Monday, July 10, 2017

10 things you need to know today

Donald Trump Jr. says Russian lawyer promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, senators return with the GOP's health bill in doubt, and more

1. Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer expecting dirt on Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump Jr., President Trump's eldest son, said in a statement Sunday that a Kremlin-linked lawyer he met with in June 2016 had claimed she could provide information that would damage Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic rival in the presidential campaign. The younger Trump said he agreed to meet with the Russian lawyer because he was promised information that would benefit his father, but that her statements were "vague, ambiguous, and made no sense," and she quickly changed the subject to the politics behind the Russian government's prohibition on Americans adopting Russian children. Trump Jr. did not disclose the motive for the meeting, which also was attended by Trump's then-campaign chair Paul Manafort and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, when The New York Times first reported on it on Saturday. The meeting occurred about two weeks after Trump sealed the Republican nomination. "The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help," the Times said.

Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post
2. Senators return from break with health bill prospects dim

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday after their week-long July 4 recess, with Republicans in the Senate preparing to revive their stalled bill aiming to replace ObamaCare. President Trump urged Republicans via Twitter to continue pushing until they pass a new health bill, but some influential GOP senators said they doubted it would be possible to get 50 of the Senate's 52 Republicans to back even a revised proposal, with moderates objecting to proposed Medicaid cuts and conservatives rejecting maintaining any of the pillars of ObamaCare. "My view is that it's probably going to be dead," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on the CBS program Face the Nation. McCain said Republicans probably would have to strike a compromise with Democrats to pass any health-care bill.

Source: Reuters, The Associated Press
3. Iraqi leader declares victory over ISIS in Mosul

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi entered the city of Mosul on Sunday to congratulate Iraqi forces and declare victory over the Islamic State in the Islamist extremist group's former stronghold. "The world did not imagine that Iraqis could eliminate Daesh," Abadi said, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym. "This is all a result of the sacrifices of the heroic fighters who impressed the world with their courage." The offensive to drive ISIS out of Mosul has taken nine months, and even as Abadi declared the battle over, airstrikes continued against ISIS's last holdouts, who are believed to be confined to an area that is about 200 yards long and 50 yards wide.

Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press
4. Turkish opposition holds massive anti-government rally in Istanbul

More than a million people participated in an opposition rally in Istanbul, ending a 25-day anti-government March for Justice with a call for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to enact reforms. "Nobody should think this march has ended; this march is a beginning," Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party, known as C.H.P., said to cheering crowds. "This is a rebirth for us, for our country, and our children. We will revolt against injustice." Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade. In recent years the polarizing populist leader has been clamping down on his opponents, and in April he won a controversial referendum giving him increased powers.

Source: The New York Times, Time
5. Lawmakers scoff at Trump suggestion of forming cyber security unit with Russia

Lawmakers from both parties responded with derision to President Trump's tweet saying that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, had discussed "working constructively with Russia" by "forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit" with Moscow to prevent election hacking. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted that working "with Putin on a 'Cyber Security Unit' is akin to partnering with Assad on a 'Chemical Weapons Unit,'" while Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said "we might as well mail our ballot boxes to Moscow." "It's not the dumbest idea I've ever heard," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), "but it's pretty close." Graham said Trump's suggestion he was willing to "forgive and forget" Russia's meddling made him more determined than ever to help pass new sanctions against Russia. Trump stepped back from his earlier comment later Sunday, tweeting that just because he "discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen."

Source: Reuters, Twitter
6. EU Brexit negotiators say U.K. proposal is unfair to EU citizens

The European Parliament's Brexit negotiation group said in a letter to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday that Britain's proposals on the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. amounted to "nothing less than relegation to second-class status." The group said the U.K.'s Brexit proposal "does not respect the principles of reciprocity, symmetry, and non-discrimination," offering greater rights to Britons in the EU and giving EU citizens in the U.K. rights at "a level lower than third country nationals in the EU." Citizens' rights across borders are a key starting point for negotiations on the terms of Britain's exit from the EU, so the group's judgment signals a potentially significant obstacle. British Cabinet Office minister Damian Green said the "basic rights" of EU citizens in the U.K. would be "preserved" under Britain's proposal.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC News
7. Cardinal George Pell returns to Australia to face sexual assault charges

Cardinal George Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic and the Vatican treasurer, is back in the country to face sexual assault charges, arriving at Sydney Airport on Monday. Pell, 76, was granted a leave of absence by the Vatican to defend himself against the charges. Police said the allegations are based on "historical" incidents reported by "multiple complainants," and Pell will appear in a Melbourne court on July 26. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying last month, "I'm looking forward to having my day in court. I am innocent of these charges, they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me."

Source: BBC News
8. Wildfire kills animals at California Boy Scout camp nature center

A wildfire destroyed most of a Boy Scout camp in western California on Sunday, burning "a number of structures" and killing all of the animals in the nature center at the camp, the Outdoor School at Rancho Alegre, fire officials said. The Whittier Fire in Los Padres National Forest started Saturday and quickly scorched 7,800 acres, fueled by dangerously dry conditions caused by years of drought, and temperatures reaching 110 degrees. On Sunday afternoon it was just 5 percent contained. "It's a rough fight," said Jim Harris, the national forest's deputy fire chief. About 80 people, mostly children, were rescued after being trapped for hours at the Circle V Ranch Camp in Santa Barbara County before they were evacuated, Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson said. "They rode it out for hours, literally hours," he said. Thousands of people had to flee their homes as wildfires raged across the state.

Source: NBC News, USA Today
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming leads box office in strong debut

Spider-Man: Homecoming led the weekend box office in its debut, raking in $117 million in the U.S. and Canada. The haul exceeded Sony Pictures' estimate of $80 million and independent analysts' forecast of a $100 million opening weekend. The film, the sixth Spider-Man film in the last 15 years, was directed by relative newcomer Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland. "I usually like to play it cool, but on this one I may have done a little dance," Thomas E. Rothman, Sony's movie chairman, said. The strong showing eased industry concerns that moviegoers were getting sick of sequels and remakes, following recent disappointing performances by Transformers: The Last Night, The Mummy, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Source: The New York Times
10. Large fire destroys part of London's Camden Market

An overnight fire destroyed part of London's Camden Lock Market, which is popular with tourists. The fire broke out just before midnight, although investigators could not immediately say what caused it. Seventy firefighters brought the blaze under control over three hours. "Crews worked hard to get the fire under control and to stop it from spreading to neighboring buildings," a London Fire Brigade station manager, David Reid, said in a statement. No injuries were immediately reported. Camden Market has more than 1,000 stalls, shops, and food vendors. In 2008, a fire broke out at a different part of the complex that forced several vendors to cease operations for several months. Last month, a fire at London's Grenfell Tower apartment building killed at least 80 people.

Source: The New York Times, The Associated Press
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