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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.
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has been ousted after he attempted to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government. The attempt came ahead of a planned impeachment vote against Castillo on corruption charges. Castillo’s move was unsuccessful with government officials resigning en masse, and the country’s top court, police, and armed force refusing to support him. By the end of the day, Castillo was removed from power and arrested. He has been replaced by Dina Blouarte, his vice president. Mitra Taj reports for the New York Times.
More information has come to light about the 25 individuals arrested by German forces yesterday on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. Those arrested included an active duty soldier, a former officer in the elite special forces, a police officer, and at least two army reserves. Prince Heinrich XIII of Reuss, a descendant of a former German royal family, has been identified as the ringleader of the group. According to German prosecutors and intelligence officials, the group had planned to storm the German Capitol, arrest lawmakers, and execute the chancellor, before installing Heinrich XIII as leader. Katrin Bennhold and Erika Solomon report for the New York Times.
Iran has announced the first execution of a protester convicted over the recent anti-government unrest. Mohsen Shekari was hanged this morning after being found guilty by a Revolutionary Court of “enmity against God”, state media reported. David Gritten reports for BBC News.
The Taliban yesterday held its first public execution in Afghanistan since returning to power. A Taliban spokesperson said the man, who was accused of murder, was shot three times by the father of his alleged victim in an execution attended by senior Taliban officials. Sahar Akbarzai reports for CNN.
The death toll in a Russian artillery barrage that hit a market in the Ukrainian town of Kurakhove has risen to 10. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack “very brutal,” and accused Russia of targeting civilians. Matthew Mpoke Bigg reports for the New York Times.
President Vladimir Putin warned Russians yesterday that the country’s war in Ukraine would likely be “a long process.” He also said that for now, the Kremlin had no plans to call up more combat troops to serve in what the government still describes as a “special military operation.” Ivan Nechepurenko, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Andrew E. Kramer report for the New York Times.
The risk of Russia using nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine has lessened “for the time being,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said. “Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons in response to the international community marking a red line,” he said. Yesterday Putin suggested that Moscow would only use nuclear weapons in retaliation. Laura Gozzi reports for BBC News.
The Biden administration has been weighing up Ukrainian requests for controversial cluster munitions and has not rejected the requests outright, CNN has learned. Cluster munitions, which are banned by more than 100 countries, have been used by Russia to devastating effect inside Ukraine. Natasha Bertrand, Alex Marquardt, and Zachary Cohen report for CNN.
Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlyov, who oversaw atrocities in Syria, led cluster bomb attacks on civilians in Ukraine, CNN has discovered. The attacks in the Kharkiv region were carried out using Smerch cluster rockets, which could be traced back to a base in Russia’s Belgorod region. Multiple military experts told CNN that Zhuravlyov – the Russian equivalent of a theater commander in the US military – is the only officer with the authority to order a Smerch rocket attack in this district. Nima Elbagir, Barbara Arvanitidis, Gianluca Mezzofiore, Katie Polglase, Tamara Qiblawi, Alex Platt, Victoria Butenko, Darya Tarasova and Maria Avdeeva report for CNN.
The U.S. ambassador to NATO said that she was “not worried” about the possibility of former President Trump returning to the White House. “The NATO alliance enjoys deep bipartisan support across Congress and amongst the American people,” Julianne Smith said. “I think he [Trump] knows that it’s in a really good spot back home,” she added. Nicolas Camut reports for POLITICO.
Lawyers for Trump have found at least two additional documents marked classified following a search of a storage unit in West Palm Beach, FL. The search was conducted by an outside team hired by Trump. The items found were immediately handed over to the FBI, according to people familiar with the matter. Whilst the significance of the material is unclear, it provides further evidence that Trump and his team did not fully comply with a May grand jury subpoena that sought all documents marked classified still in his possession. Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, Spencer S. Hsu, Devlin Barrett and Rosalind S. Helderman report for the Washington Post.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plans to release its final report on Dec. 21, panel chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said yesterday. Thompson also said the committee will publicly vote on criminal referrals on Dec. 21. Mychael Schnell reports for The Hill.
The Biden administration is appealing a court order directing it to repeal a pandemic-era policy that has allowed the rapid expulsion of migrants at the border. “The government respectfully disagrees with this Court’s decision and would argue on appeal, as it has argued in this Court, that CDC’s [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] Title 42 Orders were lawful,” Justice Department attorneys said in a filing. The administration is asking the D.C. Circuit Court to pause the appeal until a separate Louisiana case involving Title 42 has been decided – a process that could take months. Shayna Greene reports for POLITICO.
Former Republican Rep. David Rivera (FL) was arrested on Monday on federal charges including failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment alleges that Rivera and a co-defendant met with several U.S. officials about normalizing U.S. relations with Venezuela without registering with the Department of Justice, as required by law. Rivera was paid millions of dollars for his work by PDV USA, a U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run company. Carlos Suarez, Devon M. Sayers and Florencia Trucco report for CNN.
The Supreme Court yesterday considered stripping state courts of the power to review partisan gerrymanders of congressional districts. The case comes from North Carolina, where the state Supreme Court invalidated a congressional map the Republican-controlled legislature drew in the expectation of producing Republican Party victories in 10 of the state’s 14 districts. The Republican leaders’ argument in this case relies on the controversial independent state legislature theory, which holds that the Constitution gives state legislatures the authority to draw maps that only Congress itself can challenge. Jess Bravin reports for the Wall Street Journal.
COVID-19 has infected over 99.230 million people and has now killed over 1.08 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 647.174 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.65 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.