The Omarosa Drama Is Putting Trump’s Nondisclosures In The Spotlight

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The latest drama between former Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman and the White House has been heating up as she's hit the road on her book tour. Now the Trump campaign is filing for arbitration against Newman, alleging her book about her time working on the campaign and in the White House violates a nondisclosure agreement she signed. 

"[It] prohibits her from disparaging Trump, his family, his businesses through the services of the campaign. And then it has a kicker of, like, 'and all times thereafter,'" Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer, told Newsy. 

The fallout between Trump and his former "Apprentice" villain Omarosa has been a bit of a surprise and sparked from that tell-all book accusing the president lying and using racial slurs. The two have known each other for 15 years, since the first season of Trump's reality show, and have remained close until she was fired from White House earlier this year.

It's been reported before that people on the Trump campaign and in the White House have signed NDAs promising they won't disparage Trump, his family or businesses, among other things, but the White House hadn't really confirmed it until now. 

To be clear, the White House isn't part of the arbitration; Omarosa says she never signed an NDA after joining the administration. But it's pretty clear other White House employees have signed NDAs, which the White House is trying to play off as normal procedure.

On Tuesday, Sarah Sanders said, "Despite the contrary opinion, it's actually very normal, and every administration prior to the Trump administration has had NDAs."

SEE MORE: Examining The Line Between Whistleblowing And Leaking

"She's right in the sense,  that sure, White Houses for decades have used NDAs. Not White Houses, the federal government has used NDAs for decades with respect to classified information," Zaid said.

The Trump White House NDAs seem to be pretty broad in scope and basically give Trump a lot of leeway in deciding what's covered. That's not normal, and it might not even be legal.

"If they think it disparages them or is confidential in their view, that's it. I don't think any NDA that would purportedly apply to White House federal service will hold up as constitutional. It's a different story with respect to the campaign," Zaid said. 

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US And Mexico Step Up Their Joint Effort To Fight Drug Cartels

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Mexico and the U.S. might not agree on trade or border walls, but the two governments can agree on fighting drug cartels. 

The countries have worked together on the issue for years. But Wednesday, officials from multiple American and Mexican agencies announced a new focus for the war on drugs.

According to the DEA, Mexican drug trafficking organizations pose the biggest crime threat to the U.S. 

Investigators are going to focus on the drug routes into the U.S. and how cartels get their drug money back out of the country. The effort includes a new task force that will target drug distribution in Chicago and more international investigations focused on bringing cartel heads to justice.

"At the end of the day, we can knock off these lower-level drug traffickers here in Chicago or any major city in the United States, but we need to be able to expand the investigations, take the cartel leaders out of their comfort zones, and extradite them to the United States," said DEA Chicago Special Agent in Charge Brian McKnight.

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Trump’s Iran Sanctions Are Causing Political Pain In Iraq

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Iraq's leadership has typically tried to stay clear of the feud between the U.S and neighboring Iran. But that's getting harder to pull off after President Donald Trump reimposed economic sanctions on Iran.

Trump's decision to leave the international deal limiting Iran's nuclear program snaps back U.S. sanctions on the country. Soon, anyone who trades with Iran in spite of the sanctions risks being frozen out of the U.S. financial system.

That's really bad news for Iraq, which is heavily invested in both the U.S. and Iran. The country imported $6 billion worth of Iranian goods in 2017, and relies on Iranian energy imports to supplement its weak electricity grid.

But Iraq's central banks rely on their accounts with the Federal Reserve to keep a steady stream of dollars flowing into the country. If those accounts are frozen due to sanctions violations, Iraq's financial system could end up in crisis.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is currently trying to deal with the dilemma by insisting that Iraq will keep trading with Iran — it just won't do so using U.S. dollars.

SEE MORE: Iraq's Prime Minister Says He's Opposed To An Election Redo

That stance could further weaken Abadi's already tenuous position. Iraq still has to form a new government following its May elections, and ongoing protests over chronic shortages have bled away the political support Abadi needs to stitch together a coalition.

Ultimately, this latest flare-up between Iran and the U.S. could end up pushing Iraq away from both countries. Iraqi officials have reached out to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to cover some of their energy shortcoming.

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Italian PM Declares State Of Emergency After Bridge Collapse

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The Italian government declared a 12-month state of emergency in the region where a bridge collapsed Tuesday, killing at least 39 people.

Several Italian bridges have collapsed in recent years. And industry officials reportedly warned Genoa's City Council about the structural integrity of this bridge as early as 2012.

The country's transport minister called for the managers of the company in charge of maintaining the bridge to resign immediately. The prime minister released around $5 million in public funds to aid the Genoa region.

The government also announced a national day of mourning for the victims. 

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New Zealand Passes Ban On Foreign Homebuyers

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Buying a home in New Zealand just got a lot harder for foreigners. The country's Parliament passed a bill banning overseas investors from buying existing properties Wednesday.

The move comes after years of declining homeownership rates, which some officials have blamed on overseas investors driving up prices.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the issue a part of her campaign, and the ban is part of a broader effort to address New Zealand's housing shortage.

Opponents of the ban say it won't have much of an impact. They argue the number of foreign homebuyers is already small and declining.

Overseas investors bought about 3 percent of homes sold in the last quarter, according to government statistics.

The country has become a popular destination for wealthy foreigners, including recognizable figures like James CameronMatt Lauer and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel

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The White House Revoked Former CIA Director John Brennan’s Clearance

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The White House revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday. 

Last month, press secretary Sarah Sanders announced a list of former officials being considered for clearance revocation. Some pointed out that many of those officials had been publicly critical of President Donald Trump.

