Start your Monday smart: Manafort, Brexit, wildfire tour, school starts in Parkland

No moon? No problem. Tonight's dark sky will make the spectacle of the annual Perseid meteor shower ...

Posted: Aug. 13, 2018 11:19 AM
Updated: Aug. 13, 2018 11:20 AM

No moon? No problem. Tonight's dark sky will make the spectacle of the annual Perseid meteor shower even more scintillating.

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• As the workweek kicks off, keep your eye on two running stories that could generate fireworks. First, the trial of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on tax and bank fraud charges continues, with the defense expected to launch its pushback against the feds' dramatic presentation of Manafort's lavish spending and alleged hidden accounts.

• Across the pond, negotiations ramp up again between United Kingdom and European Commission leaders, who look less and less likely to reach a Brexit deal before the UK crashes out of the European Union.


• Two US Cabinet secretaries reportedly are due to visit California to see for themselves the catastrophic damage left by this summer's wildfires. More than a dozen fires are burning across the state, claiming lives, obliterating homes and setting records for their destructive force. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are expected in Redding, where the Carr Fire is only about half contained.


• You guessed it -- more primaries! Eight Democrats are vying to decide who will face off in November against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who, in an interesting twist, just bolstered Obamacare as his poll numbers flag. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who has vowed to oppose President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, also will learn which Republican she'll face in the fall. Minnesotans will decide who competes for Al Franken's old Senate seat, along with other top offices. Two Trump-talking Connecticut Republicans are vying to challenge Sen. Chris Murphy, the Democrat who represented Newtown in Congress at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting and who often is cited as a potential 2020 White House contender. And independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, also a party to 2020 rumors, almost certainly will emerge to face one of four GOP challengers in Vermont.


• The school year opens at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and students in Parkland, Florida, can expect a "profoundly different" kind of first day. Their school, now the site of one of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in US history, will feature dozens more cameras, charged locks on classroom doors, more security staff and counselors, plus a 12-foot fence. And of course, they'll feel the absence of friends, teachers and coaches whose lives were cut short so violently. Meanwhile, due back in court is admitted shooter Nikolas Cruz, who told a detective that a voice in his head urged him the night before the February massacre to hurt people.


• We could learn the conclusion of a dramatic murder mystery full of international intrigue. A court in Malaysia is expected to rule in the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. You'll recall he died last year in a chemical attack at a Kuala Lumpur airport. South Korean Intelligence indicated the North Korean ruler ordered the killing, and the United States sanctioned the North for it. Still, the trial of a woman from Indonesia and one from Vietnam has been going on as North Korea has been on a diplomatic charm offensive. If convicted, the women could face the death penalty.

The NFL launches the second week of its preseason, with the Eagles at the Patriots in a Super Bowl LII rematch, plus the Steelers at the Packers and the Jets at the Redskins. A key story line will be whether players continue to protest racial injustice during the National Anthem.

• Madonna turns 60 (and yes, that means we're all old). She's reportedly celebrating with a fundraiser for Malawi's children. You can donate, then throw your own dance party with this classic.


An issue that has stricken at the heart of communities of color will be laid bare at a town hall discussion on gun violence and its effect on survivors. It's part of the "Circle of Fathers Conference" organized by the Trayvon Martin Foundation, which honors the unarmed teenager gunned down in 2012 by a neighborhood watchman. Trayvon's father, Tracy, will participate.

• It's also is the birthday of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who with her husband continues to be active in humanitarian efforts around the world. Happy 91st, Mrs. C!

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