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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
China has replaced two leaders of the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force, an elite unit managing its nuclear arsenal. The removal of General Li Yuchao and his deputy, after they had “disappeared” for months, is the biggest unplanned shake-up in Beijing’s military leadership in almost a decade. Derek Cai and Kelly Ng report for BBC News.
The junta that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger last week detained senior politicians yesterday in defiance of international calls to restore democratic rule. Fellow military rulers in neighboring Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea expressed their support for the junta yesterday. The United States said the coup had not yet succeeded yesterday, and there was still an opportunity to reinstate Bazoum. Boureima Balima and Abdel-Kader Mazou reports for Reuters.
Israel’s Supreme Court said yesterday that a full panel of 15 justices would hear petitions against the controversial judicial overhaul law in September. The court has opted for a full complement of judges because of the highly delicate nature of the matter. POLITICO reports.
Over 2,000 people fled violent clashes between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement and Islamist groups, which left 11 people dead at a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. While a ceasefire was agreed, gunfire was still being reported yesterday. BBC News reports.
Militants linked to the self-styled Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at a political party rally in Pakistan that killed at least 46 people. Suspicion had initially fallen on a rival militant group, the Pakistani Taliban. Fears are mounting that the two rival militant groups are engaged in a cycle of violence as they compete for attention and followers. Rick Noack reports for the Washington Post.
Sweden and Denmark are exploring ways to legally limit the burnings of the Quran to de-escalate growing tensions with several Muslim countries. More Quran burnings took place yesterday. Under constitutional laws protecting freedom of speech, book burnings are permitted. Both governments are considering legal changes that would allow authorities to prevent further burnings in particular situations. Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Johan Ahlander report for Reuters.
Russian missiles struck Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s home city of Kryvyi Rih and the southern city of Kherson yesterday, killing at least ten people and injuring nearly 100. David L. Stern and Francesca Ebel report for the Washington Post.
In another drone strike on Moscow last night, the same skyscraper targeted on Sunday was hit, while air defense systems shot down several other drones. No injuries have been reported. Russia’s defense ministry also said that three Ukrainian drone boats had been destroyed trying to attack Russian naval ships in the Black Sea. Jaroslav Lukiv reports for BBC News.
The United States has urged the Taliban to “reverse policies responsible for the deteriorating human rights situation” in Afghanistan, particularly for women, girls, and “vulnerable communities,” during talks in Qatar. The United States also pushed for the release of detained U.S. citizens. The State Department said talks with “senior Taliban representatives and technocratic professionals” occurred Sunday and yesterday in Doha. Sean Dilley and Jaroslav Lukiv report for BBC News.
The buildup of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf indicates worsening U.S.-Iran relations. While the United States is trying to focus on China and Russia, Iran’s harassment of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and its enrichment of uranium close to weapons-grade levels following the collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal has meant the United States is again deploying more assets to the region. Jon Gambrell reports for AP News.
China today complained to the United States about the $345 million military aid package to Taiwan and has urged Washington to refrain from going further down a “wrong and dangerous” path. China’s defense ministry spokesperson, Tan Kefei, said the United States must stop all “military collusion” with Taiwan, adding, “The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interests and is a red line that cannot be crossed in China-U.S. relations.” Reuters reports.
U.S. forces stationed in Niger have been restricted to their base in Agadez as the Biden administration works to restore democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum to power. About 1,000 U.S. troops were “retrograded” back to the base last week after the military seized control. The United States has not formally designated the situation in Niger as a coup, which would require it to cut foreign and military assistance. Natasha Bertrand, Jennifer Hansler, and Kylie Atwood report for CNN.
David Barnea, director of Isreal’s intelligence agency Mossad secretly met with White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and CIA officials in Washington nearly two weeks ago to discuss the Biden administration’s efforts to reach an agreement with Saudi Arabia that could normalize Israeli-Saudia relations. Israel’s security would likely be affected by planned U.S.-Saudi bilateral agreements concerning the possible U.S. support for a Saudi civilian nuclear program with uranium enrichment and potential U.S. arms sales to the kingdom. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – HUNTER BIDEN
President Biden met with Hunter Biden’s international business associates on several occasions over ten years, but he was not party to any of his son’s business deals, Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, said in testimony to the House Oversight Committee yesterday. Democrats on the panel argued that Hunter Biden attempted to sell the illusion of access to his father without providing any. Republicans have repeatedly claimed that the investigation into the Biden family implicates the president in corruption and crimes. Luke Broadwater reports for the New York Times.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY), and Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-MO) yesterday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding documents and information related to Hunter Biden’s plea deal with the Justice Department. Clare Foran reports for CNN.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney rejected former President Trump’s effort to halt the criminal investigation he faces in Georgia. The ruling ends Trump’s bid to derail Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation into interference in the November 2020 election. Willis is expected to announce her charging decisions in the coming weeks. Jan Wolfe and Cameron McWhirter report for the Wall Street Journal.
The FBI’s access to a cache of data collected under what is known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act should be curtailed following several blunders that damaged public and congressional trust in the surveillance tool, a White House panel of intelligence advisers has concluded. Section 702 is set to expire at the end of the year. The Biden administration has spent months lobbying lawmakers to preserve the spying program for national security reasons. Democrats and Republicans have said the program threatens Americans’ privacy. Dustin Volz reports for the Wall Street Journal.
President Biden reversed a controversial decision by former President Trump to relocate the headquarters of U.S. Space Command to Alabama, senior officials said yesterday. Biden has decided the organization would remain in Colorado instead, saying the move to Alabama would disrupt military readiness. The decision comes amid a worsening feud between the administration and Sen Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), who has blocked the promotion of hundreds of generals and admirals in an unrelated dispute over a Pentagon abortion policy. Dan Lamothe and Alex Horton report for the Washington Post.
President Biden and former President Trump are tied at 43 percent in a hypothetical rematch in 2024, according to the New York Times/Siena College poll.
X, formerly Twitter, accused the Center for Countering Digital Hate (C.C.D.H.) in a lawsuit yesterday of making “false” claims after the hate speech watchdog found bigoted speech had surged since Elon Musk took over the platform in October. The complaint accuses the C.C.D.H. of “using flawed methodologies to advance incorrect, misleading narratives.” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.