The VICE Morning Bulletin
Mueller hones in on possible Trump back-channel to Kremlin, Florida lawmakers pass first post-Parkland gun law, Trump to sign tariff plan despite Republican opposition, and more.
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Everything you need to know about the world this morning, curated by VICE.
Team Trump Tried to Set Up Back Channel to Kremlin, Mueller Suspects
A cooperating witness told the special counsel that a meeting between Blackwater's Erik Prince and Vladimir Putin associate Kirill Dmitriev in the Seychelles during the transition period was a deliberate effort to assemble a line of communication between Trump's nascent administration and Russia. Anonymous officials said George Nader, who assisted in arranging the meeting, has provided Mueller’s team with testimony, though it was not clear how central that was to the probe. Prince previously claimed he met with Dmitriev solely by way of coincidence.—The Washington Post
Trump to Sign Tariff Plan Despite Republican Opposition
The president was expected to officially approve new tariffs on steel and aluminum Thursday, in the face of a letter signed by 107 House Republicans urging him to rethink “broad tariffs” and focus on China instead. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the measures would not initially apply to Mexico and Canada.—The New York Times
Hope Hicks Reportedly Told Investigators She Was Hacked
The outgoing White House communications director informed the House Intelligence Committee she had an email account hacked, according to sources at the closed door session last week. It was unclear whether the account was personal or one she used in her work for the Trump campaign, and Hicks did not divulge any details about potential suspects.—NBC News
Florida Lawmakers Pass New Law on Guns
The state legislature passed a bill raising the age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21 and introducing a three-day wait before most guns can be bought in most cases. It would also allow some teachers and staff to carry guns in school, after a modest training program. Governor Rick Scott has 15 days to decide whether to sign it into law.—CNN
UK Vows to Investigate Poisoning of Former Russian Spy
Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised a firm response to a “brazen and reckless attack” after British police determined Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent. Both were still critically ill in the hospital. An anonymous official revealed the agent used on Skripal and his daughter was neither VX nor Sarin.—BBC News
Women in Spain Unite for National Strike
A one-day “feminist strike” designed to highlight gender discrimination was slated to see women across Spain boycott both paid work and domestic labor. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, said it would show that “without women, the world really does stop." Protests were likewise expected to be held in cities around the world to mark International Women’s Day 2018.—The Guardian
New Israeli Law Demands Loyalty from Palestinians in Jerusalem
A bill passed by the Israeli parliament gave the interior ministry power to evict Palestinians from Jerusalem if they were deemed disloyal to Israel or to have engaged in terrorism. The policy affected both newcomers and permanent residents in different ways. Israeli Arab lawmaker Esawi Frej condemned the move as part of a “campaign to empty East Jerusalem of its Palestinian residents.”—Haaretz
China Pledges Retaliation Against US Tariffs
Beijing's foreign minister said his country would be forced to “make a justified and necessary response” if the Trump administration imposesd tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Wang Yi warned the US that “choosing a trade war is a mistaken prescription. The outcome will only be harmful."—Reuters
Amazon Promises to Fix Alexa’s Weird, Random Laughs
Following widespread complaints from Amazon Echo buyers that Alexa bursts into laughter for no apparent reason, a company spokesperson said: “We’re aware of this and working to fix it.” Amazon said the problem was related to “false positives."—The Verge
Michael B. Jordan Says His Company Will Use Inclusion Riders
The Black Panther star said his production firm Outlier Society would use contracts to ensure its projects do not lack diversity. The move followed Frances McDormand’s call at the Oscars for inclusion riders to be understood and employed across the industry.—The Hollywood Reporter
Q-Tip Appointed to the Kennedy Center’s Hip-Hop Council
The rapper and producer from A Tribe Called Quest has been named as artistic director and advisor-at-large for the Kennedy Center’s new Hip-Hop Culture Council. The group also features Questlove and Black Thought from The Roots.—Noisey
New York City Names First Night Mayor
Ariel Palitz will head up the city’s Office of Nightlife, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced. She was expected to oversee licenses and permits, and also to help shape nightlife-related policy in general.—VICE
Finn Wolfhard’s Band Drops First Video
The teenage rock band Calpurnia, fronted by the Stranger Things star, released its debut music video for “City Boy.” The group said it was “really just the product of a bunch of friends who love music coming together to create something."—i-D
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