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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
The U.S. has extradited Alex Saab, a top ally of Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, leading to swift retaliation from the Venezuelan government. Saab, a Colombian businessman, had been detained in West Africa for over a year. His extradition to the United States on Saturday prompted Venezuela to re-apprehend six oil executives on house arrest in Venezuela, including five Americans, and call off negotiations with the U.S.-backed opposition party in Venezuela. Saab is the highest-level Maduro supporter to be extradited to the United States and faces money laundering charges in the Southern District of Florida. Julie Turkewitz reports for the New York Times.
President Biden’s administration has informed the Supreme Court that Abu Zubaydah, who is currently held in Guantánamo Bay, can provide limited testimony for use in a Polish investigation into the use of CIA black sites. Zubaydah is an alleged former associate of Osama bin Laden and was subject torture in a CIA detention center. Following questions from the justices during oral arguments earlier this month, Acting Solicitor General Brian H. Fletcher “penned a letter to the court on Friday informing the justices that Zubaydah could provide a declaration in the pending case. But Fletcher stressed that any information could be subject to redaction if the information might ‘prejudice the security issues of the United States.’ He also said the testimony would not resolve the dispute that is currently before the justices concerning the scope of the ‘state secrets’ privilege, a legal doctrine available to the government to protect information that it says could threaten national security,” Ariane de Vogue reports for CNN.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has claimed that it prevented a U.S. Navy destroyer from entering its waters in the Sea of Japan on Friday. “The large anti-submarine ship of the Pacific Fleet Admiral Tributs did not allow the U.S. Navy destroyer to violate the national border of Russia,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The statement also claims the destroyer was in an area that was closed due to naval exercises Russia and China were conducting from Oct. 14 to Oct. 17. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the U.S. destroyer’s actions were “safe and professional,” and that at all times the ship “conducted operations in accordance with international law and custom.” Lexi Lonas reports for The Hill.
An American warship and a Canadian warship sailed through the Taiwan strait last week, the U.S. military has said, a move condemned by China amid heightened tensions between China and Taiwan. China condemned the passing of the two ships as a threat to “peace and stability.” The two ships’ “transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the military said. Reuters reports.
The U.S. has urged the U.K. to follow its example and try to repair its relations with France in the wake of the Aukus security pact between the U.S., U.K., and Australia that led to France losing a submarine contract with Australia, Patrick Wintour reports for the Guardian.
Senior officials from nine U.S. allies in interviews and public statements in recent weeks have offered a positive but cautious view of the Biden administration’s foreign policy performance. The views offered by the U.S. allies are more nuanced than the criticism that has taken hold recently in the U.S. that Biden has undermined U.S. credibility and the very relationships that Biden had promised to restore following former President Trump. “The loss of credibility is completely overblown,” said one of several senior European officials. Biden’s credibility, this official said, “depends on what he is able to get done, how much he can deliver” on important issues whose outcomes are still to be determined. Karen DeYoung reports for the Washington Post.
Biden is failing to impose any implications on Saudi Arabia for its human rights abuses, despite coming into office calling the country a “pariah,” advocates and regional experts have said. Critics are arguing that despite the Biden administration repeatedly stressing that it brings up the issue of human rights in its meetings with Saudi officials, the Saudis are dismissing this rhetoric from the Biden administration which also views the relationship between Washington and Riyadh as vital. “Advocates say that the disappearance and jailing of dissidents is ongoing, allegations of torture in prison are widespread, and decades-long sentences are out of proportion with the alleged crimes,” Laura Kelly reports for The Hill.
Seventeen missionaries from the U.S. and Canada were kidnapped in Haiti on Saturday. An investigation is ongoing, but Haiti’s security forces have attributed the kidnapping to a local gang. The missionaries were abducted while travelling in a vehicle between an orphanage in Croix des Bouquets and Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince. One missionary posted a call for help on WhatsApp as the attack took place. A spokesperson for the State Department said they were aware of the kidnappings and have no additional information at this time. Matt Rivers, Etant Dupain, Natalie Gallón, and Kylie Atwood report for CNN.
