Start your day smarter with a dossier on the most important world news, rounded off with a shot of intriguing and offbeat stories. Like the president, you deserve no less.
Oct 15, 2021
The January 6th Panel is setting the stage for legal battle as it moves to recommend criminal charges against Stephen K. Bannon. Meanwhile, a special panel appointed by Biden considers overhaul of the federal judiciary and shares a preliminary report, suggesting skepticism of expanding justices, but willingness to consider term limits. LinkedIn closes down after seven years operating in China, citing the “challenging environment”. More deadly clashes rock the streets of Beirut, exasperating the fragile nation.
1 - Bannon in Trouble
Jan. 6 Panel moves to recommend criminal charges against Bannon
Next week, the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot will vote to recommend a criminal contempt of Congress charge against Stephen K. Bannon, a former top adviser to President Donald J. Trump, after he defied a subpoena.Bannon faces criminal contempt charges for refusing to cooperate with its investigation. Mr. Bannon informed the panel last week that he would defy a subpoena, in accordance with a directive from Mr. Trump, who has told former aides and advisers that they should not cooperate because the information requested is privileged. This move is setting up a legal battle between the select committee and the former president over access to crucial witnesses and documents that could shed light on what precipitated the assault when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and disrupted Congress’s formal count of the votes that confirmed President Biden’s election. (Source: NYT, CNN, Independent)
Commission hesitant to add Justices, but open to adding term limits
The preliminary verdict is in. On Thursday, the special commission appointed by Biden to consider an overhaul of the federal judiciary suggested that adding justices might be seen as a “partisan maneuver,” but said that an 18-year tenure merits “serious consideration.” Progressive groups expressed frustration with what they called the commission’s overly cautious approach. However, Conservative groups took the opposite view, saying the commission was too aggressive.The commission’s final report is due November 14. (Source: NYT, WaPo)
3 - Deadly Clashes in Beirut
Exacerbates fears of Lebanon's stability
At least six people were killed and 30 wounded during armed clashes between sectarian militias on Thursday, raising fears that violence could fill the void left by the near-collapse of the Lebanese state. Rival gunmen, chanting in support of their leaders, hid behind cars and dumpsters to fire automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at their rivals.The fighting was sparked by protests related to the huge explosion in the port of Beirut last year that killed more than 200 people. The beleaguered country is reeling from economic and political instability, including a dramatically devalued currency, prolonged power blackouts, long lines at gas stations, and the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Source: NYT, BBC, Reuters)
After out-lasting other social media giants in China, LinkedIn is finally closing its professional networking services in the country. It is considered one of the most far-reaching experiments by a foreign social network in China, where the internet is closely controlled by the government. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in China for years, and Google pulled out more than a decade ago. LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, said it would offer a new app for the Chinese market focused solely on job postings. It will not have social networking features such as sharing posts and commenting, which have been critical to LinkedIn’s success in the United States and elsewhere. China was the second-largest user of LinkedIn after the United States. (Soure: NYT, Reuters)
President Bill Clinton, 75, in hospital for 'non-Covid infection' and "on the mend" and "in good spirits" after being admitted to UC Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday, spokesman Angel Ureña said. (Source: BBC). China's Xi to snub COP26: Chinese President Xi Jinping will snub a crucial climate conference in Scotland, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been told, The Times reported. Britain, which hosts the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow on Oct. 31-Nov 12, is seeking to get big power support for a more radical plan to tackle climate change. (Source: Reuters). Real estate heir Durst sentenced to life after being convicted of murdering his friend: New York real estate heir Robert Durst, 78, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without a chance of parole for the murder of his best friend more than two decades ago. (Source: WaPo). Trump to Testify in Lawsuit Over Bodyguards’ 2015 Clash With Protesters. The former president had long avoided being questioned in the case, and it is not clear whether his testimony will become public. (Source: NYT)
1 - Get Paid to Live
West Virginia paying people $10,000 to move for a year
Ascend West Virginia, pays full-time remote workers $10,000 to move to the state, and grants another $2,500 worth of outdoor recreation experiences and access to a co-working space, along with other perks. Over 7,500 people applied, while 50 people were ultimately chosen. Ten people already made the move. Fashioned after similar programs in other states like Oklahoma, Alabama, Michigan, Vermont, and Arkansas, these remote-work programs hope people come for a year and stay forever. (Source: WaPo)
2 - Let the Kids Play
Athletes show support for trans youth in sports
More than 150 athletes have pledged to support transgender female athletes wanting to play youth sports with teams that match their gender identity. Tennis legend Billie Jean King, World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe and WNBA stars Layshia Clarendon and Brianna Turner were among the athletes who joined the WNBA, the Women’s Sports Foundation, and the Athlete Ally LGBTQ in signing the legal brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals. (Source: TheHill)
3 - Michigan’s Mistake
Water crisis peaks in Michigan neighborhood
Seven years after the Flint water crisis was announced, Michigan officials report the southwestern part of the state is experiencing elevated levels of lead in the tap water. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Thursday to allocate federal, state, and local resources to replace all of the lead service lines in Benton Harbor. Whitmer also called on local federal partners, community organizations, and private companies to work together to provide access to safe drinking water, free bottled water, and free or low-cost lead-related health care services. Like Flint, Benton Harbor is a predominantly low-income community. (Sources: TheHill, CNN)
Netflix CEO defends Dave Chappelle amid controversy
Netflix co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, repeated his support of the controversial comedian and defended his decision to continue to air Chappelle’s new special “The Closer”. In an email to staff on Monday, Sarandos said, “We also support artistic freedom to help attract the best creators, and push back on government and other censorship requests”. He also encouraged employees “to disagree openly”. The comments come after the trans employee resource group announced they will be holding a virtual walkout in protest of the company’s decision. (Source: CNN)
5 - No Comment
Actor Jonah Hill asks fans to stop commenting on body
“Superbad” and “Wolf of Wall Street” star, Jonah Hill asked his 3.1 million Instagram followers to stop commenting on his body. The Oscar-winner who has been vocal in the past about his personal struggles with weight and body image explained why the comments make him feel uncomfortable, sharing “it’s not helpful” and “doesn’t feel good”. The body-positivity champion received an outpouring of support online. (Sources: CNN)
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