Trump to voluntarily file personal financial disclosure for 2016

Good morning, Maine. Here is your morning briefing.


It will be sunny and clear today with a high in the low 70s, a preview of what we can expect for much of this week. Check your local forecast here.

National and international headlines

Trump to voluntarily file personal financial disclosure for 2016

Donald Trump poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, May 17, 2016.
Lucas Jackson | REUTERS

President Donald Trump plans to file a disclosure Tuesday that will detail his assets and liabilities over the past year, a voluntary move that follows the practice of his most recent predecessors.

The filing will provide a look at the assets, debts and transactions of Trump’s real estate empire during the presidential election year. However, because the form only requires officials to report wide ranges of income and debt, it is impossible to use it to precisely gauge someone’s net worth. The report also does not require officials to report their exact income or tax rate or charitable giving — unlike a tax return, which the president has refused to release.

Hackers are reportedly holding a Disney film for ransom

Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse attend the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris at the park in Marne-la-Vallee, near Paris, April 12, 2017.
Benoit Tessier | REUTERS

Hackers have obtained a copy of an upcoming Disney film and are threatening to release more and more snippets of it unless the company pays a “huge sum” of bitcoins, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Citing remarks that chief executive Bob Iger made to employees Monday, THR reports that the film could be the latest entry in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, or perhaps “Cars 3.” The company is reportedly refusing to pay.

A spokesman for Disney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But the report marks the latest attempt by hackers to wring Hollywood for cash. It comes two weeks after Netflix confirmed that hackers were responsible for leaking new episodes of its hit series, “Orange Is the New Black.”

It is unclear how much the hackers demanded of Netflix, but the company refused to pay.

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russians, officials say

President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

Wal-Mart accused of discriminating against thousands of pregnant women

A Wal-Mart sign is pictured at one of their stores in Monterrey, Mexico, April 26, 2017.

Two former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employees have filed a lawsuit accusing the retailer of treating thousands of pregnant workers as “second-class citizens” by rejecting their requests to limit heavy lifting, climbing on ladders and other potentially dangerous tasks.

The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Illinois on Friday by Talisa Borders and Otisha Woolbright, who say that until 2014, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart had a company-wide policy that denied pregnant women the same accommodations as workers with other disabilities.

The class could include at least 20,000 women and possibly up to 50,000 who worked at Wal-Mart while pregnant before the policy change, according to the lawsuit. A Wal-Mart spokesman Monday said the company had not seen the lawsuit and did not have any comment.

Researchers see possible North Korea link to global cyberattack

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) test launch in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency on May 15, 2017.

Cybersecurity researchers have found technical clues they said could link North Korea with the global WannaCry “ransomware” cyberattack that has infected more than 300,000 machines in 150 countries since Friday.

Symantec and Kaspersky Lab said on Monday some code in an earlier version of the WannaCry software had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, which researchers from many companies have identified as a North Korea-run hacking operation.

“This is the best clue we have seen to date as to the origins of WannaCry,” Kaspersky Lab researcher Kurt Baumgartner told Reuters.

The Lazarus hackers, acting for impoverished North Korea, have been more brazen in pursuit of financial gain than others, and have been blamed for the theft of $81 million from a Bangladesh bank.

Still, the two companies said they needed to study the code more and asked for others to help with the analysis. Hackers do reuse code from other operations, so even copied lines fall well short of proof.

Sessions’ war on drugs has medical marijuana advocates worried

Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks out towards Mexico as he stands by a secondary border fencer during visit to the U.S. Mexico border fence in San Diego, California, April 21, 2017.
Mike Blake | REUTERS

A little-noticed document issued by President Donald Trump has put advocates of medical marijuana on edge, raising questions about the long-term security of programs now authorized in 29 states and the District that have broad public backing.

In a “signing statement” that accompanied Trump’s signature on the bill passed this month to keep the government open, the president noted a handful of objections on legal grounds, including to a provision that prohibits his administration from interfering with state-run medical marijuana programs.

White House aides indicated that none of Trump’s objections to Congress’s work signaled immediate policy changes. But given how vocal Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been toward relaxing marijuana restrictions, those who support the burgeoning industry are worried about what could come next.

“It just creates a lot of uncertainty, and that uncertainty is deeply concerning for patients and providers,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that has sought to roll back the nation’s war on drugs. “We had thought medical marijuana wasn’t really in play in terms of a crackdown.”

Miss USA calls health care a ‘privilege,’ sparks debate during pageant

Miss USA Kara McCullough of the District of Columbia speaks during a press conference after the pageant.

The Q-and-A session during beauty pageants often is a fraught situation.

Contestants are given only about 30 seconds on live television to answer questions about how to stop terrorism or whether America has an immigration problem.

As a result, it’s rare to see anyone answer a question directly.

So it was very unusual Sunday night when the new Miss USA — Miss D.C. Kara McCullough, marking the second year in a row that District of Columbia won the pageant — gave a very direct answer about health care, which in turn sparked a debate on social media.