The gang called 400 Mawozo is thought to be responsible for the kidnapping. The group is among the most dangerous of Haiti’s gang and has recently engaged in mass kidnappings in Haiti on an unprecedented level. The gang controls the area where the missionaries were abducted in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince. Constant Méheut and Maria Abi-Habib report for the New York Times.
Information on what is known about 400 Mawozo, the gang thought to be responsible for the kidnapping, is provided by Miriam Berger reporting for the Washington Post.
The State Department is working with Haitian authorities and interagency partners over the abduction of missionaries, a department spokesperson has said in a statement. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed concern on Twitter and said that he had “been in touch with the State Dep[artment] to encourage them to ensure the safe return of the missionaries.” An aide to Haitian President Ariel Henry has said that gunmen from the 400 Mawozo gang were holding the captives for ransom and that negotiations to free them were under way. He declined to provide further details. Ryan Dube and Juan Montes report for the Wall Street Journal.
JAN. 6 ATTACK
A Capitol Police officer has been charged with helping a Jan. 6 attacker to obstruct justice. The indictment alleges that the officer expressed support for the rioter’s political opinions and contacted him via Facebook, encouraging him to remove incriminating content. After Jan. 6, the Capitol Police revealed three dozen officers were investigated for ties to extremist groups, but most of these claims are unsubstantiated. Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein report for POLITICO.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) vowed independence after President Biden said noncompliance with subpoenas from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack should be prosecuted. After departing on Marine One, Biden told the press that he hoped the investigating committee would hold those unresponsive to the subpoenas, including Steve Bannon, “accountable criminally.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later clarified that the Biden administration understood the decision was ultimately the DOJ’s to make. “The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop,” DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said in a statement Friday. Maya Ward reports for POLITICO.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, did not rule out issuing a subpoena for former President Trump when asked by CNN whether the committee could do a thorough investigation without subpoenaing Trump. “I don’t know. I think if I had that answer now, I’d probably go in, you know, and not be able to see all the pieces…If we subpoena all of a sudden the former president, we know that’s going to become kind of a circus so that’s not necessarily something we want to do up front. But if he has pieces of information we need, we certainly will,” Kinzinger said. Chandelis Duster and Daniella Diaz report for CNN.
Kinzinger also defended Biden’s right to weigh in on the prospect of prosecuting those who flout subpoenas issued by the Jan. 6 select committee. “I think the president has made it clear we need answers to this,” Kinzinger said, adding that he did not think that Biden crossed the line with his comments on the possibility of criminal prosecutions. Nick Niedzwiadek reports for POLITICO.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
A report in Oregon has found that dozens of law enforcement officers are or have been members of the Oath Keepers militia. Oregon Public Broadcasting compared data in an Oath Keepers leak to public records to find that more than two dozen current and former law enforcement officers in Oregon had joined the Oath Keepers since the group’s founding in 2009. Jonathan Levinson at Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.
A trial of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, in Georgia in February 2020 is set to begin, with jury selection to begin today. Arbery was shot and killed while jogging in Brunswick, Georgia. For almost two months there were no arrests in the case until a graphic video of the shooting leaked on social media. After an explosion of activism surrounding Arbery’s death, Georgia now has a new hate crimes law and amended its citizens arrest law. Civil rights activists in Georgia see the murder trial as a culmination of these efforts. Margaret Coker and Hannah Knowles report for the Washington Post.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that “extreme polarization” in the U.S. is currently the greatest threat to U.S. democracy. During a TV interview, Gates specifically pointed to the area around the White House and Capitol Hill as being where “the greatest threat is found.” Mychael Schnell reports for The Hill.
A woman carrying a baseball bat near the Capitol’s West Front “became combative” and bit a Capitol Police officer on Friday morning, the Capitol Police department has said. The woman is in custody and charges are pending. A motive for her actions has not yet been identified. Christina Marcos reports for The Hill.
