Daily briefing

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

North Korea prepares plan to fire missiles toward Guam, FBI raided Paul Manafort's home, and more


North Korea mocks Trump warning, prepares plan to fire missiles toward Guam

North Korea on Thursday dismissed President Trump's warning that the U.S. would unleash "fire and fury" on the communist-run nation if Pyongyang continued to threaten America, saying Trump's statement was a "load of nonsense." North Korea said it was finalizing a plan to fire four missiles over Japan into waters around the tiny Pacific island of Guam, a U.S. territory of 163,000 people with a military base. South Korea's military vowed a "stern and strong" response if North Korea launches the salvo, and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said Pyongyang "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on a previously scheduled visit to Guam that North Korea posed no immediate threat, and that "Americans should sleep well at night."


FBI raided home of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort

FBI agents late last month raided the home of Paul Manafort, one of President Trump's former campaign managers, and seized documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by Trump associates, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The agents, armed with a search warrant, showed up at Manafort's Alexandria, Virginia, house the day after he met with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, and the day of his scheduled appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Among the materials the agents seized were binders prepared for Manafort's testimony before Congress. Manafort's spokesman confirmed the raid occurred and said Manafort "has consistently cooperated with law enforcement."


Atlantic season's first hurricane hits Mexico

Tropical Storm Franklin strengthened into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season on Wednesday, threatening a mountainous region vulnerable to flash floods and mudslides with torrential rains and heavy winds. The Category 1 storm, with top sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, made its first landfall on the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Monday, then entered the Bay of Campeche and hit land again Wednesday night. The storm was expected to "rapidly weaken" as it moved west across Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center in the U.S.


5 transgender service members sue Trump

Five transgender service members on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against President Trump over his announcement that he was banning transgender people from serving in the military. The plaintiffs, identified as "Jane Doe" Nos. 1-5, asked that transgender troops be permitted to consider serving, as they have been able to do since the Obama administration lifted a prior ban on transgender soldiers in 2016. The case was organized by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD. Other activist groups also are considering suing to stop the ban, but they are holding back until Trump issues formal orders for the military to change its rules. A 2014 study estimated that about 8,800 transgender people were serving on active duty.


Trump and McConnell trade criticism over legislative setbacks

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) traded public criticism this week, starting with a statement by McConnell partly blaming Trump's "excessive expectations" for the GOP's failure to deliver promised legislative victories, such as repealing and replacing ObamaCare. Trump responded Wednesday with a tweet, saying, "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?" Wednesday's spat wasn't the first between Trump and one of the congressional leaders he needs to advance his agenda. After Republicans failed to pass their "skinny" ObamaCare repeal plan, Trump urged Republicans to try again and called for McConnell to scrap the filibuster.


50 die after migrants thrown into sea off Yemen

At least 50 migrants died Wednesday when they were thrown from a boat taking them from Ethiopia and Somalia to seek work in Yemen. The boatman they had hired threw the migrants, whose average age was 16, into the water as they approached shore, the United Nations migration agency said. The migrants were fleeing a region where successive droughts have created acute food shortages and disease outbreaks. Their destination underscored their desperation — Yemen is on the brink of famine, and considered one of the world's most dangerous war zones.


U.S. diplomats in Cuba lose hearing after possible sonic weapon attack

Cuba said Wednesday it had launched an "urgent investigation" into U.S. allegations that unspecified "incidents" left several Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Havana with hearing problems and other symptoms over the past six months. U.S. officials believe some sort of sonic weapon outside the range of audible sound had been placed in or near the diplomats' homes, causing them to lose their hearing. The U.S. retaliated by expelling two Cuban diplomats from Washington in May. Washington is looking into the possibility that a third party such as Russia could have deployed the weapons without Cuba's knowledge. Cuba said it "has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families."


Tesla develops autonomous trucks capable of moving in 'platoons'

Tesla is developing a self-driving electric semi-truck that will be capable of driving in "platoons," with several of the vehicles automatically following a lead truck, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing emails exchanged between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. The emails were about potential road tests of the autonomous trucks. In California, state officials met with Tesla "to talk about Tesla's efforts with autonomous trucks," state DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters.


Walmart apologizes for back-to-school display marketing guns

Walmart issued an apology Wednesday for a display marketing guns as back-to-school items, and said it was trying to identify the store behind the sign. A photo spread quickly on social media showing a sign reading "Own the school year like a hero" placed over a glass case containing guns. After a torrent of criticism on Twitter, Walmart said the display was "truly awful" and "horrible." A company spokesperson, Charles Crowson, said Walmart was "not happy" about the controversy, and was "working diligently" to get to the bottom of it.


Fox News' Eric Bolling files defamation lawsuit against reporter

Fox News host Eric Bolling on Wednesday filed a defamation lawsuit against a freelance journalist, Yashar Ali, who wrote in HuffPost last week that Bolling had sent lewd texts to female colleagues. Fox News said Saturday that it had suspended Bolling, co-host of the weekday program The Fox News Specialists, pending an investigation into Ali's report, which cited a dozen anonymous sources, that Bolling had texted an unsolicited photo of male genitalia to three co-workers, two at Fox Business and one at Fox News. Bolling said in his suit that Ali had tried to damage his reputation with the "highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading" allegations. Ali responded by tweeting, "I stand by my reporting and will protect my sources."


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