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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.
Jun 24, 2022
Washington makes a rare break of the gun reform stalemate, but SCOTUS has something else to say. The European Union welcomes Ukraine and Moldova to the candidates list. Boris Johnson is losing seats and allies. And North Korea is doubling down on nuclear weapon development. All this and more in today’s PDB.
Senate Takes Step Toward Gun Control, SCOTUS Takes Step Back
On Thursday the Senate supplied some much-needed optimism in the quest to reduce mass shootings, passing the most significant firearms restrictions since the 1990s. Democrats were joined by 15 Republicans in approving the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which includes $15 billion for mental health and school security funding. “This is the sweet spot,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. On the same day, the Supreme Court struck down a New York state law that had placed limits on carrying guns in public, saying that it impinged on the Second Amendment. States with similar laws will be forced to rework their legislation. (Sources: WaPo, NYT)
EU Grants Ukraine and Moldova Candidate Status
European Council President Charles Michel described the decision as a “historic moment” for Europe. Candidate status is just the first step in a very long road. Full membership can take up to a decade, but for Ukraine it’s a vital move amid Russia’s invasion. “Ukraine’s future is within the EU,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted. Georgia is also hoping to get in on the action, vowing to do what it must to join the bloc. Russia isn’t likely to be shocked: The Kremlin has downplayed the prospect for weeks as Zelenskyy upped his campaign for a seat at Europe’s largest table. (Source: BBC)
BoJo Mojo No-Show
Johnson Feels the Fury as Brits Oust Tories in Special Elections
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, also known as the Tories, lost the seats of Tiverton and Honiton to the Liberal Democrats, and Wakefield, which flipped back to Labour. The bruising has only intensified speculation that Johnson’s doomed despite surviving a no-confidence vote within his party last month. Party Chair Oliver Dowden resigned amid the electoral fallout. In a letter addressed to Johnson and posted to Twitter, Dowden said, “Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings.” Johnson, in Rwanda for a Commonwealth meeting, admitted the results were “tough” but vowed to “get through this patch.” (Sources: The Guardian, Reuters)
Kim Jong Un Says Keep the Nukes Coming
The North Korean dictator told military leaders that nuclear weaponry is the best bet against “hostile forces” and state media reported that the Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission agreed to further its “deterrent” arsenal. While North Korea has been devising long-range missiles to target the U.S., regional watchers say Pyongyang has also developed short-range ones to attack South Korea. Kim urged military leaders to “go all out” when it comes to protecting “the dignity of the great country.” Still, the statements did not include any direct words against the U.S. or South Korea — a small blessing amidst a tenuous stalemate. (Source: AP)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Elections, again. Israel's parliament has cleared a preliminary bill to dissolve itself, sending the country back to the polls for the fifth time in under four years. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's allies are expected to delay the process. (Source: Haaretz) Starving. Another eight inmates in an overpopulated Haitian prison have died two months after it ran out of food. The U.N. says 54 prisoners died there between January and April. (Source: AP) Jailed. Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been moved from an undisclosed location to solitary confinement in a Naypyitaw prison, 18 months after the military seized power. (Source: Reuters)
FDA Orders Juul to Pull Vapes Off the Market
All products currently on sale in the U.S. must go, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. Juul has vowed to appeal the ruling, which comes two years after it filed an application to the FDA for market access. The company is the largest e-cigarette manufacturer in the U.S. and has been blamed by public health groups, lawmakers and parents for getting American kids hooked. “We recognize these make up a significant part of the available products and many have played a disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said. (Source: NPR)
Netflix Lays Off Another 300 Employees Amid Diving Subscriptions
The second round of layoffs follows 150 jobs lost last month, suggesting things may be worse than the streaming giant previously revealed. The May axings focused on executive-level staff, but reports suggest this round was spread around global operations. Netflix previously announced a 200,000 drop in subscribers — the first in its history — and expectations for its quarterly report next month are even more dismal, with lost subscribers set to reach 2 million. But the content that’s made Netflix the industry leader is unlikely to be hit by cuts: It’s set aside $20 billion for development this year alone. (Source: Deadline)
Get Vaxxed (Again)
Low Polio Booster Rates Among British Teenagers Worry Experts
In parts of the U.K., just a third of teenagers have received a polio booster. While most Britons are vaccinated as infants, public health officials warn the low rate of adolescent boosters could lead to an outbreak. Such fears were exacerbated this week by the discovery of traces of poliovirus in London wastewater — though it most likely came from an individual who’d been inoculated against polio in another country using a live vaccine that can be shed via feces. The pandemic has been blamed for disrupting regular vaccine programs, but the message is clear: Get up to date. (Source: The Guardian)
There’s Losing Your Wallet, and Then There’s This...
An unidentified worker has misplaced a USB drive containing data on all Amagasaki city residents, Japanese officials said Thursday. The worker fell asleep outside a restaurant after a big night, waking to find his bag — with the USB inside it — gone. He filed a police report but it’s cold comfort for the 465,177 Amagasaki residents whose details, including names, birth dates, tax records, bank accounts and welfare payments, are now in a thief’s hands. The data is encrypted and no leak has been reported yet. City officials apologized and promised to provide updates as the hunt continues. (Source: CNN)
NBA Draft: Orlando Snags Paolo Banchero With No. 1 Overall Pick
The 19-year-old made his name playing for Duke, taking the Blue Devils into the Final Four and earning the 2022 ACC Rookie of the Year. Don’t be surprised to see Banchero on the court early for the Magic, watchers say, because his offense skills are set to transform the side and turn him into a superstar. Still, Banchero being the top pick came as a surprise to some. Auburn Tigers and All-American player Jabari Smith had been the hot favorite but ended up going third, heading to the Houston Rockets to up their shooting game. (Sources: Bleacher Report, SI)
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