Trump encourages Turkey to halt Syria invasion — In a span of 24 hours, President Donald Trump moved from threatening to obliterate Turkey’s economy if it invades Syria to inviting its president to visit the White House. But Trump did not back away Tuesday from a plan to withdraw American troops from Syria as he tried to persuade Turkey not to invade the country and attack the U.S.-allied Kurds — a needle-threading strategy that has angered Republican and Democratic lawmakers and confused U.S. allies. Trump tweeted that while U.S. forces “may be” leaving Syria, the U.S. has not abandoned the Kurds, who stand to be destroyed if Turkey follows through with its planned invasion. The Kurds lead a group of Syria fighters who have been steadfast and effective American allies in combating the Islamic State in Syria. Turkey, however, sees the Kurds as terrorists and a border threat. Joseph Votel, a retired Army general who headed Central Command’s military operations in Syria until last spring, wrote on The Atlantic website Tuesday that mutual trust was a key ingredient in the U.S. partnership with the Kurds.
Divided Supreme Court weighs LGBT rights — A seemingly divided Supreme Court struggled Tuesday over whether a landmark civil rights law protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment, with one conservative justice wondering if the court should take heed of “massive social upheaval” that could follow a ruling in their favor. With the court’s four liberal justices likely to side with workers who were fired because of their sexual orientation or transgender status, the question in two highly anticipated cases that filled the courtroom was whether one of the court’s conservatives might join them. Two hours of lively arguments touched on sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms and dress codes, and even a reference to the androgynous character known simply as Pat on Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s. A key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title 7 bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons. In recent years, some courts have read that language to include discrimination against LGBT people as a subset of sex discrimination. Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court appointee, said there are strong arguments favoring the LGBT workers. But Gorsuch suggested that maybe Congress, not the courts, should change the law because of the upheaval that could ensue. “It’s a question of judicial modesty,” Gorsuch said.
Holocaust survivors to sue over Nazi-era insurance — When David Schaecter was a child in Slovakia in the 1930s, he counted more than 100 people in his extended family. By the end of World War II, he alone survived. The rest had been killed in Nazi concentration camps or by roving SS death squads. Schaecter lost not only his family, but all they owned, including life insurance covering his murdered relatives. And as time runs out on aging Holocaust survivors, some are trying to recover insurance policies that were not honored by Nazi-era companies, which could be worth at least $25 billion altogether in today’s dollars, according to the Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA. The survivors want to take insurance companies to court in the U.S. to recover the money, but it would take an act of Congress to allow it. For nearly two decades, the foundation members have tried and failed to gain access to U.S. courts.
11 elephants died trying to save calf — The number of elephants in a Thai national park that died trying to save a baby elephant from drowning has risen to 11, officials said Tuesday. Thai authorities on Saturday initially said six elephants were dead after a roughly 3-year-old elephant drowned at Khao Yai National Park, about 85 miles northeast of Bangkok. Five other elephants were thought to have jumped into Haew Narok Waterfall to try to save the baby. A drone has since located another five dead elephants near Haew Narok, the park’s tallest waterfall. Officials on Saturday also found two live elephants on the waterfall’s cliff, attempting to go down to help the other elephants. A veterinarian is caring for them. The heightened death toll makes this the incident with the most elephant casualties at Khao Yai, where eight elephants fell to their deaths at the same waterfall in 1992. Elephants are sympathetic animals that have been known to help each other when they are distressed.
Protests drive Ecuador’s government from the capital — Thousands of indigenous people, some carrying long sticks, converged on Ecuador’s capital Tuesday as anti-government protests and clashes led the president to move his besieged administration out of Quito. Violence has persisted since last week, when President Lenin Moreno’s decision to end subsidies led to a sharp increase in fuel prices. Protesters seized some oil installations and the state oil company, Petroecuador, warned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day, or nearly one-third of total production, if insecurity continues.