Michelangelo's famous statue of the biblical David brings spectators from around the globe to the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy. Recent reports, though, would have you believe that tourists don't have much longer before the statue collapses.
Last week, a BBC report declared that David is about to collapse due to its ankle fractures and "poor-quality marble." Italian newspaper La Gazzetta del Sud suggested the statue be moved to an earthquake-free room to minimize its chances of crumbling.
Today, however, Florence's museums authority, Polo Fiorentino Museale, decided to clear the air with an official statement that David is not in danger. Marco Ferri, a spokesperson for the authority, told AFP that there was "nothing dramatic" about last week's findings and that the gallery has no plans to move the statue.
"Even if there is an earthquake of 5.0 or 5.5 on the Richter scale, Florence will stay in one piece. And David would be the last to fall," Ferri said. Meghan DeMaria
House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Saturday to place new punitive sanctions on Russia, overriding President Trump's objections. The deal will also sanction North Korea and Russia's ally Iran, targeting the countries for their "destabilizing actions around the world," said a statement from House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
Trump intended to ease some sanctions on Russia to foster more positive relations between Moscow and Washington, a plan that raised alarm among congressional Democrats and some Republicans. A Kremlin representative said in a statement to CNN Moscow views the deal "quite negatively."
White House lobbying against the Russian sanctions portion of the bill was unsuccessful, and the legislation could arrive on Trump's desk as soon as the end of the month. Neither chamber has voted on the bill yet, but it is expected to pass both houses with veto-proof majorities. Bonnie Kristian
Eight people were found dead, 20 injured, some critically, and another 10 comparatively unharmed in the back compartment of a tractor-trailer outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas, early Sunday morning. Police were alerted after someone who had been inside the truck, which did not have working air conditioning or water supplies, approached a Walmart staff member to ask for water. A Walmart security guard then found the bodies and alerted authorities.
— Jack Acosta (@JackAcostaKENS5) July 23, 2017
"We're looking at human trafficking crime here," said Police Chief William McManus, adding that the migrants will be investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after they receive medical care. Two of those who died were reportedly children.
The truck's origin is currently unknown; its driver is in custody. There may have been more people inside the truck than the 38 currently counted, as some are believed to have fled to nearby woods when law enforcement arrived. Bonnie Kristian
A witness who observed and filmed at least part of the death of an unarmed Australian woman, Justine Damond, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has come forward, Minnesota state investigators told the Star Tribune. Any footage would be particularly valuable in this case because the officers involved, who were at Damond's house because she called 911 to report a suspected crime, were wearing body cameras that were not turned on during the incident.
The witness was reportedly bicycling near the alley where Damond was fatally shot and watched her receiving CPR before she died. How much of the interaction the witness saw or caught on camera is not yet known, but the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said in a statement the witness "has been cooperative and provided an interview today."
Minneapolis officer Matthew Harrity, who was driving the squad car from which the shooting took place, already gave investigators a four-hour interview, but officer Mohamed Noor, who fatally shot Damond in the abdomen while still seated in the car, has yet to be interviewed by the BCA, which cannot legally compel his testimony. Noor's attorney "has not provided any update about when, if ever, an interview would be possible," the BCA statement said.
Actor John Heard, best known for his roles in Home Alone and The Sopranos, died Friday in Palo Alto, California. He was 72.
Heard was staying in a hotel room and recovering from minor back surgery at the time of his death, which has been confirmed by the Santa Clara Medical Examiner’s office.
— I am an 80's kid! (@I_am_1980) July 22, 2017
Heard came to fame in the 1970s and 1980s with roles in movies including Tom Hanks' Big, Martin Scorsese's After Hours, and Bette Midler's Beaches. Today, however, he is best remembered for playing Kevin McAllister's dad in the first two Home Alone films. "At the time, we didn't know the movie was funny," he later said of the role. "We were playing the parents who lost their kid, so we didn't how funny-stupid we could be."
President Trump spoke at a ceremony Saturday commissioning the USS Gerald R. Ford, the newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy fleet. His speech warned that the "sea holds many challenges and threats" and called the ship an "incredible work of art [that] becomes the pride of the U.S. Navy and symbol of American pride and prestige no matter where in the world you go."
Trump also used the occasion to address his plans to increase military spending. "It's been a very, very bad period of time for our military, that is why we reached a deal to secure additional $20 billion for defense this year and it's going up and why I ask Congress for another $54 billion for next year," he said. "Now we need Congress to do its job and pass the budget that provides for higher stable and predictable funding levels for our military needs that our fighting men and women deserve, and you will get, believe me."
As in past discussions of the spending bump, Trump connected more money to more winning. "We will win, win win; we will never lose," he said at the commissioning in Norfolk, Virginia. "When it comes to battle we don't want a fair fight," he added. "We demand victory and we will have total victory, believe me." Bonnie Kristian
A Friday Washington Post story reported President Trump has been exploring the option of exercising his broad constitutional pardon power on behalf of himself or members of his campaign team or family. Trump set tongues wagging Saturday morning with a tweet apparently reserving the right to do exactly that:
While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
"The Constitution doesn't specify whether the president can pardon himself, and no court has ever ruled on the issue, because no president has ever been brazen enough to try it," explains University of Michigan Law School professor Richard Primus at Politico. "Among constitutional lawyers, the dominant (though not unanimous) answer is 'no,' in part because letting any person exempt himself from criminal liability would be a fundamental affront to America's basic rule-of-law values."
Conservative columnist Rod Dreher similarly highlighted rule-of-law issues in a post on the subject for The American Conservative, arguing that what such a pardon "would reveal about how respect for the rule of law and basic republican order in the United States had decayed would be staggering."
Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet also focused on impropriety over illegality. "A self-pardon might well be outrageously improper (unless there was the prospect of charges brought by a rogue prosecutor, whom, for some reason, the president could not control by firing him or her)," he told Vox, "but the response the Constitution creates for such misconduct is impeachment, a political rather than criminal remedy." Bonnie Kristian
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and White House adviser, disclosed 77 previously unreported assets in paperwork released Friday.
Kushner's attorneys said these assets were "inadvertently omitted" in previous disclosures to the Office of Government Ethics, which certified the new disclosures as part of the "ordinary review process." The assets are valued between $10 million and $50 million, depending on where each item falls in the valuation ranges on the federal forms.
Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, also a presidential adviser, reported assets valued around $66 million and $13.5 million in 2016 income in additional disclosures filed Friday. Bonnie Kristian