An extensive New York Times investigation into confidential financial records, particularly those of Fred Trump, President Donald Trump’s father, reveals that the patriarch gifted his children over $1 billion throughout their lifetimes. While that should have resulted in a $550 million tax bill, the family paid $52.2 million, reportedly through “dubious tax schemes” and “outright fraud.” The president’s lawyer denounced the report — which contradicts Trump’s self-made wealth claims — as “100 percent false” and “extremely defamatory,” but New York state authorities have launched an investigation.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“We listened to our critics,” said CEO Jeff Bezos, “and decided we wanted to lead.” The new $15 hourly wage takes effect Nov. 1 for 250,000 regular employees and 100,000 seasonal workers in the U.S., while 37,000 British employees will also see wages rise. Bezos, the world’s richest person, conceded political pressure was a factor. Amazon’s recent ascent to $1 trillion market capitalization made it a low-wage poster child, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who praised the $15 minimum, proposing a law to charge companies whose employees collect public assistance.
Indonesia’s Sulawesi island is already struggling with the double disaster of Friday’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami that killed at least 1,350 people. This morning, a new danger literally erupted: Mount Soputan began shooting ash nearly 20,000 feet into the air, creating a risk for aircraft bringing supplies to the ravaged island. Meanwhile, police are guarding businesses against looters in coastal Palu, which was swamped by the tsunami and has no running water or electricity, as humanitarian aid convoys begin to arrive.
A “suspicious envelope” addressed to President Trump is being linked to two ricin-laced letters delivered Monday to the Pentagon, addressed to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Navy Adm. John Richardson. The letter to the president never made it inside the White House, a Secret Service spokesperson said. Sources described the substance as a crude castor bean concoction that authorities were hesitant to label as ricin, a deadly poison that has no antidote, without further testing. The Pentagon put its mail under quarantine yesterday, and an FBI investigation is underway.
Know This: President Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, at a Mississippi campaign rally, claiming the #MeToo movement is harming men unfairly. Federal authorities have charged four California men with rioting and assault over last year’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. French police have recaptured Rédoine Faïd, who made headlines in July with his helicopter jailbreak. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Angola: Meet the 30-year-old kuduro musician who aims to conquer Africa and beyond with his “hard-ass” dance moves and music.
Read This: “Every leap forward in American labor history — from safety regulations to the eight-hour day — has been achieved by mass mobilization of workers.” — David Sessions, writing about “America’s Missing Labor Party” in The New Republic.
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Former NCIS: New Orleans showrunner Brad Kern was fired following three investigations into accusations that he harassed and bullied female employees. Already demoted to consulting producer and suspended in June, Kern’s downfall is part of a “domino effect,” one former employee said, noting that if former CEO Les Moonves were still in charge, Kern wouldn’t have been held accountable. Mooves and 60 Minutes executive Jeff Fager were both forced out in recent weeks over misconduct claims. Another former employee noted, “I hope that this signals the end of the era.”
Heart disease caused by high blood pressure is responsible for one-third of the 3-4 year lifespan disparity between Black and White Americans, according to a new University of Alabama study. And a major cause is a Southern-style diet — which Black Americans eat much more of — with foods high in fat, sugar and sodium. That diet was more correlated with hypertension than any other factor the authors researched, but the complicated relationships between food and other factors, like stress, are yet to be fleshed out.
It’s out there. Scientists have discovered the second-farthest known object in the solar system, and its orbit appears to be shaped by an unseen force. The dwarf planet nicknamed “The Goblin” has an unusual elliptical path in its 40,000-Earth-year orbit. At its closest, The Goblin is twice as far as Pluto, but it strays more than 200 billion miles from the sun, suggesting it’s being influenced by a larger distant planet. Astronomers studying these remote objects call them “breadcrumbs” leading toward an undiscovered ninth planet.
China’s highest-paid actress, Fan Bingbing, who hasn’t been seen in public since July, must pay $128 million in taxes and fines to avoid prosecution, state media reported Wednesday. Fan is accused of “yin-yang contracting,” or reporting misleading contracts to tax authorities. Now her film projects remain uncertain, including 355, an upcoming Hollywood thriller with Penelope Cruz. Though her whereabouts are still unknown, Fan posted on social media for the first time in months today, apologizing and saying she felt “ashamed and guilty” about the tax scandal.
While still recovering from a brutal civil war, Angola established itself as Africa’s basketball powerhouse, scooping up championships left and right. Yet none of its players have ever made it to the NBA, despite 14 other African countries having players in the league. Part of the problem is that few young Angolans travel stateside for training and exposure, and the country’s visa restrictions have kept scouts at bay. But as immigration rules loosen and new NBA-partnered youth programs open, Angolans are sprinting toward playing professionally in the United States.