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.
Jun 30, 2022
States like Texas found themselves at war over abortion legislation. NATO alliances came together to push back Russia. American voters have watched the Jan. 6 testimony — and they don’t like what they saw. And the second generation of the infamous Marcos family officially took the presidency in the Philippines. All this and more in today’s PDB.
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Anti-Abortion States Internally Divided Over Law Reforms
The split is especially deep in Texas, where a court this week ruled a temporary halt to reinstating a century-old anti-abortion law, meaning abortion providers can still act — for now. District attorneys in five of the state’s most populous counties vowed not to “criminalize personal health care decisions.” Republican lawmakers pushed back, mulling legislation that could allow prosecutors from areas of the state in support of a ban to charge abortion seekers outside of their jurisdiction. Prosecutors and advocates worry state laws banning abortion from the point of conception could leave women open to homicide charges in the case of stillbirth or other complications. (Source: NYT)
NATO Confronts Russia Threat, Promises More Spending
Russia is the biggest “direct threat” to Europe, the defense alliance declared during its summit in Madrid. Members agreed to up spending to help Ukraine secure arms as the invasion drags on into the summer. President Joe Biden pledged an American battalion to be housed permanently in Poland, the first such deployment along Europe’s easternmost borders, and further deployments to Spain, the U.K. and Romania. NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg called it the alliance’s “biggest overhaul” since the Cold War. President Vladimir Putin said he couldn’t rule out an escalation in tensions following Sweden and Finland being invited to join the bloc. (Sources: Reuters, BBC)
Out of Line
Post-Jan. 6 Hearings, Voters Want to See Trump Charged
Just 31% said he shouldn’t face any charges, while 20% don’t have a view. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 58% of respondents believe former President Donald Trump “bears a great deal or quite a bit of responsibility” for the insurrection. The breakdown of party loyalties found just 10% of Republicans think Trump should be charged, while 86% of Democrats do. It could be a blow to Trump’s potential 2024 ambitions and that could play out down the ticket. An increase in respondents — 46% compared to a previous 41% — believe congressional Republicans also had a hand in Jan. 6. (Source: AP)
36 Years On
The Marcos Family Returns to the Philippines’ Presidential Palace
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was sworn in as the Philippines’ 17th president, fulfilling a decadeslong effort to restore the family’s name — once synonymous with corruption and decadence. The son of Ferdinand Marcos won May’s election by an enormous margin, sparking a wave of fear from survivors of his father’s brutal martial-law era. In his inauguration speech, Marcos Jr. vowed to represent all Filipinos in his six-year term. He replaces the popular Rodrigo Duterte, who was unable to run for a second term under the constitution. Sister and senator, Imee Marcos, said she is “very, very grateful for a second chance” at the top. (Sources: Rappler, BBC)
Here are some things you should know about today:
On edge. Local authorities in India’s Rajasthan state called for calm after a Hindu man was beheaded by two Muslim men. The alleged murderers posted a video of the killing online, saying it was retribution for support of a politician who had offended their religion. (Source: BBC) Jail. A French court sentenced Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of a 10-strong group behind the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, to life imprisonment. (Source: The Guardian) Gunned down. Mexican journalist Antonio de la Cruz was shot and killed at his home in Ciudad Victoria, known for drug cartel activity. He is the 12th journalist murdered in Mexico this year. (Source: DW)
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The Truth Is Out There: Who Ran the Pentagon's UFO Study?
Travis Taylor says he’s the “chief scientist” in the Pentagon’s headline-making 2021 UFO study. Skeptics aren’t quite so sure. Taylor’s a well-known former Department of Defense astrophysicist, but his other credentials have raised eyebrows. He’s a host on Ancient Aliens, a show that explores outrageous theories about alien interventions throughout history, and a big believer in the supernatural. The Pentagon has confirmed Taylor was involved in the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force but it was more “informal” than he suggested. One UFO skeptic panned Taylor’s working relationship with the Pentagon, quipping that it’s no wonder the report proved nothing. (Source: Science)
R. Kelly Jailed for 30 Years in Sex Trafficking Case
The 55-year-old R&B singer showed no reaction in the New York court after he was sentenced for sexually abusing young female fans for decades. “I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” one survivor testified during the case. Advocates say it’s an important victory for survivors, who feel their accusations were initially ignored or downplayed because they came from Black women. Allegations began in the ’90s, including rumors that he impregnated then-underage singer Aaliyah, and exploded after the release of the 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly. He will also face child pornography charges in Chicago in August. (Sources: AP, Complex)
Federal Communications Commission Not Dancing to TikTok’s Data Tune
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr hasn’t been placated by promises from the Chinese-owned social media giant that U.S. users’ data will be kept safe. Carr called on Google and Apple to purge the app from their app stores. It’s a big ask. Across the two platforms, TikTok was downloaded 19 million times in the first quarter of this year alone. With such popularity, Carr, a Trump appointee, will face fierce opposition from hooked users and Silicon Valley alike. He’s not too confident the call will pay off, blaming “deep relationships in supply chain ties that Apple and Google have into China” for the hesitancy. (Source: Gizmodo)
Emmett Till’s Family Wants Arrest, 70 Years After Warrant Issued
Researchers exploring a Mississippi courtroom basement have uncovered an unserved warrant dating back to 1955. Carolyn Bryant Donham, named in the warrant as “Mrs. Roy Bryant,” accused the Black 14-year-old of making advances on her at a store in August of that year. Till was later kidnapped and murdered by white male members of Donham’s family, who were also named. Legal experts say it’s unlikely the warrant will still be considered valid by a court, but it is part of a wider cache of evidence that could lead to charges. “Serve it and charge her,” Till’s second cousin Teri Watts said. (Source: AP)
Nobody Finished This Marathon – But That’s Not the Point
Just 15 people in 36 years have crossed the finish line in the Barkley Marathons. This year, no one made the full 100 miles across Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park within the 60-hour time limit. Ultramarathons are no ordinary sport, and this one has added levels of extraordinary. Runners must complete five loops through the park and find hidden books, and the starting siren is rather unorthodox — the glowing red-lit cigarette of race director Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell. Still, it’s all in good fun. Race veterans help “virgins” (first-timers) find their way through the course and keep coming back for that elusive finish. (Source: The Guardian)
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