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Curated top stories of the day
- FBI raids Trump’s personal lawyer – The FBI seized documents from the office of Michael Cohen, the long-time personal lawyer of Donald J. Trump, after obtaining a search warrant, reports the New York Times. Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a referral for the search warrant, but the raid appears to be unrelated to Mueller’s “Russia probe.” According to the Times, federal agents seized records relating to possible payments to Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels.
- Users find out if their data’s been shared – Starting today, Facebook users will receive a detailed message in their News Feed informing them if they’re among the 87 million who potentially had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook said most of the affected users are in the U.S., the UK, Indonesia and the Philippines. Also, Facebook’s 2.2 billion users will get a notice titled “Protecting Your Information” with a link to the apps they’ve used and the information shared with those apps. (Read our analysis on the incompatibility between privacy and Facebook’s business model).
- Trump promises to attack Syria – President Donald Trump called allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria “barbaric,” and said that a military response was a possibility. “This is about humanity,” said Trump. Reports claimed the attack happened on Saturday, killing at least 60 people in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. There is no conclusive evidence over what chemical agent was used in or whether Bashar al-Assad’s government was behind it. Trump also promised to retaliate against Russia if it was discovered that the Kremlin was behind the attack.
- Leaders of Backpage website indicted – Seven employees of Backpage, the second largest classified website, were charged with a series of offenses relating to the facilitation of sex work. The U.S. Justice Department claims that Backpage earned $500 million in “prostitution-related” services, and of wiring money through foreign accounts and converting it into and out of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies– which authorities claim is evidence of money laundering. Advocacy groups for sex workers have largely defended Backpage as a space that offers transparency for a line of work maligned with violence and stigma.
- Strikes hit Syria military airfield – The Kremlin and Damascus accused Israel of attacking a Syrian military airport killing at least 14 people and injuring several others. State news agency Sana said several missiles struck the Tiyas airbase, known as T4, near the city of Homs. Sana said Israeli F15 jets fired from Lebanese airspace. Russia’s defense ministry said Syrian air defenses took down five of eight missiles before they hit their targets. Israel has not commented. The attack follows international alarm over a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.
- Orban wins Hungary election – Hungary’s incumbent Viktor Orban won a third term as prime minister with a two-thirds majority of parliamentary seats, based on preliminary results. His party, Fidesz, now has enough power to change constitutional laws. The nationalist’s anti-immigration campaign positioned Hungary’s Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe. And Orban promised a “settling of accounts – moral, politically, and legally” with his opponents. A spokesperson for Fidesz said laws will be passed so the government can ban NGOs that back migration or represent a “national security risk,” including George Soros’s Open Society.
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- Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to declare a “war on drugs” in 1971 during heightened use of narcotics in the United States (Politico). The term is less used now, though the country faces a far worse narcotic crisis in opioids (New York Times). Help WikiTribune report on this new landscape.
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- London’s murder rate topped New York City’s for the first time in the modern era, according to The Sunday Times, as an apparent surge in knife crime in the UK capital has coincided with crime dropping in the biggest U.S. city. Help report this story.
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- Pitcairn Island is impossibly remote, populated by descendants of a ship of British mutineers. Their population would not be revealed to the outside world until allegations of a culture of child molestation and rape that led back generations. Here, Vanity Fair peels back the layers of a decade-long clash with the British government.
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