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Morning Update: They Literally Ran Out Of Words

Trump's new Mexico tariffs, Facebook's ban of white supremacists, your weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, May 31.

Posted on May 31, 2019, at 7:51 a.m. ET

Trump said he will impose a 5% tariff on Mexico until it does more to stop migrants from reaching the US border

The president announced that the tariff will apply to all imports from Mexico. It will go into effect on June 10, and will continue to increase until the “problem is remedied.”

The tariff move is a surprise. But it goes beyond that: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney later said the percentage would increase by 5% every month until it reaches 25% on Oct. 1.

It's unclear what goal Mexico needs to meet in order to avoid tariffs.

Here’s the thing: The amount of migrants at the border will likely start going down even without the threat of tariffs. Historically, the number of apprehensions lowers because of the summer heat.

Larger context: President Donald Trump continues to look for ways to deter asylum-seekers from coming to the US — and the next escalation is that the administration is considering denying asylum to immigrants who travel through a third country.

Facebook banned these white nationalist groups, but they never really left

It’s been about a month since Facebook said it banned a number of white nationalist groups. Those groups are still on the platform, and they’re using it for recruitment.

The bans on extremist groups came after the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings, where the gunman went live on Facebook before killing 51 people.

Now, researchers are saying some of the banned groups are still active on Facebook and attempts to report them have been ignored by the company. Here’s how an expert put it: “Facebook likes to make a PR move and say that they’re doing something but they don’t always follow up on that.”

SNAPSHOTS

Louisiana's Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed a bill that bans nearly all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. The so-called heartbeat bill makes abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

For the third time in a week, a lone Republican has blocked $19 billion in disaster aid. The bill will provide aid to communities hit by hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, including Puerto Rico. Its blockage by Rep. John Rose of Tennessee means the bill will languish in Congress until next week.

R. Kelly has been indicted with 11 more sexual assault and abuse charges. The new charges were filed by a grand jury in Illinois and all involve one alleged victim, a woman who was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged abuse.

Circus promoters allegedly chained their 12-year-old son, took a selfie with him, and starved him to death. The coroner said Eduardo Posso was “severely emaciated” and covered in bruises. Eduardo’s father and stepmother, who worked as circus promoters, were arrested and charged with felony neglect. They could face murder charges once the cause of death is determined.

Lil Nas X did a surprise performance at an elementary school and it is the purest thing. The “Old Town Road” artist surprised the school after its principal coordinated with him on Twitter. The whole thing is just so wholesome and good.

The National Spelling Bee had an unprecedented 8 winners. 16 kids took the finals stage, and after 20 rounds, eight remained and were named co-champions. Spelling bee officials said they'd run out of words. Look at these champs:

Patrick Semansky / AP

You probably don’t know much about background checking. You really should.

You trust companies like Lyft to hire trustworthy people to pick you up. The gig economy relies on that trust. You trust Care.com to vet the babysitter you let in your home, too.

Many companies in the sharing economy pay a third party to run background checks on who they hire. And here’s the thing: Sterling Talent, the dominant player in this billion-dollar industry, is allegedly failing at its job.

Sterling’s employees describe an environment and a process prone to errors, and teams struggling to meet the volume of checks that clients request.

Most errors involve the wrongful attributing of criminal records. But in some cases, people with violent criminal records slip through the net, and harm the people they’re supposed to work for.

Read Rosalind Adams’ story on a flawed background check process that has serious consequences.

Spend some time with these longreads this weekend

The US Government Botched Its Investigation Into The Mysterious “Sonic Attack” In Cuba, Emails Reveal. For the past three years, diplomats working in Cuba have complained of mysterious symptoms — dizziness, headaches, difficulty concentrating — that often started with reports of metallic shrieks inside their homes. Read Dan Vergano’s analysis of the botched investigation into the phenomenon.

The Sony Walkman Helped You Avoid The World. AirPods Could Help You Avoid Your Phone. AirPods are controversial to say the least. But they’ve come at a moment in the evolution of technology where our phones themselves are something to escape from. Katherine Miller looks at what it means to become untethered.

How Marvel Delivered The Grand Finale Game Of Thrones Couldn’t. Pop culture has been dominated by Marvel’s cinematic universe and Game of Thrones for the better part of a decade. Those two colossal cultural forces ended quite differently for fans. Here’s Adam B. Vary’s take on fan service and the conclusions of sagas.

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