Brennan was the first to have his clearance revoked since the list was announced. Some others on the list include former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who called the idea of revoking certain clearances "petty."

Sanders said Wednesday former officials are usually allowed to keep their clearances so they "can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insights, and as a professional courtesy." But she said neither of those reasons justify Brennan's continued clearance. 

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN.

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Red Tides Can Be Dangerous For Humans, Too

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The algae blooms off Florida's west coast, also known as red tide, have been getting worse. And while it can be deadly for wildlife, humans are affected, too. 

Blooms of algae — which may or may not be red — release a poisonous substance called brevetoxin. In humans, the health effects are usually mild and temporary. It can cause itching or burning irritation in the lungs, throat and eyes. Swimming in it can result in a rash. And if someone eats too much contaminated shellfish, they can get neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, which can include nausea, dizziness and partial paralysis.

SEE MORE: State Of Emergency Declared In Red Tide-Devastated Areas Of Florida

It's hard to say how long Florida's beaches will be affected. Blooms can stick around for weeks or even months, depending on the sunlight and nutrients available.

In the meantime, officials encourage beachgoers to steer clear of the water or to head inland or indoors if red tide is bothering their lungs.

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Science Keeps Debunking The ’30 Million Word Gap’

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For years, scientists thought children in poverty experienced a huge word gap, hearing 30 million fewer words by age 3. Now, research from MIT is the latest to show the 20-year-old findings are outdated and could even be damaging.

In the 1990s, researchers spent two and a half years visiting the homes of families with young children, starting when the kids were seven months old. The families varied in levels of income and education. The researchers recorded the conversations and later transcribed them to come up with their findings.

Their results popularized the idea of a "word gap" between higher- and lower-income families. This study has since been cited in at least 8,000 academic publications. The research also drew attention to early childhood education. Today, however, critics say the original study is antiquated and could be contributing to discrimination in education.

"It was a different time," said Rachel Romeo, MIT postdoctoral research fellow and lead author of the study. "There were different scientific standards. It is a bit outdated."

In the latest study, Romeo and her MIT team recorded the conversations 4- to 6-year-olds were having each day. They also analyzed MRIs of their brain pathways. They found talking with kids 6 and younger helps their brain development, regardless of their socioeconomic background. 

"This relationship between conversational turns and brain structure was independent of socioeconomic status. So even children from the lowest income groups who experienced lots of conversations had really strong brain connections. And these brain connections are what predicted their language skills," Romeo said.

And this study pulled from a much deeper sample than the 1990s research did. Back then, researchers only spent an hour per week in each home and only studied 42 families. MIT also used measures to prevent observer bias, another critique of the word gap study. With observer bias, the presence of a researcher can intimidate or compel parents to talk more or less.  

SEE MORE: What Does The Word Gap Mean For Kindergarten Students?

"There's been a lot more research over the last couple of decades with much more advanced technology that can look at much longer periods of time in children's lives. We particularly used a particular recorder called Lena that records entire days of children's experience," Romeo said.

Moving forward, Romeo suggests changing the way people talk about learning could be better for kids. And that researchers should consider the word counts kids learn as a difference rather than a gap.

As far as her work, the main takeaway is clear: Any adult having back-and-forth conversations could help a child's brain grow. 

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Trump Administration Sanctions Target China, Singapore And Russia

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The Trump administration is placing sanctions on entities it says have violated trade restrictions with North Korea.

The Treasury Department announced designations against one individual and three entities from China, Singapore and Russia on Wednesday.

The department said some of the companies worked together to falsify shipping documents so they could send "alcohol, tobacco, and cigarette-related products" to North Korea.

These designations are part of a larger push to maintain pressure on the Kim regime to denuclearize.

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Deported Parents Could Finally Reunite With 386 Left-Behind Kids

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Nearly 2000 migrant kids have been reunited with their parents since the start of the zero-tolerance policy in May. But the family separation crisis is far from over. More than 500 migrant children remain separated. For 386 of them, it's because their parents have been deported overseas without them. 

"We've had some of them tell us they were told to get on a plane and that their child was going to be on another plane and were going to meet them at the airport when they arrived in Honduras. And then obviously, that was not the case," said Efren Olivares, a program director at the Texas Civil Rights Project

The non-profit is representing a dozen deported parents whose kids are left behind in the U.S. That includes Guatemalan mother Eva Ordoñez Lopez. 

She crossed illegally into the U.S. in June with her 17-year-old to escape local gang threats. She was deported back to Guatemala a week later because she thought her son would be released to relatives in the U.S. But that didn't happen. Her son remains in U.S custody and she hasn't been told yet where and when she can be reunited with him.

"We are suffering a lot because of this separation because just like he needs me, I need him too. ... The only thing I ask of the government is that they let me be together with my son. It doesn't matter how — as long as I can be reunited with my son," Ordoñez Lopez told Newsy.

SEE MORE: Trump Admin Submits Plan To Reunite Children With Deported Parents

Last week, the White House submitted a plan to locate all deported parents, which a federal judge called "very impressive." Once located and background-checked, the parents will be asked by the government to choose between having their child sent to them in their home country, or allowing them to stay in the U.S. with a relative or a sponsor. 

But Olivares says his clients should be given a third option: reuniting with their kids in the U.S. in order to properly seek asylum as a family. 

"Because of the torture that the adult and the children were subjected to in the separation, I think the government has, at the very least, a moral obligation to bring those parents back," he said.

The administration says that it has established contact with the deported parents of all but 26 of the 386 kids whose parents are abroad. Additionally, about 200 children have not been reunited, the White House says, either because the parents chose against reunification, because of "red flags" in the parents' background check or because of "separate litigation."  

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