Daily Edition Top 10 (Week of April 22, 2019)
Heather Chin / April 26, 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced his candidacy for Democratic Party nominee for the 2020 presidential election. This is his third time running for president. He joins 20 other Democrats vying for the nomination.
Sri Lankan churches, hotels and other gathering places were targeted by a group of suicide bombers in a coordinated attack on Easter Sunday that killed more than 250 people and wounded over 500 more, all hailing from over a dozen countries. The government arrested 60 people thus far, including relatives of the bombers, and blamed a local group for the terrorist attack, although the Islamic State claimed its fighters were responsible.
Russian national Maria Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiring to serve as an unregistered foreign agent by infiltrating politically conservative networks in the U.S. and advocate on behalf of Russia’s interests during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Following last week’s release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the ensuing passing of the investigative baton to Congress, President Trump vowed to “fight all the subpoenas” coming from federal and state agencies that seek his financial documents. Towards that end, Trump and his businesses filed lawsuits against his accounting firm and Rep. Elijah Cummings.
As U.S. discussions with North Korea over denuclearization and sanctions reach an impasse, the isolated nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, held an in-person summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on the issue. Putin then spoke on behalf of Kim, saying North Korea requires “international security guarantees” in exchange for ending their nuclear weapons program.
Also, protests from British parliamentary members greeted the announcement that Trump would make a state visit to the United Kingdom from June 3-5, meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and marking the anniversary of D-Day and the end of World War II. Plus, the U.S. declared an end to all waivers on imports of Iranian oil, threatening eight allies’ supplies in an attempt to cripple the Iranian economy.
And in business news, Microsoft became a $1 trillion company, Facebook’s woes continue as they were hit with a $3 billion charge by the Federal Trade Commission and are under investigation by at least four nations over privacy violations, and the Boy Scouts of America’s sex abuse scandal grew.
Read more about these stories and the other biggest news of the week, as they appeared in The Daily Edition.
1. Biden launches 2020 bid warning ‘soul’ of America at stake – Associated Press, Steve Peoples, Thomas Beaumont
Top line: “Declaring the “soul of this nation” at stake, former Vice President Joe Biden pushed into the crowded 2020 presidential contest and quickly sparked a fierce debate over the direction of the modern-day Democratic Party. Ignoring the political noise in his own party, Biden aimed directly at Donald Trump in an announcement video seizing on the Republican president’s response to the deadly clash between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, two years ago. That was the spur for him to launch a third presidential bid , Biden said, noting Trump’s comments that there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent encounter, which left one woman dead.”
Topic to follow: Joe Biden
2. Sri Lanka Attacks: What We Know and Don’t Know – The New York Times
Top line: “The investigation into the bombings on Sunday in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people entered a fourth day on Wednesday. Information continues to emerge, while some basic questions remain unanswered. There is a danger of more bombings, officials have warned, as the police continue to find explosives. The government has blamed the group National Thowheeth Jama’ath for the attacks and said it received foreign assistance. On Tuesday, the Islamic State claimed its “fighters” were responsible. Sixty people have been arrested in connection with the attacks on Easter Sunday, Ruwan Wijewardene, the country’s state minister of defense, said on Wednesday. More than 250 people were killed, including at least 45 children, and about 500 were wounded. The victims came from more than a dozen countries, and included people worshiping at Easter services.”
Topic to follow: Sri Lanka Attacks
3. Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina sentenced to 18 months in prison on conspiracy charge – CNN, Sara Murray, David Shortell
Top line: “A federal judge sentenced Russia national Maria Butina to 18 months in prison on Friday, after she pleaded guilty to trying to infiltrate conservative political circles and promote Russian interests before and after the 2016 presidential election. She is the first Russian citizen convicted of crimes relating to the 2016 election, though her efforts to infiltrate Republican circles appeared to be separate from the Kremlin’s sweeping election-meddling campaign detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. The 30-year-old gun rights enthusiast has been incarcerated since her arrest in July and will receive credit for the nine months previously served. She will be deported to Russia after serving her sentence.”
