the treasury secretary...but he's too young. So that leaves the interim education secretary. Talk about complicated.

Dan Coats. Yesterday, President Trump announced that Coats will step down as the director of national intelligence next month. Coats took the job in 2017 and has been known to clash with Trump on things like national security and the situation with North Korea. Trump will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to replace him

What's got immigration on the mind…

The Supreme Court. On Friday, it said the Trump admin can use about $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to build parts of the US-Mexico border wall. But the ACLU says the fight isn't over and that it will try to expedite the appeals process.

Guatemala. On Friday, the Trump admin announced that Guatemala signed a "safe third country" agreement. This means that if migrants travel through the Central American country, they would need to apply for asylum there instead of in the US. The agreement is expected to take effect sometime next month. If it does, migrants who are apprehended in the US could be deported to Guatemala regardless of their country of origin

Who's celebrating in the City of Lights…

Egan Bernal, the first Colombian to win the Tour de France and the youngest champion in 110 years (no need to Google it: he's 22).

When you're pumped that it's Shark Week

Let's go eat, doo doo doo doo doo doo.

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