A watchdog has filed a complaint against White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for comments she made on the Virginia governor’s race during a White House Press Briefing on Thursday. The watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), took issue with the statement: “we’re going to do everything we can to help former Governor McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.” On Friday, Psaki appeared with Jake Tapper on CNN to address the complaint, saying “I take ethics seriously. So does the President” and acknowledging she should have spoken differently. CREW later praised her handling of the situation. Donald Judd reports for CNN.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in the process of planning how to build an intelligence-gathering cell that would more closely monitor and better predict the movements of groups of migrants to the U.S., according to a copy of the plans. The hope is to use the information gathered to allocate resources to areas of the border where surges are expected and to counter false messages spread by cartels and those on social media. “The new cell, to be operational by the end of the month, would supply the agency with ‘indications and warnings’ of possible migrant surges by collecting intelligence from DHS personnel in Central and South America, seek to establish aerial surveillance of trucks and migrant camps massing on borders and increase communication with the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement agencies in other countries, according to the planning document,” Julia Ainsley reports for NBC News.
Facebook’s artificial intelligence (AI) has only minimal success in removing hate speech, violent images, and other problematic content, according to an internal Facebook Inc. company report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The report documents how Facebook’s AI can not consistently identify content of serious concern, including first-person shooting videos and racist rants. The document also shows that Facebook employees have estimated that the company removed only 2% of the posts that violate its rules on hate speech. “The documents reviewed by the Journal also show that Facebook two years ago cut the time human reviewers focused on hate-speech complaints from users and made other tweaks that reduced the overall number of complaints. That made the company more dependent on AI enforcement of its rules and inflated the apparent success of the technology in its public statistics,” Deepa Seetharaman, Jeff Horwitz, and Justin Scheck report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to offer payments to the family of the 10 civilians mistakenly killed in the U.S. drone strike in Kabul in August. In a statement released late Friday, the Pentagon said it made the offers in a virtual meeting between Colin H. Kahl, U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Steven Kwon, the founder and president of the aid organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, who was targeted and killed in the strike. The exact amount for the condolence payments has not yet been agreed on, and the Pentagon is working with the Department of State to relocate the surviving members of Ahmadi’s family. DOD’s pledge comes after the family stated they had yet to be contacted by American officials. Eric Shmitt reports for the New York Times.
The Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan is boosting radical groups, including the Taliban, in Pakistan. Pakistan’s own Taliban movement has for years been waging a violent campaign against the Islamabad government and has been emboldened by the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The group seems to be preparing to retake control of the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan that they lost nearly seven years ago in a major operation by Pakistan’s military. The group is also increasing their influence in the regions, including by imposing surcharges on every contract and killing those who defy them, according to reports for local contractors. Kathy Gannon reports for AP.
A military judge has criticized the Marine Corps’ handling of the case of an officer who criticized, in videos posted to social media, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Marine Corps judge Col. Glen Hines Hines only directed that Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who a day earlier had pleaded guilty to six charges stemming from the video she posted on Facebook and LinkedIn, forfeit $5,000 pay for one month, rather than taking the prosecution’s punishment request for Scheller to have to forfeit $5,000 of pay a month for six months and receive a letter of reprimand. In explaining his decision, Hines said Scheller’s videos in their full context showed a “confused” and “significantly frustrated” man, who appeared “to be in pain,” rather than the potentially violent service member the military had portrayed Scheller as. Davis Winkie reports for the Military Times.
Lawmakers from both parties are saying that constant blame attribution between the Department of Defense and the State Department is making it difficult to get a full account of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Top officials from both departments have laid blame on each other at congressional hearings on Afghanistan, leaving members of Congress frustrated. “When the State Department is here and we asked them a question, they say, ‘Well, you have to ask the Defense Department that,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said at a recent hearing. “And now today, again, Defense Department people are before us. And the question was asked and the answer … was, ‘well, you’ll have to ask the State Department that’… I object to the continuation of that,” Wicker said. Rebecca Beitsch reports for The Hill.
The push to resettle Afghan refugees in the U.S. is being slowed by a nationwide housing shortage, paperwork delays, and old technology, as well as due to a recent measles scare. The original goal was to resettle the evacuees by the end of the year, if not sooner, however officials are now saying that they will likely need through to March 2022 or longer. “More than 50,000 Afghans are housed temporarily on eight military bases around the country awaiting resettlement to permanent homes. Their slower-than-expected release means they will have to remain for months in cramped barracks where supplies are often stretched,” Ben Kesling and Michelle Hackman report for the Wall Street Journal.