Topic to follow: Maria Butina
4. Trump sues in bid to block congressional subpoena of financial records – The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Rachael Bade, John Wagner
Top line: “President Trump sued his own accounting firm and the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee at the same time Monday — trying an unusual tactic to stop the firm from giving the committee details about Trump’s past financial dealings. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia, seeks a court order to quash a subpoena issued last week by the committee to Mazars USA. Trump’s lawyers also are asking a federal judge to temporarily block the subpoena until the court has had a chance to review their request. The move amounts to Trump — the leader of the executive branch of government — asking the judicial branch to stop the legislative branch from investigating his past. Former House counsels from both sides of the aisle called the challenge a long shot and an apparent delay tactic.”
Topic to follow: Donald Trump
5. North Korea summit: Putin says Kim ‘needs guarantees’ – BBC News
Top line: “Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme. Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east. Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”. Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”. The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.”
Topic to follow: North Korea
6. MPs campaign to have Donald Trump’s UK state visit cancelled – The Guardian, Matthew Weaver, Rowena Mason, Caroline Davies
Top line: “Theresa May has been criticised for allowing Donald Trump to make a state visit in June for D-day commemorations, with MPs orchestrating a campaign to stop the US president addressing parliament. Labour said it “beggars belief” that the government is offering the red-carpet treatment to Trump given his attacks on British and American values. Backbenchers began gathering signatures for a petition aiming to force the cancellation of the trip. The three-day trip starting on 3 June was confirmed by Buckingham Palace and the White House on Tuesday. The initial invitation was extended soon after Trump took office but a planned state visit in 2018, with all its pomp and ceremony, was downgraded to an official visit amid security concerns. This time, Trump is likely to dine with the Queen, attend discussions with May in Downing Street and join an event in Portsmouth to mark the D-day landings.”
Topic to follow: D-Day
7. U.S. to end all waivers on imports of Iranian oil, crude price jumps – Reuters, Lesley Wroughton, Humeyra Pamuk
Top line: “The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, a move to choke off Tehran’s oil revenues which sent crude prices to six-month highs on fears of a potential supply crunch. The Trump administration on Monday said it will not renew exemptions granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil, a more stringent than expected decision that caught several key importers who have been pleading with Washington to continue buying Iranian oil sanctions-free. The United States reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after U.S. President Donald Trump last spring unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. Eight economies, including China and India, were granted waivers for six months, and several had expected those exemptions to be renewed.”
Topic to follow: Iran
8. Microsoft is now a $1 trillion company – The Verge, Tom Warren
Top line: “Microsoft has become the third US company to pass a market cap of $1 trillion. The software giant passed the milestone briefly today after a jump in stock price today following strong fiscal Q3 earnings. Microsoft joins Apple and Amazon in hitting the $1 trillion valuation ahead of rival Google. Microsoft’s stock has been pushed up thanks to its cloud growth. The software maker has been pushing its cloud products in recent years, and the company is aiming to catch up to Amazon’s AWS dominance. Azure is currently second behind Amazon for cloud services, and ahead of Google’s own offerings.”
Topic to follow: Microsoft
9. Facebook says the FTC privacy inquiry could cost as much as $5 billion – CNBC, Lauren Feiner
Top line: “Facebook took a $3 billion charge due to the Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry into its business, the company disclosed in its first quarter 2019 earnings report. Facebook estimated the final charge could be as much as $5 billion for the company. The FTC launched an investigation into Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, probing whether Facebook violated a 2011 agreement it made with the agency that required it to gain explicit consent to share users data. Facebook is currently thought to be under investigation by several domestic and foreign agencies that could also wager fines against the company for its privacy practices.”
Topic to follow: Facebook
10. Abuse By Boy Scout Leaders More Widespread Than Earlier Thought – NPR, Wade Goodwyn
Top line: “The Boy Scouts of America’s own records show that more than 12,000 children have been sexually assaulted while participating in the organization’s programs. The documents came to light through court testimony given by a researcher whom the Scouts had hired to do an internal review. The records reveal allegations against thousands of Scout leaders — allegations that date from the 1940s. With such a huge number of victims, the organization could be facing multiple lawsuits and, as a result, bankruptcy. The research also revealed significantly more abusers than previously thought.”
Topic to follow: Boy Scouts of America