Morning Update: I Bless The Likes Down In "Africa"

A crucial ruling on abortion access, selling arms to Saudi Arabia, your weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, June 21.

A new ruling could leave thousands of low-income Americans without family planning services

A federal court ruled that the Trump administration can deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood as well as other family planning organizations that provide abortions or referrals for them.

The three-judge panel ruled that the federal government is allowed to block health care providers from federal grant money if they offer information about abortions or offer family planning services in the same facilities where doctors perform the procedures.

The background here: Federal funding of abortions has been illegal for years, but the Trump administration moved to bar funding of services like birth control, gynecological exams, and sexually transmitted infection screenings at Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions.

Abortion rights advocates fear the new rule will force dozens of clinics across the country to chose between providing abortion services and the funding that keeps their other health care operations afloat.

As the war in Yemen continues, arms sales to Saudi Arabia are coming under fresh scrutiny in the US and UK

Yesterday, in a rare show of bipartisanship, Republicans joined Democrats in the US Senate in voting to block billions in arms sales to Saudi Arabia — a move President Donald Trump is expected to veto.

Meanwhile in the UK, a court ordered a review of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia but did not call for their suspension. The court of appeal’s judgment found the government “made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the past, during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so.”

The ruling prompted senior Tory MPs to say Britain's relationship with the Gulf state had become “harder and harder to justify.”


The FBI arrested an ISIS supporter who was allegedly planning to bomb a church. Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, a Syrian refugee, reportedly planned to attack a Pittsburgh church because he believed its members were Christian and Nigerian. He thought he was planning the attack with another ISIS supporter, who was actually an undercover FBI agent.

Roy Moore, the Alabama judge accused of child molestation, is running for the US Senate again. Moore lost the special election in 2017 after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct, including some who were teenagers at the time. He announced his candidacy on Thursday.

Prince Harry and Meghan have split from Prince William and Kate to launch their own charitable foundation. The Royal Foundation said the decision would allow the couples to focus on causes better aligned with their new households.

Beauty YouTuber Nikita Dragun is being accused of bribing fans in order to win a competition. The concept was simple: Whoever got the most votes in the Instagram comments section won the Benefit Cosmetics Brow Search. People are accusing Dragun of bribing her large fanbase to propel her protege Kameron Lester to win.

This influencer couple admitted one of their mothers funds their trips, and they got completely dragged. Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt, a couple who run a travel Instagram account, revealed his mother works two jobs to pay for their globetrotting lifestyle. They wanted to raise money to bike to “Africa” for unclear reasons, possibly raising awareness of “mental health or global warming.” The internet is not having it.

China is trying to spy on Pakistan’s Uighurs

You’ve heard of China’s brutal crackdown on members of its Uighur ethnic group. But that crackdown extends beyond China’s borders: A group funded by China is collecting data on Uighurs in Pakistan, worrying the community.

Approximately 2,000 Uighurs live in Pakistan’s northwest. For the past six months, China has doubled down on collecting data on Uighurs in the country, including where they live, where their parents migrated from, and how many children they have.

China has already pressured the governments of Malaysia, Egypt, and Uzbekistan, forcing them to repatriate Uighur populations back to China, where they are placed in internment camps.

Read Zuha Siddiqui’s report on China’s attempts to collect data on Uighurs in Pakistan and why it has the community worried about what could happen next.

Sit with these reads and make the weekend more thoughtful

The Time I Went On a Lesbian Cruise And It Blew Up My Entire Life. This essay is personal, beautiful, long, and impossible to summarize. Let me say without reservation: it is one of the best things I’ve read all year. Here’s how Shannon Keating describes it: “I went on a lesbian cruise thinking I'd have a boring but perfectly pleasant time. I ended up having a million epiphanies about my gender & my future, fell in love, ended a 5-year relationship, moved out of my apartment, and literally changed my entire life.”

Kathleen Hale Tracked Down Her Goodreads Critic. How Long Should She Be Punished For? Kathleen Hale went viral in a bad way after she tracked down a book reviewer who trashed her book. When Hale wrote about it, she received the ire of the internet. Five years later, Scaachi Koul wrote an excellent profile of Hale that serves as an exploration of the power of Goodreads and cancel culture in the book world.

Madonna Is A 60-Year-Old Pop Icon. Why Doesn’t She Want To Talk About It? Madonna is back. She’s always back. She never left, because that’s what Madonna does. But with her new release, Madame X, she’s done talking about her age. DJ Louie XIV wonders if this is a disservice to fans: “Is Madonna’s problem the public’s fixation on her age? Or her resistance to talking about it?”

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