Inside Daily Brief - May 15th, 2019

Inside Daily Brief (May 15th, 2019)

Bishop N.C. win / Grocery store drones / U.S. birthrate falls / "Black Mirror" episodes

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1. The top attorney at the White House rejected a committee's request for records and testimony related to investigation attempts into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee sent the request for documents pertaining to the special counsel's probe into Trump back in March. In a letter sent this week to committee chairman Jerry Nadler, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone denied the request and said that Congress doesn't have the legal authority for a "do-over" of the special counsel’s probe. Cipollone wrote that such an inquiry from the Democratically-controlled committee is "outside the constitutional authority of the legislative branch." Executive privilege was not asserted; however, counsel did argue that the broad request for information did violate aspects of it. - THE HILL

2. North Carolina State Sen. Dan Bishop, a Republican, will face Democrat Dan McCready in a new special election for the state's Ninth Congressional District. Republicans have held the district, which encompasses part of Charlotte and runs into south-central North Carolina, since 1963. Earlier this year, the state elections board chose to reverse GOP candidate Mark Harris’ apparent 2018 win in the district over McCready following a ballot tampering scandal. An investigation found that Harris, who decided not to run again, paid a political operative who collected mail-in ballots. Bishop, who was the architect of the state's controversial "bathroom bill," won the Republican nomination in this week's primary and will go on to face McCready in the Sept. 10 general election. - WSJ

3. Drones that can fly around stores and check their inventory will likely start appearing in supermarkets later this year, The Washington Post reported. Pensa, an Austin-based startup and data subscription service, has already tested the drone technology in multiple retail outlets, with plans to roll out into select markets shortly. The company's autonomous drones can fly through a store or warehouse and collect data about products on the shelves, sending it to the cloud for further analysis. While the technology will speed up the inventory-taking and restocking process, some online commenters have noted its potential to take away jobs through automation. - WAPO

For more stories like this, check out Inside Drones, our newsletter covering the fast-growing industry of autonomous flying vehicles.

4. The White House declined to sign a global pact that calls on internet platforms and governments to reduce extremist content online. The “Christchurch Call,” put forward by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has attracted support from the U.K., France, Australia, Canada, along with companies such as Google and Facebook. On Wednesday, the White House issued a statement saying it stands by "the international community in condemning terrorist and extremist content” but is not “currently in a position to join the endorsement," though it didn't offer further explanation. - NYTIMES

5. Last year's U.S. birthrate fell to its lowest level in 32 years. There were 3,788,235 births in 2018, which represents a 2 percent drop from 2017 and is the fourth consecutive year of birth declines, according to the latest birthrate report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. - NPR

6. San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban police and public agencies from using facial recognition technology. Several other cities and states could follow by reining in use of the technology, which critics point out has a high potential for racial bias and can lead to the abuse of people's civil liberties. - SF CHRONICLE

7. Hundreds of Jeeps participated in a procession during Wednesday's memorial service for Kendrick Castillo, who was killed while trying to stop a gunman during a school shooting in Colorado last week. A Jeep enthusiast group organized the effort after learning that Castillo, a student at STEM School Highlands Ranch, was a big fan of the SUVs and owned a Jeep Cherokee. - CNN

8. The PBS children's show "Arthur" featured a same-sex marriage during its Season 22 premiere. In Monday's episode, teacher Mr. Ratburn was married to his male partner in a wedding attended by the titular character and his friends. - CBS NEWS

9. Scientists at Cambridge University developed the first living organism with fully redesigned DNA. The existence of the lab-made microbe, which was created from E. Coli and shows that life is possible with a restricted genetic code, could have benefits in the creation of drugs or altered genomes that contain features like virus resistance. - THE GUARDIAN

10. New episodes of Netflix's popular "Black Mirror" series will debut on June 5. The cast of season 5, which is comprised of only three episodes, includes performer Miley Cyrus, "Avengers'" actor Anthony Mackie, and "Sherlock's" Andrew Scott. Netflix also released a trailer for the upcoming season, which will center on "how we see technology and a variety of other social factors," according to IGN. - EW


A new kind of duet...

Written and curated by Beth Duckett in Orange County. Beth is a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who has written for USA Today, Get Out magazine, and other publications. Follow her tweets about breaking news in southern California here.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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