US briefing: Iran shoots down US drone, sea wall costs and Biden under fire
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Good morning, I’m Mattha Busby with today’s essential stories.
An unmanned US drone has been shot down in the strait of Hormuz by Iran, which accused America of spying in its airspace in the south of the country and attempting to worsen tensions in the region. A US military official confirmed one of its drones was taken down, but said it was in international airspace. Meanwhile, President Trump has been briefed on the details of a missile strike in Saudi Arabia that appeared to come from Yemen.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden refused to apologise after saying he had worked alongside two southern segregationist senators in Congress with “some civility” despite major disagreements. After fellow contender Cory Booker criticised him for also joking “about calling black men ‘boys’”, Biden said: “There’s not a racist bone in my body.” However, previous remarks made by the former vice-president have emerged, as critics call into question his credentials.
Building sea walls to guard US communities against rising sea levels could cost $416bn over the next 20 years, and the figure represents a mere slice of what governments in coastal states will have to fund if they do not wish to just retreat inland. The costs could amass to nearly as much as the initial investment in the interstate highway system, but the report’s publisher said this had likely been overlooked.
A comprehensive report has exposed the extent of directly targeted civilian casualties in Yemen as the conflict enters its fourth year, with a UK court set to rule on the legitimacy of the British government’s continued supply of weapons to the Saudi-led coalition. The deliberate targeting of civilians has been denied by both sides but the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (Acled) has recorded 4,500 direct civilian targeting events that led to approximately 11,700 reported deaths since 2015.
The new American family: trans, gender queer, nonbinary, two-spirit
As part of our series, Stonewall at 50, we hear from six people who found love and happiness – after being told they didn’t belong. “I would love for everyone to be able to find the family within themselves,” says “Fresh” Lev White, a 56-year-old masculine-presenting non-binary person. “It will help enrich your experience with others.”
Which 2020 Democrats are powered by fossil fuel donations?
Among the Democratic contenders, there is a wide acknowledgement that the climate emergency has to be tackled. Some, however, have signed a pledge to no longer accept money from the oil, gas and coal industry, while others haven’t. Most notably, Beto O’Rourke has taken more than $600,000, mainly from individuals, and Colorado senator Michael Bennet has accepted over $180,000, from Pacs. Here’s the rest.
Plastic wrapped in plastic: the wasteful reality of America’s grocery stores
For the latest in the United States of Plastic, Jessica Glenza and Jessica Pettway visit leading markets to document the ubiquitous pointlessness of plastic. All the stores wrapped plastic around eggs, most enclosed baby greens into rigid plastic shells and nature’s readymade coverings were often replaced with plastic. As supermarkets in the UK take limited action against plastic, American grocers are falling far behind.
The Jerusalem hospital where Palestinian babies die alone
Critically ill Palestinian children taken from impoverished Gaza to a better equipped hospital in Israel are suffering and dying alone because their parents are often not allowed to immediately accompany them, Oliver Holmes writes. Six babies have passed away since January 2018 without a parent present, according to the hospital.
At a congressional hearing on reparations on Tuesday, two black writers detailed their starkly different appraisals of how the US should tackle its historic racial inequalities and injustices, and we have posted the full testimonies.
Ta-Nehisi Coates said:
Coleman Hughes said:
USA face Sweden today in their first true test at the World Cup, against the nation that handed them their earliest ever exit from a major tournament at the 2016 Olympics. However, the Americans have since adopted relentlessly attacking tactics. Game on.
Following that match, goalkeeper Hope Solo branded the Sweden team “a bunch of cowards” for their defensive tactics, leading US Soccer to realize “it now had an excuse to remove its biggest adversary in the fight for equal pay, and it did,” she writes.
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