What to Know
- A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation
- A hardy, invasive tick that survived a New Jersey winter and subsequently traversed the mid-Atlantic has mysteriously arrived in Arkansas
- President Donald Trump, done with the nuclear summit in Singapore, has turned his attention to actor Robert De Niro
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Trump's North Korea Summit Clouded by Iran Deal Comparisons
President Trump's triumphant assertions about the success of the unprecedented Singapore summit are being met with skepticism and outright derision from critics seizing on the contradiction between his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and his willingness to accept vague pledges from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. White House officials have repeatedly stressed this week's meeting in Singapore is the beginning, not the end, of a process that Trump's team argues could have only been jump-started with the face-to-face meeting. The Singapore summit set out broad goals to be met in the coming months while the Iran deal, signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 and approved by seven nations, was an imperfect end to 18 months of negotiations, they say. Criticism that the commitment does not include specifics on denuclearization and verification is too early, they argue.
Federal Judge Approves AT&T-Time Warner Merger
A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without imposing major conditions as some experts had expected. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies. Now, the phone and pay-TV giant AT&T will be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, "Game of Thrones," coveted sports programming and other "must-see" shows. The Justice Department could appeal the ruling, although it said only that it is considering its options. The ruling could open the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution.
McCabe Lawyer Claims Government Withholding Docs Related to Firing
A lawyer for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sued the Justice Department's inspector general and the FBI, claiming they are withholding documents related to McCabe's firing in March, NBC News reported. David Snyder said he has repeatedly tried to get copies of the rules and policies cited by Justice Department officials in recommending that Attorney General Jeff Sessions fire McCabe for misleading investigators looking into the leak of information about an aspect of the FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation. McCabe has denied that he misled investigators, and his lawyers said he was cooperative and forthcoming in answering their questions. McCabe abruptly resigned in January and Sessions fired him in March, 26 hours before he was due to retire. Federal prosecutors are now looking at whether McCabe should face criminal charges based on the report's conclusions that he lied.
Invasive Tick That Survived NJ Winter Mysteriously Pops in Arkansas
A hardy, invasive species of tick that survived a New Jersey winter and subsequently traversed the mid-Atlantic has mysteriously arrived in Arkansas. No one is sure how the Longhorned tick, native to East Asia, arrived in the country, nor how it made its way to the middle of the continent. The Arkansas Agriculture Department said researchers at Oklahoma State University had confirmed a tick found on a dog in Benton County in the far northwestern corner of the state was a Longhorned tick. Until then, the bug had only been reported in New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia. Like others of its kind, the Longhorned tick can carry diseases that pose a serious threat to humans and animals. In humans, the ticks can carry diseases such as severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, which can have a fatality rate of up to 30 percent.
Massachusetts Sues Opioid Maker, Executives for Role in Drug Crisis
Massachusetts has sued the maker of OxyContin over the deadly opioid crisis and has become the first state to also target the company's executives. Attorney General Maura Healey announced the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma and 16 current and former executives and board members, including CEO Craig Landau and members of the Sackler family, which owns the company. The suit alleges Purdue misled doctors and patients about the risks of opioids and "peddled falsehoods" to sell more drugs and boost profits. Healey said the Connecticut-based company's "illegal business model" has left a "path of devastation and destruction." Multiple states have filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma for their alleged part in fueling the opioid crisis, but Massachusetts is the first state to name the company's executives personally in their lawsuit.
Bacteria in Kitchen Towels Could Lead to Food Poisoning, Study Suggests
A new study suggests kitchen towels may be breeding grounds for bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Researchers performed tests on 100 cloth towels they collected from participants after one month of use. Forty-nine of the samples came back positive for bacterial growth, including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Benjamin Haynes, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did not comment on the study. But he said the bacteria can cause food poisoning when people eat contaminated food. The study found bacterial contamination is more common in multi-use and damp towels.
President Trump Fires Back at Robert De Niro
President Donald Trump, done with the nuclear summit in Singapore, turned his attention to a show business adversary. "Robert De Niro, a very Low IQ individual, has received to many shots to the head by real boxers in movies," the president tweeted. At the Tony awards over the weekend, De Niro launched an expletive at Trump and pumped his arms for emphasis. Many in the audience stood and cheered, while TV censors quickly bleeped out the offending words. De Niro apologized to Canadians for the "idiotic behavior of my president." De Niro said Trump's remarks about Canada are a "disgrace" and apologized to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others who attended the Group of Seven summit of leaders in Canada. Trump called Trudeau "dishonest" and "weak" following the summit over the weekend.
Supreme Court Won't Remove Judge From Meek Mill's Case
Pennsylvania's highest court won't remove a judge from Meek Mill's long-running criminal case, but one justice says the rapper can raise the issue again after a hearing next week. Three judges denied Mill's request to replace Philadelphia Judge Genece Brinkley, and three supported it. The rapper's lawyers have been leveling harsh criticism at Brinkley for months. Brinkley's lawyer says she's been fair. Justice David Wecht says Mill can raise the matter anew after the hearing before Brinkley. His lawyers are seeking a new trial. Brinkley sentenced Mill in November to 2 to 4 years in prison for violating probation. Mill spent five months in jail before the state Supreme Court ordered his release. Mill has been fighting to get his 2008 conviction on drug and gun charges thrown out.