5 things to know for March 8: Manafort, politics, China, fish fraud, conjoined twins

CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez shares color from the courtroom during President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's sentencing.

Posted: Mar 8, 2019 8:00 AM
Updated: Mar 8, 2019 8:00 AM

It's International Women's Day! Kick the day off with inspiring quotes from 16 powerful women. Or visit the bakery in India that helps women rise above poverty and abuse. 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. Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on bank fraud and tax evasion convictions. That sentence is a lot shorter than prosecutors wanted -- they were hoping for up to 25 years -- and sent shockwaves through the political world. The federal judge who sentenced him also made a point to say Manafort, Donald Trump's ex-campaign chairman, was "not before the court for anything having to do with colluding with the Russian government." President Trump will probably happily tweet about that today. Democrats ripped the sentence as inadequate. Legal experts shared examples of people who got a lot more time for doing less than what Manafort did. But this story isn't over. Manafort faces a different judge next week to be sentenced on conspiracy and witness tampering convictions, which could still yield substantial prison time.

2. Politics

The House passed a resolution that condemns hate and intolerance, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination. Democrats hope this puts an end to the controversy swirling around freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's comments related to Israel. Before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she didn't think Omar's comments were "intended in any anti-Semitic way" and Omar may not have understood "the full weight" of how her remarks were interpreted. GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said the resolution was a "sham" put forth by Democrats who didn't want to call out one of their own.

Meanwhile, it looks like Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against President Trump is over. A federal judge tossed out her suit, which sought to invalidate a $130,000 hush money agreement, because the suit "lacks subject matter jurisdiction." The judge remanded the case back to where it was first filed. Daniels, an adult film star, says she and Trump had an affair in 2006, which Trump denies.

3. China

China's economy looks a lot more wobbly lately. The latest sign: Chinese exports plunged 21% in February, compared with a year earlier. That's the weakest performance in three years, and it was a lot worse than economists had predicted. This is partly due to the trade war with the US, but that's not the only worry for the Chinese. The export slump indicates "global demand is cooling," one economist says. The International Monetary Fund expects global economic growth to decline this year, and the European Central Bank warned of a "sizeable reduction" in economic expansion.

4. Fish mislabeling

Are we all the victims of a big fish fraud? Oceana says we are. A new study from the conservation group says the fish that lands on our plates may not be what we think it is. Oceana tested more than 400 samples from markets, stores and restaurants in 24 states and Washington. DNA tests showed that about 21% of it was not what it was called on the label or menu. For example, what was supposed to be pricey sea bass often turned out to be giant perch or Nile tilapia, which are less expensive and of lower quality. Mislabeled fish is bad for people who are trying to be more mindful about what they eat, and it can be harmful for pregnant women trying to avoid fish with high mercury content.

5. Conjoined twins

Nima and Dawa Pelden are back home. They're the (formerly) conjoined twins who went to Australia late last year to be separated. They were born in 2017, joined at the stomach facing each other. A charity raised $180,000 needed for their surgery, which took more than six hours and 25 surgeons, nurses and anesthetists. Nurses said after the successful procedure, the twins wanted to be close to each other, even though they were no longer physically attached. After arriving back home yesterday in Bhutan, the twins' mother thanked the people of Australia: "You all gave me hope and put smile on my face while going through some terrible times. I just want to say, you guys are awesome."

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Social media's new influencer

Queen Elizabeth II is on Instagram. And her inaugural post was not a selfie.

Pajamas with a purpose

This principal dons a grown-up onesie once a week to help her young scholars reach an important goal.

Stepping into the spotlight

Their plight gripped the world. Now, the story of how 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach got rescued from a wet cave could be Netflix's next big hit.

Life as art

Want to do whatever you want -- and get paid for it? A new government-funded Swedish art project is the ultimate dream job for slackers.

HAPPENING LATER

'Put in a blender and blown for miles'

President Trump visits Lee County, Alabama, today to tour the destruction left after an EF-4 tornado killed 23 people. CNN's Eliott McLaughlin was there this week, and residents told him it could have been even worse.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

The February jobs report comes out later this morning. Economists think it will be pretty good, even as a broader slowdown looms.

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time

Starbucks' newest drink is made with this unorthodox ingredient.

A. Kombucha

B. Condensed milk

C. Lime juice

D. Egg-white powder

Play "Total Recall," CNN's weekly news quiz, to see if you got the right answer.

TODAY'S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

Say it with flowers

Nothing says "aloha" like a lei. Travel to Hawaii to learn the floral art from three masters of the craft. (Click to view.)

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