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Inside Daily Brief (Aug 30th, 2019)

1. Hurricane Dorian is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm before making landfall in Florida. The National Hurricane Center warns that the risk of life-threatening storm surge along Florida's east coast has increased. A large swath of the southeast U.S. is expected to see heavy rain over Labor Day weekend. The NHC also explains that there could be sustained hazardous conditions and heavy rains in parts of Florida. Multiple sources report that President Trump has canceled his trip to Poland to moniter the storm. - CNN

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2. 🏛️ President Trump’s personal assistant, Madeleine Westerhout, abruptly left the White House on Thursday after Trump learned that she’d shared information about his family with reporters. Westerhout, who has been the president’s assistant since the beginning of his administration, reportedly failed to tell journalists that her comments were off the record. Westerhout’s workspace across from the Oval Office, along with her frequent work travel with the president, afforded her unique access to Trump. She is the latest White House official to suddenly leave her post. The Trump administration has been plagued with early staff departures since he took office in January 2017. - NEW YORK TIMES 

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3. 🌎 On Friday, high-profile Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was among a group of people arrested in connection with the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Wong, who famously led similar protests in 2014, was allegedly ushered into a van in broad daylight, according to a tweet by pro-democracy group Demosisto. Fellow demonstrators Agnes Chow Ting and Andy Chan were also apprehended by police, although no formal charges have been filed. Demosisto Vice Chairperson Issac Cheng said this is an attempt by Beijing to spread a message of fear. It’s not yet clear if activists will still march in next week’s scheduled strike. - NPR

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4. Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday apologized for wearing blackface in a college skit recorded roughly 50 years ago. Ivey said she doesn’t recall ever dressing in a racially insensitive manner, but a tape recently surfaced showing the governor donning the offensive look while preparing for an Auburn University performance. Ivey issued a public apology for the “pain and embarrassment” the footage caused. She’s not the only political figure associated with blackface, a racist practice that originated in early 19th century minstrel shows. Last year, political commentator Megan Kelly was fired from her daytime show after seemingly defending blackface as a costume. Months later, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam admitted that he'd worn black show polish to impersonate Michael Jackson in a dance contest.  - AL

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5. ⚕️State and federal health officials on Thursday announced a spike in vaping-related lung illnesses, which they believe may be caused by contaminants used to pad vape products. Vaping refers to the practice of inhaling vapor from an e-cigarette device. There are now more than 350 possible vaping-related ailments in nearly 30 U.S. states, that’s double the number of cases reported last week. Those vape users afflicted with lung conditions said they consumed marijuana and/or nicotine. Officials said some have created “home brew” solutions to place in vape-pen cartridges, which could prove toxic when inhaled. - WASHINGTON POST

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6. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday was the subject of intense scrutiny after the Washington Post reported multiple inaccuracies in a speech he delivered on the campaign trail last week. Sources pointed out that Biden may have conflated details from various events into one narrative. In Biden’s story, a U.S. Navy captain refused to accept a Silver Star medal for attempting to save a fellow service member. Biden said the “essence” of his retelling was accurate, adding: “(The Navy captain) refused the medal. I put it on him, he said: ‘Don’t do that to me, sir. He died. He died.’” - USA TODAY

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7. 📱Google researchers say they have discovered a slew of hacked sites that could access an iPhone’s personal data by simply being visited from a mobile device. While some hackers target specific people, this cyber attack is different because of its indiscriminate nature: whenever anyone clicks on a malicious site, it could be granting hackers access to everything on their phones, Google Project Zero blog explains. That includes sensitive information stored by Apple’s password management system, iCloud Keychain. Rebooting the phone could wipe the malware, but if Keychain has been breached with a monitoring implant, a hacker could simply log back in to a phone’s programs. - MOTHERBOARD

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8. 🌎The Australian government has officially downgraded the Great Barrier Reef's outlook from “poor” to “very poor.” A five-year report — issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority — names global warming the biggest threat to the coral reef, which was designated as a a World Heritage site in 1981 for its scientific importance. As the sea’s temperatures rise, scientists explain, sea-life habitats are destroyed and coral is wiped out. The report urges people to begin improving the reef’s condition now for long-term improvements. - BBC

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9. ⚖️ The Boy Scouts of America faces an onslaught of litigation as child sex abuse lawsuits multiply. Numerous victims are now saying that they were sexually abused while participating in Boy Scout activities as children. Some states have enacted laws that lift the statute of limitations in certain cases, so someone who may not have been able to sue in the past can do so now. The Boy Scouts is expected to have to pay millions of dollars in settlements or judgements, which could lead to bankruptcy. - ASSOCIATED PRESS

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10. A draft report by the United Nations warns that the Earth's warming oceans and future “superstorms” will displace millions of people from coastlines, melt sea ice and glaciers, and kill many fish stocks. The French news agency AFP obtained an early copy of the report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will officially be released on Sept. 25. The report, which focuses on the planet's oceans and frozen water areas, says that future oceans are poised to "unleash misery on a global scale" unless humans control carbon pollution impacting the marine environment. Rising coastlines could immediately threaten 280 million people, it says. - ALJAZEERA

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11. A Pennsylvania man who made a gunlike hand gesture toward his neighbor in an argument was found guilty of disorderly conduct again in an appeals court decision. Stephen Kirchner, 64, will have to pay a $100 fine and court costs after making the gesture toward his neighbor in Manor Township, in Lancaster County, in 2018. According to court douments, Kirchner was walking when he stopped and made eye contact with the male neighbor, "and then made a hand gesture at him imitating the firing and recoiling of a gun." A witness called 911 to report the incident, and the neighbor told police that he felt “extremely threatened.” Kirchner does not plan to appeal again. - PENN LIVE

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12. A Nevada woman who was wrongly imprisoned for 35 years will receive $3 million in a partial settlement from a civil rights lawsuit. Cathy Woods, who is the longest-ever wrongfully incarcerated woman in U.S. history, says former detectives coerced her into giving a fabricated confession while she was a patient at a mental hospital in 1979. Woods, 68, was convicted of in the 1976 slaying of Michelle Mitchell, a 19-year-old Reno nursing student, until DNA evidence from a crime-scene cigarette butt exonerated her. Woods plans to continue to seek additional damages from Reno and the detectives. - KTNV

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13. A man from Chattanooga, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit against Popeyes over its shortage of their new crispy chicken sandwich. Craig Barr says he wasted "countless time driving" around local fast-food spots to find the extremely popular sandwich, which went viral online after its social media battle with Chick-fil-A. Barr, who is seeking $5,000, is suing over what he considers to be "false advertising" and "deceptive business practices." Popeyes does not comment on pending litigation. The chain recently announced that it will temporarily stop serving the dish after selling all its inventory that it had planned to have through September; restaurants nationwide are expected to sell out by the end of the week, though the sandwich will return permanently at a later, unidentified date, the chain said. - WRCB

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Written and curated by Darla Guillen Gilthorpe and Beth Duckett. 

Editor: Kim Lyons, Inside managing editor 

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