Start your day smarter with the most important world news, plus intriguing and offbeat stories. OZY
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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.
Oct 07, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden raised the specter of the Cuban Missile Crisis after Russian nuclear threats. Americans with federal marijuana possession charges are set to be pardoned by the White House. A former high-ranking member of the Proud Boys has pleaded guilty over the Jan. 6 insurrection. And Thailand mourns after the shocking massacre of dozens of children. All this and more in today’s PDB.
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Nuclear Risk as High as During Cuban Missile Crisis, Says Biden
Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not joking” when he makes nuclear threats, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a briefing Thursday, comparing the crisis to the one faced by the Kennedy administration. While there’s no evidence Russian forces are preparing an imminent nuclear strike, Biden worries that Putin may see no “off-ramp” to the war in Ukraine. The stark warning comes as Putin faces unprecedented pushback from within his own military over the recent course of the war. “Generals and ministers” back in Russia don’t understand the frontlines, said Kirill Stremousov, Russia’s appointed deputy head of Kherson, in a rare rebuke. (Sources: WaPo, Reuters)
Biden to Reclassify Marijuana, Pardon Fed Possession Charges
“Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives,” President Biden tweeted. Black and brown Americans are far more likely to be incarcerated for using marijuana than their white counterparts, despite similar rates of usage, he added. Full data on how many people the pardons will cover is not known, but between 1992 and 2021 around 6,500 were convicted on federal charges of simple possession. The pardon will date back to the 1970s, when possession was deemed a crime. But this won’t expunge every record: Biden has called on governors to follow suit with state convictions. (Sources: NYT, High Times)
Clearing Out the Club
Not-So-Proud Boy Pleads Guilty in Jan. 6 Investigation
Jeremy Joseph Bertino, 43, has pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and unlawfully carrying a firearm. While Bertino was not in Washington during the January 6 riot at the Capitol, prosecutors believe he was instrumental in the attack, egging on members who had breached the offices and telling them to remain there. “You know we made this happen,” he texted to Proud Boys former national leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio. Bertino is the first of the notorious far-right extremist group to be charged over the insurrection, but he is expected to testify against five other members who also took part. (Sources: ABC, AP)
Thailand Thrown Into Mourning After Day Care Massacre
“If I can’t go on, my wife and my child will be worried about me, and they won’t be reborn in the next life,” said Seksan Sriraj, whose pregnant wife was killed in the massacre perpetrated by a local former police officer. The death toll climbed to 36 overnight, and at least 24 of the dead were children. King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida traveled to the northeastern province to visit survivors still in the hospital. Questions are mounting about security at the center, but for Seksan only the attacker is to blame: “I think everyone did the best they could.” (Sources: AP, Bangkok Post)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Courting. The Delaware court set to hear the case brought by Twitter against potential buyer Elon Musk has extended a stay as the two sides attempt to restore the scuttled deal. Musk and Twitter execs will meet at the end of the month for a review. (Source: The Verge) Blame game. Six people, including three police officers, will face charges for last weekend’s soccer disaster in Indonesia in which at least 125 people were killed. (Source: The Jakarta Post) Downed. The U.N. Human Rights Council has voted not to investigate human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang province after 19 countries voted “no” and 11 abstained. (Source: Al Jazeera)
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This year 14% of American high schoolers say they’ve recently vaped, according to a government study. That’s up 3% from last year despite Food and Drug Administration efforts, urged by parent groups and health workers, to rein in flavored vape distributors and increase the minimum age of purchase. There is one caveat. Researchers say last year’s survey was conducted with young people at home, but this year’s was given at school, where teens are more likely to report. While vaping is down from a 28% high in 2019, schools say they’re still in “a constant battle” to stamp it out in the schoolyard. (Source: AP)
Who’s Behind a Rash of School Shooter Hoaxes?
In the second half of September, police in 16 U.S. states received 92 calls reporting school shootings. When police receive an active shooter call a swat team is immediately dispatched — but none of these calls were real. At least 32 are likely linked to a single caller or group, with at least six states reporting near-identical calls. Local law enforcement has teamed up with the FBI to investigate, but educators worry about the psychological impact the very real fear of school shootings is having on students. “I don’t think this is some prank. It’s terrorism,” said a Louisiana police officer. (Source: WIRED)
After days of social media bluster following his Paris Fashion Week show, Kanye West sat down with previously unlikely ally Tucker Carlson on Fox. He told the conservative host he believes the “White Lives Matter” shirts he debuted at the show are “funny,” and came from “using a gut instinct, a connection with God and just brilliance.” Fans and sponsors alike may not be convinced. Adidas is reviewing its contract with the rapper as partners in his Yeezy fashion line. West has previously accused Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted of “copying my ideas” and once posted a fake obituary of the executive. (Sources: Hollywood Reporter, CNBC)
The Jig Is Up in Ireland’s Dance Cheating Scandal
A former judge appointed by the Irish Dancing Commission will investigate claims that 12 teachers in Ireland and elsewhere colluded to rig competitions. Other dancers have noted close relationships between teachers and judges in the past with suspicions confirmed after text messages were handed over in July. One incident has courted allegations of a student trading sexual favors for points. While the commission vowed to stamp out the practice, the dancing community is dubious. One teacher said she had not asked for any favors, “Because once you do, you’re indebted to them for life. It’s like The Godfather.” (Source: The Guardian)
One Dead After Tear Gas Disrupts Argentina Soccer Match
Thursday’s Gimnasia La Plata and Boca Juniors match was abandoned as tear gas fired outside the stadium drifted onto the field leaving one fan dead. “He died of a heart problem when he was transported to the hospital,” said Buenos Aires Minister of Security Sergio Berni. Authorities said fans of local team Gimnasia tried to force their way into the at-capacity stadium, leading to a standoff with police who fired rubber bullets and tear gas. It follows a similar incident in Indonesia on Saturday that ended in the deaths of 125 people — mostly young fans — after police fired tear gas into a packed stadium. (Source: ESPN)
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