Signup to receive the Early Edition in your inbox here.
A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Voters in Brazil yesterday ousted far-right President Jair Bolsonaro after just one term and elected the leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to replace him. Whilst Bolsonaro had cast doubt on the voting process leading up to the election, and hinted that he might reject the outcome if he lost, many far-right lawmakers, conservative pundits, and Bolsonaro supporters appear to have accepted da Silva’s victory. In his victory speech yesterday night, da Silva addressed the deep divisions that run through the country. “I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me,” da Silva said. “There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.” Jack Nicas reports for the New York Times.
Brazil’s Federal Highway Police, an organization closely allied with Bolsonaro, has been accused of setting up roadblocks to delay voters in the country’s impoverished northeast and other centers of support for da Silva. Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, Brazil’s chief electoral authority, ordered the director of the highway police, Silvinei Vasques to stop the operations immediately or face personal fines of nearly $100,000 per hour. Moraes later sought to calm concerns of a broader effort that could taint the vote. He said each incident would be investigated, but police had complied with the demand to cease the operations. He said checkpoints had delayed, but not prevented, voters from casting their ballots, and he would not extend voting hours beyond the planned 5 p.m. close. “The damage caused to the voters was a delay during the inspections,” Moraes said. “There was no prejudice to the right to vote and, logically, there will be no postponement of the end of voting. … There is no need to overstate this issue. There were no cases where voters went home.” Anthony Faiola and Gabriela Sá Pessoa report for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – ATTACKS ON CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Russia launched a wave of cruise missiles at hydroelectric dams and other critical infrastructure across Ukraine this morning. Explosions have been reported near the capital, Kyiv, and in at least 10 other cities and regions. Ukraine’s air command said it shot down 44 out of 50 enemy rockets. As a result of the strikes, scheduled partial blackouts and emergency blackouts have been introduced in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Zaporizhzhia, Cherkasy, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, and Poltava regions, Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko said. Luke Harding, Dan Sabbagh and Isobel Koshiw report for the Guardian.
Bridget A. Brink, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, said she is seeking shelter from strikes against Kyiv and accused Russia of targeting civilian infrastructure. In a post on Twitter, she accused Moscow of continuing “callous and barbaric missile strikes on the people of Ukraine in an effort to leave the country cold and dark as we approach winter.” Leo Sands reports for the Washington Post.
A military expert close to the Russian Defense Ministry accidentally confirmed last week that the drones Moscow is using to destroy Ukraine’s infrastructure are manufactured and supplied by Iran – exposing the repeated denials by Moscow and Tehran as false. “We all know the drones are Iranian,” Ruslan Pukhov told the anchors on pro-Kremlin broadcaster RBC television, clearly unaware that they were live on air. “But the government has not admitted to it,” he muttered. He compared the situation to a body part that everyone knows they have but no one ever mentions in polite company. Robyn Dixon reports for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – BLACK SEA GRAIN INITIATIVE
Moscow has announced it is suspending its involvement in the U.N.-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports. The decision came after Russia accused Ukraine of a “massive” drone attack on its naval base of Sevastopol in Crimea. Russia’s defense ministry said Ukraine attacked its fleet near Sevastopol with 16 aerial and maritime drones early on Saturday, claiming British navy “specialists” had helped coordinate what it called a terrorist attack. The UK denied the accusation. Hours later, a statement by the foreign ministry in Moscow said: “The Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of civilian dry cargo ships participating in the ‘Black Sea Initiative’, and suspends its implementation from today for an indefinite period.” Hugo Bachega and Paulin Kola report for BBC News.
The U.N., NATO, E.U. and U.S. have all urged Russia to reverse its decision to pull out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. NATO accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “weaponizing food” and urged him to do a U-turn. The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said he was “deeply concerned” by Russia’s suspension of the deal for an “indefinite term” and had delayed his departure to attend the Arab League summit in Algiers for a day to try to revive it. The E.U. also urged Moscow to reverse course, and on Saturday President Biden called the move “purely outrageous.” The Guardian reports.
