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 19, 2021
Hero, warrior and diplomat Colin Powell has died at the age of 84 and is remembered across partisan lines. North Korea raises new concerns over a reported missile launch — a potential flex for its arsenal-building — while also risking UN violations. In Ecuador, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency to battle an explosion in drug-related crime. Meanwhile, Starbucks workers explore creating their first union as the company retaliates.
1 - Warrior and Diplomat Colin Powell Dies at 84
Trailblazer praised by both parties succumbs to Covid-19 complications
The U.S. mourns the death of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Colin L. Powell, who spent four decades as a public servant. He is praised for his bipartisan work and is seen as a pathbreaker, serving as the country’s first Black national security adviser. Powell died on Monday from complications of Covid-19 exacerbated by a weakened immune system from battling multiple myeloma, his family said in a statement, adding that he had been fully vaccinated. (Source: WaPo, WaPo, NYT, BBC)
2 - Missile Launched
Reports of North Korea firing at least one missile spark concerns
All eyes are on North Korea as it reportedly launched at least one ballistic missile into the sea, said South Korean and Japanese officials on Tuesday. If confirmed, the maneuver would likely violate UN Security Council resolutions, though it’s unclear whether the country will face repercussions. The latest report of weapons testing is the fifth since September, as North Korea showcases its achievements in arsenal-building. North Korea insists tests are for “self-defense” only, as the South further develops its own capabilities and holds military exercises with U.S. forces. (Source:WaPo, BBC)
3 - State of Emergency Declared
Ecuador’s President battles crime with national restrictions
Amid growing and unabated drug-related crime, President Guillermo Lasso said the military and the police would patrol streets to provide security and confront drug trafficking and other crimes. In a national broadcast on Monday night, Mr. Lasso said, “There is only one enemy: drug trafficking,” and emphasized that Ecuador had evolved from a trafficking zone to a drug consumer. The state of emergency gives authorities broad powers to restrict freedom of movement and assembly. (Source: NYT)
4 - Starbucks Workers Explore Union
Company officials shadow stores
Starbucks workers in the Buffalo area could create the first union at company-owned stores in the United States. But management seems to be striking back. Workers and organizers involved in the effort cite imported managers meant to disrupt operations and intimidate workers as part of a Starbucks counteroffensive. Starbucks claims additional managers, along with an increase in store employees and visits by top corporate executives, are standard procedure. Starbucks insists the changes, which also include temporary shutdowns of stores, are not in response to the union campaign, but to address longstanding training and staffing issues. (Source: NYT, Wall Street Journal)
5 - Briefly
Here are other stories you should know about
Microsoft leaders warned Bill Gates over ‘inappropriate’ emails. Bill Gates was warned in 2008 over improper emails to a subordinate, when he asked her out on a date at a time when he was a full-time employee and the company’s chairman. (Source: NYT);Executives at Amazon, including founder Jeff Bezos, may be cited for misleading or lying to Congress. The House Judiciary Committee may refer the firm “for criminal investigation,” after a Reuters report claimed Amazon engaged in unfair business practices, an allegation strongly denied by Amazon. (Source: BBC); Countries around the world hit by shortages. Pandemic-related manufacturing shortages are causing troubles for people around the world — whether it’s coal and paper in China, toys and toilet paper in the U.S. or cars and computer chips in India. Meanwhile in Brazil, a severe drought is affecting supplies of coffee and water. (Source: BBC)
1 - The Fallout
Washington State fires football coach for refusing vaccination
Football coach NickRolovich ofWashington State University is the latest casualty in the Covid battles playing out across the nation. The university fired Rolovich and four of his assistants for failing to comply with the state’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate, the school announced Monday. Rolovich, the state’s highest-paid employee, with a contract of $15.6 million over five years, had applied for a religious exemption from the mandate, which is among the strictest in the country. The coach had become the public face of the showdown with Governor Inslee, who issued the mandate and repeatedly warned there would be no exceptions. (Source: NYT)
Protestors descended on the ceremonial torch-lighting for the 2022 Olympic Games held in the Greek capital early yesterday morning. The brief protest by human rights activists, holding signs saying “Free Hong Kong - Revolution” and “No Genocide,” draws attention to China’s treatment of native Tibetans and alleged human rights violations against the Uyghur people in its western Xinjiang province. Though China’s dismal human rights record has drawn wide international criticism, including calls from U.S. lawmakers to relocate the event, the International Olympic Committee has declined to act, claiming it’s out of its purview. (Source: BBC, WaPo)
3 - An Inclusive Congress
Black congressional staffers call for improved diversity
In an open letter to America, the Congressional Black Associates, which represents black staffers in the House, and the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, called for change on Capitol Hill to improve recruitment and retention of Black staffers. Although the 117th Congress is the most ethnically and racially diverse class of lawmakers to date, it still does not represent the diversity of the country. The two staff associations have requested a strong college-to-Congress pipeline, more career opportunities and investments, livable wages for all Congressional staffers, and purposeful and fair hiring decisions by members of Congress. (Sources: NYTimes, Axios)
4 - Bring Back the Butterflies
Organizations partner to restore California monarch butterflies
TheXerces Society and Orville Schell Farms owner Ole Schell have partnered to create a monarch butterfly sanctuary in an effort to revitalize California’s rapidly declining monarch population. The sanctuary will include more than 1,200 native nectar-producing flowers and plants. Supporters hoped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would declare the butterfly threatened or endangered this year, but the ruling was delayed due to higher-priority species. Combat veterans group Guardian Grange is also working on the project to provide a safety net for veterans while teaching them about conservation and sustainability. (Source: TheHill, NBC News)
5 - Not-So-Forever Chemicals
Biden administration moves to end “forever chemicals” contamination
Head of the Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan has announced a series of actions aimed at limiting pollution from a cluster of long-lasting chemicals, called PFAS, blamed for widespread contamination of food and public drinking water. Due to their long endurance in the environment, PFAS have been linked to serious health conditions, including cancer and immune disorders. The sweeping strategy laid out by the Biden administration marks a stark contrast from the Trump administration, where chemicals industry officials held key regulatory positions. (Sources: WaPo, Politico)
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