Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 29, 2018

A gunman kills five people at a Maryland newspaper, 575 people arrested protesting immigration policy at the Senate, and more


Gunman kills 5 at Maryland newspaper office

A gunman opened fire with a shotgun in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday, killing five people and wounding others. The killer also reportedly used smoke grenades. Police took a suspect into custody and identified him as Jarrod Ramos, 38. Ramos had a grudge against the newspaper after losing a defamation suit over a 2011 column that described a criminal harassment case against him. The five people who died included Rob Hiaasen, 59, an editor and the brother of author Carl Hiaasen. Phil Davis, a Gazette crime reporter, tweeted that the gunman blasted his way into the newsroom and started shooting people. "There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you're under your desk and then hear the gunman reload," he said.


Nearly 600 arrested in Senate building immigration protest

U.S. Capitol Police arrested 575 people at the Senate's Hart Office Building on Thursday during one of several demonstrations across the U.S. against President Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy. The protesters were charged with unlawfully demonstrating. Most of the demonstrators were women. They called on Congress to end the separation of undocumented children from their parents at the border, chanting such slogans as "What do we want? Free families!" and "This is what democracy looks like." The protest began at the Department of Justice, and several Democratic lawmakers visited the demonstrators, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted that she was among the protesters arrested.


Trump touts Russia's election-meddling denial as Putin summit date set

President Trump on Thursday reiterated his doubt in intelligence agency assessments that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, as his administration announced that Trump would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in Finland. "Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!" Trump tweeted. The White House said Trump and Putin would "discuss relations between the United States and Russia and a range of national security issues" at their summit. Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, brushed off suggestions by critics that the meeting "somehow proves some nexus between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, which is complete nonsense."


House gives DOJ 7 days to provide Russia documents

The House on Thursday approved a nonbinding call for the Justice Department to hand over sensitive Russia-investigation documents within seven days. The measure was approved in a party-line vote won by the Republican majority as conservatives accused investigators of hiding information from Congress. "Executives at the Department of Justice have done nothing but pay lip service to transparency, while instead choosing to obstruct, slow-walk, and deny legitimate congressional attempts to obtain documents and conduct oversight," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). "We are tired of getting the runaround." In a tense exchange, Republicans grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Trump appointee who oversees the Russia investigation, on whether he was withholding information. "I'm not trying to hide anything," he said.


Trump touts Foxconn groundbreaking as win for 'pro-American agenda'

President Trump attended the groundbreaking at a major new Foxconn electronics production plant in Wisconsin on Thursday, touting the project as one of "the results of the pro-American agenda." Foxconn, an Asian electronics component maker, announced plans for the factory, where it will make LCD flat-screen panels, 11 months ago as part of a $10 billion investment. The attempt to show off the Foxconn plant as a sign of Trump's push to create jobs came days after Harley-Davidson, which has a motorcycle engine plant nearby, said it would have to move some production overseas to avoid European Union tariffs imposed in retaliation for Trump's steel and aluminum levies.


U.S. charges 601 people in health-care fraud crackdown

The Justice Department on Thursday announced health-care fraud charges against 601 people, including 162 doctors and other suspects linked to the distribution of prescription opioid painkillers. The arrests came in dozens of cases that authorities said had resulted in $2 billion in fraud and contributed to the nation's opioid addiction epidemic. The health-care industry suspects charged included a Florida anesthesiologist accused of operating a "pill mill" and a Texas pharmacy chain owner and two other people who were accused of improperly distributing opioids that were sold to drug couriers. The cases not involving opioids included schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.


EU leaders reach deal on handling immigration crisis

European Union leaders said Friday they had reached a breakthrough deal on handling the region's refugee crisis. The agreement, reached after all-night talks, addresses demands for more help from Italy, which, along with Greece, has been a main entry point for the screening of migrants who have tried to reach Europe by sea. The plan includes a proposal to screen people seeking asylum in North Africa. Nations volunteering to accept migrants also would set up control centers. So far, no North African countries have signed on. Italy and Germany have been gripped in political crises over the issue. Italy had held up any interim deal, saying it needed concrete help dealing with a wave of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.


Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison dies at 84

Author Harlan Ellison, best known for his science fiction work, including classic early Star Trek episodes, has died at the age of 84. Family friend Christine Valada confirmed his death on behalf of his widow, Susan, tweeting: "Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today. 'For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.' — HE, 1934-2018." Ellison wrote more than 1,700 short stories, novellas, essays, and other works, including TV scripts for The Flying Nun, Route 66, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek.


Toys R Us closes shop

Toys R Us is closing its last U.S. stores by Friday, leaving more than 30,000 employees out of work. The retail company, which also owned Babies R Us, was burdened by $5 billion in debt after a leveraged buyout, leaving it unable to make investments as it struggled against online competition. Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection last fall and said it would stay open. In January, after poor holiday sales, the company announced it was closing 180 stores, then two months later said it would have to shut all of its 700-plus locations. Its downfall has rattled the stocks of Mattel, Hasbro, and other toy makers.


Senegal sunk by yellow cards as World Cup Round of 16 sealed

The final elimination games of the World Cup group stage were played Thursday, with Senegal becoming the first team in the tournament's history to be eliminated in a fair play tiebreaker. Poland beat Japan 1-0 and Colombia defeated Senegal by the same score, leaving Senegal and Japan tied on total points. The next tiebreakers were also even — the teams finished with the same goal differential, goals scored, and head-to-head — meaning that the advancing team was decided by the fair play rule, with Japan moving on because it tallied only four yellow cards to Senegal's six. Colombia will also advance out of Group H. The Round of 16 begins Saturday.


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