Thursday morning news: July 11, 2019

British ambassador resigns following leaked criticism of White House » British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch stepped down on Wednesday—amid a scandal sparked by leaked diplomatic cables. The documents published by a British newspaper contained pointed criticisms of President Trump.

Darroch resigned despite having unwavering support from Prime Minister Theresa May. 

MAY: Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice. I want all our public servants to have the confidence to be able to do that. 

She called it “a matter of great regret” that Darroch felt the need to resign. 

Top British Foreign Office official Simon McDonald, said Darroch was victim of “a malicious leak.” He added he’s never seen another incident like this. 

MCDONALD: I have been in the foreign office for nearly 37 years and this is the first time in my service. 

In his resignation letter, Darroch said “The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.”

His leaked remarks referred to some of Trump’s policy decisions as “incoherent.” He also questioned whether the White House would “ever look competent.”

On Tuesday, Trump fired back on Twitter, calling Darroch a “very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.”

Judge stops DOJ from switching lawyers on census lawsuit » A federal judge in New York has handed the Justice Department a legal setback in its fight to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports. 

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled Tuesday that the Department of Justice cannot replace the nine lawyers heading up the effort. The department submitted its request for new counsel on Monday. But Furman said it’s too late in the process to make such a drastic change. He noted the next deadline for the lawyers to submit written arguments was only days away. He added that the DOJ provided “no reasons, let alone satisfactory reasons” for the shakeup.  

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that several lawyers on the DOJ’s litigation team wanted to stop pursuing the citizenship question after the Supreme Court temporarily blocked it late last month. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg. 

Iran complains about UK seizing ship » Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said Wednesday that Britain will face—quote—”repercussions” over the seizure of an Iranian supertanker last week.

Authorities in Gibraltar suspect the ship was breaching European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria.

Rouhani reportedly called the seizure “mean and wrong.” And in a rebuke of the British government, he said “You are an initiator of insecurity and you will understand its repercussions.” 

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, meanwhile, denied the supertanker belonged to Iran. Iranian officials had earlier summoned the British ambassador over what it called the “illegal interception” of the ship.

Potential hurricane takes aim at Gulf Coast » New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has declared an emergency. That after parts of the city got about 8-and-a-half inches of rain in three hours, flooding streets. And more nasty weather is on the way. 

Officials in Louisiana and Texas are bracing for an approaching storm that could hit the Gulf Coast over the weekend as a hurricane. 

EDWARDS: Right now we’re asking everyone in the southern part of Louisiana, especially along the coast, to take this very seriously. 

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. 

And Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned on Wednesday that hurricane force winds aren’t the only concern. 

ABBOTT: What we are looking at in Texas from the highest level of probability is going to be a very meaningful rain event and hence a potential flooding event. 

The latest prediction track from the National Hurricane Center shows a cone of uncertainty ranging from the New Orleans area to right around Victoria, Texas. 

Today the storm is gathering strength over warm Gulf waters to the south of Alabama and Mississippi. It could make landfall as early as tomorrow. Right now it’s expected to hit the coast as a Category 1 hurricane. 

California OKs benefits to immigrants in the country illegally » The governor of California signed a bill this week making his state the first to provide taxpayer funded healthcare to adults in the country illegally. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has that story. 

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: The new law will make low-income adults age 25 and younger eligible for the state’s Medicaid program regardless of their immigration status. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law on Tuesday. 

State officials expect the plan to cover about 90,000 people and cost taxpayers nearly $100 million. California already covers children regardless of immigration status.

The law will not give health insurance benefits to everyone 25 and younger—only those whose income is low enough to qualify.

Newsom and Democratic lawmakers in California say they plan to further expand coverage to more adults in the years to come.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

(AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith, File) This March 23, 2018, file photo shows an envelope containing a 2018 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident as part of the nation’s only test run of the 2020 Census. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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