Start your day smarter with the most important world news, plus intriguing and offbeat stories. OZY
Your World. Bold & Bright
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.
Jan 30, 2023
The lawyer for Tyre Nichols’ family urged Congress to pass a stalled police reform bill. An explosion at a mosque has killed dozens in northwestern Pakistan. Boris Johnson says Vladimir Putin threatened him with a missile strike. And an Australian mining company is sorry for losing a tiny, dangerously radioactive capsule on a long stretch of open road. All this and more in today’s PDB.
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Congress Urged to Pass Police Reform Bill in Wake of Nichols' Death
Amid ongoing protests over the death of Tyre Nichols — who was beaten, pepper-sprayed and shocked by Memphis police officers — his family’s attorney urged Congress to revisit a bill aimed at curbing police misconduct. “Shame on us if we don’t use his tragic death to finally get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed,” Ben Crump said. The bill, which passed the House in 2021 but stalled in the Senate, would limit immunity for officers accused of misconduct and ban chokeholds, among other measures. Even if a revised bill passes the Senate, Republican House leaders are unlikely to put it to a vote. (Sources: WaPo, BBC)
Dozens Killed in Explosion at Pakistan Mosque
At least 28 people have been killed and more than 150 injured after a blast in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. The mosque, which was filled with worshippers during afternoon prayers, is reportedly located in a police compound and mostly attended by law enforcement officials. Police say more people are likely trapped in the rubble. Local media reports suggest the blast may have been caused by a suicide bomber “sitting in the front row of the congregational prayers.” No one has claimed responsibility, but Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif promised “stern action” against those behind the attack. (Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN)
Boris Johnson Says Putin Threatened UK With Missile Strike
The former British prime minister revealed to the BBC that in a phone call shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin warned that he could hit the U.K. with a missile. Johnson said, “He threatened me at one point, and he said, ‘Boris, I don't want to hurt you but, with a missile, it would only take a minute’ or something like that. Jolly.” No reference to the exchange appeared in official accounts of the call. Johnson said he believed Putin was “just playing along” with negotiations during a time when Western leaders were trying to dissuade him from war. (Source: BBC)
Bad Day at Work
Mining Company ‘Sorry’ for Losing Radioactive Capsule
Officials in Western Australia have dispatched search teams to track down a dangerously radioactive capsule that’s smaller than a penny. The cylinder, which is part of a sensor used by mining company Rio Tinto, is believed to have fallen out of a truck somewhere along an 870-mile journey through the desert. “We recognize this is clearly very concerning and are sorry for the alarm it has caused,” said Rio Tinto CEO Simon Trott. Authorities warn that the public should keep their distance from the capsule, which could quickly cause radiation burns or radiation sickness, while prolonged exposure may cause cancer. (Sources: NYT, SMH)
Here are some things you should know about today:
NATO over newbie. On Saturday, the Czech Republic elected Petr Pavel, a retired senior NATO general, as president over populist billionaire Andrej Babis. (Source: NYT) Not showing up. Tunisians expressed their disapproval of President Kais Saied’s policies with just 11% voting in parliamentary elections Sunday. “Almost 90% of Tunisian voters ignored this piece of theater and refused to be involved in the process,” said an opposition leader. (Source: The Guardian) He’s ... sorry? The suspect in last year’s attack on Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s husband called into a California TV station from jail. “I’m so sorry I didn’t get more of them,” the man said. “I should’ve come better prepared.” (Source: WaPo)
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Neo-Nazi Homeschool Network With Thousands of Members Revealed
The Ohio couple behind the “Dissident Homeschool” Telegram channel, which distributes lesson plans focusing on white supremacy and neo-Nazi ideology to its 2,400 members, has been exposed. The network’s administrators, who call themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Saxon,” were revealed by an antifascist research group as Logan and Katja Lawrence using biographical information the couple shared on the network and on podcast appearances — including that their German shepherd was named Blondi after Adolf Hitler’s dog. Katja explained on a neo-Nazi podcast that they launched the network in 2021 because she “was having a rough time finding Nazi-approved school material” for her children. (Sources: Vice, HuffPost)
British researchers have used artificial intelligence to match a painting known as the de Brécy Tondo to the famous faces on the Italian Renaissance master’s Sistine Madonna. Visual computing professor Hassan Ugail’s facial recognition algorithm revealed that the two paintings’ Madonnas had 97% similarity. The late art collector George Lester Winward, convinced the de Brécy Tondo was a genuine Raphael when he bought it in 1981, has finally been vindicated. “Looking at the faces with the human eye shows an obvious similarity,” Ugail explained, “but the computer can see far more deeply than we can, in thousands of dimensions, to pixel level.” (Source: Smithsonian)
A black bear in Boulder, Colorado, has become a viral star after it came across a motion-detecting camera in the wilderness and began admiring its own reflection. The ursine influencer snapped 400 selfies — of the 580 total shots on the camera — from various angles, and has since won online admirers on Twitter. “Wildlife cameras help us learn what animals are out there and what they're up to over the course of a day, a week or even year,” the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Department explained. “And sometimes that means taking a bunch of selfies, just like us.” (Source: Insider)
Mysterious and Spooky
Lisa Loring, Original Wednesday Addams, Dies at 64
The actress, born Lisa Ann DeCinces, died Saturday of complications from a stroke. Loring, the first actress to portray the morbid Addams daughter, was cast in the 1964 sitcom when she was just 5 years old, and later said she “learned to memorize before I could read.” The series ran just two seasons, but had a lasting cultural impact: Loring was praised as an inspiration for Jenna Ortega’s take on the character in the Netflix hit Wednesday. Later in her career, Loring appeared in slasher movies in the ‘80s and had a recurring role as Cricket Montgomery on As the World Turns. (Source: Hollywood Reporter)
Philadelphia and Kansas City to Meet in Super Bowl LVII
Last night, the Eagles barreled past the 49ers 31-7 while the Chiefs edged the Bengals 23-20 — setting up some notable Super Bowl firsts. When the winners face off on Feb. 12, Philly’s Jalen Hurts and K.C.’s Patrick Mahomes will be the first Black starting QB matchup in Super Bowl history. Meanwhile, as Chiefs coach Andy Reid takes on his former team, the Kelce brothers are making history as the first siblings on opposing sides: Eagles center Jason Kelce — who supported little brother Travis’ efforts with K.C. until their AFC championship win — tweeted, “Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!!” (Sources: Yahoo Sports, ESPN, SI)
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