Happening Today: Thai Cave Rescue, EPA, Purdue Pharma, Chris Brown, Ed Schultz

What to Know

  • A Thai navy diver working as part of the effort to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave died from lack of oxygen
  • A newly unsealed lawsuit says the maker of the world's top-selling painkiller directed its salesforce to target the highest prescribers
  • Singer Chris Brown was arrested in Florida on an outstanding warrant stemming from a year-old felony battery charge

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Cave Rescuer Dies From Lack of Oxygen, Thai Authorities Say

Officials say a Thai navy diver working as part of the effort to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave died from lack of oxygen, underscoring risks of extracting the team. The rescuer, a former Thai SEAL, was working in a volunteer capacity and died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters, Thai SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference. He said while underwater, the rescuer passed out and efforts to resuscitate him failed. "Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission," Arpakorn said. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region.

U.S., China Fire First Shots of Trade War With $34B in Tariffs

The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing announced it was retaliating against American goods in a technology dispute between the world's two biggest economies that President Trump says he is prepared to escalate. Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs. Retaliatory measures "took effect immediately," said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang. He gave no details, but the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said the customs agency was carrying out a plan announced last month to impose 25 percent tariffs on a $34 billion list of American goods including soybeans, pork and electric cars. Companies worry the spiraling dispute could chill global economic growth, but Asian financial markets took Friday's developments in stride.

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns Amid Ethics Probes

Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency who was under multiple ethics investigations, has resigned, becoming the fourth cabinet member to leave the Trump administration. Pruitt will be replaced by deputy EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who will take over as acting head of the agency, Trump tweeted. The president added he thought Pruitt had "done an outstanding job" and that he would "always be thankful to him." While Pruitt earned high marks from Trump for efforts to roll back environmental regulations, among them programs begun by President Barack Obama, questions about the administrator's ethical behavior became a frequent distraction. Opponents criticized his lavish travel arrangements, his unusual arrangement renting a room in a lobbyist’s wife condo, his costly personal security demands, reports that he tried to use his position to get a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife and his attempt to buy a used mattress from Trump International Hotel.

Opioid-Maker Placed Profits Over People, Unsealed Lawsuit Claims

A newly unsealed lawsuit by Tennessee's attorney general says the maker of the world's top-selling painkiller directed its salesforce to target the highest prescribers, many with limited or no pain management background or training. Citing the public's right to know, Attorney General Herbert Slatery said OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has dropped its previous efforts to shield details of the 274-page lawsuit in state court. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Knoxville News Sentinel had also requested that the lawsuit's records become public. The lawsuit says Purdue violated a 2007 settlement with the state, placing profits over people with a deceptive narrative that claimed its opioids were safer than they actually were. The lawsuit also says the Stamford, Connecticut-based company targeted vulnerable people, including the elderly. Purdue did so while relying on continued users and high doses, according to the lawsuit: 104.3 million OxyContin tablets were prescribed in Tennessee from 2008 to 2017, with 53.7 percent of them 40 milligrams or higher. And more than 80 percent of Purdue's business consistently came from continued users, the lawsuit says.

Singer Chris Brown Arrested After Show for Felony Battery Warrant

Singer Chris Brown was arrested in Florida on an outstanding warrant stemming from a year-old felony battery charge. The 29-year-old was taken into custody by Palm Beach Sheriff’s deputies, according to NBC affiliate WPTV, after playing a show at the Coral Sky Amphitheater. Brown was released on $2,000 bond. Tampa Police say Brown allegedly punched a photographer following an April 2017 show. The warrant was out of Hillsborough County. Brown, currently on a nationwide tour promoting his new album, made national headlines when he was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna, in 2009.

TV Anchor Ed Schultz Dies at 64, Reports Say

Longtime TV and radio personality and former MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz has died at 64, several news outlets reported. A longtime colleague confirmed the reports to NBC News. Schultz had been the host of "The News With Ed Schultz" at RT America, which said he died at his home in Washington. "This announcement comes as a shock to all of us here at RT America," the channel said in a statement. When his MSNBC show, "The Ed Show," was canceled in July 2015, Schultz told his viewers that "I tried to focus on things that were important to American families, American workers and the issues that were pertinent of our time."

Brad Paisley Invites Boston Officers Onstage for His Next Mass. Visit

A fun, patriotic video of two Boston Police Department officers singing "God Bless America" caught the eye of one famous musician who invited the duo on stage for his next Massachusetts stop. The viral "Cop Pool Karaoke" video reached country singer Brad Paisley, who was so impressed with the duo’s performance that he reached out to them via Twitter. "Happy 4th everyone!" the musician wrote on his repost of the video. "Oh and if you officers wanna sing when I play MA in August, open invite." Officers Kim Tavares and Stephen McNulty, the stars of the viral video, have yet to reply to the offer. Their performance also inspired the New York Police Department to post their own version of "Cop Pool Karaoke."

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