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Cult leader executed for Tokyo sarin attack

Seven members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which carried out the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, have been executed, according to Japanese officials.

Posted: Jul 8, 2018 1:13 AM
Updated: Jul 8, 2018 1:29 AM

It's still hot y'all, and there's a dangerous heat wave coming for everyone in California and the Southwest. Stay hydrated, find some shade and bask in the AC. Here's what 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. Scott Pruitt

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is out after months of speculation and scandal. His resignation came just two days after a CNN investigation revealed an ex-top aide alleged Pruitt and his staffers held regular meetings to "scrub" controversial events from his calendar. The ethics clouds had been gathering long before that, though, as lawmakers from both parties, environmental groups and government watchdogs raised questions about his spending, housing arrangements, security team and raises for political appointees. Pruitt is the subject of 14 probes into his conduct as EPA chief, and the agency's inspector general says they will continue. Still, President Trump yesterday stuck with Pruitt, tweeting that he has "done an outstanding job." EPA deputy Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, takes over for Pruitt.

2. China trade

Starting today, the US and China are imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on each other. The Trump administration's 25% tariffs target more than 800 Chinese products worth $34 billion, including industrial machinery, medical devices and auto parts. China's tariffs on US goods also went into effect, with China claiming the US is starting "the biggest trade war in economic history." But the game's not over. The US is set within weeks to slap tariffs on more Chinese goods, and China has vowed to retaliate. All this is supposedly happening because the Trump administration wants to pressure China to abandon unfair practices, such as stealing intellectual property and forcing US companies to hand over valuable technology. Beijing denies it's in the wrong and says it's ready to fight a trade war until the end. Meantime, some say a trade war could spread across Asia and push the US into a recession.

3. Bill Shine

Veteran Fox News executive Bill Shine is President Trump's new deputy chief of staff for communications, and to say it is a controversial hire would be an understatement. The former co-president of Fox News resigned last year after being accused of covering up sexual harassment scandals involving on-air talent at the network over decades. He was a key deputy of powerful Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who resigned in 2016 amid high-profile allegations of sexual misconduct. In addition to his troublesome history at Fox News, critics of Shine worry that his presence in the White House will further close the symbiotic echo chamber between the President and his favorite news network.

4. Thai cave rescue

A tragic update in the effort to rescue 13 people from a flooded cave in Thailand: A former Thai Navy diver assisting with the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach died early Friday morning while trying to exit the flooded tunnels around the cave. Former Sgt. Saman Kunan, 38, was returning from delivering oxygen tanks to the cavern when he ran out of air underwater. The rescue mission has proven to be treacherous and complex and could be very, very long. The boys and their coach have already been trapped for nearly two weeks, and a doctor who visited the group said it may be too dangerous to move them right now, as several are exhausted and malnourished.

5. Japanese cult executions 

Seven members of a Japanese cult have been executed for carrying out a deadly 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway that left more than a dozen people dead and thousands injured. The leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, known as Shoko Asahara, had been in prison for 22 years before his death. Asahara founded Aum Shinrikyo in 1984 and quickly attracted thousands of disciples with his religious teachings, new-age tactics and forecasts of a nuclear apocalypse that would turn Japan into a wasteland. The cult is linked to other attacks, but the 1995 gas attack was the most deadly and infamous.

TODAY'S NUMBER

10 days 

That's how long it's been since the US has said exactly how many kids separated from their families at the border are in custody. According to a US district judge's ruling, today is the deadline for officials to make sure every separated parent has a way to contact their child. By July 10, children younger than 5 must be reunited with their parents. And by July 26, all children should be reunited with their parents.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Former MSNBC host Ed Schultz has died 

The broadcaster most recently anchored a show on RT America. He was 64.

Why people get headaches looking at buildings 

Inexplicably, this article is topped with a big ol' picture of a building, so ...

The Postal Service has to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor because it styled a stamp after his replica Statute of Liberty and not the real one 

Truly, an American success story. 

Newlyweds escape falling tree branch while recording wedding video

That's either a very GOOD sign or a very BAD sign.

A giant Donald Trump baby balloon will fly near Parliament during Trump's visit next week to the UK

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a ... giant diapered rendering of the US President!

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time!

Seattle became the latest US city to ban certain plastic items from food service businesses. Which of the following are NOT included in the ban?

a) straws

b) utensils

c) bags

d) cocktail picks

Play Total Recall: The CNN news quiz to see if you're right.

You can also find a version of the quiz on your Amazon devices! Just say, "Alexa, ask CNN for a quiz."

TODAY'S QUOTES

"We'll take that little kit and say, we have to go it gently because we are in the Me Too generation, and we will very gently take that kit, slowly toss it (to her)."

President Donald Trump, mocking US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (and the #MeToo movement) by saying she should take a DNA test to prove her claim of Native American heritage

"I don't believe them at all. I believe him. Jim Jordan is one of the most outstanding people I've met since I've been in Washington. I believe him 100%."

President Donald Trump, emphatically supporting GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, who is accused by two former student athletes of knowingly overlooking the sexual abuse of wrestlers he coached at Ohio State University

AND FINALLY

HOW HYPE ARE YOU FOR THE WEEKEND!?!

Maybe it's just me, but old workout videos are truly gifts from the past. Now, go high-kick Friday's behind! (Click to view.)

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Turning Muggy with Some Storms.
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