Turkey will continue its efforts to support the Black Sea Grain Initiative despite Russian hesitancy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today. “Even if Russia behaves hesitantly because it didn’t receive the same benefits, we will continue decisively our efforts to serve humanity,” Erdogan said in a speech. Separately, a U.N. spokesperson said the first of 40 planned ship inspections on Monday had been completed in Istanbul waters with a team of only U.N. and Turkish members, rather than the previous four-member teams including Russians and Ukrainians before Moscow’s suspension. The Guardian reports.
Twelve vessels left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports today, despite Russia withdrawing from the U.N.-brokered initiative. The dozen vessels that left Ukrainian ports carrying food contained 354,500 tons of grain and other agricultural products, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure. “12 ships with 354.5 thousand tons of agricultural products left the Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi sea ports today for the needs of Africa, Asia, and Europe,” the ministry said on Facebook, noting that one vessel – the Ikaria Angel – was chartered by the UN’s World Food Programme and destined for Ethiopia. Victoria Butenko reports for CNN.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Russia has accused the British Navy of blowing up the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea. “According to available information, representatives … of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea on September 26 this year — blowing up the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday. The accusation did not include any further information or evidence to support claims of state sabotage. The U.K. Defense Ministry quickly denied Moscow’s claim. Joshua Posaner reports for POLITICO.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Political leaders in the U.K. have called for an investigation into the government’s handling of national security, after an unconfirmed report claiming that a personal phone of former Prime Minister Liz Truss was targeted by suspected Russian hackers. The report, which cited unnamed sources, suggested that private messages exchanged between Truss and foreign officials while she was foreign secretary – some involving sensitive information about the war in Ukraine – were breached in the supposed cyberattack. It also claimed that U.K. government officials learned of the breach over the summer and suggested that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who preceded Truss, and cabinet secretary Simon Case intentionally hid it from the media amid Truss’ campaign to become the conservative party leader and prime minister. Emily Mae Czachor reports for CBS News.
Germany and the E.U. are examining whether to classify Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said yesterday. “I made it clear last week that we will launch another package of sanctions, that we will examine how we can also list the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization,” Baerbock said in an interview. Her comments come after the head of the Revolutionary Guards warned protesters that Saturday would be their last day of taking to the streets, in a sign that security forces may intensify their already fierce crackdown on widespread unrest. Reuters reports.
Twin car bomb explosions near a busy junction in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, have killed at least 100 people, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said. He also appealed for international medical help to deal with the 300 injured. The president blamed the al-Shabab militant group for Saturday’s attack which targeted the education ministry. The pro-jihadist Somali Memo website has reported that the group has said it was behind the blasts. The African Union mission in Somalia said that the “attacks underline the urgency and critical importance of the ongoing military offensive to further degrade al-Shabab.” BBC News reports.
The 154 people who died in Seoul this weekend were crushed in a narrow alleyway that was jammed with Halloween revelers, according to South Korean authorities. Some 132 people also suffered injuries, with at least 36 in critical condition on Sunday, authorities said. Whilst they haven’t said what might have caused the crowd to fall, police said that they are investigating whether businesses and local authorities took proper safety precautions. Crowd-control experts have said that, based on reports of the incident, authorities didn’t appear to have sufficient measures in place to safely manage such a large mass of people. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called the deaths a truly horrific incident and a disaster that should have never happened. The government will provide financial assistance to those injured and families of the deceased, he added. Jiyoung Sohn, Dasl Yoon, and Timothy W. Martin report for the Wall Street Journal.
At least 134 people have been killed after a suspension bridge collapsed in India’s western state of Gujarat yesterday. Gujarat Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi said Monday that some 200 people are estimated to have been on the bridge in the town of Morbi when it collapsed into the river below. A cable at one end appears to have snapped, he added. The state of Gujarat has lodged a criminal complaint against the agency that was handling the maintenance of the 230-meter long bridge, which was built in the 19th century and reopened last week after renovations, he said. A five-person special investigation committee has been established to investigate the incident, amid an ongoing search and rescue operation by hundreds of personnel from state and national disaster relief teams and the Indian military. Swati Gupta and Hira Humayun report for CNN.