Just Security has published a piece by David Moore on the “Taliban Governance of NGOs – What to Expect and How to Respond,” looking back to the Taliban era of 1996 to 2001 to help understand how the Taliban may interact with civil society organizations in the coming months and years, as well as what can be done to support civil society going forward.
SYRIA AND ISRAEL
Syria has accused Israel of assassinating a high-ranking Syrian official. The official, Midhat Saleh, was killed by an apparent sniper while inside Syria near the border shared with Israel. An Israeli defense official said Saleh “was working with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to establish the military infrastructure along the border necessary for an attack against Israel.” Saleh oversaw the Golan Heights boundary in his official capacity and spent 12 years in an Israeli prison on terrorism charges before serving in the Syrian government. Ronen Bergman reports for the New York Times.
The death of Saleh, allegedly by Israeli sniper fire, could mark a new phase in what Israel calls its war against Iranian entrenchment in neighboring Syria. If Saleh was indeed killed by Israel it would mark the first time that Israeli snipers are known to have killed someone identified as an Iranian-linked target across the border, and would send a powerful message to Iran and Syria about their activities near the Israeli border. Josef Federman reports for AP.
Syria’s government and opposition have agreed to start drafting constitutional reforms, the U.N.’s envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, announced yesterday, a major step after a nine-month hiatus of talks and several fruitless rounds. Pedersen did not say what was behind the agreement or offer details of what comes next. The drafting sessions are to formally begin today. AP reports.
The Syrian government shelled a rebel-held town near the border with Turkey on Saturday, killing four people and wounding more than a dozen, Syrian opposition activists have said. “The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitoring group, said three of the dead were local policemen whose station received a direct hit. It said 17 people were also wounded,” AP reports.
The Israeli military has said that it has reprimanded an officer who was found to have used excessive force against protesters in the occupied West Bank, including pushing a 65-year-old Israeli peace activist to the ground. The army said that the officer was punished in connection to two incidents and that the officer had deviated from “the professional norms and standards” expected of him. It said he could not be promoted or attend a commander’s course for the next three years. Josef Federman reports for AP.
A British lawmaker was stabbed to death on Friday during a meeting with constituents. The lawmaker, Sir David Ames, had served in Parliament since 1983 and was a member of the Conservative Party. “The police said they had arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of murder and had recovered a knife at the scene.” U.K. authorities have labeled the attack as terrorism. Megan Specia, Mark Landler, and Stephen Castle report for the New York Times.
U.K. Government officials have confirmed that the suspect, who is being held at a London police station under the Terrorism Act 2000, is Ali Harbi Ali, a British national of Somali heritage. Early investigations also revealed “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” according to the London Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command. What is known so far about the murder of Sir David is provided by BBC News.
The U.K. government is considering enhancing security measures for lawmakers, including sending police protection when they meet with constituents, in the wake of Sir David’s murder. U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a TV interview that the government is looking into multiple measures to enhance the security of parliamentarians. Patel insisted that the killing, the second killing of a British lawmaker in five years, should not stop lawmakers from engaging openly with constituents. Annabelle Timsit reports for the Washington Post.
The father of the man held for the fatal stabbing of a British lawmaker has told the media that he is shocked and “traumatized” by his son’s arrest, as the police continue to question the suspect under terrorism laws. It is being reported that the suspect is Ali Harbi Ali and British counter-terrorism police had visited his father, Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to Somalia’s prime minister. “I’m feeling very traumatized. It’s not something that I expected or even dreamed of,” he was quoted as saying. Josh Glancy, Dipesh Gadher, Caroline Wheeler, Katie Tarrant, and John Simpson report for The Times.
Myanmar’s military junta will not be permitted to participate in a regional summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) later this month. In lieu of the military government, Myanmar will have a “nonpolitical representative” attend the summit, the ASEAN’s current chair has said in a statement. The statement said that the decision was reached by the ASEAN countries “in light of what it called Myanmar’s insufficient progress toward implementing an earlier peace pact and amid a competing claim to the seat by a group representing the ousted civilian government,” Feliz Solomon reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Myanmar is to release over 5,000 prisoners held in jail for protesting against the military’s coup in February. Myanmar’s leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said that the 5,636 prisoners would be freed for humanitarian reasons and their release would mark the Buddhist holiday of Thadingyut later in October. Speaking on television, days after the ASEAN decided to exclude Myanmar’s junta from an annual summit, the junta chief insisted the military leaders were committed to peace and democracy. BBC News reports.
