Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 7, 2017

Pence slams New York Times report on his plans for 2020, North Korea vows revenge over U.N. sanctions, and more


Pence slams Times article on his 2020 plans

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday denounced a New York Times report suggesting that he was positioning himself to run for president in 2020, calling the report "absurd" and "disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team." The Times article said Pence was among several Republicans who appeared to be gearing up for possible runs as President Trump struggles with low poll numbers and intensifying investigations into possible collusion by some of his associates with Russia in its effort to interfere in last year's presidential election. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the only campaign Pence was preparing for in 2020 was for re-election as vice president. Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhodes said the paper was "confident in the accuracy of our reporting."


North Korea vows to seek revenge against U.S. over U.N. sanctions

North Korea on Monday threatened the U.S. with "thousands-fold" revenge for tough new U.S.-drafted sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. President Trump said Sunday night that he spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the sanctions, approved Saturday. Trump tweeted the pair were "very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions." The resolution bans North Korea from exporting coal, seafood, lead, lead ore, iron, and iron ore and prohibits countries from starting new joint ventures with North Korea. The sanctions are expected to cut North Korea's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.


Venezuela troops kill 2 attackers at army base

Venezuelan soldiers killed two anti-government fighters in a small band of people who attacked a Venezuelan army base in an apparent attempt to start an armed uprising against the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday. The embattled Maduro, accused by opponents of ruining the country's economy and trying to assume dictatorial powers, said soldiers captured seven attackers while 10 escaped. Maduro vowed to impose "the maximum penalty" for participants in the "terrorist attack." In a video circulated on social media, a man identifying himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano said the fighters were declaring themselves in open rebellion against Maduro. "This is not a coup d'etat," the man said. "This is a civic and military action to re-establish the constitutional order."


Rosenstein says leak crackdown won't target journalists

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Sunday the Justice Department has no intention to go after reporters as it tries to ferret out leaks. "We don't prosecute journalists for doing their jobs," Rosenstein said on Fox News Sunday. The comments came two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested the administration would take a harder line against journalists. Sessions said he was conducting a review of policies regarding issuing subpoenas related to the news media on leaks and vowing not to "allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer."


Deadly 'Lucifer' heat wave scorches Europe

A heat wave dubbed "Lucifer" has hit many countries in Europe with record temperatures higher than 100 degrees over the past few days, contributing to at least six deaths. The latest victim died in a wildfire in Macedonia. Three people have been killed in Italy — one after her car was swept away by torrential rains, and two others by wildfires. Two other people died from heat in Romania and Poland. Farmers have lost more than $1 billion worth of crops scorched in their fields.


Chicago challenges Trump administration over effort to punish sanctuary cities

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that his city would file a federal lawsuit to fight the Trump administration's vow to withhold public safety grants from so-called sanctuary cities. Emanuel said Chicago would not "be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city." Chicago received $2.3 million in these grants last year, and used much of the money to buy police vehicles. Justice Department spokesman Ian D. Prior responded to Emanuel's comments on the lawsuit, to be filed Monday, by saying that it is "tragic" that Emanuel is "spending time and taxpayer money protecting criminal aliens and putting Chicago's law enforcement at greater risk" instead of focusing on lowering the city's high murder rate.


Former CNN commentator hosts pro-Trump videos

Former CNN commentator Kayleigh McEnany has left the cable news network and started hosting campaign-style videos for President Trump's Facebook page. In her first video, released on Sunday, McEnany called her report "the real news." The clip gave Trump credit for several pieces of positive news. McEnany, a pro-Trump pundit who appeared on CNN through the 2016 presidential campaign, was not fired, but chose to leave CNN, asking to be released from her contract so she could take on the new job.


Tornado injures 30 in Tulsa

A tornado swept through Tulsa early Sunday, sending 30 people to the hospital, including two with life-threatening injuries. Most of the people injured were inside or outside of restaurants that were closing, authorities said. The National Weather Service's Mike Teague said the tornado had wind speeds of 111 to 135 mph, and not long after, two tornadoes with winds of 65 to 85 mph were seen on radar east and northeast of Tulsa. Power poles were damaged, signs were ripped off, and a TGI Fridays suffered major damage from the tornado. For a brief time, more than 17,000 customers were without power.


Google engineer's anti-diversity manifesto sparks backlash

Google executives and workers over the weekend condemned an engineer's widely distributed memo criticizing the company's efforts to improve workforce diversity and "left leaning" bias. The engineer argues in the 10-page treatise, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," that women are underrepresented in the industry due to biological factors rather than bias. "We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism," the document reads. Google's new vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance, Danielle Brown, said in a memo that the comments "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender." Google engineering vice president Aristotle Balogh said the manifesto contained "stereotyping and harmful assumptions" that had no place in company culture.


Iran strikes deal with Renault

Iran on Monday signed a deal with French automaker Groupe Renault to produce 150,000 cars starting in 2018. The $778 million deal, Iran's biggest automobile deal ever, came after Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers resulted in the lifting of sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. It also came days after President Trump signed a bill overwhelmingly passed by Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The Renault deal is expected to create 3,000 jobs. Iran produces 1,350,000 vehicles a year, and aims to increase production to 3 million by 2025.


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