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5 things to know for August 23: Overstock CEO, G7, Japan-South Korea, romance scams

Autumn temperatures hit the Northeast, and a potential area of tropical development sits off the eastern coast. CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the weekend forecast.

Posted: Aug 23, 2019 10:04 AM


Hop to it! A new study shows higher levels of physical activity at any intensity lowers the risk of early death in middle-age and older people.

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. Ex-Overstock CEO

Patrick Byrne, the CEO of online discount retailer Overstock, resigned yesterday after publishing a news release this week titled, "Comments on Deep State." In it, Byrne claimed he helped the FBI carry out "political espionage" and referred an undefined entity called the "Men in Black." Unsurprisingly, Overstock shares plummeted after the bizarre missive, but just because Byrne is out doesn't mean he's done talking. After his departure, the ex-CEO appeared on CNN and said the FBI directed him to pursue a "romantic relationship with Maria Butina" in the summer before the 2016 election. Butina is the Russian woman who has been accused of seeking to win influence in powerful Republican circles at the direction of her country's government. None of this has been verified, and former FBI Director James Comey told CNN the claims are "ridiculous."

2. G7 Summit 

The G7 summit convenes this weekend in France, and all eyes, as usual, will be on President Trump. Let's start with the good: Though the US economy is not as strong as it has been, it's still better off than most of the declining economies in Europe, so Trump is expected to do a little boasting about that. But recent divisive comments could cause some discomfort among the world leaders. The whole buying Greenland discussion and Denmark trip cancellation could sow some discord, as could Trump's outspoken support of Brexit. In fact, French President Emmanuel Macron has elected to forego the customary signing of an agreement by all the leaders at the end of the summit. Trump refused to sign the deal at the end of last year's summit in Canada and left the gathering early.

3. Japan and South Korea 

The feud between Japan and South Korea is getting worse, and it looks like China and North Korea could come out as winners. Japan and South Korea are engaged in a bitter trade dispute, and South Korea took the tension up a notch yesterday by scrapping its military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan. The conflict has threatened global tech manufacturers and important alliances, but China and North Korea have seen incidental benefits. The breakdown of communication between Japan and South Korea means security cooperation and monitoring of North Korea has diminished. It also alienates the US, which holds a strong military alliance with South Korea and Japan. With those links weakened, China may move to increase its influence in the region.

4. Nigerian scams 

Federal prosecutors have charged 80 people, most of them Nigerian, in a web of scams that the US claims has robbed millions of dollars from businesses and elderly people. Seventeen so far have been arrested. Two of the men indicted allegedly ran a romance scam out of California. In this kind of scheme, scammers reach out to women online and start relationships via emails and messages. Those usually escalate to outrageous claims of hardship and requests for money. In one scam said to have been perpetrated by the men, a Japanese woman sent her online love interest -- really a scammer -- several payments to help him smuggle a bag of diamonds out of Syria. US prosecutors estimate the suspects together have bilked $6 million. All will face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and to launder money, and aggravated identity theft. Some also will face fraud and money laundering charges.

5. Rohingya 

This week marks the two-year anniversary of the campaign of violence started by Myanmar's military against the Rohingya people, an ethnic Muslim minority. In that time, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have been left effectively stateless and many have had to seek refuge in camps along the border with Bangladesh. The two countries yesterday were supposed to start repatriating about 3,450 of the Rohingya refugees, but there's a problem: Some of the refugees don't want to be repatriated for fear of further violence and oppression. International human rights organizations have expressed concern about the planned repatriation, saying the Rohingya people would be walking right back into the persecution that drove them out in the first place.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

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US travel to Canada is at its highest since 2007 

We just love our northern neighbors (and readers!) so much!

Former US Rep. Mark Sanford calls Iowa 'the Buckeye state' ahead of a political visit 

Ohio would like a word. 

Apple advises people not to put its new credit card near denim, leather or loose change

Oh, the three things credit cards touch the most? Got it.

Kim Kardashian gathers all 4 kids for 'impossible photo'

Proving that all the money and fame in the world can't convince a toddler to stand still.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest -- the lungs of our planet which produces 20% of our oxygen -- is on fire. It is an international crisis."

