President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen agreed to a plea deal yesterday, admitting guilt on eight counts and telling a judge that “the candidate” directed him to violate campaign finance laws by paying hush money to women who’ve claimed sexual encounters with the president. On Wednesday, Trump slammed Cohen as a poor attorney, but praised Paul Manafort — his former campaign manager who was convicted on eight counts of fraud on Tuesday — as “a good man.” Manafort’s conviction is seen as a victory for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Facebook and Twitter said they collectively removed 676 accounts contributing to what cybersecurity analysts say is a campaign to spread fake news and propaganda in line with Iranian interests. The accounts in Canada, Britain and the U.S., some posing as real people, spread memes and hashtags criticizing President Trump’s conduct toward Tehran. Facebook says the accounts likely originated in Iran but some have links to Russia, and that about 1 million users across Facebook and Instagram followed the pages, which spent over $12,000 on advertising between 2012 and 2017.
As five dissidents face possible execution for their human rights work, which the Saudi government has labeled incitement to protest, human rights groups have focused on one: Israa al-Ghomgham, who would be the first woman put to death in the kingdom on such charges. A minority Shiite Muslim activist, she documented mass demonstrations before her arrest three years ago. Saudi Arabia has recently tried to modernize its image by opening cinemas and allowing women to drive, while cracking down on dissent. If convicted, Ghomgham could be beheaded Oct. 28.
A quarter-century after investigators accused Jakiw Palij of falsifying his background to enter the U.S., the 95-year-old who once worked as a guard at Poland’s Trawniki concentration camp was carried by gurney from his New York City home. President Trump had pushed for his deportation to Germany. Palij, born in a part of Poland now in Ukraine, was stripped of U.S. citizenship in 2003 for concealing his history, but not deported as no nation would accept him. Germany says it lacks evidence to prosecute Palij, but will take him nonetheless.
Know This: A 7.3-magnitude earthquake has struck Venezuela’s coast, but the extent of the damage is unclear. California Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife have been charged with corruption for allegedly misusing $250,000 in campaign funds. Free speech advocates are urging Nepal to repeal a new law that jails those who share confidential information. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Kuwait: Read all about Noor Al Qatami, who’s attempting to combine the grocery store, restaurant and culinary academy in one with her new business venture.
Remember This Number: $1.9 million. That’s the amount of the settlement Uber’s reportedly reached with 56 workers who say they were sexually harassed at the company.
We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a talented Account Manager to support our sales management team. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.
Part best friend, part therapist, doulas are finding new opportunities in the $300 billion wedding industry outside of their traditional roles of helping women navigate childbirth. Increasingly, wedding doulas are guiding brides-to-be, focusing not on the logistics handled by wedding planners, but on the spiritual and emotional difficulties of the day. There’s now a number of these spiritual guides for nuptials offering services across the U.S., tempering participants’ loss of independence while preventing one of society’s last rituals from devolving into just another lavish party.
They’re linking up. Led by New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, the states filed a brief yesterday supporting an effort to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s unpopular decision to roll back net neutrality. The brief, backing a January lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., represents the latest coordinated attempt to restore regulations — repealed in December — against internet providers selling “fast lanes” to some websites, effectively limiting others’ bandwidth. Other parties, such as Mozilla, Etsy, Vimeo and the Open Technology Institute, are following suit with their own legal challenges.
What a long, strange drip it’s been. Newly analyzed decade-old data from India’s Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft, collected by a NASA mapping device onboard, provides definitive proof that frozen water exists on the lunar surface, as long suspected. That means future human lunar explorers could make use of the resource to carry out more extensive missions: Ice can be distilled as drinking water, or split into oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and rocket propulsion. Further research will be needed to determine the extent and origins of the reserves.
The Italian actress, director and prominent voice of the #MeToo movement has denied allegations of a sexual relationship with former child actor Jimmy Bennett, who’s accused her of sexually assaulting him when he was 17. She claimed her then-boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain, personally paid the actor $380,000 out of court so he would stop harassing them in the months after Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. Los Angeles authorities are investigating Bennet’s allegations against Argento, while OZY’s Eugene Robinson points out that “her movement remains pretty damn strong.”
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist and 11-time world champion Jamaican sprinter, 32, who’s nurturing a professional soccer career, practiced for 45 minutes with Australia’s Central Coast Mariners yesterday. At least 100 journalists came to watch the world-famous runner lag in sprints and bow out of a half-field scrimmage with the rest of the team, who’ve been playing preseason games for two months. “The first day of training is always the toughest one,” said Bolt, who must still prove he’s worthy of a contract.