Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 27, 2016

Italy buries 35 earthquake victims as death toll hits 290, Trump fires back on Clinton's accusations of racism, and more


Italy buries 35 earthquake victims as death toll hits 290

A state funeral was held Saturday for 35 of the victims of this week's devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy. So far, 290 bodies have been found in Amatrice and nearby towns as rescuers continue to sift through rubble — though after three days there is little hope of locating additional survivors. "Don't be afraid to bewail your suffering, we have seen so much suffering. But I ask you not to lose your courage," said Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole at the funeral mass. "Only together can we rebuild our houses and churches. Above all, together we can give life back to our communities."


Trump fires back on Clinton's accusations of racism

Donald Trump hit back at Hillary Clinton's accusations of racism Friday by releasing a video rehashing the Democratic nominee's questionable remarks during the 2008 presidential primary, when she faced then-Sen. Barack Obama. The video shows Clinton crediting President Lyndon B. Johnson with bringing Martin Luther King's civil-rights dream to fruition by passing the Civil Rights Act, rather than crediting King himself for launching the movement. Trump followed the video up with a tweet calling the Clintons the "real predators," revisiting Clinton's use of the term "superpredators" when discussing her husband's 1994 crime bill. Trump's response is the latest move in an escalating battle between the candidates as they volley accusations of bigotry back and forth; on Thursday, Clinton attacked Trump for his ties to the "radical fringe" of the right.


Maine governor says the 'enemy' is usually 'people of color or people of Hispanic origin'

Speaking at a press conference Friday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said the "enemy" his state faces is typically racial minorities. "Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is," he said, responding to a question about whether Maine police engage in racial profiling in drug arrests. "When you go to war ... You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that." Earlier on Friday, LePage found himself in hot water when he followed up an expletive-filled voicemail to a state lawmaker by saying he'd like to shoot the representative in the head.


Federal judge limits enforcement of transgender bathroom law at UNC

A federal judge on Friday placed a temporary injunction on enforcement of North Carolina's controversial bathroom law, H.B. 2, which requires people to use restrooms matching the sex listed on their birth certificate. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder's ruling only applies to three transgender people at the University of North Carolina, one employee and two UNC students, who will now be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice on campus. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory stood by the law on Friday, saying it is a "very, very complex issue," and asking for respectful disagreement. H.B. 2 will face constitutional challenge in court this fall.


United States and Russia fail to reach Syria ceasefire deal

The United States and Russia are close to reaching agreement on national ceasefire in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, but have yet to sign a deal. Following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said there are still "a few narrow issues to be resolved" before a lasting accord can be reached. "We don't want to have a deal for the sake of the deal," he explained. "We want to have something done that is effective and that works for the people of Syria."


French court rules against burkini ban

On Friday, France's Council of State ruled against the controversial burkini ban, which outlawed a full-coverage swimsuit worn mostly by Muslim women. While the court's decision only suspends the ban in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet, it has the potential to reverse the estimated 30 bans already installed in other cities and once again allow women to wear the body-covering swimsuits on the beaches. French mayors banned the swimsuit because of "growing terror concerns," CNN reported, but the court sided with the ban's detractors, ruling that it "seriously and clearly illegally breached fundamental freedoms." The ruling is temporary, however, and a more definitive decision on the ban is still to come.


Donald Trump's doctor took 5 minutes to declare Trump the healthiest candidate ever

Donald Trump's personal physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, wrote a letter in December declaring Trump the "healthiest individual ever" to have a shot at the presidency, with "astonishingly excellent" test results. Speaking publicly about the letter for the first time on Friday evening, Bornstein revealed he wrote it in "five minutes" while his limo driver waited outside. As for the remarkably Trumpian style of the note, Bornstein insisted he wrote it himself, but admitted he "might have picked up [Trump's] kind of language and then interpreted it as my own." Bornstein also justified his claim about Trump's unparalleled health by saying all past presidents "are either sick or dead."


U.S. economy grew slower last quarter than initially estimated

Initial estimates of the economy's growth last quarter turned out to be overconfident, new data released Friday shows. The latest gross domestic product figures released by the Commerce Department found the value of goods and services produced last quarter increased at a 1.1 percent rate, down from the 1.2 percent rate initially reported. The report did, however, reveal a higher rate of household consumption and an increase in worker wages, and economists remain optimistic the third quarter will show greater growth.


Obama is creating the world's largest marine sanctuary off Hawaii's coast

In 2006, President George W. Bush created a national marine sanctuary off the coast of Hawaii, and now, President Obama is more than quadrupling its size — from 139,800 square miles to 582,578 — making the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument more than 50 times larger than the Hawaiian Islands themselves. The expanded designation will put the biologically rich waters under protection of the Endangered Species Act, prohibiting commercial fishing and drilling, but allowing recreational fishing and traditional Hawaiian activity with a permit. Only Congress can create a national park, but presidents can unilaterally declare national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act, and Obama has designated more than 548 million acres of federal lands and water, more than double the amount protected by any of his predecessors.


Britney Spears releases ninth studio record

Pop legend Britney Spears released her ninth studio album Friday, the songstress' first album in three years. Titled Glory, the record is Spears' first offering since 2013's much-panned Britney Jean, and Entertainment Weekly describes it as "her most adventurous album in a decade." The album's lyrics are sex-heavy and rebellious, perhaps unsurprising given Spears' most recent project is a multi-year residency in Las Vegas. Glory has been met with mostly positive reviews, if not glowing: As theLos Angeles Times puts it, "For the first time in a decade in a half, feeling Spears' energy doesn't register as an act of vampirism."


The Kennedy solution to the Ukraine crisis
President Biden.
Picture of Joel MathisJoel Mathis

The Kennedy solution to the Ukraine crisis

U.K. official Allegra Stratton resigns
U.K. government spokesperson Allegra Stratton.
'profound apologies'

U.K. official Allegra Stratton resigns

U.K. joins U.S. in Olympics diplomatic boycott
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Winter Olympics 2022

U.K. joins U.S. in Olympics diplomatic boycott

Britain's government is teetering over an alleged 2020 Christmas party
Boris Johnson
'it was cheese and wine'

Britain's government is teetering over an alleged 2020 Christmas party

Most Popular

Kathy Griffin slams CNN for firing her but not Jeffrey Toobin
Kathy Griffin
'I loved that gig'

Kathy Griffin slams CNN for firing her but not Jeffrey Toobin

Mace vs. Greene is the fight for the future of the GOP
Mace and Greene.
Picture of W. James Antle IIIW. James Antle III

Mace vs. Greene is the fight for the future of the GOP

Ex-D.C. Guard official pens accusatory Jan. 6 memo
Jan. 6 riot.
after Jan. 6

Ex-D.C. Guard official pens accusatory Jan. 6 memo