Reports that Trump calls El Salvador, Haiti and Africa ‘shithole’ countries create controversy
According to CNN, on Jan. 11, after Trump rejected a pitch presented by a bipartisan team of members during a meeting at the White House regarding a DACA deal, the president asked the group, “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” On Jan. 12, Trump took to Twitter to deny that he had made the remarks, instead saying that he had “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than that Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country.” Reports stated that Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin was proposing an end to the visa lottery in exchange for Temporary Protected Status. The Washington Post reported that when Durbin read names of countries like Haiti and other African countries off of a prepared list, Trump asked why the U.S. would “need more Haitians” and instructed Durbin to “take them out.” According to CNN, the president alleged that the comments were made by Democrats, noting that he was considering recording future meetings.
Israeli government approves construction of more than 1,000 homes
According to Al Jazeera, the Israeli government has approved construction plans to build more than 1,000 settlement homes on the West Bank. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki disapproved of the plan, blaming President Trump for giving the green light for Israel to build on “Palestinian land.”
Saudi Arabia opens first auto show for women
In preparation for the lifting of a ban that has restricted women from driving in Saudi Arabia, a mall in Jeddah has opened an exhibition of cars aimed at selling cars to women. The exhibition showcased many fuel-efficient cars and was marketed using the slogan “Drive to Shop,” according to NBC. The auto show opened following King Salman’s decree that the ban on women drivers will be lifted in June.
UN says current measures to limit child deaths in Yemen are ineffective
According to The Washington Post, a UN report about human rights abuses regarding foreign intervention in Yemen showed high rates of civilian-inflicted casualties caused by Saudi-led airstrikes. UN experts studied 10 airstrikes that took place in 2017 and found that 157 people, including 85 children, died as a result of the airstrikes. The report alleged that steps taken by the Saudi-Arabia-led coalition to decrease child casualties remain “ineffective.” The UN also blamed Iran for not stopping weapon transfers to Houthi rebels.