5 things for January 5: Trump book, cybersecurity, marijuana, North Korea
Posted January 3, 2018 6:08 a.m. EST
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1. Trump book
The fire and fury over "Fire and Fury," the book that allegedly contains bombshell information about Team Trump, is growing. After excerpts exposed some distressing claims from insiders, the President's lawyers fired off cease and desist letters to ex-aide Steve Bannon, who is widely quoted, and to author Michael Wolff's publisher. The publisher responded by moving up the book release date to today. In response, Trump tweeted his complaints, saying the author had no White House access, calling the book "full of lies" and coining a degrading nickname for Bannon: "Sloppy Steve."
As for what's actually in the book? CNN obtained a copy, and among the serious claims is one about that 2016 campaign meeting in Trump Tower involving a Russian lawyer. Wolff says Trump insisted the meeting was about adoption policy -- after knowledge of the confab became public -- even though reporters likely already had evidence it was set to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton.
And former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted this about Bannon's documented criticisms of Trump and his family: "While he may continue to say he's a supporter of the President and his agenda, what we didn't hear is a denial."
Cybersecurity researchers this week revealed two serious processor flaws that could leave billions of devices around the world vulnerable to all kinds of breaches. Now, Apple has confirmed that all its iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are affected by the flaws, which are called Spectre and Meltdown.
So what should Apple users do? For starters, make sure your iPhone, iPads, computers and all apps you use are kept up to date to help protect against hackers exploiting the flaws. In fact, no matter what sort of device you have, experts say you should update your software -- like, NOW -- and brace yourself for slower device speeds for a while.
The industry of green is seeing red after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a trio of memos from the Obama administration that had adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws. This means federal prosecutors can now have a serious hand in how possession and distribution is regulated in states where marijuana is legal. The news sent marijuana-related stocks tumbling and had some wondering what might happen to an industry that took in $8 billion in sales last year and is expected to grow to $23 billion nationally by 2020 and create more than 280,000 jobs.
4. North Korea
It looks like there is a bit of optimism on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has accepted South Korea's proposal for official talks in what will be the first high-level contact between the two countries in more than two years. The person-to-person talks will be held Tuesday at the Peace House in the Demilitarized Zone between the two nations, a South Korean spokesperson said. High among the immediate priorities is North Korea's involvement in the upcoming Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Both nations have seemed enthusiastic about this prospect. Other nations, however, are not as enthusiastic about the apparent thaw in diplomatic relations. Leaders from Japan and the US have expressed serious concern over the escalation of North Korea's nuclear program and have cast a wary eye at this latest detente.
5. Retail woes
It is a dark era for some former retail giants. Sears Holdings announced it is closing 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores. While the rise of online shopping has spelled a precipitous decline for those brands, even stronger-looking stores are feeling the pinch. Macy's and JCPenney both saw growth at the end of the year, but the time ahead is expected to be bleak. Macy's has also said it plans to close 11 more stores in early 2018. It's even worse for L Brands, the owner of Victoria's Secret, Pink and Bath & Body Works, which slashed its fourth quarter profit outlook and saw share values plunge 15%.
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