Start your day smarter with the most important world news, plus intriguing and offbeat stories.
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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.
Aug 05, 2022
U.S. Democrats are one step closer to passing their huge climate and health care bill. The world pledges to protect peace in the aftermath of China’s drills near Taiwan. Four officers involved in the 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor will face federal charges. And conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been told to pay damages to the family of one young Sandy Hook victim. All this and more in today’s PDB.
Dems Revise Key Climate, Health Care Package to Win Sinema Support
Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema finally agreed Thursday. Sinema’s signature required Democrats to drop the $14 billion tax increase on some hedge-fund managers and private equity executives, rework a new 15% minimum tax on corporations and add some drought funding for Arizona. She follows other hold-out, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, in striking a deal with the party. Let’s get it done, President Joe Biden told the Senate: It’s “another critical step toward reducing inflation and the cost of living for America’s families.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the changes would keep the bill on track in the 50-50 Senate. (Sources: NYT, WSJ)
World Responds to China’s Military Drills in Taiwan Strait
Ballistic missiles near Taiwan are an “overreaction,” the White House said Friday — Japan agreed. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted Nancy Pelosi in Tokyo on Friday, where they agreed to work “together to make sure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are maintained.” Five missiles launched by China’s People’s Liberation Army crossed into Japan’s exclusive economic zone on Thursday. Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang called the drills an “evil neighbor flexing its muscles on our doorstep.” China’s foreign ministry has hauled in representatives from Japan, Europe and the EU over statements they say undermine the “One China” policy. (Sources: The Guardian, Kyodo)
A-G Garland Pursues Charges in 2020 Death of Breonna Taylor
Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020 when police executed a “no-knock” warrant on her boyfriend, who fired one round believing them to be intruders. The death helped galvanize that year’s Black Lives Matter movement. “I have waited 874 days for today,” Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said. Four former and current officers will face charges including civil rights violations and use of excessive force. Attorney General Merrick Garland alleged Thursday that the warrant was unlawfully obtained and that the officers had “conspired to mislead federal, state and local authorities who were investigating the incident.” (Sources: Lexington Herald-Leader, NPR)
Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $4.1m for Sandy Hook Lies
Pay up and shut up. That’s the Texas court ruling in the case highlighting the dangers of conspiracy theories. Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin’s child was one of 26 victims in the massacre — which Jones has repeatedly claimed was faked. The couple had pushed for $150 million in damages but “are thrilled with the result and look forward to putting Mr. Jones’ money to good use,” their lawyer said. A shorter trial to decide punitive damages will begin imminently. Meanwhile, Jones has told his huge InfoWars audience it’s a win: “That jury understood the truth and resisted the propaganda.” (Sources: CNN, NYT)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Go home. State employees in at least 10 provinces in Iraq were sent home on Thursday as temperatures soared above 122 F. Iraq is used to heat, but climate change is making things worse. (Source: BBC) Arms up. Deadly clashes have broken out between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the restive Nagorno-Karabakh region. Russian peacekeepers were recently withdrawn from the area, where it brokered a tentative ceasefire in 2020. (Source: Politico) Spiritual home. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been welcomed with open arms by the U.S. right wing at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, Thursday. (Source: Al Jazeera)
Sea of Uncertainty
Male Turtles are Disappearing in Florida’s Warming Waters
Florida’s last four summers have been among the hottest on record, leaving the beach sand baking. It could be a death sentence for sea turtles: eggs incubated below 82 F will result in male hatchlings, and above 89 F will produce females, while anything between will create a mix, explains the National Ocean Service.“Scientists that are studying sea turtle hatchlings and eggs have found no boy sea turtles, so only female sea turtles for the past four years,” said Bette Zirkelbach from Florida’s Turtle Hospital. This mismatch may eventually destroy previously successful breeding programs and cripple the population. (Source: The Guardian)
Home Sweet Home
Russia Has No Plans to Move Out of ISS
There’s one place Russia and the West still get along: space. Despite the breakdown in relations with much of the world following its invasion of Ukraine, Russia wants to extend its involvement in the International Space Station. The current contract is set to expire in 2024, but Sergei Krikalev, an official from Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, is working to ensure it has the technical capacity to be involved for years beyond that date. “Cooperation is very important in a program like this for all partners,” Krikalev said, refuting previous Russian statements suggesting it would abandon the ISS project. (Source: Ars Technica)
Spacey to Pay $31 Million to 'House of Cards' Producer
Kevin Spacey was dumped from the Netflix hit in 2017 following revelations of sexual misconduct allegations, including one from a production assistant on the show. Production company MRC initially won damages in a 2020 ruling appealed by Spacey’s legal team. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mel Red Recana drew a line in the sand Thursday, ruling Spacey owed the production company $29.5 million in damages for violating the sexual harassment policy and lost revenue after it was forced to cut part of the sixth season. Spacey must also pay $1.5 million in legal costs, the court ruled. (Source: People)
This Lollapalooza Worker is Facing Terror Charges
Why not just call in sick? Janya Williams, 18, is facing terrorism charges after sending text messages threatening a mass shooting — all to avoid showing up to her job as a Lollapalooza security guard. Prosecutors allege Williams sent an anonymous text message to her boss using an online service saying: “Mass shooting at 4pm location Lollapalooza. We have 150 targets.” Williams also said posts had been made on Facebook. Investigations involving the CIA and the FBI quickly linked both the message and the social media post to Williams. The event was held without incident in Chicago last weekend. (Source: Pitchfork)
Russian Court Sentences Griner to 9 Years on Possession
WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, 31, told reporters “I love my family,” as she was led from the courtroom. Back home, Griner’s teammates from the Phoenix Mercury watched the verdict live before the game, later joining challengers the Connecticut Sun for 42 seconds of silence — Griner’s jersey number. “How are you supposed to approach the game and court with a clear mind? The whole group is crying before the game,” Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said. The sentence is “unacceptable” and Griner is being “wrongfully detained,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. Her legal team has vowed to appeal. (Sources: AP, Reuters)
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