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August 23, 2019

The Supreme Court said Friday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has finished three weeks of radiation treatment for a malignant tumor on her pancreas, which was discovered during a July blood test, The Washington Post reports. "The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body," the court said, adding that "no further treatment is needed at this time." Ginsburg was treated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

This is Ginsburg's latest cancer bout after being treated for lung cancer last December; she subsequently worked from home and returned to the court within two months. She was also treated for pancreatic cancer in 2009, as well as for colon cancer in 1999.

According to the statement released on Friday, Ginsburg maintained "an active schedule" amid her treatment, aside from canceling a summer trip to Santa Fe. NPR reports that she continued work and has not canceled any of the 11 events she has scheduled for September. In an interview with NPR published not long before this latest treatment began, Ginsburg opened up about her health, saying, "There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months. That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I am very much alive." Brendan Morrow

August 23, 2019

Businessman, prolific political donor, and philanthropist David Koch has died at 79, CBS News and NBC News report.

The death of Koch, who was ranked by Forbes as the 11th richest person in the world in 2019 with a net worth of $42 billion, was confirmed on Friday by his brother, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch, in a statement per CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

Along with his brother Charles, Koch had been an extraordinarily influential conservative political donor and activist for decades. During the 2012 presidential election, the Koch brothers' network spent nearly $400 million, The New York Times reports, and it spent more than $1 billion in the past few elections, NBC News reports. The network earlier this year said it would stay out of the 2020 election.

"With millions of dollars in donations over the years, the Kochs' contribution to today’s Republican Party has been seminal, helping to solidify doctrine that favored businesses and worked against stricter environmental regulations," the Times wrote last year.

Outside of political contributions, Koch also donated more than $1 billion to charity, The Wall Street Journal reports. He served as the Libertarian Party's nominee for vice president during the 1980 presidential election, and The New Yorker in 2018 described him as the "more visible of the brothers."

In June 2018, Koch retired as vice president of Koch Industries due to his "declining health" that was first reported in 2016, reports USA Today. "Unfortunately, these issues have not been resolved, and his health has continued to deteriorate," Charles Koch said upon David's retirement. In his statement on Friday, Charles said that David was given only a few years to live when being diagnosed with prostate cancer 27 years ago. Brendan Morrow

August 20, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not planning to administer flu vaccines to migrant families in its custody, CNBC reports.

After the flu-related deaths of three migrant children in U.S. detention since last year, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University doctors earlier this month wrote a letter to Congress calling for an investigation and "timely action," as "poor conditions at the facilities may be amplifying the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases, increasing health risks to children," The Washington Post reported.

But on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection told CNBC that "in general, due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody." The spokesperson said that "medical personnel on site are available 24/7" and that local health systems "may" provide migrants vaccination "if determined necessary."

Harvard's Jonathan Winickoff, one of the doctors who had urged congressional action earlier this month, continued to raise alarms following this news, telling CNBC that poor conditions at overcrowded facilities increase the likelihood of diseases spreading and that "the country needs urgent answers to that question so that children stop dying in detention." Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke out against this report on Tuesday and slammed President Trump, tweeting, "This cannot be America, but for as long as he is president, it will be."

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has in recent months released reports on "dangerous overcrowding" at border facilities like one in El Paso, which has a maximum capacity of 125 people but was found to be holding 900 detainees. "Corrective action is critical to the immediate health and safety needs of detainees," the report said. Brendan Morrow

August 16, 2019

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced Friday that Israel had decided to let Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) enter Israel after all, allowing her "a humanitarian visit to her 90-year-old grandmother" in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced Thursday that Israel was barring a planned delegation from Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, because they support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israel has passed a law allowing it to refuse entry to BDS proponents.

President Trump had encouraged Israel to block the visit by the two U.S. congresswoman, and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman issued a statement affirming that the Trump administration "supports and respects" Netanyahu's decision. Democrats had roundly criticized the move, as had pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, and even some Republicans called it a strategic miscalculation on Israel's part.

Deri released a letter Tlaib sent to the Interior Ministry on Thursday requesting permission "to visit relatives, and specifically my grandmother," for what "could be my last opportunity to see her." Tlaib added that she will "respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit."

