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.
Jan 06, 2022
Angry protestors in Kazakhstan set fire to government buildings and stormed the airport on Wednesday in their fourth day of unrest. Reports show Facebook played a critical role in spreading the false narratives that led to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, as its efforts to stop misinformation faltered. Pandemic-related breaks in the global supply chain have spurred some American companies to rethink the advantages of staying closer to home. And reports show that more than 4 in 10 Americans were directly affected by extreme weather brought on by climate change in 2021 and more than 80% of Americans experienced a heat wave. All this and more in today’s Presidential Daily Brief.
1 - Unrest in Kazakhstan
Protestors storm airport, seize buildings in challenge to government
In a rare show of public unrest, angry protestors in Kazakhstan set fire to government buildings and stormed the airport on Wednesday. The protests, now in their fourth day, began this weekend over the government’s lifting of price caps on fuel, which led to a doubling of prices overnight. The protests have caused Kazakhstan’s authoritarian President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to declare a two-week state of emergency, dissolve his cabinet and order a countrywide internet blackout as the president seeks to regain control of the media. But analysts say the virulence of the demonstrations signals a much deeper political discontent. (Sources: Guardian, CNN)
2 - Citizen Facebook
Internal documents show Facebook downplayed its role in Jan. 6 attack
An analysis of internal documents and interviews by ProPublica and the Washington Post points to Facebook playing a crucial role in spreading the false narratives that led to the assault on the U.S. Capitol. The investigation found that Facebook’s efforts to police inflammatory and violent content — including posts threatening the lives of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and calling for civil war — were too little too late. Facebook denies the charge, blaming former President Trump himself and others in and outside the White House for fomenting the violence. Between Election Day and the siege, there were at least 650,000 Facebook posts denying Biden’s win. (Source: Defense One)
3 - Bring It on Home
Battered supply chains may prove a boon for US jobs and manufacturing
As pandemic-related breaks in the global supply chain underscore American reliance on foreign factories, some U.S. companies are rethinking the advantages of staying closer to home. Manufacturers are finding that proximity to their customer base has its benefits, as overwhelmed ports and difficulties in accessing crucial components, as well as finished products, complicate production. In December, General Motors announced plans to spend billions of dollars to expand production of electric vehicles in the U.S., and chip manufacturer Micron Technology said it would invest upwards of $150 billion in research and development stateside. (Source: NYT)
4 - The Climate Disaster Nearest You
More than 40% of Americans affected by the harsh realities of climate change
Fires, floods, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes ... more than 4 in 10 Americans live in a county affected by extreme weather brought on by climate change, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal disaster declarations. And more than 80% of Americans ... whether they know it or not ... experienced a heat wave. The cost of extreme weather, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tops $104 billion, and that’s before the cost of wildfires, heat waves and drought in the West. Natural disasters cost 656 Americans their lives in 2021. What more will it take for us to act? (Source: WaPo)
5 - Briefly
Here are some things you should know about today:
France, Italy, Turkey, Portugal, the Netherlands, US and India all report record Covid highs. Numbers are exploding by the day in many countries as the virus takes a firm grip on the globe. (Source: Guardian, Times of India) Macron angers France while trying to “piss off” the non-vaccinated. In an attempt to slow unprecedented COVID-19 numbers, France’s President Emmanuel Macron vowed with harsh words to make life harder for those who refuse the vaccine, angering many in the process. (Source: CNBC). The oldest US man to serve in WWII dies at 112. Lawrence N. Brooks, a beloved elder who served in the mostly Black 91st Regiment, was honored by President Joe Biden. He died Wednesday in New Orleans. (Source: AP)
Watch CNN's Fareed Zakaria
As He Discusses Lessons for a Post-COVID World: The Next Crisis Could End Humanity
1 - Useless Heads
Taliban gets tough on women, girls and … mannequins
A video clip released on social media showing shopkeepers beheading female mannequins went viral on Wednesday, after a new Taliban decree. It turns out the heads are “against Sharia law,” said Aziz Rahman, head of the ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which forbids depictions of the human figure. The clip, showing a man’s arm vigorously sawing off the heads of several female mannequins and dropping them into a pile of severed noggins, strangely echoed the plight of Afghanistan’s women and girls, who are not permitted to go to work or to school. (Source: Aljazeera)
2 - New Cases, Few Answers
A mysterious neurological disorder in Canada seems to be spreading
A progressive neurological illness first reported in the Canadian province of New Brunswick seems to be affecting more young people than previously recognized. Though the official number of cases since the disease was detected more than two years ago remains at 48, a whistleblower has alleged that the cluster could involve up to 150 people, many of whom are younger adults with no prior disease history. The disease, which causes progressive neurological decline, including dementia, hallucinations, limited mobility and brain atrophy, has baffled scientists and physicians. Scientists said the provincial government has inexplicably called off research into the illness. (Sources: Guardian, CBC)
3 - We’ll Drink to That
A beloved national drink quenches thirst while spreading harmony
How does Malaysia unite its many ethnicities, cultures and religions? In a more-than-100-year-old drink, of course. Teh tarik, Malaysia’s unofficial national beverage — made of strong black tea, condensed milk and lots of sugar — is enjoyed from coast to coast by people of all ages and backgrounds. Also known as “pulled tea,” each of the country’s many cultures contributed something to the drink: black tea from China, 19th-century South Indian street cooks’ tea-pulling know-how for its frothiness, and the British penchant for sugar and milk. Now the drink is being embraced by Malaysian schools and nonprofits to model tolerance and diversity. (Source: BBC)
4 - Public Enemy No. 1
Chronic psychological or emotional stress can severely affect heart health
Risks like high cholesterol, lack of exercise, smoking and obesity are known heart stressors, but recent studies strongly suggest that chronic psychological stress may be as important — or more important — to heart health than previously recognized. Mental stress, says a new study, can take a greater toll on the hearts and lives of patients than physical stress. People who are under severe mental or emotional duress are far more likely to suffer a heart attack, and the risk is even greater for those with already compromised heart health. How to counteract the effects of stress? Physical exercise, meditation, breathing, yoga and tai chi. (Source:NYT)
5 - No Go Djo
Tennis star will not be granted entry to Australia to compete after all
Men’s world tennis champion Novak Djokovic was finally denied entry to Australia over a mistake on his visa application. Australians reacted furiously to an announcement earlier on Wednesday that the tennis star would be given an exemption to enter the country — which has upheld some of the world’s strictest COVID restrictions — despite his refusal to reveal his vaccination status, ending months of uncertainty over his participation. But that decision was abruptly reversed after Djokovic was kept for over four hours in the Melbourne airport while his visa application was investigated. Serbian President Aleksander Vucic said Djokovic was a victim of “harassment.” (Sources:NBC, Forbes)
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