Inside Daily Brief - February 9th, 2020

Inside Daily Brief (Feb 9th, 2020)

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1. The global death toll of the coronavirus has reached 811, China’s National Health Commission said, surpassing deaths by the SARS epidemic that killed 774 people in 2003. As of Sunday, more than 37,190 confirmed cases of coronavirus had been reported on mainland China. The World Health Organization says that the virus has been confirmed in 25 countries thus far. One American is dead, and there are at least 12 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States as of Saturday morning. Meanwhile, six more people aboard a cruise ship quarantined in Japan have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total on the Diamond Princess to 70, including 14 Americans, Japan’s health ministry said today. On social media, two videos have surfaced appearing to show Chinese officials in white protective suits forcibly removing three people for quarantine or isolation. According to the Associated Press, the video was taken in Jiangsu Province at the home of a family who had returned from Hubei Province, where the capital city is Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. – NBC NEWS

2. A group of at least four Republican senators asked the White House not to fire key impeachment witness Ambassador Gordon Sondland, CNN is reporting, over concerns about how it could look. A source familiar with the situation said the group included Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Martha McSally of Arizona. The senators argued that since Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union who testified in the House impeachment hearings, had already mentioned leaving his post after the Senate trial, firing him was unnecessary and might create a backlash, the New York Times reported. Sonland was fired Friday hours after another impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, were marched out of the White House by security officers. The ousters came two days after the Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump on two articles of impeachment. – CNN

3. Two New York Police Department officers were shot and injured in the Bronx over the past day in separate incidents that Mayor Bill de Blasio called "assassination attempts." On Saturday night, a police officer sitting in his car was shot in the neck and chin at point-blank range. The officer’s partner drove the injured man to Lincoln Hospital, where he is expected to survive. “Our officer and his partner, under the most adverse possible situation, did everything right and thank God both of them are safe,” said Mayor Bill De Blasio. “But I want New Yorkers to be clear, this was an attempt to assassinate police officers.” The first suspect is described as a 5-foot, 7-inch 20-to-30-year-old man dressed in black with a black hat. Meanwhile, this morning, a man walked into the 41st precinct in the Bronx and shot an officer just before 8 a.m., the NYPD said. The officer is in stable condition. – ABC NEWS

4. A 3-year-old cancer patient who can't go out in public was allowed to visit her favorite restaurant when J. Wilson's in Beaumont, Texas, opened early to accommodate the tiny customer. Adelaide Stanley, who has been receiving cancer treatment for seven months and who can't be around people due to her weakened immune system, recently asked her parents when they could go back to the family's regular Sunday lunch spot. Her father, heartbroken, replied, "When you get better, we will," Adelaide's mother told CNN. A family friend later reached out to the owners of J. Wilson's, who agreed to not only open early for their special guest, but also decorated the restaurant in pink, made Adelaide's favorite food (biscuits) and covered the cost of the meal. "They didn't have to do any of that," Adelaide's mom, Vanlam Nguyen. told CNN. "But they did." – CNN

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5. Two American soldiers were killed in a shootout between U.S. and Afghan forces during joint operations in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday. Col. Sonny Leggett, spokesman for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, said: "an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machine gun." Six Americans were wounded. The firefight, which also killed one Afghan soldier and wounded three others, took place in the Nangarhar Province, where American Special Forces have been helping Afghan commandos and the Afghan Army clear the area threatened by the Taliban. Leggett said the motive for Saturday's attack was unclear at this time and that the identities of the deceased U.S. soldiers were being withheld until family could be notified. – NY TIMES 

6. A man who authorities say intentionally drove his van into a tent where supporters of President Trump were registering voters in Florida, narrowly missing six volunteers, was arrested Saturday. No one was injured in the incident that took place around 2:45 Saturday afternoon at the Kernan Village shopping center in Jacksonville, the sheriff's office reported. The Republican Party of Duval County said six volunteers had been "intentionally targeted while registering voters" outside the mall. Gregory Timm, 27, was taken into custody after fleeing the scene. – NEWSWEEK

7. There are two rocket launches happening today – one a Space Station supply flight, the other a mission to study the sun – and both are set to broadcast live on NASA’s official stream. The first launch happens on Virginia's Wallops Island as a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft launching aboard an Antares rocket heads to the International Space Station for a resupply mission at 5:39 p.m. EST (2:39 p.m. PST). The second takes place at 11:03 p.m. EST (8:03 p.m. PST) from Cape Canaveral, Fla., as the Solar Orbiter spacecraft, a joint scientific mission by NASA and the European Space Agency, takes off aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The ISS resupply mission will carry around 8,000 lbs of experiment materials, supplies for the station’s astronaut crew. The Solar Orbiter, a much more ambitious undertaking, will take the first-ever direct images of the sun’s poles once it arrives. – TECH CRUNCH

8. In a protest against this year's all-male lineup of Best Director nominees by the academy that awards the Oscars, a nonprofit has created an alternative experience, where the TV ads will be "replaced" by promotions for films directed by women. The organization, Give Her A Break, has created an online portal that allows viewers to watch a live stream of the award show, but every ad break will be replaced with a showcase for a female-directed film. “There’s millions of women who create incredible films but just don’t get the same break by this misogynistic industry,” said the project’s founder Mo Said. “We wanted to fix that.” As director and supporter Alma Har’el points out on Twitter, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has only nominated five women as best directors in its 92-year-history. The Oscars air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT tonight on ABC. – THE GUARDIAN


 

9. Duke University beat the University of North Carolina (UNC) in a double buzzer-beater during Saturday's basketball game, giving the Blue Devils one of the most unpredictable and unlikely outcomes in the history between the two rivals. "The variables are too ridiculous. The probabilities to unearthly. The coincidences, well maybe there can't be any when it comes to these two," CBS's Matt Norlander wrote. Duke's Tre Jones hit a jumper at the horn to force the extra period, then freshman Wendell Moore scored on a putback of Jones' air-balled jumper as time expired in overtime to help No. 7 Duke rally past North Carolina, 98-96. – ASSOCIATED PRESS via ESPN

10. The 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the second-oldest continuously held sporting event in the United States after the Kentucky Derby, opened Saturday in New York's Madison Square Garden. More than 200 breeds and varieties categorized into seven groups (herding, hound, non-sporting, sporting, terrier, toy, and working) are judged on such traits as weight and size, gait and attitude. Terriers have been a perennial favorite of the show, having won the top spot 47 times, the most of any other breed. This year's competition will also see the debut of a new breed: the Azawakh, a sighthound that originates from West Africa. The competition ends Tuesday with the naming of this year's Best in Show. – USA TODAY

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Written and curated by Elizabeth Barr, who creates and consumes at the nexus of media and tech. She ran sections and sites at publications such as the Buffalo News, AOL News and the Huffington Post before becoming a software developer, creating content-discovery products like FitPop and Where the Truck. Elizabeth's all-in on newsletters, covering news and pop culture on the sometimes funny Mediavore. Follow her on Twitter at @elizabethbarr.

Edited by Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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