Morning Update: What A Month This Week Has Been

Trump invited Putin to DC, they opened the sarcophagus (sorry, no curse), and the Ricktatorship is over. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, July 20.

Oh! Trump has invited Putin to Washington

What even is this week.

You’ll remember that when it began — an eon ago, when we were young and full of hope — President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. After their meeting in Finland, the two leaders held a joint press conference that Republicans called a “disgrace.”

That’s because Trump publicly doubted Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, disagreeing with US intelligence services. He then walked that back.

Well, here’s what’s new: After a week of fallout over his first meeting with Putin, Trump has decided to invite the Russian president to DC this fall, the White House said.

The invite comes after Trump said he believes Russia is no longer targeting the US — and US intelligence agencies begged to differ.

Meanwhile, the Senate sent Trump a unanimous message: Don’t take Putin’s deal to turn over US officials for questioning by Russian investigators.

One notable thing: Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, was onstage at an event when he found out Trump had invited Putin to DC. When he was told, he literally started laughing. lol ok great.

“I feel like I am trash”: Immigrant children describe conditions in detention centers

In court filings this week, immigrant children and their parents described the squalid conditions in centers where they were held. In hundreds of interviews, families who were separated at the US border spoke of freezing facilities where they were often given spoiled food and unclean drinking water.

The testimonies are harrowing. Lawyers for an organization representing the immigrants say the stories are proof the government is violating a 1997 ruling that dictates the treatment of minors in immigrant detention facilities.

One lawyer said adding up all the accounts “amounts to a picture not just of forcibly separating thousands of children from their parents, but on a much broader level of a program of forced hunger, forced thirst, forced sleep deprivation, coupled with routine insults, threats, and physical assault...”

Meanwhile, judges are skeptical that the Trump administration will be able to reunite separated families by the July 26 deadline.

At least 11 people are dead after a tourist boat capsized in Missouri

The boat was carrying 30 people when it capsized and sank during a storm near Branson. At least 11 people, including children, were killed and five others are missing.

Seven others on board were taken to hospitals, according to authorities. Two of them were critically injured.

The boat capsized as a powerful storm brought strong winds and waves to Table Rock Lake. Divers will resume searching the water on Friday morning for others still unaccounted for.


People are speaking up against the so-called “trend” of donating vacation time to new moms. This follows Good Morning America publishing an article on a new “trendy coworker baby shower gift” where people sacrifice their vacation time to supplement a pregnant colleague’s meager or nonexistent parental leave. The article cited stories of two women who were able to take weeks off after giving birth thanks to their coworkers' generosity. The backlash to the article was immediate, with people criticizing it for normalizing the need for such a practice. As one person succinctly put it, “Maternity leave shouldn't have to be crowdsourced.”

A woman was abandoned at sea and the photos of her rescue are haunting. The woman, identified only as Josefa, was pulled from the wreckage of a ship full of refugees off the coast of Libya. She is believed to have fled from Cameroon because of domestic violence. The group that rescued her, Spanish nongovernmental organization Proactiva Open Arms, told us she had been in the water for 48 hours. She was found next to the bodies of a 5-year-old boy and a woman. Haunting photos of Josefa after her rescue quickly went viral — one person described them like this: “The eyes, the eyes of this woman are the very image of the dehumanization that Europe is coming to.”

Remember that mysterious 2,000-year-old sarcophagus that everyone wanted to open? They opened it. And unfortunately for all of us, it didn’t lead to a world-ending curse. Three decomposed skeletons were found inside, which are thought to be the remains of warriors, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities. One of the skulls appeared to have been hit with an arrow. The sarcophagus was also full of red sewage that had leaked in. The pictures are neat if you like old bones.

A woman says her United flight attendants made jokes after a man masturbated next to her on a plane. Genevieve Pascolla, a 26-year-old photographer, posted a video on Instagram, allegedly of a man sitting next to her on a flight and masturbating under a blanket. She wrote that after she alerted the flight attendants, she was given a new seat but then the attendants “started making jokes about the situation asking, ‘What perfume are you wearing?’ and excusing him, saying, ‘He’s had a bit of wine.’” Pascolla also alleged that the man was “allowed to finish, with a child sitting closely by.”

A waitress tackled a guy who groped her and it was all caught on video. The man, from Florida, was arrested at a Georgia restaurant after he grabbed the woman’s buttocks, and she immediately took him down. He was taken into custody and charged with sexual battery after officers reviewed the security footage, which went viral after it was posted on Reddit. In the video, the man can be seen groping 21-year-old Emelia Holden, who is absolutely not having it. She seizes him by the collar and slams him against the wall. They may not have chicken fingers on the menu, but justice is served.

We finally have a first look at Jodie Whittaker in action as the first woman Doctor on Doctor Who. And it is glorious. You should watch the teaser trailer.

The Walking Dead executive producer confirmed Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show. Season 9 will be the last for the Ricktatorship.

Mark Zuckerberg secretly called Trump after the election

Sources have told us that Zuckerberg placed a secret, previously unreported call to the president-elect during which the Facebook CEO congratulated the Trump team on its successful campaign, which spent millions of dollars on advertising with Facebook.

The call did not take place in a vacuum — it was just one in a series of private endorsements from Facebook employees of the Trump campaign’s ad efforts on the platform.

Facebook has been reluctant to publicly acknowledge how well Trump used its social network to reach voters. Internally, it’s a different story: The company has celebrated Trump’s 2016 campaign as one of the most imaginative uses of its powerful advertising platform.

We obtained Facebook presentations and memos that show the social media giant viewed Trump’s campaign as an “innovator” of a fast-moving, test-oriented approach to marketing on Facebook.

Read the fantastic reporting from Ryan Mac and Charlie Warzel.

Some longreads to fill your cup this weekend

If you came of age during a very specific period of time, Gwen Stefani represents the height of what you thought of as edgy. That’s definitely true for me. Anne Helen Petersen wrote a deep dive into the evolution of Stefani’s image and the very consistent ways she has resisted being exactly what you thought she was. Here’s Petersen: “Can you be sexy and a mom? Can you be cool and into God? Can you be happy and divorced? Stefani’s answer, broadcast in Instagram Stories and interviews, was clear: Of course you can. It just might look different than what you had planned at age 16.”

I don’t play the popular video game Fortnite, but I know people who do. You likely do too. I found this essay on what happens after you die in Fortnite fascinating. One thing the game lets you do is choose to continue to watch from the perspective of the player who just killed you. Min Li Cha writes in this fascinating piece that, without noticing, as you watch your killer continue, “the thrill of voyeurism” transforms “into a sense of identification. You begin to feel invested in the stranger who, not too long ago, did you in.”

Are you watching Sharp Objects, the new HBO drama with Amy Adams? The show, centered on a troubled journalist who is an alcoholic, plays the same notes as the best prestige dramas, but pushes them further. Alison Willmore looks at the way Sharp Objects challenges our relationship to the damaged antiheroes: “It's hard to imagine anyone romanticizing Camille and her darkness — certainly not the way some fans romanticize the darkness of her male TV drama counterparts, the Walter Whites and Rust Cohles and Tony Sopranos that have littered the cable and streaming landscape. The idea that women feel obligated to conceal their damage, and that there's no glamour allotted to their letting it show, is one of the things Sharp Objects is about.”