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.
Jan 09, 2023
Two years after the Capitol riot, supporters of Brazil’s defeated president stormed that country’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace. President Biden visited the Mexican border for the first time since taking office. Russia and Ukraine couldn’t agree whether the number of troops killed in a missile attack was 600 … or zero. And could Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir herald the “beginning of the end” for Britain’s monarchy? All this and more in today’s PDB.
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Brazil’s President Vows to ‘Punish’ Anti-Democracy Rioters
Thousands of aggrieved supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro descended on Brasilia Sunday, storming and vandalizing Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was out of town and the buildings were largely empty, but former Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurélio Mello said the damage caused by the rioters was “much worse than what happened at the [U.S.] Capitol.” Today Lula focused on getting to the bottom of the poor police response — whether it was due to “incompetence, bad faith or malice” — and punishing the “vandals, neo-fascists and fanatics” responsible for the riots. (Sources: The Guardian, AP, Reuters)
Daggers Out as Biden Visits Mexico Border for First Time as President
President Joe Biden met Border Patrol officers at El Paso’s Bridge of the Americas and strolled along the 18-foot border wall — to the annoyance of critics on both sides of the political divide. Gov. Greg Abbott handed Biden a letter saying, “This chaos is the direct result of your failure to enforce the immigration laws that Congress enacted.” Meanwhile, activist Heidi Altman tweeted that Biden’s new policies “flout refugee law & will unleash more suffering at the border, w/ disparate harm to Black, Brown & Indigenous asylum seekers.” Biden is in Mexico today for a summit of North American leaders. (Source: NYT)
Russia Says It Killed 600 Ukrainian Troops; Kyiv Insists No One Died
The Kremlin claimed Sunday that it carried out devastating missile attacks on a Ukrainian barracks in Kramatorsk in the country’s east, killing at least 600 Ukrainian troops. A Russian spokesman said the attack was retaliation for Ukrainian strikes that killed at least 89 Russian soldiers. Kyiv, meanwhile, said Sunday’s barrage had only hit civilian targets and that there hadn’t been a single casualty, civilian or military. “The world saw again these days that Russia lies even when it draws attention to the situation at the front with its own statements,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his nightly address. (Source: AP)
Could Harry’s Book Be ‘Beginning of the End’ for UK Monarchy?
As the world convulses ahead of Prince Harry’s midnight book release, the coverage has focused on the (often tawdry) details revealed in his pre-publication interviews: On the royal family’s “leaking and planting” of private conversations to the tabloids, and on how Prince William tried to order Harry to shave his beard for his wedding. But King Charles’ biographer, Catherine Mayer, says the underlying themes of racism, misogyny and wealth cut much deeper: “This is not just a celebrity knockabout story. What we are talking about is the status of a significant institution of state, with significant powers and significant taxpayer funding.” (Source: The Guardian)
Here are some things you should know about today:
Recovering. The condition of Abby Zwerner — the teacher who was shot after an “altercation” with a 6-year-old pupil — was “trending in a positive direction” said the mayor of Newport News, Virginia. (Source: BBC) Tenterhooks. Polls closed after a parliamentary election in Benin that’s seen as a test of democracy in the West African nation. Preliminary results are expected Wednesday. (Source: Al Jazeera) Floodgates. Long lines snaked outside immigration offices in China after the country lifted curbs that have largely stopped its 1.4 billion residents from traveling abroad since 2020. Several nations are requiring travelers from China to produce negative COVID-19 tests. (Source: Reuters)
The Animal Sedative Devouring the Limbs of US Fentanyl Addicts
Philadelphia fentanyl user Tracey McCann was accustomed to bruising around injection sites — but scaly blackened tissue that oozed pus? In 2021 over 90% of fentanyl samples in Philly contained xylazine, aka tranq dope, an animal tranquilizer that causes wounds so bad amputation is often the only resort. It’s not listed as a controlled substance, it resists opioid overdose treatments and it’s already made its way into the drug supply in 36 states. “Philly’s supply is saturated,” said outreach worker Shawn Westfahl. “If other places around the country have a choice to avoid it, they need to hear our story.” (Source: NYT)
Ukraine’s Other Front Line
The German Town Where Climate Activists Are Taking on Coal Miners
As the excavators get closer, the protesters occupying the abandoned village of Lützerath have taken to the trees. “It’s a lot harder for the police to evict us,” said Bente Opitz. “We have ropes between the treehouses so we can move from one to another.” Before its election in 2021 Germany’s coalition government, which includes the Green Party, vowed to end the country’s reliance on coal. But the conflict in Ukraine — specifically Russia’s decision to cut gas exports to Europe — forced a rethink. “If they dig for this coal,” said protester Dina Hamid, “They’re throwing the Paris agreement in the bin.” (Source: BBC)
Nazi Treasure Map
Netherlands Declassifies Documents That Could Lead to $19M Loot
In the final days of WWII, four German soldiers buried a stash of watches, jewelry, coins and gemstones that had been looted from a Dutch bank. Now the National Archives of the Netherlands has released more than 1,300 documents pertaining to the mystery — including a treasure map supposedly drawn by one of the soldiers. It also includes a 3-inch file detailing the Dutch government’s failed attempts to locate the hoard. But archivist Annet Waalkens is an optimist: “I really hope that it is still there. And that when it’s dug out perhaps we could trace some of the rightful owners.” (Source: The Guardian)
Great Salt Lake on Track to Disappear in Next Five Years
A report from researchers at Brigham Young University shows the combination of unsustainable water use and an ongoing megadrought has shrunk the lake to 37% of its usual volume. If Utah and nearby states don’t drastically curb water consumption, the lake will suffer irreversible collapse before the decade is out. Higher salt concentrations are already making it too toxic for brine shrimp and flies — species that support around 10 million migratory birds. “This is a crisis,” said lead author Ben Abbott. “The ecosystem is on life support. We need to have this emergency intervention to make sure it doesn’t disappear.” (Source: WaPo)
Doing It for Damar
Bills Stun Patriots in First Game Since Hamlin Cardiac Arrest
In Buffalo’s first play since Damar Hamlin’s life-threatening injury, running back Nyheim Hines ran in a 96-yard touchdown from the opening kickoff — the first time the Bills had ever scored a TD on an opening kickoff in a home game. Hamlin, watching from his hospital bed in Cincinnati, tweeted, “OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Hines then repeated the trick in the third quarter, becoming the first player since 2010 to return two kickoffs for TDs in the same game. Hamlin joined the postgame locker room via FaceTime after the Bills won 35-23, booting the Patriots from the playoffs and securing the AFC’s No. 2 seed. (Sources: CBS, ESPN)
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