The Daily Moth 2-14-17

February 15, 2017

 

 

Michael Flynn Resigns in White House Scandal, Half Brother of North Korea’s Leader Assassinated at Malaysia Airport, Recap of Canadian PM Trudeau’s Visit to White House, Federal Court Rules in Favor of Deaf Plaintiffs’ Lawsuit for Text-to-911 Services, South African Parliament Considers Adding South African Sign Language as 12th Official Language, and PM of Japan’s Wife Mrs. Akie Abe Visits Gallaudet University. 

 

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Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, February 14 -- Happy Valentine’s Day, I love you all viewers. Ready for today’s news? 

 

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Last night Michael Flynn handed in his resignation letter. He’s out as National Security Adviser, less than a month into his new position. The controversy with his call with a Russian diplomat discussing the Obama sanctions and his apparent misleading the VP and President is what doomed him. 

 

The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said President Trump asked Flynn to resign because he lost his trust.

Flynn was one of the first people that Trump brought in as his leadership team — he was announced as the national security adviser on November 18. He gave a fiery speech during the Republican National Convention and encouraged the crowds to say “Lock Her Up!” about Hillary Clinton. He said if he did just a tenth of what Hillary did, he would be in jail.

 

Currently Keith Kellogg, who is the chief of staff at the National Security Council, is acting as interim national security adviser. The White House is now working on finding a long-term replacement for Flynn. 

 

More information about what happened from the Washington Post — the FBI, before Trump was inaugurated, did an investigation in Flynn’s calls and determined he did discuss sanctions. 

 

The previous acting attorney general, Sally Yates (who was fired by Trump for refusing to support his travel ban), knew of the FBI’s investigation and wanted to warn the Trump transition team, but the FBI director Comey said no — because it could complicate the FBI’s investigation of Russian ties with the Trump team.  

 

On January 23, White House Press Sec. Sean Spicer told media that Flynn did not discuss sanctions during his calls. Apparently Spicer didn’t know what was going on, that Flynn misled the White House about his calls. 

 

So Yates asked Comey again for “permission” to notify the White House and got the green light. Yates told the White House counsel McGahn January 23 about the call. 

 

This means it is highly probable that Trump knew of the Flynn situation all this time without any immediate action against him — it was only until the current media controversy that Flynn handed in his resignation. 

 

It’s raised even more questions and pressure on the White House — was Flynn acting alone or was others aware? Did Trump know about this? There are some Republican and Democrat lawmakers that have called for an investigation and they want Flynn to testify. 

 

The White House Press Sec. Sean Spicer said the White House knew about Flynn’s call, but determined that it was not a legal issue — but asked for his resignation because it became an issue of trust, that they couldn’t trust Flynn anymore. 

 

We’ll see what happens with the investigation that will possibly require Flynn to testify. 

 

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The *half-brother of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was apparently murdered yesterday in Malaysia. His name is Kim Jong Nam. He was at the Kuala Lumpr International Airport where he died after a female (or two females) either wrapped his head with a cloth doused with a dangerous liquid or stabbed him with poisoned needles. He was rushed to the hospital but died on the way. The females escaped the airport after the attack. It is not clear who they were and what their motive was. There are rumors that the killing was ordered by Kim Jong Un. 

 

His father was Kim Jong il, the second-generation leader of North Korea (1994-2011). Kim Jong Nam was once considered as a possible successor to Kim Jong il but he lost the trust of his father and North Korean government because he tried to use a fake passport to enter Japan (to visit Disneyland). He had views that advocated for relations with the world and a different government system. He lived for periods of time in China and did not attend his father’s funeral in 2011 — and was known as being outside of the reclusive circle of North Korea leadership. 

 

Sad for Kim Jong il, but it is not a surprising move from North Korea (if they were behind this) because there are reports that Kim Jong Un have ordered more than 300 people to be executed ever since he came to power. 

 

Clarification: I incorrectly said he was Kim Jong Un’s brother — he is his half brother.

 

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Yesterday President Trump invited the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to the White House. They had a meeting to discuss how to advance women business owners both in the U.S. and Canada — Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, was there — she did invite some female CEOs to attend the meeting. It was announced that the two countries would work together on a project to promote more female CEOs. Nice. 

 

Then both Trudeau and Trump hosted a press conference. Trump spoke in English while Trudeau spoke in both English and French. Here are some highlights:

 

Trump pledged that the U.S. would work with Canada in maintaining a strong trading relationship. Trump said the US is fortunate to have Canada as a neighbor. 

 

Trudeau said it is nice and warm in DC compared to Canada. Trudeau said the US and Canada have a special bond, but that it is a complex relationship and they won’t always agree with everything (Trump smiled at that). Trudeau said 35 US states list Canada as their largest export market and that $2 billion in two-way trade occurs every day and that millions of middle-class jobs depend on that partnership. 

