Daily Edition Top 10 (Week of April 29, 2019)
Heather Chin / May 3, 2019
Attorney General William Barr’s scheduled two days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Mueller report turned contentious on the one day that Barr opted to appear. This was in part because of the release of a letter written by special counsel Robert Mueller to Barr, expressing concern that Barr had oversimplified Mueller’s findings. Congressional Democrats claimed Barr improperly defended President Trump, while Barr maintained that he, not Mueller, is in charge and that Trump is innocent.
In other politics news, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, the Trump family sued various banks in an attempt to block their compliance with Congressional subpoenas to provide copies of their financial records, and Trump proposed new restrictions on the asylum process, ranging from application fees to withholding work visas.
Deadly mass shootings also claimed lives yet again this week, with one woman killed and three others injured by a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs inside a Poway, California synagogue, and two college students murdered—one of them while tackling the gunman—in class at the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus.
In tech and business news, Facebook unveiled a range of new app updates and features that address privacy, augmented reality, online dating and social streaming, and Spotify reached 100 million paid subscribers.
On the international front, the economic crisis and power struggle in Venezuela escalated further with opposition leader Juan Guaidó attempting a military coup to oust President Nicolás Maduro and, when that faltered, calling for a public employee strike. Meanwhile, Japan experienced a much smoother transition of power as its beloved Emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne in favor of his son, newly crowned Emperor Naruhito.
And in the United Kingdom, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail back in 2012 by going into self-imposed asylum inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. This buys time for the U.S. to continue its extradition application for Assange on charges of conspiracy to hack government computers, and for Sweden to weigh whether to reopen a sexual assault case against the Australian.
Meanwhile, Broadway announced the 2019 Tony Award nominees and Double Olympian Caster Semenya lost her legal attempt to reverse rules that limit the amount of naturally-occurring testosterone allowed in female athletes.
Read more about these stories and the other biggest news of the week, as they appeared in The Daily Edition.
1. Key takeaways from Barr’s testimony and Mueller’s letter – Associated Press, Chad Day
Top line: “It was Attorney General William Barr’s testimony, but Robert Mueller’s words stole the show. In his appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee , Barr was on the defensive after a letter from Mueller surfaced criticizing how the attorney general handled the public release of the special counsel’s core findings. The letter laid bare some of the internal tensions between the attorney general and the special counsel as Barr defended his rollout of the Russia report — and President Donald Trump — while taking some subtle shots at his old friend Mueller. Some key takeaways from Mueller’s letter and Barr’s testimony.”
Topic to follow: William Barr
2. What to Know About the Poway Synagogue Shooting – The New York Times, Jill Cowan
Top line: “On Saturday, another community was stunned by an attack on a house of worship. This time, the place was Poway, a quiet, shaded suburb north of San Diego, where a gunman opened fire at a synagogue during a service on the last day of Passover. A 60-year-old woman was killed. A rabbi was shot in the hand and two other people were left with shrapnel wounds. Mayor Steve Vaus of Poway told me he saw the timing of the shooting, a little more than a week after leaders hosted an interfaith event aimed at building strength across the city’s religious communities, as “a bit of a twisted irony.””
Topic to follow: Poway Shooting
3. Here are all the new features coming to Facebook, Instagram and Messenger apps – CNET, Alfred Ng
Top line: “Facebook is looking to be a jack of all trades with new features coming to its apps. At F8, the social network’s annual conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced several new additions for the company’s apps, including Instagram and Messenger, that position Facebook to take on other apps, like Snapchat, Tinder and Houseparty. The features dive into the worlds of augmented reality filters, online dating, and social streaming, which are all things that popular existing apps already focus on. But Facebook has an advantage they don’t: 2.2 billion active users. Here’s a breakdown of the new features Zuckerberg announced for all of Facebook’s apps.”
4. Venezuela crisis: Dozens injured in clashes in Caracas – BBC News
Top line: “A woman was shot dead and dozens injured in the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Wednesday, in clashes between opposition supporters and pro-government forces. The military fired tear gas and water cannon amid rival demonstrations. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for those responsible for the death of a 27-year-old woman to be found. He also urged public employees to go on strike on Thursday, to try to force President Nicolás Maduro to stand down. In January, Mr Guaidó declared himself Venezuela’s interim leader, and he has been recognised by more than 50 countries including the US, UK and most Latin America nations. As the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, he invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Mr Maduro’s re-election last year was illegitimate. But Mr Maduro – who is backed by Russia, China and the leaders of Venezuela’s military – has refused to cede power.”