August 14, 2019

A$AP Rocky has been found guilty of assault in Sweden, but he won't have to serve any additional time in jail, The New York Times reports.

The American rapper received his sentence on Wednesday after being detained in Stockholm last month over a street brawl. Prosecutors accused the rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two other men of "deliberately" attacking Mustafa Jafari, while the rapper said he acted in self-defense. He remained in custody for about a month pending a trial but was allowed to return home to the United States last week as he awaited the verdict.

The Swedish court ultimately found Mayers guilty of the assault but decided it wasn't "of such a serious nature" as to call for additional jail time beyond what he already served, and so he received a conditional sentence, NBC News reports. Prosecutors had been seeking six months in jail.

President Trump had weighed in on the case after lobbying from Kim Kardashian West, tweeting "#FreeRocky" and saying he was "very disappointed" in the prime minister of Sweden "for being unable to act." The rapper has thanked fans for their support over the past few weeks, performing over the weekend for the first time since his release. "It was a scary, humbling experience, but I'm here right now," he said, Rolling Stone reports. "God is good." Brendan Morrow

August 12, 2019

A friend of the suspect in the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio that left nine people dead is now facing charges as prosecutors also say he purchased body armor and other items that were used in the attack.

Federal prosecutors are charging Ethan Kollie, a friend of alleged Dayton shooter Connor Betts, for allegedly lying on federal forms when purchasing firearms, with these charges not being related to the shooting, The Associated Press reports.

But Kollie also purchased body armor, a gun accessory, and a magazine that Betts allegedly used in the shooting, although there is no indication that Kollie was aware of his friend's alleged plans, prosecutors said, per the AP. Kollie reportedly told agents about these purchases and said that he did so, and helped Betts assemble his gun, to help him hide the items from his parents, The Daily Beast reports. Prosecutors said the items were kept at Kollie's apartment, The Associated Press reports.

The FBI is currently investigating the "violent" ideologies of the alleged Dayton shooter NBC News reports but has not made a determination about his motive. Brendan Morrow

August 6, 2019

President Trump is taking California to court over a new law requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns in order to get on the primary ballot in the state, CNN reports.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last week signed a law that requires every presidential candidate whose name appears on a primary ballot to release five years of income tax returns, a step clearly taken in response to Trump, who refused to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election. Under the law, the candidate's tax returns would be made publicly available online. Seeing as Trump is facing no serious threat in the Republican primary, it wasn't expected to have much of a tangible effect on his re-election campaign, though.

Trump and his campaign on Tuesday filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, with the suit arguing that California's law "adds an unconstitutional qualification to the fixed set of qualifications for the presidency in the Constitution" and should be blocked by the court. Named in the lawsuit are California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The Republican National Committee also filed a lawsuit against the law on Tuesday, The New York Times reports, with this one referring to the law as a "naked political attack against the sitting president of the United States." Upon signing the bill last week, Newsom said in a statement that "states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence." Brendan Morrow

August 5, 2019

Cesar Sayoc has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after mailing pipe bombs to people and entities perceived to be critics of President Trump.

Sayoc sent 16 packages to Democratic politicians and news entities back in October, and pleaded guilty to 65 counts and to sending the packages back in March. Despite his lawyers arguing for a 10-year sentence due to an apparent untreated mental illness, Sayoc received 20 years in prison in a Monday appearance in a Manhattan federal court, The New York Times reports.

On Monday, Sayoc listed off the names of the people he'd mailed packages to, including former President Barack Obama, billionaire donor George Soros, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "I will be apologizing to them for the rest of my life," Sayoc said in court. He also claimed that "now that I am a sober man, I know that I was a sick man" when he chose to send the packages. Sayoc's public defenders had previously attributed his crimes to a mix of steroids and a heavy diet of Fox News.

Sayoc sparked panic and a frenzy of false alarms when he sent out 16 packages to Democratic politicians, liberal donors, and news entities back in October. The devices inside the packages were crude pipe bombs that probably wouldn't have ignited, and his lawyers claimed Sayoc "did not think that the devices were capable of exploding." Government prosecutors argued that the devices' actual danger wasn't the point. Kathryn Krawczyk

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