1. Mexico quake
Mexico City and the surrounding areas are still digging out from the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit on Tuesday. At least 250 people are dead, and rescue efforts are on for the missing, including a 12-year-old girl trapped in the rubble of school where 21 children and four adults died. Despite the pain and uncertainty, Mexican communities are coming together to show their strength and assist where they can: People are learning a new disaster code, like that a raised hand at a rescue site means silence. The gesture has become not only a life-saving tool but a gesture of hope and solidarity.
2. Hurricane Maria
At least 14 people are dead after Hurricane Maria barreled through the island of Dominica. The storm also left all of Puerto Rico without power, possibly for months. "This is total devastation," said a spokesman for the US territory, which now must figure out how to rebuild in the midst of 11 years of recession. As of early this morning, Maria is a Category 3 storm and is beating a path to the Turks and Caicos Islands, where it's likely to strengthen. The best-case scenario is that the storm skirts the island chain, 40 to 50 miles to the east.
3. Health care
Senate Republicans continue to sound optimistic about their chances of passing their last last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare before their window to do so relatively easily closes at the end of the month. If you're not completely up on the Graham-Cassidy bill, here's your chance: no more individual and employer mandates, and no more Medicaid-expansion funding.
The bill also would loosen Obamacare's rules that protect people with pre-existing conditions, something late-night comic Jimmy Kimmel -- whose infant son had to have open-heart surgery -- said Cassidy promised him it wouldn't do. As Congress debated the bill, President Trump, speaking at the United Nations, praised the health care system -- of a nonexistent African nation.
source: NYT, cnn
Facebook's position in the Russian investigation is getting even more uncomfortable. The social media behemoth will hand over information about 3,000 ads it sold to Russian-linked accounts to the House and Senate intelligence committees, founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday. Earlier this month, Facebook admitted to selling ads to accounts linked to a Russian troll farm between 2015 and 2017.
In slightly related news, Facebook is also pulling a feature that helped advertisers target anti-Semitic users. Coincidentally, people are also noticing that Facebook will point out Jewish holidays to users despite the users not listing a religion. Apparently, the company uses browsing behavior and geolocation to estimate religious interests. And it's really creeping people out.
5. Robert Mueller
Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested documents and information covering a range of events from President Donald Trump's White House, including two firings and an Oval Office meeting, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. Mueller's investigators are looking for documents and emails relating to the dismissals of national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI director James Comey, according to the sources.
In addition, one source confirms that Mueller's team wants information connected to the Oval Office meeting Trump had with Russian officials in which he bragged about firing Comey, saying it eased pressure on his White House. The requests show that parts of Mueller's investigation are focusing on the President's own actions.