5 things to know for July 12: Barry, politics, R. Kelly, immigrants, secondhand smoke

Posted at 4:11 AM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 06:22:18-04

It might be time to grab your tinfoil hat. There’s a campaign afoot by the conspiracy-minded to storm Area 51 to “see them aliens.”

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. Tropical Storm Barry

Barry may or may not be a hurricane when it makes landfall early tomorrow in Louisiana. Either way, this is a dangerous storm that people need to take seriously. The first tropical system to threaten the US this year poses a triple flooding threat to Louisiana via storm surge, high rivers and rain. The storm presents New Orleans with an unprecedented problem: The Mississippi River is usually at 6 to 8 feet this time of year there, but it’s at 16 feet now, and Barry threatens a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet. That means the river could crest tomorrow at 19 feet, a level not seen in almost 70 years. Barry also could dump as much as 10 inches of rain before it moves out. Some Louisiana parishes have instituted mandatory evacuations for low-lying areas. Click here to keep up with the latest on Barry and follow its track. Meantime in the Northeast, a separate, drenching storm system has killed two people in Pennsylvania.

2. Politics

President Trump walked away from his fight to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Instead, Trump issued an executive order asking government agencies to obtain citizenship data through means other than the census. The Supreme Court late last month blocked the citizenship question from being added to the census. Critics had argued that adding the question would drive down the number of immigrants and minorities counted in the census.

Meanwhile, across town at the US Capitol, infighting between House Democrats reached a startling new level. US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “singling out” freshman congresswomen of color. Ocasio-Cortez said while she doesn’t think Pelosi is a racist, she did find the speaker’s recent comments about progressives “disrespectful.” Pelosi was muted in her reaction, saying only, “We respect the value of every member of our caucus.” The tension highlights the tough balancing act that Pelosi faces as she tries to keep the liberal and moderate wings of her caucus united.

3. R. Kelly arrest

R. Kelly took his dog out for a walk last night and ended up in police custody. The embattled singer was arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges, sources told CNN. He’s charged with sex trafficking in New York and attempting to influence a case in Atlanta. Those add to the other charges he’s facing. Kelly in February was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse; he pleaded not guilty. Then, a grand jury in May indicted him on 11 more charges. Kelly has been dogged by sex abuse allegations for decades, but those accusations gained heightened scrutiny after this year’s Lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly.”

4. Immigration

The US might be a step closer to a breakthrough with Guatemala. Multiple sources say the US is close to reaching a “safe third country” agreement with the Central American nation. It would mean migrants who pass through Guatemala would apply for asylum there, rather than continuing on to the US, and it would likely prevent some migrants from applying for asylum in the US. The US is working to make sure there would be sufficient protections in place for people who’d claim asylum in Guatemala, an official said. Meanwhile, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids to arrest thousands of migrant families that have removal orders are set to start Sunday. Mayors of the cities where the raids are due to take place complain ICE has left them in the dark. Here’s what you need to know about the raids.

5. Secondhand smoke

You might feel pretty good about your health because you don’t smoke. But if your coworkers still like to light on up on the job, it can put your health in danger. Almost 20% of nonsmoking workers in the US were exposed to secondhand smoke while on the job, a CDC report out yesterday says. That’s important to note because people who don’t smoke but are exposed to secondhand smoke can still be at risk for heart disease, lung cancer and stroke. An estimated 41,000 adult nonsmoker deaths were linked to secondhand smoke in 2013 and 2014.


Wedding attacked

Five people were killed and 40 injured in a suicide bombing during a wedding in Afghanistan. Authorities think the attacker was a child.


Please produce your driver’s license and radiation

A traffic stop in Oklahoma produced a gun, some whiskey, a rattlesnake and (checks notes) … uranium. Wait, what?

Case closed

If you’re a fan of ABC’s legal drama, “How to Get Away with Murder,” prep for the end. The show’s upcoming sixth season will be its last.

Why we can’t have nice things

While soccer star Allie Long was being honored with the rest of her World Cup-winning teammates, someone broke into her LA hotel room. 🙁

What was she smoking?

Do “Moana” and marijuana sound alike? They do to the baker who made a marijuana-themed birthday cake.

Bowie Barbie

Barbie gets yet another makeover. This time the doll channels David Bowie’s 1970s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust.


Quiz time

President Trump’s tariffs on goods imported from China could lead to an unexpected shortage of this item.

A. Guns

B. Lamps

C. Bibles

D. Car parts

Play “Total Recall,” CNN’s weekly news quiz, to see if your answer is correct.



That’s where the Dow closed, the first time it’s topped 27,000 and an all-time high. Wall Street was in a good mood after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the Fed might cut interest rates later this month.


A numbers game

Isn’t skating on thin ice risky? This mathematician says he uses numbers to keep himself safe. (Click to view.)