China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, according to people familiar with the test. “The missile missed its target by about two-dozen miles, according to three people briefed on the intelligence. But two said the test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than U.S. officials realized,” Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille report for the Financial Times.
China’s Foreign Ministry has disputed the reports in the Financial Times that it tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile early this year, instead saying that it tested a space vehicle in July. Reuters reporting.
Countering the security threat from the rise of China will be an important part of NATO’s future role, the alliance’s chief has said. “In an interview with the Financial Times, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said China was already having an impact on European security through its cyber capabilities, new technologies and long-range missiles. How to defend NATO allies from those threats will be ‘thoroughly’ addressed in the alliance’s new doctrine for the coming decade, he said,” Roula Khalaf and Henry Foy report for the Financial Times.
Militants are targeting minority civilians in Kashmir, stoking fears of a return to the violent past of the Muslim-majority enclave in India. Militants in Kashmir have killed seven civilians, including Hindus and Sikhs, in targeted attacks this month. The victims have included two school teachers, a street hawker, and a man running a pharmacy. The killings have also prompted families from the Hindu and Sikh communities, mostly those whose members work government jobs, to leave for the neighboring Hindu-majority region. Niha Masih and Shams Irfan report for the Washington Post.
The expulsion by the Indian state of longtime residents on government land has been heavily criticized, with videos and descriptions of the violence against resident shaving shocked much of India when they went viral last month. Local government officials at the time said that they were targeting an exploding population of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh squatting on land needed for vital agricultural projects. However, interviews and a review of documents by the New York Times have shown “that many of the evicted residents were legal citizens of India with a right to live on the government-owned land. Instead, critics of the government say, the evictions appear to be part of a broader campaign by India’s ruling party against the country’s Muslim population,” Karan Deep Singh and Bondita Baruah report for the New York Times.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
An Iranian lawmaker has said that Iran will resume nuclear negotiations with Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany this Thursday. The statement comes after the lawmaker attended a closed-door meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The talks in Vienna between Iran and the five countries have been stalled since June. The Times of Israel reports.
Hundreds of pro-military protestors descended on the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, over the weekend. The post-dictatorship interim government has faced waning support due to IMF-backed economic reforms, and the government already thwarted one coup in September. Over the weekend, protestors demanded an end to the interim government and reinstatement of military rule, surrounding the presidential palace calling for, “one army, one people.” The current prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, called the rally a “dangerous crisis” during the country’s transition. A rival rally is planned for Thursday, signaling rising tensions. Agence France-Presse reports.
A unilateral ceasefire in the Central African Republic (CAR) was announced on Friday by President Faustin Archange Touadéra, who said that he hoped the accord with armed groups would lead to dialogue and greater protection of civilians. Some leaders of the main rebel alliance in the CAR have reportedly welcomed the ceasefire. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the development as a “critical step,” which is in line with a roadmap for peace adopted in September by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, an intergovernmental organization of 12 African countries. UN News Centre reports.
Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have continued their weekslong blockade of the district of Abidya in the central province of Marib, cutting off humanitarian aid and halting movement of its 37,000 people, officials and U.N. aid workers have said. The Houthi rebels advanced in Abidya in recent weeks, forcing troops of the internally recognized government to retreat. The attack on Abidya is part of the Houthi’s ongoing offensive to capture the government-held city of Marib. The Houthis “are committing genocide” in Abdiya, preventing food, medicine and other basic needs from reaching the district, Marib provincial Gov. Sheikh Sultan al-Aradah has said. Ahmed Al-Haj and Samy Magdy report for AP.
In El Salvador, thousands of people are protesting President Nayib Bukele’s government. The protestors took issue with Bukele’s turn to cryptocurrency and firing of Supreme Court justices. Bukele quickly dismissed the protests as a “failure” on Twitter. Nelson Renteria for Reuters reports.
