Military officials in the U.S. and Taiwan have confirmed that China has deployed advanced surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems on Woody Island, one of the Paracel Island chain controlled by China for more than 40 years but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The placement of the anti-aircraft batteries — believed to be China's HQ-9, with a range of 125 miles — was discovered by civilian satellite company ImageSat International as President Obama was wrapping up an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Rancho Mirage, California, where one topic was de-escalating tensions in the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi both defended Beijing's "right to self-protection" through "the limited and necessary self-defense facilities that China has built on islands and reefs we have people stationed on," and scolded "Western media" for focusing on armaments and not the lighthouses China has built to protect commercial ships. China's defense ministry told Reuters that the reports of new missiles was pure "hype" and that defense installations have been in place on "relevant islands and reefs" for years.
Analysts were split on whether the missile deployment was timed to disrupt or embarrass the ASEAN summit. "I think China has planned these deployments for some time," Bonnie Glaser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told The Wall Street Journal. “China has recently built hardened shelters for fighter aircraft on Woody Island. It isn't surprising that they are deploying SAMs to defend them." The analysts at Fox News, which first reported the deployment, disagree. You can watch the report below. Peter Weber
Republican Donald Trump took a six-point national lead over Democrat Hillary Clinton in at least two polls, from CNN and The Los Angeles Times, immediately following his nomination at his party's convention in Cleveland last week. But that polling bump has since evaporated, as a new Reuters survey finds Clinton is now six points ahead after her own convention.
Meanwhile, a Real Clear Politics average of multiple recent polls puts Trump and Clinton in a dead heat — each claiming 44.3 percent national support — as of Friday. It likewise records the disappearance of Trump's brief lead, which marked only the second time he has ever pulled into first place throughout the whole election cycle per that calculation. See the history of their matchup below. Bonnie Kristian
Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said Friday night "an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by our campaign and a number of other entities was accessed as part of the DNC hack," but insisted experts "have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cannot say the same. The DCCC acknowledged evidence of hacking Friday, a breach which follows the recent news that the Democratic National Committee was hacked. After the hackers leaked thousands of internal DNC emails last week — some showing evidence of bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary process — DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her post. Bonnie Kristian
Courts in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas issued rulings Friday against Republican-backed rules for voting procedure.
A federal appeals court struck down North Carolina's photo identification law, holding in a unanimous decision that it was "passed with racially discriminatory intent." The decision also rejected other restrictions like a ban on same-day registration, and the resultant changes could substantially alter electoral outcomes in the swing state this fall.
In Wisconsin, a federal judge left a photo ID requirement intact but much modified while rejecting a host of other voting limitations. And in Kansas, a county judge ruled the state could not ignore the votes of those who failed to provide proof of U.S. citizenship while registering, a decision that will affect up to 50,000 votes in November. Bonnie Kristian
A Florida elementary school teacher who does not speak Spanish is suing the local school board after she was denied a job teaching recent immigrants in both English and Spanish, The Guardian reports. Tracy Rosner claims that she is "otherwise fully qualified for the job," and that not hiring her amounts to "employment discrimination on the basis of race and national origin."
In a story by New York's Gabriel Sherman published Friday, former Fox News employee Laurie Luhn detailed alleged harassment by former network chief Roger Ailes over a span of more than two decades. The explosive account chronicles Luhn's experience of alleged harassment at Ailes' hands beginning in the summer of 1988 and running through 2011, when she signed a settlement with Fox News that included "extensive nondisclosure provisions," Sherman writes.
By Luhn's account, the first instance of outright harassment by Ailes occurred Jan. 16, 1991:
Luhn put on the black garter and stockings she said Ailes had instructed her to buy; he called it her uniform. Ailes sat on a couch. "Go over there. Dance for me," she recalled him saying. [...] When she had finished dancing, Ailes told her to get down on her knees in front of him, she said, and put his hands on her temples. As she recalled, he began speaking to her slowly and authoritatively, as if he were some kind of Svengali: "Tell me you will do what I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it. At any time, at any place when I call. No matter where I call you, no matter where you are. Do you understand? You will follow orders. If I tell you to put on your uniform, what are you gonna do, Laurie? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO, LAURIE?" [...] Ailes asked her to perform oral sex, she said. [New York]
Luhn told Sherman that Ailes demanded phone sex and regular hotel-room meet-ups, though "it was always the on-my-knees, hold-my-temples routine. There was no affair, no sex, no love." Luhn also said several Fox employees deduced she was sexually involved with Ailes, especially as she began moving up in the company. Several Fox employees were implicated in Luhn's account — some by name and some anonymously — and while many declined to comment, several confirmed certain parts of Luhn's telling of events.
As Sherman notes, "so far, most of the women who have spoken publicly about harassment by Ailes ... had said no to Ailes' sexual advances. ... This is the account of a woman who chose to go along with what Roger Ailes wanted." Ailes has denied all allegations against him, and last week resigned from the network. Read Luhn's entire story, synthesized by Sherman, at New York. Kimberly Alters
Audiobooks are the fastest-growing format in the book business today, The Wall Street Journal reports. Sales in the U.S. and Canada jumped 21 percent in 2015 from the previous year, according to the Audio Publishers Association. Revenue from audiobook downloads in the U.S. grew 38 percent last year from 2014, while revenue from e-books actually declined by 11 percent. "People listen to audiobooks while traveling, exercising, gardening, and relaxing at home," the Journal explains. "They switch devices from one activity to the next, listening on smartphones, tablets, computers, and MP3 players." And audiobook readers are spending a lot of time listening. "Many, many millions of people give us on average two hours a day," said Donald Katz, founder of audiobook market leader Audible.
Higher-paid CEOs underperform compared with their lower-paid counterparts, according to a study of 429 public companies by research firm MSCI. The average shareholder returns for firms with the lowest-paid CEOs were 39 percent higher over a 10-year period than those for firms with the highest-paid CEOs. "In fact," the MSCI report states, "even after adjusting for company size and sector, companies with lower total summary CEO pay levels more consistently displayed higher long-term investment returns."