Daily briefing

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

Trump threatens a shutdown over border wall funding, Times publisher clashes with Trump over "anti-press" comments, and more


Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall

President Trump on Sunday threatened to shut down the federal government this fall if Congress fails to approve funding for his promised border wall as part of comprehensive immigration reform. "I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!" Trump tweeted. "Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!" Congress has to pass a funding bill by Sept. 30, and Trump's threat raised the possibility of a shutdown just before the Nov. 6 midterm elections, something Republicans want to avoid.


Times publisher clashes with Trump over 'anti-press' remarks

President Trump and New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger clashed Sunday over Trump's attacks against journalists. Trump tweeted that he and Sulzberger had discussed "the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, 'Enemy of the People.'" Sulzberger refuted Trump's account, saying said he had accepted an invitation to meet on July 20 to confront Trump about his "deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric," which Sulzberger called "dangerous" and linked to rising threats against journalists. He added: "I told him that although the phrase 'fake news' is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists 'the enemy of the people.'" Trump then tweeted: "I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters in the dying newspaper industry."


Deadly Northern California fire kills 6th person

The body of another wildfire victim was recovered in Shasta County, California, on Sunday, bringing the death toll from the massive blaze to six. The latest victim, who was not immediately identified, was found a day after a family member confirmed the deaths of a 70-year-old woman and her 4- and 5-year-old great-grandchildren. Seven other people remained missing. The wildfire, known as the Carr Fire, is the largest of 17 fires burning in the state, after more than doubling in size to cover nearly 100,000 acres over the weekend. Heavy smoke helped ease the high temperatures that have fueled the fire, slowing its growth on Sunday. Meanwhile, officials said a second firefighter died near Yosemite National Park when he was hit by a falling tree.


Trump VA chief starts work

President Trump's new Veterans Affairs secretary, Robert Wilkie, is to be sworn in on Monday, and plans to reassign several high-ranking political appointees linked to the agency's morale crisis in his first week, The Washington Post reported Sunday, citing three people familiar with his plans. Wilkie reportedly wants to build his own leadership team and ease lawmakers' concerns that the VA has become politicized. Carla Gleason, a spokeswoman for Wilkie, declined to comment and said "any leadership changes will be announced next week." John Hoellwarth, communications director for the advocacy group AMVETS, praised Wilkie for moving to make sure the VA "is driven by a desire to serve veterans first."


U.S., Taliban agree to meet again after positive talks

Talks between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha last week produced "very positive signals" regarding a possible ceasefire in Afghanistan, Reuters reported Sunday, citing people with knowledge of the discussions. A Taliban official who said he participated in the meeting described the atmosphere as "friendly." "You can't call it peace talks," he said. "These are a series of meetings for initiating formal and purposeful talks. We agreed to meet again soon and resolve the Afghan conflict through dialogue." The U.S. and Afghan governments are stepping up efforts to end the 17-year war. The State Department did not confirm or deny that the talks took place.


Manafort trial to start this week

The trial of President Trump's one-time campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is scheduled to get underway this week, with jury selection starting Tuesday. Manafort's trial is the first stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The 31 others charged have either reached plea agreements, as has ex-White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, or are Russians unlikely to appear in an American courtroom. Three Russian companies have been charged, too. Manafort's trial, however, has nothing to do with Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He is accused of laundering more than $30 million in Ukrainian political consulting proceeds, and hiding the money from the IRS. Manafort's deputy, Rick Gates, has pleaded guilty and is testifying against him under a deal with prosecutors.


Rep. John Lewis released from hospital

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was released from a hospital on Sunday after falling ill on a flight from Detroit to Atlanta the previous day. "All tests have been completed, and doctors have given him a 'clean bill of health,'" said spokeswoman Brenda Jones in a statement. "He thanks everyone who shared their thoughts, prayers, and concerns during his stay." Lewis played a key role in the civil rights movement as a chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was an architect of the 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Two years later he was one of the peaceful marchers beaten while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.


Cambodia's ruling party claims victory in vote opposition calls a 'sham'

The ruling Cambodian People's Party declared victory in a Sunday general election that opponents called a "sham." The voting followed a months-long crackdown on the media, as well as the effective barring of the leading opposition group, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, from the campaign after a court ruled late last year that some of its leaders were plotting with foreigners to pull off a revolution. CNRP leader Kem Sokha was arrested on treason charges in September. The White House said the vote was "neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people." The U.S. called on the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose CPP claimed to have won more than 100 of the 125 seats in Parliament, to end the ban on political opposition.


Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas wins Tour de France

Cyclist Geraint Thomas on Sunday became the first Welshman to win the Tour de France. Thomas, 32, crossed the finish line on Paris' Champs-Élysées arm-in-arm with Team Sky teammate Chris Froome, last year's winner. Thomas wore the yellow jersey in the ceremonial final stage after defending his 1 minute, 51 second lead over second-place finisher Tom Dumoulin. Froome, a four-time champion in the cycling race, came in third overall. "It's going to take a while to sink in," Thomas said. "Normally that stage is really hard but today I just seemed to float around it. I had goose bumps going around there. The support from the Welsh, British flags. ... To ride around wearing this (yellow jersey) is a dream."


Mission: Impossible — Fallout leads box office

Mission: Impossible — Fallout led the weekend box office with a haul of $61.5 million domestically, and $153.5 million worldwide in its debut. The domestic and international totals marked records for the spy series starring Tom Cruise. Fallout has only opened in 40 percent of international markets, and is 19 percent ahead of 2015's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation on a like-for-like basis. The last two Mission: Impossible movies made 70 percent of their box office totals overseas, and Fallout is on track to continue the trend. Paramount's president of International Theatrical Distribution, Mark Viane, said "word of mouth has been a key driver," contributing to a strong jump after opening night on Friday.


Ukraine will get U.S. Abrams tanks, Patriot missiles sooner than expected
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Ukraine hints it destroyed Russian missile shipment in Crimea
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Ukraine hints it destroyed Russian missile shipment in Crimea

Global happiness has been 'remarkably resilient' over the past three years
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Is France 'on the edge of civil unrest'?
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Is France 'on the edge of civil unrest'?

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