October 19, 2021

Make Clury

Petss Got It All

First Thing: Trump’s lawyers reportedly given 24 hours to say why business should not face charges |

Good morning.

New York prosecutors have reportedly given Donald Trump’s lawyers 24 hours to respond with final arguments for why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges, with a deadline set for Monday.

According to sources quoted in the Washington Post, the deadline is a strong indication that the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, and New York attorney general, Letitia James, are considering criminal charges against Trump’s family business.

It comes after it was reported on Friday that Vance could announce charges against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its chief financial officer, within a week.

  • Vance’s office is looking into “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” as part of its investigation into the Trump Organization, including falsification of business records and tax and insurance fraud.

  • What impact could an indictment have? Legal experts claim it could bankrupt the Trump Organization by weakening its relationships with banks and business partners. The investigation could also potentially hinder any plans for Trump to return to politics.

  • It comes after Trump returned to the campaign trail on Saturday with a post-presidential rally in Wellington, Ohio.

Military officers and politicians are among the members of a neo-Confederate group, the Guardian reveals

Donald Trump supporters at a post-presidency campaign rally in Wellington, Ohio, on Saturday. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Members of the neo-Confederate organization Sons of Confederate Veterans include serving military officers, elected officials and public employees, leaked data reveals.

The membership data, seen by the Guardian, also includes a national security expert whose CV claims to have “Department of Defense Secret Security Clearance” and people who took part in and committed violent acts at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, reports Jason Wilson.

The group has recently made headlines for its aggressive campaigns against Confederate monuments being removed – including legal action against cities and states and Confederate flag flyovers at Nascar races.

Miami condo collapse death toll rises to nine as officials say there is still hope of finding survivors

Aerial footage shows destruction after Miami building collapse – video
Aerial footage shows destruction after Miami building collapse – video

Officials in Florida have said there is still hope of finding survivors in a collapsed Miami condominium as the death toll rose to nine.

Four more bodies were found in the ruins of the Champlain Towers South apartments in the suburb of Surfside and were identified by police as: Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, Luis Bermudez, 26, Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, and Anna Ortiz, 46. One hundred and 52 people are still unaccounted for, reports Richard Luscombe.

The Miami-Dade mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, said: “My deepest condolences to the families, the friends, the communities of those who have lost their lives, and my prayers are with the families and the whole community as they mourn this tragic loss.”

The US has carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria

The US military has carried out air strikes in Iraq and Syria, targeting operational and weapons storage facilities of Iran-backed militia.
The US military has carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, targeting operational and weapons storage facilities of Iran-backed militia. Photograph: US Air Force/AFP/Getty

The US carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria on Sunday in response to drone attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

The Pentagon said the “defensive” strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at one location in Iraq and two in Syria.

The Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby, said: “The United States took necessary, appropriate and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.”

In other news…

People take part in Malawi’s first Pride parade in the capital Lilongwe.
People take part in Malawi’s first Pride parade in the capital, Lilongwe. Photograph: Amos Gumulira/The Guardian
  • Malawi’s persecuted LGBTQ+ community celebrated the country’s first Pride parade on Saturday, with about 50 people taking part. Homosexuality remains illegal in Malawi and a conviction carries a jail term of up to 14 years.

  • The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, still has “huge questions to answer” after his health secretary, Matt Hancock, resigned over his affair with a paid adviser, the opposition party Labour has said, calling for an investigation into a “potential abuse of public money”. It comes after leaked CCTV footage emerged of Hancock, who is married, kissing Gina Coladangelo in his Whitehall office.

  • The Fox News anchor Chris Wallace told a senior Republican on air on Sunday that his party was “defunding” the police. He pointed out to Jim Banks, the head of the House Republican study committee, that Republicans recently voted against $350bn of law enforcement funding.

  • Authorities have seized and declawed a pet lion from a home in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, after it was spotted in TikTok videos. The environment ministry spokesman, Neth Pheaktra, said the 18-month-old male, which weighs 70kg (154lbs), had been imported from overseas by its owner, a Chinese national, to be raised at home. “Cambodian authorities started investigating this lion since we saw it on TikTok in late April,” the official said. “People have no right to raise rare wildlife as pets.”

Cambodian authorities confiscate a lion pet in Phnom Penh after spotting him on TikTok.
Cambodian authorities confiscate a lion pet in Phnom Penh after spotting him on TikTok. Photograph: Cambodia Ministry Of Environment/EPA

Stat of the day: Approximately 30 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer’s

Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug for the disease – Aducanumab (also known as Aduhelm) – in 18 years. But Han Yu, a professor of science communication at Kansas State University and author of Mind Thief: The Story of Alzheimer’s, argues that it is not necessarily a cause for optimism.

Don’t miss this: the female footballers fighting for equal pay

As men’s soccer teams take centre stage in the Euros and Copa América, LFG, a documentary on HBO catalogues the fight for equal pay in the US women’s national team. “The beautiful game has an unsightly underbelly,” writes Lisa Wong Macabasco.

… or this: The pain that can’t be seen

In a series about chronic pain and long Covid, Lisa Geddes explores how pain can be a disease in itself and how the pandemic could be making it worse.

Last Thing: Yabba dabba deal! California town settles over Flinstones-themed house

Florence Fang at her Flinstones-themed house in Hillsborough, California.
Florence Fang at her Flinstones-themed house in Hillsborough, California. Photograph: Cayce Clifford/The Guardian

Describing the inspiration behind her Flinstones-themed house, featuring sculptures inspired by the 1960s cartoon, Florence Fang told the Guardian in 2019: “I wanted to decorate with the past and the future combined together in harmony.” But the retired publisher and her local authorities did not see eye to eye. Fang was accused of creating “a highly visible eyesore” by the town of Hillsborough, in the San Francisco suburbs, which called her William Nicholson-built home a “highly visible eyesore” and sued her. Fang countersued and now the town has reportedly settled and agreed to pay her $125,000.

Sign up

Sign up for the US morning briefing

First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email [email protected]