“BEST NEWS EVER!!!!” That’s how Kim Kardashian West reacted to news that President Donald Trump commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old imprisoned for drug trafficking. The reality TV star met Trump at the White House last week to push for prison reform and urge clemency for Johnson, who has spent more than 21 years behind bars for her nonviolent offense. The White House called her “a model prisoner.” The move follows several recent pardons by Trump of people supported by conservatives or media stars.
The Presidential Daily Brief
While some important races remain too close to call, Democrat Gavin Newsom is poised to become California’s next governor after yesterday’s primaries placed him in head-to-head competition against Trump-endorsed Republican John Cox in the strongly Democratic state. It’s good news for Republicans, though, who had feared November’s race would be a runoff between Democrats, damaging GOP momentum in the state. Meanwhile, Democrats are fighting to get on the ballot in at least three competitive districts that are critical to their strategy for winning back the House.
The celebrated businesswoman, 55, left a note before dying of an apparent suicide in her New York City apartment yesterday. Spade’s sister told reporters that the designer had long suffered from mental illness but resisted seeking treatment, fearing it would damage her cheerful brand. She and husband Andy Spade launched her eponymous accessories company, known for its irreverent handbags and bright colors, in 1993 — then sold it in 2007 for $125 million. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour described Spade as a “thoroughly American young woman who changed everything.”
After a massive volcanic eruption sent ash 33,000 feet into the air Sunday, authorities say the crisis has worsened with a smaller eruption yesterday that caught villagers and rescue workers by surprise. Nearly 200 people are still missing, 75 are confirmed dead, and thousands have been evacuated from the immediate area. The volcano continued to show signs of increased activity last night, leading to clogged roads as more people fled the path of destruction. Authorities say up to 1.7 million Guatemalans have been affected by the disaster.
The company admitted Tuesday that it provided user information to four Chinese device makers, including telecommunications giant Huawei, which has ties to the Chinese government and has been flagged by U.S. intelligence as a security threat. The deal, which dates to at least 2010, shares data — including religious and political leanings, work and education history, and relationship status — about users and their friends in an effort to bring more mobile users to Facebook. The company said it would end its deal with Huawei by the end of the week.
Know This: Ethiopia has unexpectedly accepted a peace deal with rival Eritrea based on an agreement signed 18 years ago. The California judge who controversially handed down an extremely lenient sentence to a Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault in 2016 has been recalled by voters, the first time that’s happened since 1977. And Kelly Sadler, the White House aide who joked about Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer, has left her job with the administration.
Read This: Attorney General Jeff Sessions vigorously defended the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant parents from their children on a conservative radio show, dismissing host Hugh Hewitt’s stated moral reservations by saying, “If people don’t want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them.” The policy has sparked outrage and horror from many Americans.
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There she is, fully clothed. Under the new leadership of 1989 Miss America and former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, the event will not judge contestants’ outward appearance anymore. “We are no longer a pageant,” Carlson said. “We are a competition.” The contest’s “empowering” #MeToo-era makeover will reportedly focus on participants’ talents and social-impact initiatives. Carlson replaced former CEO Sam Haskell, who was ousted over leaked lewd emails that prompted former winners to launch a #SaveMissAmerica campaign. The contest will be broadcast from Atlantic City on Sept. 9.
That won’t fly. Akbar al-Baker has hit some turbulence for suggesting his job is too “challenging” for a woman to do after being asked about the lack of female representation in the Middle East’s aviation industry. The remark came during a press conference at the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting in Sydney. Al-Baker’s just begun a one-year term as chairman of the predominantly male IATA board of governors. He later insisted the comment had been a joke and emphasized Qatar Airways’ commitment to gender equality.
The Israel-based ancestry and DNA-testing site has reported that a security researcher discovered the email addresses and encrypted passwords of 92,283,889 users on a private server this week. MyHeritage is advising anyone who signed up before Oct. 26, 2017, to change passwords as a precaution. But the company says DNA and genealogy information, as well as credit card details, weren’t stored in the same place and appear to be secure. MyHeritage has hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate the breach.
It was a crude economic model. After decades of relying heavily on oil exports, the Middle Eastern country felt the pain of 2015’s drop in prices. Now many in Oman have realized they can no longer afford to ignore art and culture in favor of an oil-centric economy. At the vanguard is a new generation of young artists — many of them women — who have exhibited around the world. Although crude oil still accounts for 44 percent of Oman’s exports, its artistic wells are far from running dry.
He’s looking to assist. The New York Post reports Rodman will be in Singapore for President Donald Trump’s June 12 meeting with North Korean leader and basketball fan Kim Jong Un. “The Worm” has visited North Korea five times and even gave Kim a copy of Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, for his birthday in 2017. Rodman’s representative said the trip hasn’t been confirmed, but that the former NBA star is “hoping for a great historic outcome.” Trump and Kim are due to meet at Singapore’s Capella Hotel next Tuesday.