10 things you need to know today: August 19, 2023


Hurricane Hilary bringing unprecedented storm warnings to Southwest

Hurricane Hilary is likely to bring heavy rainfall and flooding to the Southwest United States and parts of Mexico this weekend, as the region prepares for a rare tropical storm to make landfall. Hilary will likely still be a hurricane when it reaches the Baja California coast on Saturday, but is slated to decline in intensity as it moves inland on Sunday. However, this has not prevented southern California from being placed under a tropical storm watch, the first-ever for the state. The unprecedented move comes as Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim and other major cities are set to see at least four inches of rain. Areas in northern Mexico, including Cabo San Lucas, are expected to face similar weather patterns. 

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US enhances security ties with South Korea and Japan amid rising Asian tensions

President Biden met with the leaders of Japan and South Korea at Camp David on Friday, where the trio announced an increased military cooperation and security alliance amidst rising tensions with China and North Korea. Joined by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Biden said that “the ties between our democracies has long been a priority for me, dating back to when I was vice president of the United States.” Biden added that “our countries and the world would be safer” if the three nations worked together. The alliance marks a turning point for Japan and South Korea, whose relationship has been deteriorating in recent years due to historic hostility. 

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Widespread wildfires force evacuations in Canada’s Northwest Territories

British Columbia declared a state of emergency on Friday as wildfires ravaged the western Canadian province. Dave Eby, the province’s premier, wrote that the area was facing “the worst wildfire season ever” and that “the situation has evolved rapidly and we are in for an extremely challenging situation in the days ahead.” Firefighters continue to battle the massive wildfire, which has forced thousands of evacuations in the city of West Kelowna, around 180 miles east of Vancouver. Canada’s Northwest Territories have also been besieged by wildfires, as more than 200 blazes continue to burn in the province. Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, has received an evacuation order along with several other cities. 

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At least 7 killed and 90 wounded during Russian strike in Chernihiv

At least seven people were killed and 90 others wounded during a Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv on Saturday, officials said. The missile struck the city center of the northern Ukrainian locale, according to the country’s interior ministry. The high casualty total, which included a six-year-old child, was a result of people going to church to celebrate a religious holiday when the missile struck. “A Russian missile hit right in the center of the city, in our Chernihiv. A square, the polytechnic university, a theater,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram. Russia and Ukraine have been trading missile strikes in recent months as a result of the latter’s ramped-up counteroffensive. 

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Judge declines request to delay Trump’s defamation trial

A federal judge on Friday declined a request from Donald Trump to delay a defamation case brought by E. Jean Carroll. The writer sued Trump in 2019, alleging that he defamed her when he denied her allegation of sexual assault against him in the 1990s. This included the allegation that he wasn’t her “type” and that Carroll had made up the assault to sell books. In his ruling, district judge Lewis Kaplan denied Trump’s request to stay the case on appeal beyond this coming January, lambasting the former president for what he called a “frivolous” attempt to continue delaying the trial. Carroll had previously been awarded $5 million in an initial lawsuit against Trump. 



Elon Musk says X will remove ability to block accounts

X owner Elon Musk said Friday that the social media platform formerly known as Twitter will strip users of their ability to block accounts. In the latest drastic change to the platform since purchasing it in 2022, Musk wrote on his account that the block button “is going to be deleted as a ‘feature,’ except for [direct messages].” As it stands, users can currently block entire accounts on X, meaning they will no longer see that account’s messages or be able to interact with them. However, on Musk’s own post, X added context noting that the removal of the block feature would be a violation of both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. 

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Amazon relaunches its own shipping service

Amazon said Friday that it was relaunching its own shipping service to compete with UPS and FedEx, in a major shakeup to the parcel industry. The e-commerce giant restarted Amazon Shipping, which lets businesses on Amazon ship orders and products through the site itself as opposed to a third party. This is not entirely new, as Amazon already provides shipping to businesses that use its storage service, Fulfillment. However, this expanded offering means that users will have a third major choice when having their packages delivered. Amazon had previously tested the program but put it on hiatus amidst the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 to focus on other areas. 

InsiderThe Wall Street Journal


Lolita the orca dies at SeaWorld after 53 years in captivity

Lolita, an orca that was a mainstay at SeaWorld Orlando for more than half a century, died Friday, the park’s administrators said. Known in recent years as Toki by those advocating for her freedom, the orca passed away at the suspected age of 57 after developing a renal condition. She had been suffering from a number of health conditions over the past few years, the park said. In captivity since 1970, Lolita was captured in the waters of Washington state at the age of four and has been headlining orca shows in captivity ever since. She died as plans to transfer her out of SeaWorld were beginning to take shape amidst ongoing criticism of her confinement.  

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Sweden beats Australia 2-0 to win bronze at Women’s World Cup

The Swedish national team beat Australia 2-0 on Saturday to win the bronze medal at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Despite the Matildas being the tournament hosts alongside neighboring New Zealand, they were no match for the mighty Swedish team, which saw goals from Fridolina Rolfo and Kosovare Asllani en route to the victory. The win caps a remarkable run for Sweden, which was unable to reach the final but won all three group-stage games and eliminated the heavily favored U.S. team. Australia was unable to garner a medal despite having significant national enthusiasm across the country. The final will be played on Sunday between Spain and England to determine the World Cup champion. 

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Drug dealer gets 10 years for death of actor Michael K. Williams

The man who sold actor Michael K. Williams a fatal dose of fentanyl-laced heroin was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday. Irvin Cartagena had been charged with operating a drug trafficking ring out of his Brooklyn apartment along with three other men. All of them pleaded guilty, though Cartagena admitted to being the one who sold Williams the drugs that ended his life in 2021. Williams, best known for his iconic role as Omar on the HBO crime drama “The Wire,” had his death ruled an accidental drug overdose, and Cartagena was arrested following an extensive criminal investigation. Prosecutors had alleged that Cartagena was aware the heroin he was selling was laced with fentanyl. 

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