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5 things for Friday, May 19: Trump trip, Iran election, Times Square
Has any president wanted to get away as badly as Donald Trump does right now? Trump leaves today on his first overseas trip as President after what has undoubtedly been the most difficult two weeks of his term. He'll go to Saudi Arabia, Israel and then to global summits in Italy and Belgium.
Trump will leave behind the sting of the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Russia election-collusion allegations, as well as the fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey. Trump called the investigation a "witch hunt" and denied he asked Comey to end it. And speaking of Comey, we may hear from him very soon. A Republican on the House oversight committee said he's "pretty confident" Comey will testify next week. Talk about must-see TV.
As for who'll replace Comey at the FBI, Trump says he's close to making his decision and that ex-Sen. Joe Lieberman is among the frontrunners. That would definitely tick off Democrats. Sure, Lieberman was the Dems' veep candidate in 2000, but he fell out of favor after he became an independent, then backed Sen. John McCain for president in 2008. Since leaving the Senate, Lieberman has worked for a law firm that has represented Trump, a fact Democrats could seize on as well.
You thought the Iran nuclear deal was only controversial in the US? Turns out it's pretty contentious in Iran, too, and it's become a central issue in the country's presidential election, which takes place today. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who was a key architect of the deal, is running for re-election against more conservative hardliners. The election is partly seen as a referendum on both the deal, which has produced mixed economic results for Iranians, and Rouhani's part in it. His closest opponent is Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric who doesn't think the deal is all that. If you're just jumping in on this story, check out our beginner's guide.
A driver was charged with murder after a car plowed through pedestrians in New York's Times Square, killing a tourist and injuring at least 22 people. Richard Rojas also faces 20 counts of attempted murder and other charges. Witnesses described a hellish scene: a speeding car jumps the sidewalk, rams through three blocks worth of screaming pedestrians, then crashes in a fiery wreck. The suspect tested positive for PCP, told police God made him do it and said he expected officers to shoot him, a source tells CNN. The incident is not being investigated as an act of terrorism.
There's another superbug to worry about, and the place you're most likely to catch it is in a hospital or nursing home. It's a drug-resistant fungus called Candida auris, and the number of cases of it has increased from seven to 122 over the past nine months. The fungus causes severe illness with high mortality, especially among high-risk patients, like those in intensive care or who have to wear a catheter. Scientists worldwide are very concerned about it because the fungus shows resistance to antifungal drugs, "leaving no medication to treat" patients. None of the infections reported in the US has been resistant to all medicines.
The CDC also warned people to be aware of pool water that might be contaminated with a parasite called cryptosporidium that can give you diarrhea for as long as three weeks. Pool water can get contaminated by an infected person's feces.
He changed cable news and American politics with the Fox News Channel, only to be ousted from the powerhouse he helped create amid sexual harassment claims. Roger Ailes died at age 77 from complications suffered after a fall at his home. Under Ailes, Fox grew into a ratings leader, and many think the channel and Ailes' political influence helped create the environment that lead to Donald Trump's election as President.
Prosecutors in Sweden have dropped their investigation into Julian Assange on rape allegations. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for five years seeking to avoid arrest.
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Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell hanged himself, authorities say. The last song he ever sang on stage? A cover of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying."
Good morning, students. Thanks for participating in this assignment. Now stand up against this wall and let me pepper spray you. Yes, it really happened.
Former President George W. Bush photobombed a reporter live on air at a baseball game. We all thank him for giving us some much-needed levity.
Harry Styles hits the streets with James Corden, sings "Endless Love" (guess who sang Diana Ross' part?) and recreated that scene from "Notting Hill."
Here's what's happening later
A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will be taken down this morning in New Orleans, the last of four monuments the city is removing from public property.
"It was a human error, but the buck stops with me."
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, tearfully apologizing after his office mistakenly honored a cop killer.
That's how much this painting from Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for at auction, a record price for a work by an American artist.
People, let me tell you 'bout my best friend ...
An orphaned baby cow becomes BFF with a goat, and all is well on the internet. (Click to view)