10 things you need to know today: July 4, 2017
North Korea conducts its first successful intercontinental missile launch, Trump and Putin prepare for their first meeting, and more
North Korea says it launched its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile
North Korea said Tuesday that it had conducted its first successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, defying international condemnation days ahead of a Group of 20 nations meeting where leaders are expected to discuss ways to curb the isolated communist nation's weapons program. North Korean state media said the rocket flew for 39 minutes, traveling 580 miles and reaching an altitude of 2,802 kilometers, or 1,741 miles. North Korea said the missile could reach "anywhere in the world." Experts said its trajectory could carry a warhead as far as Alaska, although they disagreed on whether it could accomplish North Korea's goal of developing a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. That would require a missile with a range of 4,800 miles, as well as the ability to miniaturize a warhead to fit on it and to prevent the missile from being destroyed on reentry into the atmosphere.
Kremlin and White House gear up for first face-to-face meeting
The Kremlin said Tuesday that the long-anticipated first meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump would take place on Friday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The White House says "no specific agenda" has been set for the meeting between the two leaders. Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, did not reveal details as he announced the timing of the meeting, although he previously said Putin and Trump would probably discuss the fight against terrorism and the war in Syria. It is not clear whether Trump plans to raise the issue of Russia's meddling in last year's election, although if he doesn't he could face a backlash from critics for missing a chance to address a critical national security threat.
Christie announces budget deal in New Jersey
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) late Monday announced a budget deal with Democrats that would end a three-day shutdown of non-essential state government services. "I'm saddened that it's three days late, but I'll sign the budget tonight," Christie said. The deal hinged on giving the state greater influence over the operation of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, a nonprofit that is the state's largest insurer. The agreement came after Christie faced a backlash over photographs showing him lounging with his family on a beach at a state park he had ordered closed under the shutdown. Christie dismissed the issue as "B.S., gotcha journalism," saying he made no apology for making a brief visit to his family at their summer house between budget meetings back in Trenton. The state was expected to reopen most state parks and beaches for the Fourth of July holiday.
Court blocks EPA attempt to scrap rule against methane emissions
A federal appeals court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency can't suspend rules imposed by the Obama administration to restrict methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. The decision marked a setback for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's effort to unravel Obama-era regulations. The Trump administration has suffered similar legal reversals as it tries to break with policies and regulations it inherited from President Trump's predecessor, former President Barack Obama. More Trump administratin decisions, such as a rule lifting grizzly bears from federal protection, also could face court scrutiny.
Most states reject Trump voter-fraud commission request for voter data
Forty-one states have defied, at least partially, a request by President Trump's commission on voter fraud to turn over private voter information, according to a CNN survey of all 50 states. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, sent a letter to all 50 states asking for all public voting information, including names and voting history. Only three states — Colorado, Missouri, and Tennessee — have praised the investigation into alleged voter fraud, which President Trump has claimed was rampant in last year's election. "We are very glad they are asking for information before making decisions," said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican. Other states accused the commission of trying to interfere with their right to handle their own elections. Connecticut Sec. of State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, questioned Kobach's motives, accusing him of having a "lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas."
Trumps to host military families at July 4 White House picnic
Washington, D.C., is bracing for a wave of 700,000 visitors expected to show up for July 4 events in the nation's capital on Tuesday. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump are scheduled to attend an Independence Day picnic for military families on the White House's South Lawn. Later they will take in an 18-minute fireworks display. Across the nation, Americans will gather to indulge their increasing passion for fireworks. In 2000, a third of all fireworks was seen in professional displays, but by 2016 that proportion had dropped to 10 percent. The increase in home use has coincided with a rise in injuries from fireworks, from 2.3 people per 100,000 in 2008 to 3.4 per 100,000 in 2016.
Trump and Pope Francis offer support for family of dying British baby
President Trump and Pope Francis independently offered to help the parents of a terminally ill British infant, 11-month-old Charlie Gard. The baby has a rare genetic disease. He is blind and deaf, unable to control his arms and legs, or breathe and eat on his own. Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a hospital could turn off life support, but the child's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, want the hospital to release Charlie into their custody so they can try experimental treatment in the U.S., or at least bring him home to die. Pope Francis called for letting the parents "accompany and treat their child until the end." Trump tweeted that if he could do anything to help he would be "would be delighted to do so."
Fox Sports fires a top executive amid sexual harassment investigation
Fox Sports abruptly fired its president of national networks, Jamie Horowitz, on Monday, as the company investigated sexual harassment allegations. "Everyone at Fox Sports, no matter what role we play, or what business, function or show we contribute to — should act with respect and adhere to professional conduct at all times," Fox Sports President Eric Shanks said in an email to employees. "These values are non-negotiable." Horowitz's lawyer, Patricia Glaser, said his superiors had never brought up any allegations of misconduct, calling his treatment by Fox "appalling." The case came after sexual harassment claims and lawsuits brought down former chief Roger Ailes and star show host Bill O'Reilly at another 21st Century Fox unit, Fox News.
Taxi driver hits crowd near Boston airport, injuring 10
A taxicab drove into a group of people near Boston's Logan International Airport on Monday, injuring 10 people, some of them seriously. Investigators said it appeared that the driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes approaching a break area frequented by drivers in the airport's taxicab pool, in "a case of operator error." "Certainly not an act of terrorism by any stretch," said an official familiar with the investigation. The driver reportedly stayed on the scene after the crash. Police said no charges would be filed.
Wimbledon starts with wins for top seeds
Wimbledon kicked off on Monday with wins from many of the top seeds. World number one and defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray beat Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. Murray is looking to claim his fourth Grand Slam title. Rafael Nadal also had a comfortable win over John Millman in his quest for a third Wimbledon title. Venus Williams had a first-round, 7-6 (7), 6-4 victory against Belgium's Elise Mertens. At a press conference following the match, Williams became visibly emotional after being peppered with questions about a recent car accident she was involved in that resulted in one death. Authorities say Williams was at fault. "There are really no words to describe … how devastating … I'm completely speechless," Williams said. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who have a combined 10 Wimbledon titles between them, play their first rounds on Tuesday, after top-ranked Angelique Kerber, last year's runner-up, plays her first round match against Irina Falconi of the U.S.