Local headlines

Mud keeping Maine monument from full opening

The northern entrance road to the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, seen here last August, is the only road to the monument open now.
Gabor Degre | BDN

Its north entrance is open, but Maine’s national monument won’t really start its first full season for at least another week, its superintendent said Monday.

The north entrance to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument opened on Saturday, according to a brief notice on its U.S. Department of Interior website. But the monument’s main entrance, the 16-mile Katahdin Loop Road, is closed. Monument Superintendent Tim Hudson said he didn’t know when it would be dry enough to use.

“If you traveled it now, you would be just making a mess,” Hudson said Monday. He predicted a May 29, or Memorial Day opening, at the latest. “We hope it is sooner.”

Jordan’s Snack Bar up for sale

Jordan’s Snack Bar in Ellsworth, which served ice cream, burgers, fried food and a touch of nostalgia for many of its loyal customers, has listed the property for sale.
BDN file

The owners of the iconic Jordan’s Snack Bar in Ellsworth have put the business up for sale.

The listing price, through Sargent Real Estate, is just under $1.4 million.

The eatery, popular among tourists and locals alike, debuted in 1981 and quickly became a local mainstay with regulars who awaited its opening every spring.

It garnered acclaim as recently as 2015, when patrons voted the eatery home to the best burger, french fries and lobster rolls in Down East in Bangor Metro’s 2015 “Best Restaurants” contest.

Man charged in theft of rare car hood ornament

Police have arrested a man accused of plucking a rare hood ornament off a 104-year-old car.

On Friday, someone broke into a Brown Street garage and removed the hood ornament, known as the Spirit of Ecstasy, off a 1913 Rolls Royce, the Owls Head Transportation Museum announced in a Facebook post.

Kevin Roenisch, 37, was arrested Saturday after someone reported suspicious activity on Casco Street, and police allegedly found the ornament in his possession.

Living and events

Trail cams capture unseen magic of wildlife in Maine’s woods

Cresting the wooded hill, Matt Steiner set down his heavy duffel bag and looked around, assessing his surroundings — a stump, a thick clump of firs and a break in the trees where the morning sun shone through, lighting the forest floor.

“This is where I captured my first bear,” he said, crouching to unzip the bag.

By capture Steiner meant photograph. From the duffel bag, he pulled out a towel bundle and unfolded it to reveal a trail camera, commonly known as a trail cam or game cam.

The property where he places the trail cams — a 50-acre lot of mixed forest and fields — belongs to his friend and neighbor in Troy. Following narrow trails established by deer and other woodland animals, he roamed the property May 4, placing his cameras where he thought they’d most likely to see wildlife traffic.

“In the springtime, it’s really hit or miss. There are a lot of food sources available to them,” he said. “But being out this time of year, you get to see the woods come to life.”

Orchestral work celebrates Maine music teachers

The Maine Music Educators Association celebrates its 100th anniversary this month with the performance of a special orchestral piece written by College of the Atlantic Composer in Residence John Cooper.

Cooper’s “Capriccio for Orchestra (the Sublime Struggle)” debuts on May 20, the final day of the 2017 All-State Music Festival. The Maine All-State Orchestra will perform the Capriccio along with works by Hector Berlioz and Franz Liszt at University of Maine’s Collins Center for the Arts in a concert beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 20.

Dr. Carolyn Watson conducts.

Volunteer Shoreline Restoration Day

The No. 1 pollutant in Maine’s lakes is soil eroding from shorelines, roads, yards, and construction sites.

Join us for a day of service at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery and help restore the shore and protect the waters of Alamoosook Lake. Volunteers will gather 9 a.m. to noon June 10 at the hatchery to plant native shrubs, improve beach access, and place interpretive signs along the shoreline.

‘Real Pirates: An Exhibition from National Geographic’ opens to public May 26 in Portland

Three hundred years ago, the pirate ship Whydah, sank in a storm off Cape Cod laden with bounty from more than 50 captured ships.

On May 26, the classical age of piracy comes to life in Portland when the Portland Science Center at 68 Commercial St., Maine Wharf, welcomes “Real Pirates: An Exhibition from National Geographic.” Tickets for the general public  go on sale April 26, at

The 7,000-square-foot interactive exhibition showcases more than 150 artifacts, including everyday objects, personal items, and treasures, from the first fully authenticated pirate ship ever to be discovered in U.S. waters.

Exhibitions International, a leading producer of touring exhibitions, presents “Real Pirates,” with organizational expertise from the National Geographic Society.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program Sign-Up Clinic at Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s “Annex”

Eastern Area Agency on Aging will hold a Commodity Supplemental Food Program sign-up clinic at their Annex location at the Airport Mall 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 16.

This is a government food program for low-income seniors who are 60 and older. The program provides eligible seniors with a monthly 30 pound box of nonperishable goods and a block of cheese.

Those who are eligible during the clinic will leave with a box of food.