10 things you need to know today: November 25, 2017
Egypt attack death toll tops 300, dueling appointments foment executive branch conflict, and more
Egypt attack death toll tops 300
The death toll in Friday's attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt's Sinai province has risen to 305 people, including 27 children, Egyptian officials reported Saturday. Another 128 people were injured, and the death toll could continue to increase. The attackers were a group of about 25 Islamist militants, one of whom was reportedly carrying an Islamic State flag. While ISIS has not claimed the incident, its Sunni extremist members believe Sufi Muslims are heretical. President Trump condemned the slaughter in a pair of tweets Friday, calling it a "cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers" and recommending military and ideological combat, as well as "the WALL" and "the BAN," as solutions.
Dueling appointments foment executive branch conflict
The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Richard Cordray, resigned Friday and named Leandra English, the agency's chief of staff, as his successor. But the White House had other ideas, and soon announced budget director Mick Mulvaney will serve as acting director of the CFPB until a permanent successor is confirmed by the Senate. It is unclear who is in the right here, as the CFPB is just six years old and has never undergone a directorial transition before. The Dodd-Frank Act, which created the regulatory agency, stipulates that the director is succeeded by the deputy director, the position to which Cordray promoted English on his way out. However, it is possible that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act overrides the Dodd-Frank law in giving the administration appointment authority.
U.S. to stop arming Kurdish militia in Syria
The United States will no longer supply weapons to the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, President Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a call Friday. Ankara first announced the promise, and Washington confirmed it hours later without specifying when the change would happen. The Kurds are U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State, but Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group because of its ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought Turkey for years for Kurdish independence or at least autonomy.
Trump to meet with Senate GOP to talk taxes
President Trump will meet with Senate Republicans Tuesday to discuss tax reform legislation, Senate Republican Policy Committee chair Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) announced Friday. "This is a historic opportunity for our conference and the president to build on our momentum to give Americans the tax relief they've been waiting for," Barrasso said in a statement. Trump similarly visited House Republicans before the lower chamber passed its version of the tax reform plan. He is also scheduled to meet with party leaders from both houses of Congress later Tuesday.
Trump claims to have turned down Time's 'Person of the Year'
"Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named 'Man (Person) of the Year,' like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot," President Trump said in a tweet Friday evening. "I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!" Time rejected Trump's account later Friday, tweeting that Trump is "incorrect" and the magazine "does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6." A fake Time cover featuring Trump is on display at several Trump properties, including Mar-a-Lago.
Black Friday sales stay busy online and off
Some 115 million Americans were expected to participate in the annual bargains bonanza Black Friday, with many visiting brick and mortar businesses even as online shopping continues to eat up market share. Shoppers dropped $640 million online Friday by 10 a.m. Eastern, an 18 percent increase over 2016's numbers for the same time. Investment banking firm Jefferies found only 13 percent of customers said they'd be spending more on Black Friday this year, compared to 17 percent last year, indicating that more people are shopping online throughout the month than on just one day.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos is worth $100 billion after Black Friday
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his net worth top $100 billion after Amazon stock, of which Bezos is the single largest owner, climbed 2.5 percent on Black Friday. The bump earned Bezos $2.4 billion on Friday alone. Microsoft's Bill Gates was the first person to reach $100 billion in 1999. By Bloomberg's count, Bezos is the richest person in the world and the only individual to currently boast a 12-figure fortune, as Gates, in second place, now has a mere $89 billion to his name.
London Tube 'altercation' causes mass panic
A fight in the London Tube's Oxford Circus station caused a mass panic in the area Friday as other passengers assumed the commotion was caused by a terrorist attack. More than a dozen people were injured in the rush to evacuate the station, and nine were hospitalized. Witnesses reported hearing gunshots, but authorities found no evidence of gunfire after the fact. The British Transport Police said in a statement officials believe the chaos started when "an altercation erupted between two men on the platform," and that authorities are searching for those men.
Hunter fatally shoots woman, confusing her for a deer
A woman in western New York was fatally shot while walking her dog at dusk Wednesday. The shooter was a hunter who said he thought he was shooting a deer, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office reported Friday. Rosemary Billquist, 43, was 200 yards from her neighbor, Thomas B. Jadlowski, when he fired a single pistol shot. Upon hearing Billquist cry out, Jadlowski called 911. Emergency crews were unable to save her. It is illegal to hunt after sunset, but Jadlowski has yet to be charged with a crime. He is cooperating with authorities as the investigation continues.
Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton defend Malia Obama
Current and former first daughters Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton on Friday leapt to defend former President Obama's eldest daughter, Malia, a Harvard University freshman. "Malia Obama should be allowed the same privacy as her school aged peers," Trump tweeted. "She is a young adult and private citizen, and should be OFF limits." Clinton added, "Malia Obama’s private life, as a young woman, a college student, a private citizen, should not be your clickbait. Be better." Obama was the subject of national attention this week thanks to viral video and photos of her activities at college.