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The Week MagazineThe Week Magazine

The Week Magazine May 24, 2019

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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editor’s letter

When the Boston Red Sox went to the White House last week to be honored by President Trump for their 2018 World Series victory, about 10 of the 25 players boycotted. All were Hispanic or African-American. “It’s personal, bro,” catcher Christian Vazquez explained toThe Washington Post. Like Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who also didn’t go, Vazquez is from Puerto Rico and doesn’t appreciate how Trump has treated the U.S. island devastated by Hurricane Maria. In the Trump era, these boycotts have become the norm. The University of Virginia men’s basketball team recently refused a White House invitation. Trump angrily disinvited the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 after black players said they would not show up. They did not want to shake the hand…

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the deepening u.s.-china trade war

What happened The trade war between the United States and China escalated dramatically this week, with both nations preparing to impose new tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of goods after a breakdown in negotiations. The Trump administration raised tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods, including seafood, luggage, furniture, and bicycles. In retaliation, Beijing announced that higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products, including beef, vegetables, batteries, and electric saws, will go into effect starting June 1. The salvo came after months of trade talks abruptly deteriorated last week. American officials have accused China of backtracking on key commitments, including changing its laws to eliminate what the U.S. calls “market-distorting subsidies” for Chinese companies. The Trump administration is threatening to tax…

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it wasn’t all bad

An Australian family out for a Mother’s Day walk quite literally struck gold last week. The father was with his two daughters and their dog, appropriately named Lucky, when one of the girls kicked what looked like a yellowish rock. “She then goes, ‘Dad, is this gold?’” said the father, who asked to remain anonymous. “I said, ‘I think it might be.’” They took the 20-ounce nugget to be valued and discovered it was worth more than $24,000—enough to help the family with some current financial difficulties. “It couldn’t be better timing,” said the dad. From Monday to Friday, Lotay Tshering works as prime minister of Bhutan. But on Saturdays, the elected leader of the tiny Himalayan kingdom puts on a white coat and heads to the operating room at the…

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the warm white house welcome for hungary’s autocrat

What happened President Trump heaped praise on Hungarian Prime Viktor Orban during his visit to the White House this week, shrugging off concerns about the Central European leader’s increasing authoritarianism. Sitting alongside Orban in the Oval Office, Trump praised the Hungarian as “a tough man” who has “done the right thing” on immigration. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama chose not to give Orban an audience. During his three straight terms in office, the nationalist prime minister has called Syrian refugees in Europe “Muslim invaders” and erected razor-wire fences to keep migrants out. He has also advocated the idea of “illiberal democracy,” chipped away at the independence of the judiciary and media, and invoked anti-Semitic tropes to attack the Hungarian-American financier George Soros. At the end of the meeting, said…

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a new investigation of the investigators

What happened Attorney General William Barr answered the GOP rallying cry to “investigate the investigators,” assigning a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the probe into Russian election interference,The New York Times reported this week. John Durham, the top federal prosecutor in Connecticut, was tapped to assess intelligence-gathering methods used on the Trump campaign; the Justice Department inspector general will soon deliver findings on a similar topic. Durham is—for now—conducting a review, not a criminal inquiry, meaning he can’t subpoena documents or witnesses. The Times reports that Barr will take a “personal role” in Durham’s work, a chief focus of which is the FBI’s court-approved surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr has told the Senate. Trump now…

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heartbeat bills: an invitation to overturn roe

“At least Republicans have stopped pretending on abortion,” said Paul Waldman in The Washington Post. Last week, Georgia became the fifth state since 2017 to pass a so-called heartbeat bill, making it a felony punishable by 10 years in prison to abort a fetus once a heartbeat has been detected. That usually happens around six weeks—a time when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. When Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, “it was like a switch flipped,” said Christina Cauterucci in Slate.com. “Abortion abolitionists” stopped pretending to use fake concerns about “women’s health” to saddle abortion clinics with impossible-to-meet regulations and began passing these “blatantly unconstitutional” heartbeat bills. The goal: to spark lawsuits that will give the court’s new conservative majority the chance to overturn Roe v.…