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The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 31

U.K. PM Theresa May is being pilloried for her weak objection to President Donald Trump’s refugee and immigrant ban.

As I mentioned yesterday, May took her time in responding to the executive order Trump signed on Friday, at first saying the U.S. alone is responsible for its refugee policy and later stating her disagreement with the ban.

May’s flimsy answer to Trump’s ban simmered on the surface over the weekend, but Brits sprang into action over it yesterday. Thousands of protestors gathered outside 10 Downing Street in London chanting, “Shame on May.” The demonstrations reportedly brought Whitehall and Westminster—centers of U.K. government—to a standstill.

Meanwhile, a petition urging the government to withdraw the invitation it had extended to Trump for a state visit accumulated more than 1.5 million signatures. It said that an official state visit from Trump, which includes dinner with the queen, would “embarrass” Her Majesty. The petition received 15 times the signatures needed to trigger a Parliamentary debate so lawmakers called an emergency forum on Monday afternoon.

At the debate, MPs unanimously passed an emergency motion to call for the repeal of Trump’s ban that the body deemed discriminatory, divisive, and counterproductive. Discussion among the lawmakers centered on the harmful effects of Trump’s new policy, but May was not spared from critique. At one point, Labour MP Ed Miliband quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said on Monday that “the necessary and decisive fight against terrorism does not justify a general suspicion against people of a certain belief.”

Another MP stood to share his “disappointment” that “the statesmanship that’s been shown by Chancellor Merkel wasn’t shown in our name by our prime minister this weekend.”

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

A caustic critiqueThe meeting of the African Union yesterday got off to a fiery start with comments by President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who blasted Trump’s travel ban. “The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” she said. Dlamini-Zuma is considered a contender in South Africa’s 2019 presidential race meaning she could face off against Trump on the world stage. Fortune

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Ultimate naïveté
Brunhilde Pomsel, the secretary to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, died last week in Munich at age 106. Pomsel lived most of her life in obscurity, but entered the spotlight in a documentary released in Switzerland last year. In the film, which portrayed her as an ordinary citizen swept into the Nazi apparatus, she said she harbored “a bit of a guilty conscience” but claimed she knew nothing about the Holocaust until after the war’s end.
Guardian
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A whistleblower warms up
Yuliya Stepanova set off a global scandal before the 2016 Rio Olympics by helping expose Russia’s state-sponsored doping. The middle-distance runner’s role in the probe saw her barred from competing in the Games. On Saturday, she raced in her first international contest since then as a neutral individual unaffiliated with any country. “Some athletes like what I did,” she said. “Some hate me.”
New York Times

 

THE AMERICAS

Not convinced
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, took a stand yesterday in ordering the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s immigration ban in court. Yates said she was responsible for ensuring that the department’s stances in court are consistent with “always seek[ing] justice and stand[ing] up for what is right,” and she wasn’t convinced the ban is lawful or consistent with that duty. Her decision was largely symbolic since Trump’s AG nominee Jeff Sessions is likely to be confirmed soon. Trump fired her for the move last night.Fortune
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Forecasting a change
In a Facebook live discussion, meteorologists from American broadcast networks urged the public to retire the term “weather girl.” “Women on television can also be scientists. It’s that simple,” Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist for ABC News, said during the episode.
Fortune
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Alternative roast
Comedian and TV host Samantha Bee is planning a roast of Trump on the same night as the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, which typically features the president cracking jokes with the White House press corps and administrative officials in attendance. Bee says the gala, called “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” is not meant to compete with the annual dinner.
Motto

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

Getting to work
It used to be that only certain Japanese households like those of foreign diplomats were allowed to employ foreign housekeepers, but PM Shinzo Abe’s administration deregulated the market in 2015 with the hope that additional domestic help would prompt more Japanese women to work. The foreign housekeepers Japan only recently welcomed will start work as early as March. The domestic helpers, mainly from the Philippines, will arrive in Japan next month for training. 
Japan Today

IN BRIEF

25 famous women on getting older
New York Magazine

Chloe Designer Clare Waight Keller is stepping down
Fortune

Women still woefully underrepresented in Oscar nominations, study finds
Entertainment Weekly

ESPN’s Sage Steele criticized for saying airport protesters disrupted her travel plans
Fortune

Photographer Asiyami Gold’s guide to Nigeria
New York Magazine

PARTING WORDS

“I’m an American patriot and I love this country, and because I love this country I am horrified by its blemishes.”
--Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the SAG Awards Sunday night.