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Inside Daily Brief

Inside Daily Brief (Dec 2nd, 2019)

1. Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whose anti-Trump text conversations with FBI agent Peter Strzok during the 2016 election cycle were investigated by Congress, has broken her silence in an interview with The Daily Beast. Page says there's "no fathomable way" she committed a crime, but admitted that President Trump's insistence that she and Strzok had committed treason was intimidating and made it hard to go about her daily life. She says she'll frequently walk the other way if she sees someone on the street wearing Trump gear as she's "not looking for conflict." A report by the Inspector General in 2018 found that Page's texts "cast a cloud" over the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, but said there was no evidence that her political views affected it. – THE DAILY BEAST

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2. The Supreme Court is set to weigh in on a case regarding the rights of gun owners for the first time in a decade. The court is hearing arguments Monday from the NRA's New York affiliate, gun owners, and the state and city of New York regarding how handgun owners can transport guns between homes and firing ranges. New York City has previously asked the court to throw out the case on mootness grounds, given that it had already backed down on some of the restrictions mentioned in the original suit. The court did not throw the suit out, which puts New York City in the interesting position of having to defend laws that are not currently in place. – NPR

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3. The COP25 climate change conference kicked off this morning in Madrid, with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres declaring that humanity is at a "point of no return." Envoys from 200 countries are at the conference to build on work that started with the Paris Agreement in 2015. The Paris Climate Accord – from which President Trump has pledged to pull U.S. involvement – committed participating nations to keeping the global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The world is already 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in the mid-19th century, and projections estimate that, at current rates, we will be at 3.2 degrees Celsius above those levels by the year 2100. – BLOOMBERG

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4. Online sales for Cyber Monday are on pace to hit $9.4 billion, according to preliminary data from Adobe Analytics. The trackers of online transactions expect sales to peak at $11 million per minute between 11 p.m. and midnight ET, as shoppers race to buy before the Cyber Monday deals go away. Adobe said that online sales were even higher than usual this holiday weekend, as stormy weather around the country may have encouraged people to buy from home. The bestselling products online so far have been "Frozen 2" and Paw Patrol toys, the Nintendo Switch, Samsung TVs, and Apple MacBooks. – CNBC

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5. Amazon has removed Christmas ornaments from its website that display an image of the Auschwitz concentration camp after their discovery prompted online outrage. The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum tweeted out images of the products Sunday, which included ornaments and a bottle opener baring photographs of Auschwitz and the Krakow Ghetto. Amazon said it had removed the offending products and reiterated that "all sellers must follow selling guidelines." The Auschwitz Memorial is also asking online retailer Wish Shopping to remove the items from its inventory. – MARKETWATCH

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6. SAG-AFTRA, the labor union that represents thousands of actors, musicians, and other media professionals, is investigating Gabrielle Union's dismissal as a judge on "America's Got Talent," after the actress complained about a toxic workplace environment. SAG-AFTRA said that though it is investigating, they "have nothing to report now." Last week, Variety and Vulture reported that Union objected to the rejection of 10-year-old black rapper Dylan Gilmer in favor of a group of white high kicking dancers, and the continual indoor smoking of executive producer Simon Cowell. NBC issued a statement on Sunday that they are "working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns." – VARIETY

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7. The U.S. will soon attempt to harness a new form of renewable energy – solar power beamed to Earth from space. Wired reports that the concept of harnessing solar energy from satellites has been around for years, though it has frequently been seen as cost-prohibitive. There would be myriad advantages, however, to a solar energy sector in space – the sun is available up there 24 hours a day, and energy could be sent more efficiently to remote locations. In October, the Air Force Research Lab announced it is committing $100 million for hardware used in a solar power satellite. The U.S. isn't the only nation jumping on the opportunity to grab those space rays; both China and Japan have plans to develop solar power space stations. – WIRED

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8. A puppy that lived 18,000 years ago – discovered perfectly preserved in the Siberian permafrost – may be a common ancestor of dogs and wolves. The animal, named "Dogor" after the Yakut word for "friend," was discovered near Yakutsk in eastern Russia. It still had its nose, fur, and whiskers upon discovery. So far, researchers only know that it was male and about two months old when it died. One of the researchers told CNN that their inability to determine a specific species might make Dogor an ancestral hybrid of modern dogs and wolves. – NEW SCIENTIST

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9. Dictionary.com has selected "existential" as its Word of the Year for 2019. The site's senior research editor John Kelly said the word speaks to a sense that humanity is "grappling with our survival, both literally and figuratively." The site said the word was common in searches following major wildfires, Hurricane Dorian, and mass shootings. Kelly also mentioned Forky, the animated spork character in Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 4" who struggles with his purpose in life, as inspiration for the selection. Last week, Oxford Dictionaries selected "climate emergency" as its word of the year. – ABC NEWS

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10. RIP Lil Bub – the Internet-famous cat known for her distinctive eyes and tongue, died Sunday at the age of 8, her "dude" Mike reported. Lil Bub suffered from several genetic conditions, including polydactyly, osteoporosis, and feline dwarfism, which made her instantly recognizable to her 2.3 million Instagram followers. Mike said her passing was sudden, despite the aggressive bone infection that he knew would cut her life shorter than that of the average house cat. – PITCHFORK

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Jonathan Harris is a Los Angeles-based writer. Previously, he wrote for The Huffington Post, TakePart.com, and the YouTube channel What’s Trending. He’s a frequent performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood. Follow him on Twitter @countrycaravan.

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