The US and the EU are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a former spy in the UK
First, the background: It’s been weeks of muted response from the White House after a former Russian spy and his daughter were found poisoned in the UK.
And now: The US will expel 60 intelligence officers, who will have one week to leave the country with their families.
On top of that: The US will also close the Russian consulate in Seattle “due to its proximity to one of our submarine bases and Boeing,” the defense contractor, according to the White House.
And the US is not alone: EU member states will expel about 30 Russian diplomats from their respective countries. Germany and France will kick out four diplomats each. Italy and Spain will expel two each.
Outside the EU: Canada will expel four diplomats. Australia will expel two.
What does all of this mean? Here’s UK Prime Minister Theresa May on this show of unity: “Together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia's continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values.”
Kim Jong Un may or may not be visiting China right now
Kim Jong Un is a known homebody: He hasn’t taken a trip abroad since his father died in 2011. Now, the appearance of a massive train in Beijing has fueled rumors that Kim has ended his hermitage.
And it’s not just any massive train — it looks a lot like the one Kim's father used when he traveled to Beijing.
A ~secret visit~ to China would mirror Kim Jong Il's style, too. His visits to Beijing were always kept under wraps until they'd ended.
China and North Korea haven’t said anything official yet.
Trump responds to Stormy Daniels’ 60 Minutes interview
On Sunday, Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, told 60 Minutes that she was threatened to stay quiet about her affair with Donald Trump.
Yesterday, a White House spokesperson said the president doesn’t believe her.
Meanwhile, Clifford has expanded her lawsuit against the president, adding a claim alleging that longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen defamed her earlier this year.
European intelligence officers say meetings between a Trump aide and a Greek politician should worry US investigators
First, the background: The campaign aide is George Papadopoulos. You’ve heard his name a lot in relation to the Russia investigation.
Who is he again? He’s a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Also one of the first people charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Here’s what’s new: We spoke with European intelligence officers. They say there’s a set of meetings Papadopoulos held in Europe before and after the election that should alarm US investigators.
The meetings were with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. He’s known to be close to Vladimir Putin — their relationship goes beyond Greece’s traditional ties to Russia through the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Key quote: One NATO intelligence officer told us: “Like much of the Greek economic and security establishment, the Ministry of Defense is considered compromised by Russian intelligence.”
2020 census: The Trump administration announced that it will include a controversial question about citizenship status on the 2020 census. The question hasn’t appeared on the survey since 1950. Critics of the addition say it will lower the response rates.
Prince’s death: The legendary artist had an "exceedingly high" amount of the opioid fentanyl in his system at the time of his death. According to the medical examiner, Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl.
Louis Vuitton: The fashion giant just appointed its first black artistic director. Ghanaian-American Virgil Abloh will take up the top position at the world's largest luxury brand. You may already recognize his name as Kanye West’s creative designer and frequent collaborator. He’s also behind the streetwear brand Off-White.
Queer Eye: By now you’re aware that Netflix's Queer Eye is the purest and most comforting TV show around. And well, we get to have more of it: The show is officially returning for a second season.
Facebook has had countless privacy scandals. This one is different.
This Facebook scandal isn’t about Cambridge Analytica and who knew what when. It isn’t even strictly about Facebook.
It's about what it means to exist in an era in which so much of our data collected. As Charlie Warzel writes in this great piece, the story is big “because it perfectly touches upon a deeper anxiety about our online privacy that’s been building for years.”
Warzel writes that the scandal is “a moment that forces us, collectively, to step back and think about what we sacrificed for a more convenient and connected world.”
I highly recommend you read the whole thing. It’s great.
A bunch of people are calling this Canadian ice cream chain satanic blasphemy
The chain, which has been around since 2015, is called Sweet Jesus and has plenty of Christian-inspired branding. It’s got locations across Ontario and recently opened one in Baltimore.
Its push into the US has drawn the attention of people accusing the chain of mocking their religion.
One petition against the ice cream reads “Choosing the name of our Lord for a brand of soft-serve ice cream is totally offensive and revolting.”