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Dispatches Human Race

Human Race

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq (Khalid Mohammed/AP)


Iraqi Shiite militia supporters lit fires, threw rocks, and chanted, “Death to America,” at the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Dec. 31. President Trump sent Marines and other security forces to the embassy, and the rioters retreated from the compound and set up tents around the compound. On Jan. 1 they reportedly began to leave. The rioters were angry over American airstrikes that had killed 24 members of the Iranian-backed militant group Kataib Hezbollah over the previous weekend. The United States holds the group responsible for a missile attack on an Iraqi military base on Dec. 27 that killed an American contractor and wounded other U.S. and Iraqi military personnel.


Kevin Wolf/AP

Jay Raymond (left) and Donald Trump (Kevin Wolf/AP)


President Donald Trump has signed into law the creation of a new branch of the U.S. military, redesignating the U.S. Air Force Space Command as the United States Space Force. The move makes the Space Force the first new military service since the U.S. Army Air Forces became the U.S. Air Force in 1947. The Space Force’s first commander is Gen. Jay Raymond, who will be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Most of the details of the Space Force’s goals, uniforms, and logos are still in the works, according to Raymond, and plans are to keep the force small. The Pentagon will transfer personnel from the Air Force on a voluntary basis, and their numbers are expected to stay around 15,000. Support personnel, such as engineers, will remain part of the Air Force.



Gun owners across numerous states are joining together to declare “Second Amendment sanctuaries” in their counties, cities, and towns. The movement began last year in Illinois as a response to increased restrictions on gun ownership and has spread to California, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, and Virginia. The sanctuary movement gained further momentum in Virginia after incoming state Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw suggested making the purchase, possession, and manufacture of assault weapons a felony, a move that angered many gun owners and spurred several counties to pass “sanctuary resolutions.” Most of these resolutions state that local sheriffs and prosecutors will refuse to arrest residents who break unconstitutional laws, such as the amendment proposed by Saslaw.



Japan’s population is in steep decline, with the number of recorded births in 2019 the lowest since records began in 1899. The country had 512,000 fewer people in 2019 than in 2018, according to an estimate released by the country’s welfare ministry. Births were expected to be below the 900,000 mark as the number of deaths increased to an expected 1.4 million. For years, Japan has had a smaller, consistently declining workforce to support its growing number of retired people: Almost 28 percent of the population is over 65. Since the first recorded population decline in 2007, the country has been trying to encourage young people to marry and have more children, but efforts so far have been insufficient.



ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been reopening deportation cases across the United States that were closed under DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Immigrants brought illegally into the country as minors had been protected from deportation under the program. As long as DACA beneficiaries stayed out of trouble with the law, their cases were administratively closed, meaning their trials were put on hold indefinitely. However, ICE confirmed to CNN in an email that it will reexamine cases against DACA recipients “nationwide.” The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide in June whether the Trump administration can end the program entirely. The recent ICE actions come even as the president has said that ending the program does not mean he will deport DACA beneficiaries.