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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.
Sep 30, 2022
Hurricane Ian has left a trail of destruction and death across Florida as it heads to South Carolina. Brazil will go to the polls this weekend in a contentious presidential election that has democracy watchers uneasy. A suicide bomber attack on an education center in Kabul has left at least 19 dead. And Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to annex four regions in Ukraine, including one that suffered a deadly attack. All this and more in today’s PDB.
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At Least 12 Dead in Florida as Hurricane Ian Heads to South Carolina
But rescuers warn that number will likely go up in the coming days as emergency services work through a backlog of calls. “It takes days to figure out,” Metro-Dade firefighter Claudine Buzzo said. Gov. Ron DeSantis told Floridians the cleanup will be a yearslong effort, with the scale of destruction still unknown. Officials in South Carolina warned residents to be ready as Hurricane Ian is expected to hit the state Friday afternoon, bringing with it life-threatening winds and rain. While Ian was temporarily downgraded as it headed north, a meteorologist in South Carolina said it is now becoming “more concerning.” (Sources: NYT, Miami Herald, The State)
Brazil Votes Sunday, but Divisions Will Last Much Longer
Voters see themselves no longer as “adversaries” but “enemies,” one political expert said of the deep fractures in Brazil’s presidential vote. Incumbent president, right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, trails left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, but polarization remains high. One Brazilian polling company found 80% of respondents thought it was more dangerous to discuss politics in public than before. Likewise, governments in Europe and the U.S. are fearful of instability following Sunday’s polls. Bolsonaro has threatened to reject any outcome that doesn’t leave him on top, raising fears of a possible coup and sparking resolutions of democratic support in the West. (Sources: CNN, Al Jazeera)
Suicide Bomber Strikes Kabul Education Center
At least 19 people were killed in the blast and 27 injured, a Kabul police spokesman said. The Friday morning explosion centered in the Kabul neighborhood Dashti Barchi — home to many of the capital’s Shiite minority — at the Kaaj Higher Educational Center. Among the dead were high school graduates taking practice university entrance exams. Blasts across the city have become common on Fridays, with the Islamic State group taking responsibility, although no one has yet claimed the most recent attack. “Attacks on civilian targets show the brutality of the enemy and are strongly condemned,” the spokesman said. (Sources: AP, WaPo)
Kremlin to Move on Annexation as Civilians Die in Attack
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees on Thursday stating that Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are independent territories, the first step in seizing the land. He is expected to announce the two regions, as well as Luhansk and Donetsk, will become part of Russia at a ceremony and celebratory concert in Moscow later Friday. It comes as Zaporizhzhia regional governor Oleksandr Starukh confirmed at least 23 people were killed in a missile strike on the city — still controlled by Ukraine. “It can still be stopped,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of the annexation, as world leaders condemned the referendum results as a sham. (Sources: BBC, Reuters)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Record. Inflation in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, hit a record high of 10% in September largely off the back of energy prices. The economy is expected to shrink in the second half of this year. (Source: DW) Charged. Toronto Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson will face two charges of sexual assault stemming from an alleged incident in July. Thompson calls the accusation “baseless.” (Source: CBC) Cuts. Hundreds of BBC employees will lose their jobs as the broadcaster winds down foreign language radio services. The BBC blames a freeze in license fees for prompting budget cuts. (Source: The Guardian)
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Students whose classrooms have been affected by wildfire smoke score worse on tests than students who can breathe freely, a new study has found. Researchers at Stanford University looked at English and math testing scores from nearly 11,700 public school districts across six grades and analyzed them against daily smoke-exposure measurements. The findings show a wide disparity. In addition to damaged physical health, students breathing wildfire smoke at even low levels show reduced scores. Past research shows effects on future earnings — in 2016 alone, the cumulative future earnings of students affected by wildfire smoke could be lowered by $1.9 billion. (Source: Phys)
Unfriended: Meta Announces First Ever Hire Freeze, Cuts
It’s the first significant budget cut since Facebook was founded. The Meta of the future will be a smaller one, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, as the social media giant seeks to realign after “revenue has been flat to slightly down for the first time.” Citing the bumpy economy, Zuckerberg told employees, "we want to plan somewhat conservatively.” It’s not welcome news to investors, with stock dropping 3.7% as the news broke — after a 60% fall this year. Meta is not alone. Tech companies from Google to Snap have introduced similar freezes as advertising dries up and eyeballs move on to newer apps. (Source: Bloomberg)
Trevor Noah to Hang Up Daily Show Suit
“My time is up,” the comedian told his audience Thursday night. Noah took on hosting duties in 2015 after Jon Stewart stepped aside shortly before the 2016 presidential campaign kicked off. He won’t be leaving immediately — “Don’t worry. If I owe you money, I’ll still pay you,” he said — and is expected to see out the midterm elections, but he is enjoying his part-time gig on the stand-up circuit. His “Trevor Noah: Back to Abnormal” show, which he currently tours on weekends, has been wildly successful, as have hosting duties at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner and the last two Grammy Awards shows. (Source: Hollywood Reporter)
Lidl Supermarket Must Melt Down Its Bunnies, Swiss Court Says
Switzerland’s federal court told German supermarket giant Lidl to shelve its stash of chocolate bunnies, finding Lidl’s bunnies too similar to the iconic golden Lindt Easter bunny. A survey conducted as part of Lindt’s copyright claim found the gold foil and red ribbon are widely recognized by the public. While melting down Lidl’s fluffle of bunnies may seem rash, the court ruled it “proportionate, especially as it does not necessarily mean that the chocolate as such would have to be destroyed.” Lindt said there’s enough room for all bunnies in Easter sales — as long as they have their own style. (Source: Reuters)
No More Period Stress as Players Change From White Shorts
West Bromwich Albion’s women’s team will now wear navy shorts as part of their home-game kit, the club announced Thursday. Albion management noted in a statement that white clothing has been an issue for women athletes across sports codes, and the decision was made in consultation with players. “This change will help us to focus on our performance without added concerns or anxiety,” Albion Women captain Hannah George said. Coach Jenny Sugarman agreed, calling it proof of the “progressive and inclusive culture” at the club and added she was “proud.” Albion Women currently compete in England’s FA Women's National League North. (Source: Reuters)
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