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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 29, 2022
Explosive testimony sheds more light on how Trump spent Jan. 6, 2021. Primaries across the country confirm abortion will be a hot debate in the midterms. Sweden and Finland are officially invitees to NATO, the last step before full membership. And British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for her role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking conspiracy. All this and more in today’s PDB.
Armed Protesters at the Capitol? Bring It On, Said Trump
Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, stunned the House committee with revelations from within the administration on Jan. 6, 2021. She described former President Donald Trump lunging for the steering wheel and trying to overpower Secret Service officers as he was being driven back to the White House. “I’m the effing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,” he reportedly said. When Trump was warned that his supporters were armed, Hutchinson recalled Trump replying, “They’re not here to hurt me.” Trump called Hutchinson a “total phony” in a Truth Social post, adding, “She is bad news!” (Sources: Fox, WaPo)
National Debates Divide State Primaries Across the US
Midterm primaries have taken the political temperature of the country following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade and the Jan. 6 committee’s revelations. Republican Joe O’Dea won a spot on Colorado’s Senate ticket — despite being pro-choice. He knocked off a Trump-backed candidate vocal in his anti-abortion beliefs. In Illinois, the Trump-backed state Sen. Darren Bailey secured the gubernatorial nomination. The state leans progressive and there’s no love lost between Bailey and Chicago, which he described as a “crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole” — but Republicans are hoping things might just be bad enough that a change is in the air. (Sources: AP, CNN)
They’re In (Almost)
Sweden, Finland Officially NATO Invitees on Eve of Summit
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dropped his country’s threats of vetoing the Scandinavian pair’s membership applications just hours before Spain hosts a NATO summit designed to demonstrate unity. The addition of Sweden and Finland, two formerly neutral countries, is expected to be a dramatic shift in the military alliance. Turkey had been holding out over accusations that Sweden has harbored members of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, arguing that both countries needed to beef up security laws. That’s all been resolved, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says, and now the bloc can work together on its most pressing threat: Russia. (Source: Al Jazeera)
Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced to 20 Years for Role in Epstein Abuse
The British former socialite was convicted late last year of sex trafficking and a slew of other counts including luring underage women across state lines. In court, Maxwell, 60, downplayed her involvement in a decadeslong trans-Atlantic trafficking scheme headed by the late Jeffrey Epstein. Prosecutors asked the court for up to 35 years imprisonment, while Maxwell’s lawyers argued she deserved “well below” 20 years. “This sentence sends a strong message that no one is above the law and it is never too late for justice,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said. (Sources: NYT, The Guardian)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Not so fast. A Texas court has blocked the state’s so-called trigger law that made abortion illegal in the immediate wake of Roe being struck down. Abortions in Texas can continue — for now. (Source: Reuters) It’s on. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set a date for a second referendum on independence — Oct. 19, 2023 — but expects the U.K. government to fight back. (Source: Scotsman) Shutdown. With just hours left in his term, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has moved to shutter Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa’s news outlet, Rappler, once and for all. (Source: BBC)
US Pledges Nearly 300,000 Monkeypox Vaccines
In the weeks ahead American health care workers will have another 296,000 doses at their disposal, and around 56,000 of those are expected to be released immediately. The Department of Health and Human Services hopes a total 1.6 million doses of monkeypox vaccine will be available by the end of the year. Patients will be required to have two doses one month apart for immunity. For the time being, the vaccine will be available only to those who have been exposed to the disease. There have been no reported monkeypox deaths in the U.S. to date. (Source: NPR)
Drake’s New Album Accounted for 1% of All Music Streamed Last Week
It’s an impressive feat, even for the man who’s already America’s most-streamed artist. The surprise release of Drake’s seventh studio album Honestly, Nevermind had fans scrambling to streaming services June 17, and they haven’t turned it off since. The album accounted for 1.04% of the country’s 24.2 billion on-demand streams, according to Luminate data, and new tracks made listeners sentimental for his older hits: One in 60 streamed tracks were from Drake’s catalog. He’s riding high this year with 4.16 billion streams, well ahead of YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s 3.37 billion and smashing perennial favorite Taylor Swift’s 3.03 billion. (Source: Billboard)
Blocked and Reported
Meta Scrubs Posts Offering to Mail Abortion Pills
Users in states still able to access abortion pills flocked to social media, particularly Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, pledging to ship the medication to states that have banned abortion. One user said her Facebook post offering to mail pills to anyone in need was removed within a minute of going live. It’s not abortion that’s the issue, Facebook executives say: According to company policy, the platform cannot be used to “buy, sell, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals.” Sending and receiving abortion pills by mail is banned in some U.S. states, adding to confusion and concern among activists and telehealth providers. (Sources: The Verge, Vice)
Could Artificial Intelligence Be the Key to Animal Welfare?
Researchers hope so. With 25 billion chickens farmed around the world, monitoring living conditions within enormous indoor sheds has been impossible. AI eavesdropping could be the answer. The technology monitors the sounds hens make, distinguishing between squawks of pain and regular chicken chatter. Research has found that AI can accurately detect noises of discomfort in 97% of cases. It’s hoped farmers will eventually be able to get AI “feedback” from all livestock, but chickens are naturally noisy animals. “Even to the untrained ear, it’s not too difficult to pick” distress noises out, animal behavior expert Alan McElligott said. (Source: The Guardian)
Game, Set, Match?
Serena Williams’ Future in Doubt After Shock Wimbledon Upset
The 40-year-old had been off the world singles courts for a year after an injury last Wimbledon, but her return was short-lived as she was bested 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) in the first round by France’s Harmony Tan in a three-hour stunner. It’s raised fresh questions about the potential end of an era for Williams as she dodged questions about her future. “Today I gave all I could,” the 23-time Grand Slam champion said. “Maybe tomorrow I could have gave more.” Still, fans weren’t disappointed. Williams received a rousing standing ovation as she exited the arena — a sight that may soon become rare. (Sources: Tennis, ESPN)
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