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Morning Update: Beirut Stands With Jon Snow

Sudan's president steps down, disaster funding held up, weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, April 12.

Posted on April 12, 2019, at 7:24 a.m. ET

Trump’s grudge with Puerto Rico is blocking needed disaster aid across the US

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that Puerto Rico has gotten too much money in disaster relief, and balks at spending one more dollar on the island.

As a result of the president’s position, Congress again failed to pass a disaster relief bill this week. Meanwhile, people recovering from natural disasters all across the country, from the West Coast to Puerto Rico to the Midwest and the South, are struggling to rebuild and survive day to day.

A group of Republican Senators went to the White House to reach some kind of agreement with the president. Any deal reached will also need to be agreeable to Democrats, who have refused to budge on providing funding for Puerto Rico along with other disaster-stricken parts of the US.

Congress is now beginning a two-week break through April 29.

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has been arrested

After massive nationwide protests that started four months ago, Sudan’s president al-Bashir has stepped down. Al-Bashir had been in power since 1989.

Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said al-Bashir has been arrested and is “in a safe place.” In the meantime, Ib Auf announced a state of emergency for three months, and a transitional government for two years, after which there will be “free and fair elections.”

Sudanese protesters' reactions to Ibn Auf's announcement have been more skeptical than celebratory. One told us: “They took Omar [al-Bashir], the biggest liar, and put someone just like him.”

SNAPSHOTS

Video shows Chicago police officers punching and dragging a 16-year-old down stairs. The video appears to contradict the officers' statements that the student, Dnigma Howard, initiated the violent encounter at Marshall High School and that her actions caused the three of them to fall down the stairs.

An ICE official who said detention is “more like summer camp” will now lead the agency. Matthew Albence, the new head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is seen as an official with the type of hardline approach that President Donald Trump may appreciate.

Former Obama administration lawyer Greg Craig was charged with lying about his work in Ukraine. A grand jury indicted Craig on two counts of making false statements in connection with work that linked him to Paul Manafort.

Attorney Michael Avenatti has been indicted on 36 federal charges. Avenatti, who rose to prominence representing Stormy Daniels, faces accusations of fraud, tax offenses, and other financial crimes. These grand jury charges are in addition to the federal wire fraud and extortion charges for which he was arrested last month.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle want to celebrate the birth of their baby privately. In break with royal tradition, the pair will keep the arrival of their baby to themselves at first. According to reports, there will be an announcement when the duchess goes into labor, followed by an announcement at some point after the birth.

These banners in Lebanon backing Jon Snow’s battle against the Army of the Dead are amazing. A set of banners have begun popping up in Beirut to give helpful advice and encouragement in Arabic to the Game of Thrones character. We spoke to the person who had them made.

"The elders of Beirut support Jon Snow in his war against the White Walkers"
@Z_iad / Twitter

"The elders of Beirut support Jon Snow in his war against the White Walkers"

Here are the never-seen-before US government damage reports made in the WikiLeaks aftermath

After WikiLeaks released its massive cache of classified documents, the Department of Defense authorized several damage assessment reports.

To refresh your memory: WikiLeaks released State Department cables, Iraq war logs, top secret files on Guantanamo detainees, and a video depicting the US military killing Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists from an Apache helicopter — all records leaked to the organization by former Army private Chelsea Manning.

Now, after obtaining 300 pages of documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, we can reveal some of the contents of the US government’s damage assessment reports: they say the leaks were highly embarrassing to the government, and endangered the lives of foreign sources who provided the US with intelligence related to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.

Read Jason Leopold’s analysis of the reports.

Spend time with these essays this weekend

Why Nipsey Hussle’s Death Feels So Devastating To Me. When rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed, there was noticeable anguish in the reactions — evidence that people’s relationship with Hussle and his work was quite personal. Lakin Starling articulates that relationship beautifully: “I know what grieving a close loved one feels like, I’ve done it too many times. But this is the first time I’ve deeply missed a person I didn’t know. It’s a new kind of void.”

In Us And Pet Sematary, History Is The Scariest Thing Of All. I’ve seen Jordan Peele’s Us twice, and I still don’t think that’s enough to fully take in that movie. Alison Willmore writes about Us and another recently released Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary, and how they treat suppressed trauma. From the piece: “Horror, as a genre, is well-suited to channeling feelings of collective guilt, and what marks these recent entries is a refusal to let generational distance excuse its characters, even the children.”

Kris Jenner And The Cultural History Of The “Momager.” Line up 5 people in a room and you’ll get 20 opinions on Kris Jenner and her cultural significance. One thing she has managed to do well: rebrand the idea of the meddling “stage mom” into something more complex — the momager. Zan Romanoff looks at the complicated history of managing your child’s career: “While there’s a lot of mistrust around Jenner’s specific motives, ‘momager’ has become a fun, semi-ironic moniker used equally by mothers who actually manage their children’s nascent performing careers and women who joke about how obsessively they photograph their children and pets.”

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