Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 30, 2018

ABC cancels Roseanne over Roseanne Barr's racist tweet, researchers estimate Hurricane Maria caused 4,600 deaths, and more


ABC cancels Roseanne after Roseanne Barr's racist 'joke'

ABC on Tuesday canceled Roseanne, the popular reboot of the 1990s sitcom, after the show's biggest star, Roseanne Barr, posted a racist "joke" on Twitter in reference to former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett, who is black. Barr apologized, saying her remark was in "bad taste." She later asked fans not to defend her or boycott ABC, calling her comments "indefensible." "It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting," she said. ABC called her tweet "abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values." Before ABC's announcement, one of the show's actors, Emma Kenney, and consulting producer Wanda Sykes, had decided to quit. Barr's talent agency, ICM Partners, also dropped her.


Hurricane Maria death toll estimate is 70 times higher than official count

Roughly 4,600 people, possibly more, probably died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria last year, largely from delayed or interrupted medical care, Harvard researchers said in an article published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. That's more than 70 times the government's official death toll of 64. The new estimate would make Hurricane Maria deadlier than Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,833 people in 2005. Deaths in Puerto Rico went underreported because hurricane-related casualties must be confirmed by the island's Institute of Forensic Sciences, and indirect deaths often aren't identified on death certificates. The researchers arrived at the estimate by surveying a sample of 3,000 homes and using the 38 deaths reported to compute a mortality rate for the island.


White House confirms tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods

The White House said Tuesday that it would go ahead with imposing a 25 percent tariff on certain Chinese goods next month following weeks of concern that the move could fuel a trade war. Some $50 billion worth of annual imports would be targeted. A final list of goods covered by the tariff is expected by June 15. The Trump administration said it also plans to restrict China's access to American technology due to national security concerns. Trade negotiations between the nations are ongoing, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said less than two weeks ago that the trade war was "on hold" as the discussions progressed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will travel to China to continue talks in early June.


Scandal-plagued Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigns

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) announced his resignation on Tuesday after facing months of pressure over two scandals, one about non-consensual sexual activity and invasion of privacy, and the other about illegal campaign practices. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, admitted to an extramarital but denied his former lover's allegation that he took a nude photo of her without her permission, and threatened to use it to blackmail her. Prosecutors dropped an invasion of privacy charge just before that trial was scheduled to start in May. Separately, Greitens was indicted in St. Louis for allegedly illegally obtaining a donor list from a veterans' charity he founded, and using it for his 2016 campaign. State lawmakers had convened in a special session to start considering evidence that could have led to Greitens' impeachment.


NYT: Trump asked Sessions to reverse Russia recusal

President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation during a dinner in Florida in March 2017, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Sessions refused. He had flown to see Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach because he needed to discuss Trump's travel ban days after his Russia recusal, and the president wasn't taking his calls. Trump reportedly berated Sessions and demanded his loyalty. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating this incident as part of his probe into whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, the Times reported. Mueller's team has interviewed several current and former White House officials about how Sessions was treated by Trump. Sessions was interviewed in January.


High-ranking North Korean official heads to New York as summit prep continues

Top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is expected to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday in New York City as efforts continue to restore plans for Trump's on-again, off-again summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The unprecedented meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. was scheduled for June 12, but Trump canceled it last week, citing hostile statements from Pyongyang, before both sides expressed a desire to salvage it. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said after his second meeting with Kim Jong Un in a month that the North Korean leader still is willing to discuss denuclearizing but worries about how to guarantee his country's security if he does.


Russian journalist who criticized Kremlin killed in his Kiev apartment

Prominent Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, a frequent critic of President Vladimir Putin, was fatally shot in his apartment in Ukraine, Kiev police said Tuesday. Police said they suspected that he had been gunned down over his work. Babchenko was one of Russia's best-known war correspondents, but he fled to Ukraine after receiving threats. Pro-Putin politicians had denounced him for calling out Russia for its support of separatists in Ukraine, and for his comments on Russian bombing in Syria. Two years ago, Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet, a friend of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, was killed by a car bomb in Kiev. "Putin's regime is aimed at those who cannot be broken or intimidated," Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian lawmaker and advisor to the interior minister, wrote on Facebook.


Searchers find body of National Guardsman swept away in Maryland flood

Searchers on Tuesday found the body of National Guardsman Eddison Hermond, who was swept away by a flash flood in Ellicott City, Maryland, on Sunday. He had left a gathering at a Mexican restaurant to try to help Kate Bowman, who had escaped from the pet food store she owns through a window and was in rising waist-deep water, carrying her cat. "He was trying to save me," Bowman, 41, said. "He's a hero." Hermond's body was found in the Patapsco River across the Baltimore County line, the Howard County Police Department said. Hermond's aunt, Deborah Nina Cooper, said the family wanted "to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support."


Starbucks briefly closes 8,000 stores for anti-bias training

Starbucks closed 8,000 U.S. stores on Tuesday afternoon to provide anti-bias training for up to 180,000 employees. The coffee chain said its workers would get information from a "tool kit" focusing on "understanding prejudice and the history of public accommodations in the United States." The company committed to the anti-racism training after coming under heavy criticism and protests over an April incident at a Philadelphia store, where a manager called police on two black men who were waiting for a friend for a business meeting. The men were denied access to the restroom because they hadn't bought anything, and police arrested them for trespassing, although they were not charged. Starbucks and the police apologized.


Hamas says it reached cease-fire with Israel

Hamas said Wednesday it had agreed to a cease-fire with Israel in Gaza to halt the biggest outburst of violence between them since 2014. Israel's military struck dozens of militant targets in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory overnight as militants fired rockets at communities in southern Israel early Wednesday, before a tense calm took hold. Tensions have been high along the border in recent weeks as Palestinians protested an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas took power in 2007. Israeli fire, mostly during the Hamas-led protests, killed more than 110 Palestinians. "If it will be quiet, we will respond with quiet," Israeli Cabinet minister Arieh Deri said.


Ukraine hints it destroyed Russian missile shipment in Crimea
China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin

Ukraine hints it destroyed Russian missile shipment in Crimea

Global happiness has been 'remarkably resilient' over the past three years
cathedral in Finland.
it wasn't all bad

Global happiness has been 'remarkably resilient' over the past three years

Is France 'on the edge of civil unrest'?
Protests against Macron's pension overhaul
Today's big question

Is France 'on the edge of civil unrest'?

The extreme weather events of 2023
An illustration of a tornado and wind-swept palm trees
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The truth about alcohol
Alcohol being poured into a rocks glass.

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Russia's spring Ukraine offensive may be winding down amid heavy losses
Ukrainian tank fires near Bakhmut

Russia's spring Ukraine offensive may be winding down amid heavy losses

North Korea claims 800,000 people volunteered to fight against the U.S.
North Korean soldiers march in a parade in 2018.
A Frightening Figure

North Korea claims 800,000 people volunteered to fight against the U.S.