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The Morning Rundown™

Morning Rundown: China spy balloon spotted; Pence talks with FBI

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China said it was looking into reports of a Chinese spy balloon spotted over the United States; former Vice President Mike Pence has spoken with the FBI about a potential search of his house; and lab-grown coral could save a reef off the Florida Keys. These stories and more highlight the daily morning rundown for Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.

Chinese spy balloon spotted over U.S.

Ongoing tensions between the United States and China may be heightened after a suspected spy balloon was spotted over the Billings, Montana, area.

“China has no intention to violate the territory and airspace of any sovereign countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said at a press conference Friday.  The discovery of the spy balloon comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to make his first trip to Beijing this weekend.

“The timing is unusual and in many respects unfortunate. President Biden has talked about keeping lines of communication open to the Chinese government and secretary Blinken’s trip to the People’s Republic of China in the coming days was part of that effort,” RAND senior international sefense researcher John Parachini said.

“This creates a complication for both the United States and China to discuss and it’s an unfortunate provocation,” Parachina said.

Pence, FBI discuss house search

Former Vice President Pence is in talks with the FBI about the bureau conducting a consensual search of Pence’s home. The talks come following the discovery of classified documents at the home.

A date for the potential search has not been set. It could happen within the next few days. CNN reported Pence’s Washington office could also be searched.

Northeast prepares for bitter temps

After an ice storm swept across the south this week killing at least 8 people, now the northeast is bracing for potentially the coldest temperatures felt in decades. Some places like Maine could experience feels-like temps as low as negative 50 to negative 60 degrees this weekend.

Wind chill warnings went into effect this morning for 15 million Americans along the northeast and will continue into Saturday afternoon.

Domestic violence gun law struck down

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that people who have domestic violence restraining orders against them still have the right to own guns, overturning federal law.

A Texas man argued the law was unconstitutional after he wasn’t allowed to own guns following a domestic dispute. It led to a protective order banning him from harassing, stalking or threatening his ex-girlfriend and their child.

While a federal appeals court earlier ruled against him, they have now reversed the path. A Judge panel ruled the law unconstitutional. They said it is unconstitutional to take gun-ownership rights away from people based on domestic violence restraining orders.

The U.S. Justice Department has already released a statement, condemning the ruling and signaling toward an appeal.

State gun laws rapidly changing

This comes as gun laws at the state level are rapidly changing.

California’s governor introduced a bill just this week. It would ban people from carrying concealed guns in nearly all public spaces, unless a business owner puts up a sign that says “guns are okay.”

Lab-grown coral could save species

An outbreak of a coral loss disease is threatening the world’s third-largest coral reef located right off the Florida keys. 20 of the 45 species found there are said to be threatened by the outbreak.

Now, scientists are intervening. They are removing samples of some species and placing them in a controlled lab. They are trying to stimulate breeding conditions. The goal is to one day have the lab-grown coral offspring relocated at the reef-site, potentially by the hundreds of thousands if it ends up successful.

“This is a rescue, in a real sense it’s truly a rescue. And this is truly the first time many of us have been involved in rescuing an entire ecosystem,” said Sea World Aquarium Curator Jim Kinsler.

Fake cancer patient arrested

A 19-year-old woman from Iowa is accused of faking a cancer-diagnosis to collect more than $37 thousand in donations. Now, she has been arrested for “theft by means of deception” after her cancer journey on social media went viral.

Thousands of people heard the woman’s story on the app TikTok, and more than 400 went to a GoFundMe page to donate money for her treatments.

The woman is accused of faking a football-sized tumor wrapped around her spine, due to stage two pancreatic cancer. GoFundMe has refunded all of the donors and removed the fundraiser from their website.

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KARAH RUCKER: THE NORTHEAST IS FACING A RECORD-BREAKING BITTER COLD THIS WEEKEND; A CHANGE IN GUN LAWS RELATED TO RESTRAINING ORDERS; AND A WOMAN WHO FAKED A CANCER DIAGNOSIS IS ARRESTED.

BUT WE FIRST BEGIN WITH NEW DETAILS AFTER A SURVEILLANCE BALLOON SAID TO BE LINKED TO BEIJING WAS FOUND HOVERING OVER THE U.S. 

THIS IS STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS. UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS.

CHINA INVESTIGATES SPY BALLOON OVER U.S.

CHASE DOAK | SPOTTED SUSPECTED SPY BALLOON: “I was looking out the window like I normally do, and I just happened to spot it out of the corner of my eye and at first, I thought it was a star, but I thought that was kind of crazy because it was broad daylight and when I looked at it, it was just too big to be a star.”

CHINA SAYS THEY ARE LOOKING INTO REPORTS OF A SURVEILLANCE BALLOON SPOTTED ABOVE MONTANA…AND A POTENTIAL SECOND BALLOON THAT CANADA IS SAID TO BE MONITORING.

CHINESE OFFICIALS ARE ASKING WORLD LEADERS TO “REACT CALMLY” WHILE CHINA INVESTIGATES THE INCIDENT…SAYING CHINA ALWAYS ABIDES BY INTERNATIONAL LAW.

MEANWHILE U.S. OFFICIALS SAY THEY’RE CLOSELY MONITORING THE BALLOON…FLYING WELL-ABOVE COMMERCIAL AIR TRAFFIC.

AND SAY THERE IS NO THREAT OF DANGER FROM THE FOUND-OBJECT.

