5 Things for Thursday, March 16: Travel ban, Yahoo hack, Trump budget, Syria
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 3/16/2017, 6:06 a.m.
By AJ Willingham
(CNN) -- Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
1. Travel ban
It's déjà vu all over again: A federal judge has blocked President Trump's new travel ban. This judge, Derrick Watson, is from Hawaii, and yesterday he issued a scathing, 43-page takedown of the order, just hours before it was supposed to go into effect. Watson called the order legally weak and said the Trump team's comments about it on TV prove it's meant to specifically exclude Muslims.
Trump called the decision a "judicial overreach" and pledged to take the issue to the Supreme Court, if needed. The Justice Department also issued a statement saying it would defend the new ban.
2. Yahoo hack
Two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service -- the next-gen KGB -- are among four people indicted in connection with a massive hack of Yahoo information. If you recall, Yahoo suffered an unprecedented breach in 2014 that affected at least 500 million accounts and allowed hackers access to names, email addresses and passwords -- but not financial information.
This is obviously the worst possible time to have two Russian spies on the hook for economic cyber-espionage (which is criminal, while government-to-government espionage typically isn't). Though cyberexperts have long claimed there is a link between Russian cybercrimes and the Russian government, this is the first tangible connection between the two.
3. The Netherlands
Results are in, and incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte has won the closely-watched Dutch election. The race was seen as a barometer for the expansion of populism in Europe, and the far-right candidate, Geert Wilders, came in a distant second. That's a blow to the far-right movement sweeping Europe, which rails against globalism, immigration and the structure of the EU.
One more note: In Dutch elections, candidates' parties are awarded seats in Parliament based on vote counts. This outcome, an expert told CNN, shows the country is still "deeply divided."
4. Trump administration
Budget cuts are coming. Today, President Trump will release more information about his plans to slash and revamp government spending in what he calls the "America First" budget outline. Trump's budget point man described it as a "hard power budget," with cuts coming for the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. More money will be filtered to defense spending, and of course, the Mexican border wall that was one of Trump's central campaign promises.
This month marks the sixth anniversary of Syria's bloody civil war, and the carnage is not letting up. Suicide bombings yesterday struck a courthouse and restaurant in the capital of Damascus, killing more than two dozen people. This comes after a violent weekend in the city when two bombings targeting buses of Iraqi Shiite pilgrims killed more than 70 people. According to UNICEF, 652 children died last year in the violence in Syria, marking "rock bottom" for the war's smallest victims.
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AND FINALLY ...
Amtrak train, meet snow.
After all that heavy snow pummeled the Northeast this week, this happened. No one got hurt, but they were all probably pretty wet and disgruntled.