Inside Daily Brief - July 20th, 2018

Inside Daily Brief (Jul 20th, 2018)

Cohen recording / Ohio State doctor / Sarcophagus / Moon space station

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President Trump's attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded a conversation with Trump, in which they discussed making payments to a former Playboy model, according to a New York Times report. The model, Karen McDougal, claims to have had a months-long affair with Trump during 2006. The FBI seized the tape - recorded by Cohen two months before the 2016 election - during a raid on Cohen’s office earlier this year. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani confirmed in an interview that Trump discussed the payments with Cohen, but ultimately never made a payment. “Nothing in that conversation suggests that [Trump] had any knowledge of it in advance,” Giuliani said, adding that Trump directed Cohen to write a check instead of sending cash, so they could properly document the expense. - NYTIMES



The Republican party's 2020 convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced on Friday. In a statement, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said that GOP officials "look forward to seeing the Queen City take center stage" as the party re-nominates President Trump and Vice President Pence "to continue fighting for the American people." RNC committee members voted unanimously to select Charlotte as the host city; the decision has garnered mixed reviews from local residents. Some are opposed due to Trump's immigration policies and comments about a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Supporters, such as hotel owners and taxi drivers, have lauded the anticipated economic benefits. Democrats have narrowed down their list of 2020 convention sites to Houston, Miami Beach, and Milwaukee. - THE HILL


Authorities arrested two men who they believe killed Olympic figure skater Denis Ten. One of the suspects, Nuraly Kiyasov, confessed to the killing during questioning on Thursday. Ten, who won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was knifed this week in the Kazakh city of Almaty; he had disputed with two men who were attempting to steal the mirrors on his car. Ten, 25, passed away from blood loss from multiple wounds. His death has prompted a national mourning period in Kazakhstan, his native country, where he became the first figure skater to win an Olympic medal. On Friday, Kazakh-Russian director Timur Bekmambetov said that a script Ten had been working on recently will now be turned into a movie. “We’re definitely going to try to realize his idea and shoot a film dedicated to this multi-talented person,” Bekmambetov said. - REUTERS


More than 100 former students from Ohio State say they were sexually harassed or abused by former team doctor Richard Strauss. The university recently hired an outside firm, Perkins Coie, to investigate Strauss after several former wrestlers claimed he sexually harassed or abused them over years at Ohio State. Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, began working at the school in 1978 and retired in 1998; he was a doctor for the wrestling team for at least a decade. As part of the investigation, Perkins Coie has conducted more than 200 interviews with former students and staff members. Five former wrestlers have also filed class-action lawsuits against the university, claiming that school officials knew about the misconduct but failed to take action against it. - USATODAY


Archaeologists in Egypt opened a 2,000-year-old sarcophagus, revealing three skeletons and reddish-brown sewage water inside. The black sarcophagus - which weighs 27 tons and measures 10 feet long - was discovered at a construction site in Alexandria earlier this month. Scientists believe the tomb dates back to the early Ptolemaic period, starting in 323 B.C. “We found the bones of three people, in what looks like a family burial,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. “Unfortunately the mummies inside were not in the best condition and only the bones remain.” The three skeletons inside may have been soldiers or other military officials, as one of them suffered a cracked skull indicating an arrow injury. The sewage water apparently leaked inside the tomb. The skeletons will be transferred to a museum in Alexandria for archaeologists to study further. - TIME


French President Emmanuel Macron will fire a bodyguard after the man was caught on camera beating a protestor. Police took Alexandre Benalla, a senior security adviser, into custody on Friday after videos emerged showing him violently confronting demonstrators during this year's May Day protests. Macron has faced criticism after a newspaper reported that his office suspended Benallar, but failed to inform police about his transgressions. Benalla faces potential charges ranging from violence by a public official, to illegally wearing police insignia. - REUTERS


The father of two Parkland shooting survivors was fatally shot during a robbery at his convenience store. Authorities say a suspect entered Aunt Molly’s Food Store in North Lauderdale, Florida, on July 17 and took money from the cash register. The suspect left, but returned shortly after and forced owner Ayub Ali into his back office, where he shot him. Ali, 61, was a father to four children, two of whom survived the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. His daughter was reportedly inside a classroom in the building where the shooting occurred. - NEWSWEEK


More people across the U.S. have become sick after eating McDonald's salads. The number of people affected by a recent cyclospora outbreak has jumped from 61 to 163 in less than a week, federal health officials said. Authorities linked the cyclospora parasite - which can be transmitted in food contaminated with feces - to the cases of reported illness, which span across 10 states. At least three people have been hospitalized. Last week, McDonald's stopped selling salads at roughly 3,000 restaurants in 14 states; the company said on Friday that many of the outlets "already have a new lettuce blend supply, while we expect all identified restaurants will have new supply in the next few days." McDonald's is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to pinpoint the contaminated ingredients and track them through the supply chain. - CNN


NASA is planning to build a space station for the Moon sometime in the 2020s. The facility, dubbed the "Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway," could allow for regular manned missions to the Moon. With direction from the Trump administration to send people back to the Moon, NASA is partnering with companies to reach Earth's satellite as early as next year; the plan is to deploy small landers that carry science equipment. "What happened to the commercial launch industry is about to happen to the commercial lunar industry," said Bob Richards, CEO of Moon Express, a private company that hopes to harvest resources on the Moon. - USA TODAY

For more news like this, check out Inside Space, our twice-weekly digest of news about the cosmos.


A British man who was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok has been released from the hospital. Charlie Rowley, 45, was discharged on Friday, three weeks after he and partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, collapsed at their house in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Police found a bottle inside their home containing the Soviet-era nerve agent, which was also used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this year; the Skripals lived in Salisbury, about 8 miles away from Amesbury. Sturgess passed away last week. "Charlie has been through an appalling experience most of us could never imagine," said Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing for Salisbury District Hospital, who called his release "a very welcome milestone in his recovery." - BBC


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