5 things for August 3: Russia meddling, death penalty, emissions, Zimbabwe, Florida

Expecting another scorcher today? It probably won't be as hot as Death Valley, home of the new (tentative) w...

Posted: Aug 3, 2018 1:13 PM
Updated: Aug 3, 2018 1:13 PM

Expecting another scorcher today? It probably won't be as hot as Death Valley, home of the new (tentative) world's record for hottest month anywhere. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Russia election meddling

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The White House yesterday trotted out some big guns -- Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, national security adviser John Bolton, FBI Director Chris Wray -- to relay a powerful message: The Russians are still interfering in the US election system and want to mess with the midterm elections, but we're going to stop them.

But that message didn't seem to make it to President Trump's rally last night in Pennsylvania, where Trump said not a word about Russia's attacks on the US democratic process. The only times he used the word Russia was with the word "hoax," a reference to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. This disconnect between a President and his national security team was particularly stunning, and CNN's Anderson Cooper called it a tale of two White Houses.

2. Death penalty

Pope Francis changed the Catholic Church's stance on the death penalty, saying it's never admissible and the church will work to end it around the world. The church now says capital punishment "is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." Historically, the church held that the death penalty protected society. But that view has been evolving since Pope John Paul II's time. Now, a Vatican spokesman tells CNN, leaders can protect society "in other ways." CNN Religion Editor Daniel Burke notes the new policy puts US politicians who support capital punishment in an awkward spot.

3. Emissions standards

The Trump administration wants to lower emissions standards for cars, but California isn't having it. The administration plans to revoke an Obama-era environmental regulation that forces automakers to make cars much more fuel efficient by 2025 -- and to withdraw California's Clean Air Act preemption waiver, which allows the Golden State to set its own emissions standards (because it has its own distinct air quality issues). This is significant because about a dozen other states follow California's standards, which means about a third of all passenger vehicles fall under these rules.

California Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, called the proposal "reckless" and promised a fight. The attorneys general of 20 states, including California, say they'll sue to stop the proposed changes. They say the plan would force motorists to pay more for gas and cause more air pollution.

4. Zimbabwe election

A winner has been declared in the closely-watched presidential election in Zimbabwe, but the losing side's not giving up its fight. The country's election commission said President Emmerson Mnangagwa beat challenger Nelson Chamisa, 50.8% to 44%, in the first election held there since former leader Robert Mugabe was driven from office last year. But Chamisa's supporters say the vote was rigged, so they're refusing to accept the results. And that anger morphed into violence, with six people dead in clashes with security forces.

5. Florida beaches

Florida's beautiful southwest beaches have a shocking feature right now: thousands of dead marine animals. About 100 miles of coastline are clogged with the carcasses of dead fish, sea turtles, sea birds, manatees and even a shark. It's so bad, the governor has put out an emergency order. The animals were killed by what's called red tide, a toxic algae bloom that strikes every year. But officials say it's been about a decade since a red tide lasted this long or was this destructive. And no one knows how long it will last.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Social media minutes (or hours ... or days)

Enough time to run a mile? Cook dinner? Go on vacation? Facebook and Instagram now reveal how much time you really spend in their apps.

Prehistoric cemetery

Stonehenge isn't just a mysterious ancient monument. It's also a graveyard. And now we know more about who's buried there.

'All I did was be black'

Add eating to the list of ordinary things that have gotten people of color reported to authorities. A Smith College student is now getting an apology.

Bold bandits

Stolen royal jewels. Thieves escaping by speedboat. No, it's not the plot of the next James Bond movie; it's just what happened this week in Sweden.

I'll be back

Linda Hamilton's coming back as Sarah Connor in another "Terminator" sequel, and the internet squealed in delight.

HAPPENING LATER

Jobs report

Some things to watch for when the July jobs report comes out later this morning: Will unemployment dip below 4%? Will the economy add more than 200,000 jobs again? And will there be any sign of drag from the Trump tariffs?

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time

A German cruise line is catching heat after an employee shot and killed what animal?

A. dolphin

B. horse

C. whale

D. polar bear

Play "Total Recall: The CNN news quiz" to see if you're right. And don't forget, you can also find a version of the quiz on your Amazon devices! Just say, "Alexa, ask CNN for a quiz."

IT'S THE WEEKEND, BABY

Hollywood's giving you lots of choices this weekend. You can go for the super sweetness of "Christopher Robin" (though our AJ Willingham thinks CGI Winnie the Pooh is super creepy), the groundbreaking comedy of "Crazy Rich Asians" or the "Hunger Games"-like dystopian thrills of  "The Darkest Minds."

AND FINALLY

Do a little dance

This cute little pup is all of us as we get ready for the weekend. (Click to view.)

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