Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 27, 2022

DOJ releases heavily redacted Trump affidavit, Moderna sues Pfizer, and more

1

DOJ releases heavily redacted Trump affidavit, with reasons for redaction redacted

The Justice Department on Friday released a redacted version of both the affidavit and memo related to the recent FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Florida mansion. The DOJ even redacted portions of the documents in which it explained the rationale behind the redactions. As a result, many of the pages didn't reveal much information. Critics of the Mar-a-Lago raid mocked the redactions on Twitter, sharing screenshots of almost completely blacked-out material, especially sections where the eliminated text rendered clauses like "for example" or "as explained in the affidavit" completely moot.

2

Moderna sues Pfizer for allegedly copying its COVID-19 vaccine technology

Moderna is taking Pfizer and BioNTech to court, accusing the rival drugmakers of patent infringement over their COVID-19 vaccine. The company said Friday it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Pfizer and BioNTech in Massachusetts and in Germany, alleging the companies copied its mRNA technology to develop their own coronavirus vaccine and thereby infringed on patents filed by Moderna between 2010 and 2016. "We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said.

3

DeSantis suspends four school board members for mismanagement after 2018 shooting

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Friday suspended four members of the Broward County School Board after a grand jury determined that they had demonstrated negligence and incompetence in the aftermath of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The members reportedly mismanaged public funds and failed to complete safety upgrades to the district's schools. The suspended members — Patricia Good, Donna P. Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson — were all registered Democrats. Several of the new members who replaced them previously worked in Republican politics.

4

Biden mocks Trump's claim that he declassified documents found at Mar-a-Lago

President Biden on Friday scoffed at former President Donald Trump's claim that he had declassified the sensitive documents removed from his residence at Mar-a-Lago. "President Trump said that he declassified all these documents. Could he have just declassified them all?" a reporter asked. Biden responded by mocking his predecessor. "I've declassified everything in the world! I'm the president! I can do it all," he said, paraphrasing Trump, though without attempting to mimic the former president's voice or cadences.  "C'mon!" Biden added, telling the reporter he would not comment further and would allow the Justice Department to handle the investigation.

5

Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant reconnected to Ukrainian power grid

Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was reconnected to the country's power grid on Friday after being temporarily disconnected the previous day. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the plant's backup electrical system kept it running safely while it was disconnected, but that "[e]very minute the Russian troops stay at the nuclear power plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster." Ukrainian authorities have reportedly begun distributing potassium iodine tablets, which can help block the absorption of radiation, to civilians living in the vicinity of the Russian-held plant.

6

GOP Republican gubernatorial candidate posed for photo in Confederate uniform

Doug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator and the Republican nominee for governor, posed in a Confederate uniform for a 2014 faculty photo at the Army War College, Reuters reported Friday. Mastriano was the only one of the 21 faculty members in the photo to don a Confederate uniform for the occasion. Jenna Ellis, a senior adviser to Mastriano's campaign, wrote in response to the story that "[t]he left wants to erase history," while Mastriano "wants us to learn from it." Mastriano retired from the U.S. Army in 2017 with the rank of colonel and rose to national prominence for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in his state.

7

Louisiana woman seeking abortion demands special legislative session to clarify ban

A Louisiana woman 15 weeks pregnant with a fetus doctors say cannot survive outside the womb demanded Friday that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and the state legislature call a special session to clarify the state's abortion restrictions. Louisiana's abortion ban, which took effect at the beginning of August, outlaws the procedure except in cases where the mother faces substantial risk of death or impairment or the pregnancy is deemed "medically futile." Doctors who perform illegal abortions face up to 15 years in prison. Davis said the doctors who denied her an abortion "seemed confused about the law" and told her "I had to carry my baby to bury my baby."

8

Months of flooding in Pakistan have killed nearly 1,000 people and affected millions

Flooding in Pakistan has killed nearly over 900 people since mid-June, the country's National Disaster Management Authority said Friday. Pakistani authorities say more than 30 million people have been affected by the floods, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warning Friday of "unprecedented damage and devastation." Sharif's government declared a national emergency on Thursday and deployed Pakistan's military to impacted areas, but continued rains and damage to infrastructure have hampered relief efforts.

9

EPA to classify some 'forever chemicals' as hazardous

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday proposed classifying certain so-called "forever chemicals" — which are believed to have serious health effects, and can be found in hundreds of household items — as hazardous substances. Though polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, will not be banned as a result, the proposed new designation would make it easier for the government to mandate polluters pay fines for violations, as well as clean up their own hazards. Forever chemicals take a long time to break down, and have been known to bleed into water and soil, as well as the blood of people and animals

10

Britney Spears releases duet with Elton John, her 1st new music in 6 years

Pop star Britney Spears on Friday released her first new music in six years: "Hold Me Closer," a dance track with Elton John that's a remix of John's hit "Tiny Dancer." It's Spears' first time releasing new music since 2016, the year she dropped her ninth studio album, Glory, though some unreleased tracks from that album have come out since then. It's also Spears' first new music since the end of her dramatic conservatorship battle with her father, which culminated in a judge ending the controversial legal arrangement that controlled much of her life. On Twitter, Spears said she was "overwhelmed" to be singing with "one of the most classic men of our time."

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