The Biden administration is weighing options to respond to what could soon be a mass exodus of migrants from Haiti, including temporarily holding migrants in a third country or expanding capacity at an existing facility at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay. The White House National Security Council is asking the Department of Homeland Security what number of Haitian migrants would require the U.S. to designate a third country, known as a “lily pad,” to hold and process Haitian migrants who are intercepted at sea and what number would overwhelm a lily pad country and require Haitians to be taken to Guantánamo, according to an internal planning document. Whilst gangs in Haiti are currently staging a blockade of the country’s main fuel supply point, preventing people from fleeing by boat, the Biden administration predicts that once this blockade is over, there could be a mass exodus of Haitians trying to make the journey to the U.S. by sea, U.S. officials have said. Julia Ainsley reports for NBC News.
The U.S. plans to deploy B-52 bombers to Australia, in Washington’s latest effort to boost military co-operation with Canberra and send a strong signal to China as tensions mount in the Indo-Pacific. The Pentagon will deploy the B-52s, which carry nuclear or conventional weapons, to Australia’s Northern Territories as part of rotational bomber task forces that conduct exercises with allies. Whilst the U.S. has deployed B-52s to Australia before, the new plans to send as many as six of the aircraft would mark a big increase in presence in the region. Demetri Sevastopulo and Nic Fildes report for the Financial Times.
The Biden administration will convene three-dozen allied governments this week for a fresh round of talks on how to stem the tide of ransomware attacks that have disrupted critical infrastructure firms around the world. The second annual “summit” to counter ransomware will take a hard look at virtual currencies that facilitate cybercriminal profits and additional ways that companies and governments can fortify themselves against hacks, a senior administration official told reporters. FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, will brief the visiting delegations on ransomware issues, according to the senior administration official. Canada, Singapore, Ukraine and the U.K. are among the many governments expected to participate. Sean Lyngaas reports for CNN.
JAN. 6 ATTACK
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack has obtained eight disputed emails that attorney John Eastman — a key architect of former President Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election — had asked a federal appeals court to shield from lawmakers. The eight emails in question were described by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter as evidence of a likely crime by Eastman and Trump, and they were included in a batch of several dozen documents that Carter ordered Eastman to deliver to the Jan. 6 committee. Eastman revealed in a court filing yesterday that he delivered a link to the Jan. 6 committee providing access to the eight emails last week, but asked the committee to refrain from reviewing the records while he mounted an appeal. Instead, the committee rejected his request, questioning whether a formal appeal had been lodged, and downloaded the documents, Eastman indicated. He is now asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to demand that the committee return or destroy the documents — and prevent the panel from making use of them until the appeals court takes action. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The Supreme Court will hear arguments today over whether colleges can consider race in admissions decisions. The pair of cases involve race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina and were brought by Students for Fair Admissions, a group founded by Edward Blum, a legal activist who has organized many lawsuits challenging race-conscious admissions policies. The court has repeatedly upheld similar policies, most recently in 2016, saying that educational diversity is a compelling interest that justifies taking account of race as one factor among many in admissions decisions. However, the court is now dominated by a six-member conservative supermajority that is likely to view the challenged programs with skepticism. A ruling restricting or prohibiting the use of race as a consideration in admissions would fundamentally reshape higher education. It would reduce the number of Black and Latino students at many selective colleges and graduate schools, with more Asian American and white students gaining admission instead. Adam Liptak reports for the New York Times.
Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked with a hammer at the couple’s home in San Francisco by a male assailant early Friday morning. The intruder confronted the speaker’s husband in their San Francisco home shouting, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to a source. The man who assaulted Paul Pelosi tried to tie him up “until Nancy got home,” according to two sources familiar with the situation. When the police arrived, the assailant was saying he was “waiting for Nancy.” “This was not a random act. This was intentional,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said during a news conference on the investigation, adding, “It’s wrong. Our elected officials are here to do the business of their cities, their counties, their states, and this nation. Their families don’t sign up for this to be harmed and it is wrong.” Pelosi, 82, was taken to a hospital and underwent a “successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement. He is expected to make a full recovery. Jamie Gangel, Clare Foran, Whitney Wild and John Miller report for CNN.
COVID-19 has infected over 97.450 million people and has now killed over 1.07 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 630.283 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.59 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
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.