Topic to follow: Venezuela
5. New Japanese Emperor Naruhito ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne – The Washington Post, Simon Denyer, Akiko Kashiwagi
Top line: “Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne has a new occupant. The former crown prince Naruhito formally took his place as emperor Wednesday in a short, silent and solemn ceremony in the Imperial Palace’s Pine Chamber, a day after Naruhito’s 85-year-old father abdicated to pass the role to a younger generation. The 59-year-old Naruhito now takes on the challenge of carrying forward the legacy of his father, by seeking to modernize the imperial family within the tight bounds of tradition and maintain its relevance in contemporary Japan, while respecting a strict prohibition on anything deemed political.”
Topic to follow: Naruhito (Emperor of Japan)
6. British Judge Sentences Julian Assange To 50 Weeks In Prison – NPR, Sasha Ingber
Top line: “Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a British judge. The controversial founder of WikiLeaks was arrested in April after being pushed out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been living since 2012, avoiding an international arrest warrant. That same day, he was convicted of jumping bail. Judge Deborah Taylor said Assange’s time in the embassy had cost British taxpayers the equivalent of nearly $21 million, and that he had sought asylum in a “deliberate attempt to delay justice.””
Topic to follow: Julian Assange
7. Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca in ‘Star Wars,’ dies at 74 – CNN, Kendall Trammell, Jamiel Lynch
Top line: “Mayhew, 74, died on April 30 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children. The Hollywood icon played Chewbacca in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels and the New Trilogy, according to a statement from his family. Mayhew, who once used a wheelchair because of a bum knee, stood tall to portray Chewbacca once more in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He also consulted on “The Last Jedi” to help teach his successor.”
Topic to follow: Chewbacca
8. John Singleton, ‘Boyz n the Hood’ and ‘Poetic Justice’ Director, Dead at 51 – Rolling Stone, Jon Blistein
Top line: “John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind films like Boyz n the Hood, Rosewood and Four Brothers, died Monday after suffering a stroke. He was 51. Singleton was hospitalized April 17th and later fell into a coma. Per a statement from his family, he was immediately placed in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Singleton famously became both the first African American and youngest person to be nominated for Best Director at the 1992 Academy Awards after the massive success of his debut film, Boyz n the Hood (he was also nominated for Best Screenplay). The film cast a rare spotlight on parts of Los Angeles that weren’t Hollywood and offered a potent, and equally rare, portrait of an American black family.”
Topic to follow: John Singleton
9. Semenya to run in Doha as storm rages over new IAAF rules – Reuters, Nick Said
Top line: “Double Olympic champion Caster Semenya will run her last 800-metres on Friday before the International Association of Athletics Federations imposes hugely controversial new rules limiting testosterone in female athletes. Semenya, who has spent years trying to get the new IAAF regulations thrown out, will compete at the Diamond League meeting in Doha against 2016 Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba – who recently revealed she had similar difference in sexual development (DSD) characteristics to the South African. Both must then begin taking medication to lower their testosterone levels if they wish to compete over that distance based on the new rules, which the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Wednesday were necessary to ensure fair competition.”
Topic to follow: Caster Semenya
10. Tony Awards: Complete List of Nominations – Hollywood Reporter, Kimberly Nordyke
Top line: “Nominated for best musical are Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Beetlejuice, Hadestown, The Prom and Tootsie, which opened just last week. Up for best play at the 2019 Tony Awards are Choir Boy, The Ferryman, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, Ink and What the Constitution Means to Me. Among the acting nominees with Hollywood credentials are Bryan Cranston (Network), Jeff Daniels (To Kill a Mockingbird), 2019 Oscar nominee Adam Driver (Burn This), Annette Bening (Arthur Miller’s All My Sons) and Laurie Metcalf (Hillary and Clinton). Overall, Hadestown — which follows the mythical quest of Orpheus to overcome Hades — earned the most nominations, with 14, followed by Ain’t Too Proud with 12 and Tootsie, an adaptation of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film, with 11.”
Topic to follow: Tony Awards
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