Inside Daily Brief - August 15th, 2017

Inside Daily Brief (Aug 15th, 2017)

Jim Mattis / Swift's victory / Prince's purple / Joe Arpaio

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. military is prepared to intercept any missile that North Korea may launch toward the country. He said that it would be up to President Trump to decide whether a missile aimed at waters near Guam needs to be intercepted. North Korea last week threatened to fire four missiles near Guam, but on Tuesday, state media reported that the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, had decided to review the plans. "[We] would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees," Kim was quoted as saying. – AP

An eight-member jury has unanimously decided that former Colorado DJ David Mueller groped Taylor Swift during a meet and greet in 2013. The pop star has been awarded $1 in damages. Swift took to the stand on Thursday to tell the jury that she had no doubt that Mueller had grabbed her behind under her skirt. On Monday, she released a statement thanking her legal team "for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault," and pledged to donate money to organizations that help sexual assault victims. A judge on Friday ruled against Mueller, who had filed another lawsuit asking for $3 million in damages. He argued that the groping allegations were false and had ruined his career. – E!

A girl was killed and 13 people were injured when a man drove a car into a pizzeria in Sept-Sorts, a suburb near Paris. Five of the injured are in critical condition, including the brother of the deceased girl. The suspect told police that he wanted to kill himself and that he had weapons in his car. The local prosecution office does not consider the incident a terrorist attack and has opened an inquiry into "homicide with a weapon, attempted homicide with a weapon and driving under the influence of a drug." – GUARDIAN

FBI agents have arrested a 23-year-old man in Oklahoma for allegedly trying to detonate a van that the suspect thought was loaded with explosives. Jerry Drake Varnell initially planned to blow up the Federal Reserve Building in Washington D.C. but later changed his target to the BancFirst bank in downtown Oklahoma, according to the FBI. He wanted to use a device similar to the one that killed 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, officers said. The arrest is the result of a sting operation. Varnell asked an undercover FBI agent for information on how to obtain ammonium nitrate and fuel oil to build an explosive device and the agent offered to help Varnell assemble a device that was actually inert. – ABC

President Trump has said he’s considering pardoning former sheriff Joe Arpaio and praised him for cracking down on illegal immigration. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt last month for ignoring a judge who ordered him to stop persecuting undocumented immigrants. When he was sheriff of Maricopa County, in Arizona, he would send agents to Latino neighborhoods to pull people over for minor infractions in a bid to arrest undocumented immigrants. "Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?" Trump was quoted as saying by Fox News. "He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn't deserve to be treated this way," Trump said. – WAPO

Pantone has unveiled a custom shade of purple dubbed "Love Symbol #2" in honor of Prince. The color hue was inspired by Prince’s Yamaha purple piano. "The color purple was synonymous with who Prince was and will always be. This is an incredible way for his legacy to live on forever," Troy Carter, an advisor to Prince’s estate, said in a press release. The estate may create products using the custom color. Prince died in 2016 at the age of 57 from an accidental fentanyl overdose. – VARIETY

Hundreds of people have been killed in Sierra Leone by mudslides and flooding caused by heavy rains. Authorities have recovered the bodies of around 250 people but the death toll is expected to rise because entire neighborhoods have been overrun with mud. The worst-hit area was Regent, a suburb near the capital, Freetown. "The mudslide swept down from the hills on the outskirts of Freetown early this morning and spared nothing in its path," said Save the Children's country director Sasha Ekanayake. About 3,000 people may have lost their homes, according to the Red Cross. – AP

President Trump has ordered an investigation into whether China steals intellectual property from the U.S. The investigation could hurt relations with China at a time in which Trump has lashed out at Beijing for not doing enough to deter North Korea from advancing its missile program. The Chinese government responded saying that if the U.S. takes actions that damage trade relations between the countries, Beijing "will take all appropriate measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese side." Some U.S. government officials estimate that theft of intellectual property by China could be worth some $600 billion. – REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country may decide to restart its nuclear program if the U.S. continues threatening Tehran with sanctions. Iran brought its nuclear enrichment program to a halt in 2015, after signing a deal in which world powers agreed to lift sanctions that were crippling the Iranian economy. The U.S. government last month said that Iran was complying with the terms of the deal, but the country was betraying "the spirit" of the accord. At the time, the Trump administration ordered sanctions on Iran over the country's missile program. Rouhani has said he is committed to the nuclear deal but, on Sunday, the country’s parliament voted to increase the defense budget, funneling $260 million to the country’s missile program. After the vote, several hard-line lawmakers shouted "death to America." – NEWSWEEK

An Argentine hunter was killed by an elephant in Namibia when the pachyderm charged a group of five professional trophy hunters. Local media gave the name of the deceased as Jose Monzalvez, 46, saying he was an oil executive and had a hunting permit. He was following a group of elephants with another Argentine national and three Namibians in a private wildlife area when one of the animals charged at the hunters. – IBT


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