Refugee Resettlement

Estonia Reaches First Refugee Quota
March 14, 2018
Estonia has accepted 206 quota refugees under the migrants plan agreed upon by EU member states in 2015. The 18 Syrian refugees who arrived in Estonia recently are the final quotas to be accepted. “According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, 88 of these 206 refugees are currently not in Estonia.” The maximum number of people that Estonia is set to accept is 286, in accordance with the European Commission to accept an additional 80 refugees.

‘We Were Dying in There’: Thousands of Syrians Flee Rebel Enclave
March 15, 2018
Thousands of exhausted civilians streamed out of the Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta, the largest single-day exodus from the embattled region since the start of a punishing government offensive last month.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that as many as 20,000 people fled the region for government-held areas. The mass migration served as a reminder of the seven-year-old war’s great cost to Syria’s civilians.

Canada Struggles as It Opens Its Arms to Victims of ISIS
March 16, 2018
Fariborz Birjandian, a refugee himself, has welcomed the world’s most vulnerable refugees–Kosovar Albanians, Burmese Karens, and Syrians. “Nothing prepared him for the Yazidis.” Almost 1,200 people, mostly women and children, are victims of the Islamic State brought to Canada set up for the Yazidis. These are members of a tiny religious minority from northern Iraq that militants set out to decimate in 2014.

At Least 16 Migrants Drown Off Greek Island, Including 5 Children
March 17, 2018
The bodies of 16 migrants, including at least five children, were found and recovered from the sea off a Greek island. This comes after a boat smuggling the migrants sank in the eastern Aegean. “The drownings…came almost exactly two years after Turkey and the European Union signed a deal to curb the flow of migrants.” The reasons for the sinking were unclear.

Southeast Asia Leaders Use Australia Meet to Talk North Korea
March 17, 2018
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the displacement of Rohingya Muslims was not just a domestic issue for Myanmar, as Southeast Asian nations signed a counterterrorism cooperation agreement. “Najib made his comments at a meeting of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, being hosted by Australia.” The summit has been marked by protests against the regimes of Myanmar and Cambodia.

U.S. Judge Dismisses Tennessee Refugee Resettlement Lawsuit

March 19, 2018
A judge has dismissed the state of Tennessee’s lawsuit accusing the U.S. government of coercing it into subsidizing the federal refugee resettlement program unconstitutionally. “It said this violated the 10th Amendment, which limits U.S. government powers to those delegated in the Constitution.” The government was accused of invading its sovereignty by requiring Tennessee to provide Medicaid benefits to refugees or risk losing nearly $7 billion of funds.

Manus Island: PNG Wants Australia to Put Deadline on Refugee Resettlement
March 20, 2018
The Papua New Guinea wants Australia to set a deadline to get the refugees from Manus Island out of the country. “So far, only 84 of the roughly 600 refugees on Manus Island have been sent to the United States.” Papua New Guinea formed a special team to negotiate with Australia’s Home Affairs Department to make sure that all refugees from Manus Island are resettled soon.

Military Spending

US Budget Deficit Jumped to $215.2 Billion in February
March 12, 2018
The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $215.2 billion in February, which is up significantly from a year ago, due to the impact of the GOP tax cuts passed in December. “The February deficit was 12.1 percent higher than a year ago, reflecting in part a drop $5 billion in individual withholding taxes paid.” Employers started using tax tables that withheld less from paychecks based on the new law.

Flush Over Tax Cuts, Trump Says ‘Phase 2’ Is Coming
March 14, 2018
Trump came to Middle America to promote the economic benefits of the $1.5 trillion in tax breaks he signed in December. As he basked in the praise, he said that he was not done. “We’re now going for a Phase 2,” he said to a selected group of supporters. He did not describe what would be in Phase 2, but said he would team up with Representative Kevin Brady.  

NATO Defense Spending Goes Up For Third Year in a Row
March 15, 2018
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that alliance members increased their defense spending in 2017 for a third consecutive year. “The numbers were unlikely to allay Trump’s anger over his perception that Europe is taking the U.S. defense umbrella for granted.” Countries registering shortfalls face threats that the United States may not come to their defense.

House GOP Leaders Push for Military Funding in Spending Bill
March 20, 2018
House Republicans are pushing hard for funding for the nation’s military in the $1.2 trillion spending bill that Congress must finish by the end of the week. House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “as part of the spending bill, GOP lawmakers want to fully fund the national defense at levels requested by the Pentagon in what the speaker described would be the ‘biggest increase in defense spending in 15 years.’” The spending bill was described as “‘not fully cooked’” by an aide.

As DeVos Faces Congress, Officials Say She Hid Plans to Overhaul Department
March 20, 2018
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will go before a House panel to defend her agency’s budget, which includes a sweeping overhaul of the Education Department that strained relations within her agency and Congress, defying the White House’s budget office. “The budget request calls for a 5 percent spending cut, eliminates dozens of programs and pitches a $1 billion school choice proposal.”