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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.
Dec 02, 2022
France and the U.S. reaffirmed commitments to Ukraine as the country revealed an updated death tally. President Biden told the Democrats he wants a new primaries schedule. An appeals court struck down an earlier ruling appointing a special master in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. And British lawmakers met counterparts in Taiwan as China blustered. All this and more in today’s PDB.
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Up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the Russian invasion in February, official Mykhailo Podolyak revealed in Kyiv Thursday, and the injury count is even higher. The first major death toll update since August comes as U.S. President Joe Biden met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Washington, D.C. Biden flagged a willingness for conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, backing Macron’s earlier comments. Macron added that allies “will never urge Ukrainians to make a compromise that will not be acceptable for them.” Putin has so far been uninterested in meeting with Western leaders. (Sources: Al Jazeera, NYT)
Biden Wants to Switch Up Dems’ Primary Season
Iowa would lose its top billing to South Carolina, if President Biden has his way. The President called on the Democratic National Committee to reform the party’s primaries, and is likely to have his way, Democrat sources said, as a schedule giving states like Georgia and Michigan more prominence better reflects the diversity of the U.S. electorate. “We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window,” Biden wrote to Democrat staffers, adding that the endorsement of non-white voters is crucial for candidates. (Sources: WaPo, The Hill)
Special Master No More After Court Turfs Trump’s Document Case
“The law is clear,” the federal appeals court wrote. It’s a blow to the former president in his mission to resist a Justice Department investigation into documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who initially ordered a special master to review the documents, was also given a scathing review by the panel, who said she should not have intervened. Team Trump has the option to appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court or argue in front of the full Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. But if that fails, the government will resume its investigation. (Sources: CNN, Politico)
British Lawmakers Meet Taiwan Leaders, Enraging China
“Democratic countries must stand more united than ever in the face of authoritarian expansion,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in barely veiled comments Friday. U.K. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns led the delegation to Taipei, with a focus on deepening trade connections and stability in the Indo-Pacific. A pre-visit statement from the Chinese embassy in London stressed China’s view that Taiwan is a breakaway province and any interaction with it is “interference in China’s internal affairs.” Earlier this week, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the “golden age” of British-China relations is over. (Sources: Kyodo, BBC)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Serial. A Winnipeg man arrested earlier this year for the suspected murder of an Indigenous woman now faces charges in three other killings, Canadian police said Thursday. The bodies of the three other women are yet to be recovered. (Source: CBC) High toll. At least 2,000 of Myanmar’s pro-democracy forces have been killed battling the country’s junta since it seized power early last year, according to the country’s shadow government. (Source: Reuters) Backed off. Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, won’t be buying conservative social media platform Parler. Parler and Ye “mutually” decided against the buy-out in a move announced the same day the rapper praised Adolf Hitler. (Source: TechCrunch)
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Last year was a record period for antisemitic harrassment, and this one is shaping up to be just as bad, the Anti-Defamation League said. The watchdog has been tracking incidents targeting Jewish Americans since 1979, but the group says we’re now in the midst of a five-year steady climb in incidents that began with the 2016 Unite the Right rally and the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue two years later. Now, with former president Donald Trump dining with the rapper-turned-antisemite formerly known as Kanye West and noted Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, the ADL warns these views are becoming more vocal. (Source: NPR)
An Australian Podcast Investigated, Now a Murderer Is Behind Bars
Former high-school teacher Christoper Dawson will be imprisoned for 24 years for the 1982 murder of his wife, Lynette Dawson, a Sydney court ruled. Dawson had long been suspected of killing his wife after starting a relationship with a student, a claim he denied, saying Lynette had left him and their young family. New South Wales prosecutors balked at trying the case back in 2003 due to a lack of evidence, but the release of the smash-hit podcast Teacher’s Pet saw the state take up the case in 2018 under immense public pressure. He was found guilty in August. (Source: Reuters)
Got Three Hours to Spare? Watch ‘Jeanne Dielman’
Full title: Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The 1975 thriller has topped the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound poll, the first-ever woman-directed film to do so. Chantal Akerman’s masterpiece, little known outside of auteur circles, knocked Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo from the place it has held since 2012. Before that, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane boasted best-ever for four decades. Jeanne Dielman follows a Belgian widow who turns to sex work and kills a client, setting off a cascade of intrigue. Film critic Lillian Crawford recommends would-be watchers “build towards it” — the film is “quite an ask.” (Source: BBC)
Everything Is Content
Tik Tok Stunt Leaves Grand Canyon Tee’d Off
Katie Sigmond went viral for all the wrong reasons in October when she struck a golf ball from the edge of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, losing her ball and part of her driver. Screen recordings of her since-deleted video were shared across the internet, generating outrage for her apparent lack of concern for anyone who may have been in the firing line. Sigmond now has to pay $285 for three fines — littering, creating hazardous conditions and disorderly conduct. “Do we really need to say, ‘don’t hit golf balls into the Grand Canyon?’” the National Park service posted to Facebook. (Source: USAToday)
Fan Favorite Germany Down and Out in World Cup
The 2014 champions won’t be reliving the glory in Qatar despite downing Costa Rica 4-2 in its last Group E match. Based on the points system, while Germany was victorious it finished third overall, matching Spain on four points but with the Spanish side ahead on the goal tally. Japan trumped Group E and will move forward to meet Croatia in the final 16. Germany had hoped to redeem itself after a disastrous 2018 showing saw the side crash out in the group stage. “There are so many reasons but I am not looking for excuses,” coach Hansi Flick said. (Source: Euronews)
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