US briefing: Mueller report evidence, North Korea and Bannon’s return

Tuesdays top story: Watergate witness calls report a road map to investigating Trump. Plus, Warriors keep NBA hopes alive

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    Good morning, Im Tim Walker with todays essential stories.

    House to see Mueller evidence in justice department shift

    The House judiciary committee will soon receive underlying evidence from Robert Muellers Russia investigation, a breakthrough in the standoff between Democrats and the justice department. The deal was announced on Monday, shortly before the former White House counsel John Dean a star witness in the Watergate investigation told the committee he saw parallels between the scandal that ended the Nixon presidency and the Mueller report, which he called a road map for investigating Donald Trump.

    Kims assassinated half-brother was a CIA informant

    Kim
    Kim Jong-nam, left, was the exiled half-brother of North Koreas leader, Kim Jong-un. Photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi, Wong Maye-E/AP

    Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half brother of North Koreas leader, Kim Jong-un, was a CIA informant who had travelled to Malaysia to meet a contact from the US intelligence agency when he was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The newspaper said on Monday that, according to an unnamed person knowledgeable about the matter, there was a nexus between the CIA and Kim Jong-nam who was once considered the favourite to succeed his father, Kim Jong-il.

    • Execution sites. A Seoul-based human rights group says it has identified hundreds of sites used for public executions in North Korea as part of an arbitrary death penalty programme to intimidate citizens.


       

    Hong Kong businesses vow to strike over extradition bill

    The
    The protests are the biggest in Hong Kong since the territory was returned to China in 1997. Photograph: Jrme Favre/EPA

    Dozens of businesses in Hong Kong have threatened to go on strike over a proposed law that would allow extradition to mainland China, opening the door for Beijing to pursue its political opponents. The plan has generated the biggest protests seen in Hong Kong since it was returned to China in 1997, with crowds of more than a million demanding the territorys chief executive, Carrie Lam, withdraw the bill, which critics fear could harm Hong Kongs reputation as a safe hub for business.

    • Strike threat. More than 100 businesses have declared plans to strike on Wednesday, including restaurants, retailers, beauty parlours, yoga studios and an adult entertainment store.

    Steve Bannon could return for Trump 2020 campaign

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    Steve
    Steve Bannon: sacked, in Rome. Photograph: Marco Bonomo/AP

    Steve Bannon, the controversial populist who was Trumps 2016 campaign manager, could return to a similar role for the 2020 election, according to a new book. Bannon was exiled from Trumps inner circle last year after critical remarks about the US president were quoted in Michael Wolffs book Fire & Fury. But in an interview for The Best People by Alexander Nazaryan, Trump reportedly almost welcomed the idea of his former White House strategist returning to the fold.

    • Flattering words. Nazaryan quotes Trump as saying: Nobody says anything better about me right now than Bannon I will say this. Bannon, there is nobody that has been more respectful of the job Im doing than Steve Bannon.

    Crib sheet

    • Doctors in Sudan say paramilitaries carried out at least 70 rapes during their attack on a protest camp in the countrys capital, Khartoum, last week, in which more than 100 people were killed.

    • Up to 100,000 travellers are thought to have had personal data stolen in a cyber attack on a US Customs and Border Protection subcontractor, raising fresh concerns about the security of facial recognition and federal surveillance systems.

    • The US envoy on religious liberty, Sam Brownback, has said he is disappointed by the lack of response of governments in the Islamic world including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt to Chinas persecution of its Uighur Muslim population.

    • The Vatican has weighed into the debate on gender ideology, publishing an educational document titled Male and female he created them, to help Catholic school teachers counter ideas that deny the natural difference between a man and a woman.

    Must-reads

    Michelle
    Michelle Wolf celebrates after her controversial appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2018. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Netflix

    Michelle Wolf: I dont think about people liking me

    The comedian Michelle Wolf is best known for her controversial routine at last years White House Correspondents Dinner. But she wont be making any more Trump jokes, she tells Alexis Soloski. All that guy wants is for people to talk about him, whether its positive or negative, so I try to not give him that.

    The clothes that have lasted decades

    Lally MacBeth found her mothers old dress in a vintage store. Paul Peppiatt has a pair of 28-year-old socks. With shoppers growing tired of fast fashion and its cheap, disposable wardrobe-fillers, Sirin Kale talks to six people about the items theyve worn for decades.

    John Waynes True Grit turns 50

    1969 was a big year for westerns, boasting revisionist takes such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Wild Bunch. But, as Scott Tobias writes, it was also the year that the defiantly traditional True Grit finally yielded an Oscar for the genres most enduring star.


     

    The electricity price rises leaving South Africans in the dark

    After the ANC came to power in 1994, millions of South Africans were at last hooked up to the electricity grid. But the national utility, plagued by corruption and mismanagement, has raised prices so high that the lights are going out again, as Kimon de Greef reports.

    Opinion

    The billionaire Michael Bloomberg has pledged $500m to help the US become carbon neutral. Better than spending it on a presidential campaign, says Kate Aronoff but the best thing for the planet would be if billionaires did not exist at all.

    For every Michael Bloomberg there are dozens of Koch Brothers and Rebekah Mercers, whove poured tens of millions of dollars into spreading climate denial and blocking de-carbonization efforts at the local, state and national level.


     

    Sport

    The Toronto Raptors came within a whisker of winning their first NBA title on Monday night, only to be denied by the Golden State Warriors, 106-105, in a nail-biting Game 5 thriller. The series now heads back to Oakland, with the Raptors still at a 3-2 advantage.

    Canada got off to a winning start in the Womens World Cup on Monday, with centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan heading them to a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in Montpellier.

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