France’s ambassador to Belarus has left the country after the Belarus government ordered him to leave. The French ambassador did not present his credentials to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko after France refused to recognize Lukashenko’s claim to a sixth presidential term. The election of Lukashenko attracted widespread claims of voter fraud and led the E.U. to impose sanctions on his regime. BBC News reports.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that Ethiopia needs to stop receiving food aid to avoid foreign pressure on the government, state-owned Ethiopia Television has reported. “If we make sure that this thing called wheat [food aid] does not enter Ethiopia, 70% of Ethiopia’s problems will be solved,” Abiy was reported as saying. BBC News reports.
Opposition parties in Hungary are uniting around a single candidate to try and unseat far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the country’s elections next year. Peter Marki-Zay, a conservative small-town mayor who was once considered an outsider, won the second round of the primary with 57% of the vote. “An observant Catholic father of seven, Marki-Zay, 47, presented himself as the stronger of two finalists to run against Orban because he would be challenging him from the right rather than the left. His opponent, Klara Dobrev, from the left-wing Democratic Coalition congratulated him on his win,” Loveday Morris reports for the Washington Post.
Criminal gangs in Nigeria are growing more brazen, as they gain ransom money from kidnappings, and are stealing heavy munitions and extorting the Nigerian government. The network of criminal gangs have waged a campaign of kidnapping, including hundreds of school children, which has allowed them to raise millions of dollars to build an arsenal of heavy weaponry they are using to gain control of swaths of the north of Nigeria. The gangs are also agreeing to part with the heavy military they capture from the army in exchange for ransom money from the government. Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw report for the Wall Street Journal.
An alleged serial child killer who escaped from a Nairobi police station last week, was found by schoolchildren and then beaten to death by a mob in his hometown, following a national manhunt. Masten Wanjala — who police said had confessed to killing at least 10 children in five years — allegedly posed as a soccer coach who drugged his victims before executing them. Wanjala, who had not been tried, escaped before he was meant to appear in court last Wednesday, making front page news around Kenya. Villagers in Wanjala’s hometown of Bungoma, about 250 miles from Nairobi, killed the 20-year-old man in an act of “mob justice,” Kenya police spokesperson Bruno Isohi Shioso said, adding that the villagers acted so quickly that it was not possible for authorities to intervene. “The law of the jungles as applied by irate villages prevailed,” tweeted the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. Rael Ombuor, Rachel Chason, and Amy Cheng report for the Washington Post.
French President Emmanuel Macron became the first French head of state on Saturday to attend commemorations of the mass killing of Algerian independence protestors by the Paris police 60 years ago. French authorities had avoided mentioning the killings, which had a death toll estimated to be as high as 200, until former President François Hollande acknowledged them in October 2012. In a statement Macron acknowledged the responsibility of the police but refrained from calling the killings a massacre or acknowledging the role of the French state in covering the killings up. “The crimes committed that night under the authority of Maurice Papon are inexcusable for the Republic,” the statement read, referring to the Paris police chief who ordered the suppression of the protest. Constant Méheut reports for the New York Times.
The coronavirus has infected over 44.93 million and has now killed over 724,300 people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 240.68 million confirmed coronavirus cases and close to 4.90 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley, and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
Despite facing retribution for their efforts, independent Russian experts are challenging Covid-19 data issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government. These independent researchers estimate that the Russian government is under-reporting nearly 400,000 to 500,000 pandemic-related deaths. It is believed Russian official statistics “exclude many deaths of patients with the coronavirus where doctors judge another major factor was to blame, such as heart failure.” One independent demographer said the Russian government is “just making up numbers, literally.” Robyn Dixon reports for the Washington Post.
A new study has shown that governors in states without Covid-19 vaccine mandates are losing support. The authors of the study cite an average approval rating of 42% for governors without vaccine mandates, compared with 52% approval of governors with vaccine mandates. The authors recognize that the study could be skewed by recent Covid-19 spikes. The Hill reports.
Police officers and others responsible for public safety should get vaccinated as part of their role, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said. “Think about the implications of not getting vaccinated when you’re in a position where you have a responsible job, and you want to protect yourself because you’re needed at your job, whether you’re a police officer or a pilot or any other of those kinds of occupations,” Fauci said during an interview on Fox News. Stephanie Nolen reports for the New York Times.
A map and analysis of the vaccine roll out across the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.
Latest updates on the pandemic at the Guardian.