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Happening Today: Avenatti, Gene-Editing, Ariana Grande

What to Know

  • Porn star Stormy Daniels said her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, went against her wishes in filing a defamation lawsuit against President Trump

  • A group of scientists has declared it's still too soon to try making permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations

  • Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up U.S. deaths last year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live

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Stormy Daniels Says Michael Avenatti Sued Trump Against Her Wishes

Porn star Stormy Daniels said her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, went against her wishes in filing a defamation lawsuit against President Trump, NBC News reported. Daniels, in a statement first reported by the Daily Beast, said aside from the defamation case, Avenatti "has spoken on my behalf without my approval," and started a new fundraising site to raise money for her without her knowledge. Avenatti told NBC News he was surprised by his client's statement, and said "a number of things" in it were "not accurate." He did not elaborate on what was inaccurate.

Pardon for Paul Manafort Is 'Not Off the Table,' Trump Says

A pardon for Paul Manafort is "not off the table," President Trump said, drawing swift rebuke from critics who fear the president will use his executive power to protect friends and supporters caught up in the Russia probe. The president's discussion of a possible pardon in an interview with the New York Post came days after special counsel Robert Mueller said Manafort had breached his plea deal by repeatedly lying to investigators. The former Trump campaign chairman denies he lied. Trump's remarks are the latest sign of his disdain for the Russia investigation, which has dogged him for two years and ensnared members of his inner circle. In recent weeks, the president, armed with inside information provided to his lawyers by Manafort's legal team, has sharpened his attacks, seizing on what he claims are dirty tactics employed by the special counsel and accusing investigators of pressuring witnesses to lie. In the interview with the Post, Trump likened the Russia probe to Sen. Joe McCarthy's pursuit of communists in the 1950s.

World Still Isn't Ready for Gene-Edited Babies, Scientists Say

A group of leading scientists has declared that it's still too soon to try making permanent changes to DNA that can be inherited by future generations, as a Chinese researcher claims to have done. The scientists gathered for an international conference on gene editing, the ability to rewrite the code of life to try to correct or prevent diseases. Although the science holds promise for helping people already born, the scientists said it's irresponsible to try it on eggs, sperm or embryos because not enough is known yet about its risks or safety. The conference was rocked by the Chinese researcher's claim to have helped make the world's first gene-edited babies, twin girls he said were born earlier this month.

Suicide, Drug Overdoses Push Down US Life Expectancy

Suicides and drug overdoses pushed up U.S. deaths last year, and drove a continuing decline in how long Americans are expected to live. Overall, there were more than 2.8 million U.S. deaths in 2017, or nearly 70,000 more than the previous year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. It was the most deaths in a single year since the government began counting more than a century ago. The increase partly reflects the nation's growing and aging population. But its deaths in younger age groups — particularly middle-aged people — that have had the largest impact on calculations of life expectancy, experts said. The suicide death rate last year was the highest it's been in at least 50 years, according to U.S. government records. There were more than 47,000 suicides, up from a little under 45,000 the year before.

Ariana Grande in New Four-Part Docu-Series on YouTube

Ariana Grande is giving fans an all-access pass into her musical life through a new documentary series on YouTube. The streaming service says Grande will be featured in "Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Diaries." The four-part series is set to launch Thursday on the "No Tears Left to Cry" singer's YouTube channel. The series will show highlights from the making of Grande's latest album, "Sweetener," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in August. The documentary will also show new footage from her Dangerous Woman Tour, which was suspended after a terrorist bombing killed 22 and injured more than 500 at Manchester Arena in May 2017. Parts of Grande's One Love Manchester concert that helped raise money for the bombing victims will also be shown.

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