 

They were asked about border security, immigration, and Syrian refugees. (Both have vastly different approaches with Trump imposing a travel ban (that fizzled) and Trudeau explicitly welcoming 40,000 Syrian refugees). 

 

Trump skirted the issue of Syrian refugees by focusing on the ICE arrests and said that Sec. of Homeland Security Kelly was doing a great job, that we’re getting bad criminals out and that is what people who voted for Trump wanted. He later said that he wanted to open a big beautiful door for people to come in, but that he can’t let the wrong people come in, that it was a tough stand but common sense. 

 

Trudeau responded that Canada is committed to their policies of openness and that they have been successful in welcoming Syrian refugees without compromising security thanks to their relationships with the U.S. and allies. He said there would be differences in approaches between the two countries but that he would not go into another country and lecture them on how they govern themselves, that it was his role to govern in a way that reflects Canadians’ approach and to be a positive example in the world. 

 

It seemed to be a friendly, but somewhat tense press conference for two leaders of neighboring countries that differ from each other in many ways. 

 

Tomorrow Trump will meet with the PM of Israel. 

 

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In Phoenix, Arizona — a federal court ruled that the NAD (National Association of the Deaf) and three deaf people may proceed in their lawsuit that seeks to have the state of Arizona and various local governments in Arizona to provide text-to-911 capabilities. 

 

The lawsuit was filed last year — it alleged that it was discriminatory that Arizona and local governments failed to provide text-to-911 — saying that current 911 services are inaccessible because deaf people are required to use either TTY devices (which very few people use) or VRS services (which requires a high-speed internet connection — unavailable away form homes or high-speed internet zones). 

 

The state of Arizona/local governments wanted to dismiss the lawsuit, but Judge John Tuchi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona rejected it and concluded that NAD and the three deaf plaintiffs have a valid claim under federal discrimination law — and allowed the lawsuit to proceed.

 

I asked Mary Vargas, a lawyer from Stein & Vargas, LLP on what this lawsuit meant. She said it means that people in the U.S. can sue state and local governments for failing to provide equal access to 911 services.

 

[Statement from Mary Vargas: 

 

The decision means you can sue state and local governments for failing to ensure equal access to 911. The Court held that the Plaintiffs stated a claim that the failure to provide text to 911 could violate the ADA and Section 504. The Defendants were ordered to Answer the lawsuit and a hearing is set for the end of March. This is the first lawsuit in the nation of its type and should serve as a reminder to jurisdictions throughout the United States that in providing 911 services, those services must be accessible to all.] 

 

Wow, great information from Mary, thank you for sharing. I’m grateful for NAD and the other law firms and the three deaf plaintiffs who is making a big difference for Deaf people. I hope to have more Text-to-911 services in the future. This is considered a landmark civil rights case. 

 

https://www.nad.org/2017/02/14/text-to-911-lawsuit-advances/

 

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A committee in the South Africa Parliament has started a process to bring an amendment to the South African Constitution to add South African Sign Language (SASL) as the country’s 12th official language. It is now being discussed in a Constitutional Review Committee and will be introduced to the house of representatives. 

 

The Deaf Federation of South Africa is the organization that first applied for SASL to be formally recognized — they applied 10 years ago and now it’s finally being considered in the parliament. If passed and amended, it will have an impact on deaf schools, government organizations and media, who sometimes do not recognize or support sign language. 

 

There are potential challenges to this action — because there are different sign dialects in South Africa — and the parliament will have to figure out the costs and logistics of applying SASL to schools, courts, and media. Despite the challenges, the efforts to recognize SASL appears to be in motion and it is expected to be placed before the House by the end of this year. 

 

https://businesstech.co.za/news/general/155095/sign-language-could-become-south-africas-12th-official-language/

 

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Last Friday, the Prime Minister of Japan’s wife, Mrs. Akie Abe, visited Gallaudet University. She previously visited the campus in 2007 and wanted to visit again. 

 

She went on a tour on campus and visited various buildings and departments, then she sat down for a roundtable discussion with the Gallaudet President Bobbi Cordano and top Gallaudet researcher/neuroscientist Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, campus architect Hansel Bauman, psychology professor Dr. Caroline Kobek-Pezzarossi, and a graduate student from Japan, Izumi Takizawa. They discussed topics that ranged from DeafSpace, deaf children’s visual learning abilities, and Gallaudet’s achievements. 

 

After the discussion, Abe showed the group how to make origami paper cranes, which are a symbol of peace. They exchanged gifts and Abe left the campus.

 

(Images by Zhee Chatmon).

 

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That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 

 

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