French President Emmanuel Macron, who also encouraged leaders to take up the topic during this weekend's G7 summit. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called Macron's claims "sensationalist" and said calling for G7 talks was "reminiscent of a colonial mindset."

TODAY'S NUMBER

54

The average number of hours American commuters spent stuck in traffic in 2017, according to a new report. In some of the most congested areas of the country, that figure was more than double.

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time!

After a historic run, Lil Nas X's hit song, "Old Town Road," was knocked off the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week by what song?

A. "Talk" by Khalid

B. "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo

C. "Senorita" by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello

D. "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish

Play "Total Recall," CNN's weekly news quiz, to see if your answer is correct.

TODAY'S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

If I fits, I sits 

It's Friday, and I think we all deserve a classic cat video. (Click here to view.)

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1413490

Reported Deaths: 25847
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook56254010557
DuPage936411321
Will779841042
Lake691321026
Kane60062816
Winnebago34671524
Madison32372533
St. Clair29976526
McHenry29561299
Peoria23690346
Champaign21566158
Sangamon19585245
McLean18846194
Tazewell17470308
Rock Island15375329
Kankakee14741224
Kendall13481100
LaSalle12954254
Macon11177215
DeKalb10270122
Vermilion10224154
Adams9557128
Williamson8117138
Whiteside7244174
Boone693380
Ogle629184
Grundy605579
Clinton590693
Coles5868101
Knox5728157
Jackson543565
Henry515270
Macoupin497090
Livingston494193
Woodford491883
Stephenson488086
Franklin485878
Effingham482674
Marion4761118
Jefferson4662123
Monroe451494
Randolph430387
Lee423754
Morgan412592
Fulton410559
Logan407066
Christian394275
Bureau384987
Montgomery384274
Iroquois329468
Perry328262
Fayette326856
McDonough305851
Jersey278752
Saline270657
Douglas263536
Union249041
Lawrence244627
Shelby235938
Crawford218026
Bond213624
Cass210327
Carroll204837
Pike200353
Ford194050
Hancock193732
Clark190434
Wayne189653
Warren186450
Jo Daviess183524
Richland181440
White180226
Edgar179742
Washington169225
Moultrie167928
Mason163547
De Witt161129
Piatt155814
Johnson154516
Clay154043
Greene152834
Mercer151734
Wabash147612
Massac143240
Cumberland131019
Menard127912
Jasper116818
Marshall110319
Hamilton89516
Schuyler8127
Brown8086
Pulaski7407
Stark66425
Edwards63512
Calhoun5382
Henderson53414
Gallatin5044
Scott5031
Putnam4943
Alexander48911
Hardin39612
Pope3394
Unassigned632432
Out of IL120

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 767409

Reported Deaths: 13980
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1054251805
Lake569191030
Allen42938698
St. Joseph37313568
Hamilton37298426
Elkhart29749470
Tippecanoe23479230
Vanderburgh23201405
Porter19573327
Johnson18822392
Hendricks18072321
Madison13548346
Clark13533198
Vigo12834256
LaPorte12566225
Monroe12546178
Delaware11143198
Howard10672237
Kosciusko9777124
Hancock8740150
Bartholomew8262157
Warrick8069157
Floyd8027182
Grant7366181
Wayne7233201
Boone7184105
Morgan6910143
Marshall6332116
Dubois6274118
Cass6090111
Dearborn601278
Noble599290
Henry5947111
Jackson516377
Shelby510898
Lawrence4922127
Gibson462696
Montgomery458192
Clinton455255
DeKalb455285
Harrison453577
Whitley415745
Huntington415582
Steuben410660
Miami405573
Jasper401155
Knox388391
Putnam385062
Wabash369083
Adams352956
Ripley351271
Jefferson341886
White339654
Daviess3090100
Wells303581
Greene293485
Decatur292593
Fayette286364
Posey281735
Scott280058
LaGrange277572
Clay273348
Washington254037
Randolph247783
Jennings239449
Spencer238731
Fountain235250
Starke229859
Owen222659
Sullivan221343
Fulton208345
Jay202932
Carroll197322
Orange191156
Perry189739
Vermillion180844
Rush177527
Tipton172747
Franklin171935
Parke155216
Pike141734
Blackford138032
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109715
Brown106043
Crawford105616
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8348
Union73610
Ohio58111
Unassigned0428