Inside Daily Brief - August 19th, 2019

Inside Daily Brief (Aug 19th, 2019)

Prison director removed / NYPD officer fired / The Rock wedding / Sand theft

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1. ⚖️ U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Monday that he removed the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons after Jeffrey Epstein's death earlier this month. Hugh Hurwitz will return to his previous job as an assistant director for the bureau’s reentry program, Barr said. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who occupied the role between 1992 and 2003, will take over as the new director. The changeover comes after Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, died in a Manhattan jail earlier this month; autopsy results showed he died of suicide by hanging. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are investigating how Epstein was able to take his own life while in federal custody. - WAPO

2. The NYPD has fired Daniel Pantaleo, the officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner in 2014. On Monday, Pantaleo's attorney said his client would sue to get his job back, under a state law that allows people to appeal government decisions considered “arbitrary and capricious.” A disciplinary trial found Pantaleo of using a chokehold on Garner, which partially contributed to his death, according to an autopsy. Garner, who was allegedly selling cigarettes illegally on Staten Island at the time of his arrest, could be heard saying in a video “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, who announced Pantaleo's firing on Monday, said that if he had been in Officer Pantaleo's situation, "I may have made similar mistakes. But none of us can take back our decisions, particularly when they result in the death of another human being." - NPR

3. ⚖️ Evelyn Hernández, a rape victim in El Salvador who delivered a stillborn baby, was acquitted of murder in a retrial on Monday. The case drew international attention to El Salvador's abortion laws, which outlaw the procedure in all cases. Hernández was raped as a teenager and became pregnant but was unaware until she delivered a baby in a bathroom at her home in 2016; she woke up in an emergency room and was detained by police. Hernández served 33 months before her sentence was annulled in February; prosecutors later called for a retrial. - BBC

4. 📰 Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) apologized on Monday for her past claims of Native American ancestry. Warren issued the apology during the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum in Sioux City, Iowa, where she told the crowd: “Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes," adding that "I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we’ve had together.” Last year, Warren's campaign released the results of a DNA test that showed distant Native ancestry, drawing criticism from some Native Americans as well as President Trump, who has referred to Warren as "Pocahontas." - NYTIMES

5. 🔥 Authorities evacuated about 9,000 people from Spain’s Canary Islands, where a wildfire has burned through more than 14,800 acres in 48 hours. Monday's evacuations occurred on the island of Gran Canaria, a popular vacation destination in Europe. More than 700 firefighters, 11 helicopters, and five airplanes are working to control the fire, which has yet to be contained. - BBC

6. 💒 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson married longtime girlfriend Lauren Hashian over the weekend. The couple revealed the nuptials in an Instagram post on Monday, which was captioned "August 18, 2019. Hawaii. Pōmaikaʻi (blessed)." Johnson and Hashian, who have been in a relationship for over a decade, have two daughters together, Jasmine, 3, and Tia, 1. Hashian, 34, is a singer and the daughter of Boston drummer Sib Hashian. - CBS NEWS

7. 🚀 NASA skeptics are trying to convince President Trump that the government should incentivize private space companies to set up a moon base instead of spending billions on NASA's Artemis program. Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about NASA's plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2024, saying that the agency should instead focus on Mars. But a plan promoted by an eclectic group that includes former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a three-star Air Force general and the former publicist for pop stars Michael Jackson and Prince argues that private space companies such as Blue Origin and SpaceX are better positioned to send astronauts to the moon. The group has pitched the plan to officials serving on the White House National Space Council. - POLITICO

A version of this story first appeared in Inside Space.

8. 🎢 Disneyland honored a Canadian woman's free entry pass from 1985. At that time, admission tickets to the California park cost $16.50 compared to $90-$150 for the most basic admission ticket nowadays. Tamia Richardson, who won the pass when she was 14 as part of a promo for Disneyland's 30th anniversary, kept it for decades and used it for a return visit last week. - CNN

9. 🏖️ A couple from France faces theft charges after allegedly taking nearly 90 pounds of sand from the Italian island of Sardinia. The vacationers are accused of placing white sand into plastic bottles to take home as a memory; they were caught on a ferry on their way home and charged with theft under aggravated circumstance for stealing from a public beach. An environmental scientist told the BBC that sandy beaches - a main attraction for Sardinia - face threats from erosion as well as "sand stealing by tourists." - THE GUARDIAN

10. 🥪 A fast-food feud is brewing on social media over which chicken sandwich is better: Popeyes or Chick-fil-A. The hashtag #Popeyes is trending on Monday with nearly 80,000 tweets. People appeared to be rallying behind Popeyes' new fried-chicken sandwich, which was ranked as the best by Business Insider's Irene Jiang. Which do you prefer? - BUSINESS INSIDER


Diving right in

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 and other topics in southern California here.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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