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Lil Tay crypto rumor and Purdue Pharma bankruptcy halted: Morning Rundown

The death toll rises as wildfires leave a trail of “utter devastation” in Maui. We dive into the mystery surrounding kid influencer Lil Tay. And police ask the public to look out for barrels in the Missouri River after a possible witness to an alleged kidnapping was found dead in one.

 Here’s what to know today.

‘Utter devastation’ in Lahaina will take years to repair

Lahaina, the Maui town decimated by wildfires, will take years to rebuild, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said. And when that happens, it will look like an entirely new community.

“It does appear like a bomb and fire went off,” Green said yesterday. 

Glimpses of the damage could be seen in drone videos and photos from the island. The iconic Waiola Church, which has been standing since Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was destroyed. A neighboring school that taught Hawaiian language and culture to children also burned down. And a historic banyan tree was smoldering yesterday, but it was still standing — perhaps a small glimmer of hope.  

AP/AFP-Getty Images

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The death toll in the wildfires has risen to 55, and officials say they still don’t know the exact number of people who are missing. The recovery of remains of those killed is expected to take days and weeks. 

As of Thursday night, the Lahaina fire was 80% contained, but spot fires continued to break out. 

Follow our live blog for the latest updates. 

More coverage of the Hawaii wildfires

Trump lawyers and prosecutors to debate discovery rules

What will Donald Trump be allowed to say about evidence in the investigation of efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election? The answer should be determined at a hearing today in Washington. District Judge Tanya Chutkan will consider the protective order requested by prosecutors before special counsel Jack Smith’s team turns over discovery in the case.

Yesterday, Smith’s team proposed that jury selection in the case start in December and that the trial get underway on Jan. 2, 2024. However, that trial date could affect Trump’s ability to campaign in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15, which would amount to “election interference,” the former president said on his Truth Social account. 

Lil Tay.Lil Tay via YouTube

The death, then life, of teen influencer Lil Tay

This week, teen influencer Lil Tay supposedly died. At least that’s what TMZ reported. Several other news outlets published their own stories, which they later walked back — because 24 hours later, Lil Tay was alive.

Lil Tay first went viral for waving fistfuls of cash around luxury cars and publishing profanity-laced rap videos when she was supposedly 9 years old. She all but vanished from social media for about five years, until a post this week on her Instagram account announced Lil Tay and her brother’s death. 

Now, social media is abuzz trying to figure out what’s going on. Amid the confusion, some people have a theory that this is all a cryptocurrency publicity stunt.

Missouri officials seek more evidence after woman found dead in barrel

Authorities believe there may be another barrel in the Missouri River with more evidence linked to the case of a man accused of kidnapping, raping and holding a Black woman captive in the basement of his suburban Kansas City home last year. The announcement yesterday comes after the remains of a Black woman — identified as Jaynie Crosdale and described as a “potential witness” in the alleged kidnapping — were found in a blue barrel in the river. 

The suspect in the case is Timothy Haslett Jr., who has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including rape, sodomy and kidnapping after a 22-year-old woman escaped from Haslett’s home with a padlocked metal collar around her neck and duct tape on her mouth. Here’s what we know about the latest developments.

Feeling of safety slipping away for Uyghurs fleeing to Turkey

For years, Turkey was seen as a safe haven for Uyghurs fleeing Chinese repression. It shares religious, cultural and linguistic ties with this Turkic ethnic group and hosts its largest diaspora community of 45,000 people. But according to a new report, Turkey has been “losing its reputation as a safe haven” for Uyghurs as it “closely aligns itself with Beijing economically and politically.”

Idris Hasan has been incarcerated for two years in Morocco after his family says the tentacles of the Chinese state followed him to Turkey and accused him of being part of a group once classified as a terrorist organization. His family and human rights groups deny that allegation. He’s just one of several Uyghur Muslims feeling the effects of China’s influence, even outside its borders.

Today’s Talker: Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy deal is…

… on hold after the Supreme Court ruled to halt its reorganization. The ruling grants an emergency request from the Biden administration that raised objections about a provision that would protect the Sackler family from liability for lawsuits. (The Sackler family controls Purdue Pharma, the company that made billions from the painkiller OxyContin and helped fuel the opioid epidemic.) Justices are expected to hear oral arguments in December and likely issue a ruling early next year.

Politics in Brief 

2024 election: Joe Manchin is planning to skip a major White House event highlighting the Inflation Reduction Act, which Manchin helped write. It’s the latest sign of an increasingly fraught relationship between the West Virginia senator and the Biden administration as he considers a run for the presidency

Biden family: House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, who is leading the investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, said his panel plans to subpoena members of the president’s family.

Immigration: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that he would be open to using drone strikes against Mexican drug cartels if he were elected president. 

Staff Pick: Why a critical cancer drug is so hard to find

Being diagnosed with cancer is scary. Being told the drug you need to survive isn’t available is another level of terrifying. The U.S. has a severe shortage of the drug cisplatin, which treats a range of cancers, and we want to know why. Reporter Berkeley Lovelace, Jr. and data editor Joe Murphy’s map of the complex manufacturing journey of cisplatin — from the platinum mines of South Africa and Russia to packaging in countries such as Germany, Italy and India — reveals how even one problem in the supply chain can lead to a crisis. — Jane Weaver, health editor

In Case You Missed It 

  • Newly released bodycam video shows the 2021 arrest of Trump adviser Boris Epshetyn over allegations that he groped two women at an Arizona bar. 
  • The Black dock worker involved in the Montgomery riverfront brawl said he “hung on for dear life” as he was pummeled by a group of white boaters, according to a handwritten account.
  • A Utah man who the FBI fatally shot was armed when agents confronted him at his home earlier this week, a senior law enforcement official said. Authorities said he pointed his weapon at agents and did not respond to their commands. 
  • Five Americans imprisoned in Iran have been placed under house arrest in the first step of a planned prisoner exchange between Tehran and Washington.
  • A 9-year-old Chicago girl was playing on her scooter and enjoying some ice cream only moments before her neighbor walked across the street and shot and killed her, according to court records.
  • A Massachusetts couple filed a complaint this week after their application to become foster parents was denied over their stance on LGBTQ people.

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