JOHN PARACHINI | SR. INTERNATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCHER, RAND: “So The timing is unusual and in many respects unfortunate. President Biden has talked about keeping lines of communication open to the Chinese government and Secretary Blinken’s trip to the People’s Republic of China in the coming days was part of that effort, so this creates a complication.” 

DOJ, PENCE DISCUSS FBI SEARCH

FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS ARE IN TALKS WITH FORMER VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE ON CONDUCTING A CONSENSUAL SEARCH OF HIS RESIDENCE AFTER IT WAS DISCOVERED LAST WEEK THAT CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS WERE AT HIS HOME IN INDIANA.

A DATE FOR THE POTENTIAL-SEARCH HAS NOT BEEN SET…BUT COULD COME WITHIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

THE FBI WOULD BE LOOKING FOR ANY OTHER CLASSIFIED MATERIALS THAT COULD HAVE MADE THEIR WAY FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO A PRIVATE RESIDENCE.

 

NORTHEAST BRACES FOR BITTER TEMPS

AFTER AN ICE STORM SWEPT ACROSS THE SOUTH THIS WEEK KILLING AT LEAST 8 PEOPLE —

NOW THE NORTHEAST IS BRACING FOR POTENTIALLY THE COLDEST TEMPERATURES FELT IN DECADES…

SOME PLACES LIKE MAINE COULD EXPERIENCE FEELS-LIKE TEMPS AS LOW AS NEGATIVE 50 TO NEGATIVE 60 DEGREES THIS WEEKEND.

WIND CHILL WARNINGS WENT INTO EFFECT THIS MORNING FOR 15 MILLION AMERICANS ALONG THE NORTHEAST..AND WILL CONTINUE INTO SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GUN LAW STRUCK DOWN

A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT RULED THURSDAY THAT PEOPLE WHO HAVE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS AGAINST THEM STILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO OWN GUNS, OVERTURNING FEDERAL LAW.

A TEXAS MAN ARGUED THE LAW WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AFTER HE WASN’T ALLOWED TO OWN GUNS FOLLOWING A DOMESTIC DISPUTE THAT LED TO A PROTECTIVE ORDER BANNING HIM FROM HARASSING, STALKING OR THREATENING HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND AND THEIR CHILD.

WHILE A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT EARLIER RULED AGAINST HIM, THEY HAVE NOW REVERSED PATH…

JUDGE PANEL RULED LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL

SAYING IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL TO TAKE GUN-OWNERSHIP RIGHTS AWAY FROM PEOPLE BASED ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS.

THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS ALREADY RELEASED A STATEMENT, CONDEMNING THE RULING AND SIGNALING TOWARD AN APPEAL.

STATE GUN LAWS RAPIDLY CHANGING

THIS COMES AS GUN LAWS AT THE STATE LEVEL ARE RAPIDLY CHANGING.

CALIFORNIA’S GOVERNOR INTRODUCING A BILL JUST THIS WEEK THAT WOULD BAN PEOPLE FROM CARRYING CONCEALED GUNS IN NEARLY ALL PUBLIC SPACES…UNLESS A BUSINESS OWNER PUTS UP A SIGN THAT SAYS “GUNS ARE OKAY.”

LAB-GROWN CORAL COULD SAVE SPECIES

AN OUTBREAK OF A CORAL LOSS DISEASE” IS THREATENING THE WORLD’S THIRD-LARGEST CORAL REEF LOCATED RIGHT OFF THE FLORIDA KEYS.

20 OF THE 45 SPECIES FOUND THERE ARE SAID TO BE THREATENED BY THE OUTBREAK. SCIENTISTS ARE INTERVENING.

THEY ARE REMOVING SAMPLES OF SOME SPECIES…PLACING THEM IN A CONTROLLED LAB…AND TRYING TO STIMULATE BREEDING CONDITIONS.

THE GOAL IS TO ONE DAY HAVE THE LAB-GROWN CORAL OFFSPRING RELOCATED AT THE REEF-SITE..POTENTIALLY BY THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IF IT ENDS UP SUCCESSFUL.

JIM KINSLER | AQUARIUM CURATOR, SEAWORLD ORLANDO: “This is a rescue, in a real sense It’s truly a rescue. And this is truly the first time many of us have been involved in rescuing an entire ecosystem.”

FAKE CANCER PATIENT ARRESTED

A 19 YEAR OLD WOMAN FROM IOWA — ACCUSED OF FAKING A CANCER-DIAGNOSIS TO COLLECT MORE THAN 37 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DONATIONS.

HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR “THEFT BY MEANS OF DECEPTION.” HER “CANCER JOURNEY” ON SOCIAL MEDIA WENT VIRAL.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HEARD THE WOMAN’S STORY ON THE APP TIK-TOK AND MORE THAN 400 WENT TO A GOFUNDME PAGE TO DONATE MONEY FOR HER TREATMENTS.

THE WOMAN IS ACCUSED OF FAKING A FOOTBALL-SIZED TUMOR WRAPPED AROUND HER SPINE…DUE TO STAGE TWO PANCREATIC CANCER.

GOFUNDME HAS REFUNDED ALL OF THE DONORS AND REMOVED THE FUNDRAISER FROM THEIR WEBSITE.

LOUIS FRILLMAN | DONATED TO GOFUNDME: “We’ve been charitable most of our adult lives, and people who inflict pain like this young lady has done, my opinion is that they’re in a lot of pain themselves.”