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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – FRANCE
Sylvain Itte, France’s ambassador to Niger, has remained in the country, exceeding a deadline to leave last Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed. Itte refused to meet Niger’s new leaders after the coup, the junta said on Friday. Macron “applauds” Itte for staying. Wedaeli Chibelushi reports for BBC News.
France will ban the abaya, a loose-fitting robe worn by some Muslim women, in public schools. The government said the ban would help reduce disputes in its secular school system. However, the ban has been criticized as the discriminatory policing of teenagers’ clothing. Aurelien Breeden reports for the New York Times.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s military ruler, yesterday called the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces “traitors” and promised a decisive victory in a speech to soldiers. These comments suggest there will be no peaceful resolution to the conflict. Reuters reports.
The E.U. could expand to include Ukraine, Balkan nations, and other candidate countries by 2030, European Council President Charles Michel said yesterday. “I believe we must be ready—on both sides—by 2030 to enlarge,” Michel said. While the E.U. recognized Ukraine and Moldova as formal candidates for membership in June, its leaders will decide in December whether to start formal accession talks. Laurence Norman reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Taiwan’s defense ministry today warned of a potential “sharp increase” in military tensions following renewed Chinese military activity. Twelve Chinese planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, seven crossing the median line. Reuters reports.
The number of Ukraine’s war dead is rising dramatically, according to new estimates by unnamed U.S. officials. Pentagon estimates leaked in April put Ukrainian deaths at 17,500, but the recent estimate suggests over 70,000 have died. The counter-offensive may account for this sharp increase. BBC News reports.
Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski demanded Belarus expel the paramilitary organization Wagner group fighters, citing border security concerns, speaking at a news conference attended by his Baltic counterparts yesterday. “If there is a critical incident, regardless of whether it is at the Polish or Lithuanian border, we will retaliate immediately. All border crossings that have been opened so far will be closed,” Kaminski added. Kelly Kasulis Cho reports for the Washington Post.
The United States and its European allies plan to ensure long-term military assistance to Ukraine to demonstrate to Russia that the West’s resolve will not waver. The initial commitment came from the Group of Seven (G7) members, and 18 non-G7 members have since pledged long-term support. However, there are practical obstacles to ensuring long-term support, including the Biden administration’s inability to bind future administrations to those commitments. Laurence Norman and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
Russia’s Federal Security Service yesterday charged Robert Shonov, a former employee of the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok, with illegally collecting information about the war in Ukraine and sharing it with U.S. officials. Shonov was detained in May. He faces between three to eight years imprisonment. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the allegations are “wholly without merit.” Valeriya Safronova reports for the New York Times.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend next month’s Group of 20 summit in India. Putin informed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would attend the summit in his stead. Putin attended the BRICS summit earlier this month in South Africa via video link to avoid the risk of possible arrest by the International Criminal Court. BBC News reports.
The U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine is in Ukraine this week investigating allegations of Russian human rights abuses. This marks their third “fact-finding mission.” The commission previously found evidence of human rights abuses, including war crimes. Sarah Fortinsky reports for The Hill.
U.S. RELATIONS – CHINA
The United States and China agreed to establish a bilateral forum to discuss export control measures to reduce misunderstanding of national security policies, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said yesterday. The measure aims to reduce tension following the mutual bans on some technology exports. The forum, called the “export control enforcement information exchange,” will meet today. Yuka Hayashi reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The fate of the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok is not being discussed during Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to China this week, in what appears to be a glaring omission. Some intelligence officials consider TikTok a national security threat, and it has been banned from government devices federally and in more than two dozen states. Raimondo earlier this year said that if the administration banned TikTok, “you’re going to literally lose every voter under 35, forever.” Sapna Maheshwari and David McCabe report for the New York Times.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
A Texas National Guard member on Saturday shot across the Rio Grande at a Mexican migrant who was attempting to reach the United States. The soldier was deployed as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) Operation Lone Star, aimed at reducing the number of border crossings. The wounded man is in stable condition, Mexican media report. The incident is being investigated by the Texas Military Department, which oversees the National Guard. Nick Miroff reports for the Washington Post.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
In a bid to move his case to federal court, Mark Meadows told a federal court yesterday that his action reflected his duties as the Trump White House chief of staff when he arranged meetings and called officials about alleged election fraud in Georgia following the 2020 election. District Judge Steve Jones said he may not rule before Sep. 6, when all defendants will make brief court appearances to be informed of the charges against them. Jan Wolfe and Cameron McWhirter report for the Wall Street Journal.
District Judge Tanya Chutkan, handling former President Trump’s federal election interference case, has set a trial date for Mar. 4, the day before Super Tuesday. Chutkan said that Trump must prioritize the trial, adding that she would not change the trial schedule based on another defendant’s professional obligations. She said that the public is interested in the fair and timely administration of justice. Ryan J. Reilly reports for NBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The U.S. military will purchase thousands of drones and other autonomous devices over the next two years, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said yesterday. The commitment comes after the Pentagon recognized it has been too slow to embrace new “small, smart, cheap” technology. The investment addresses China’s growing military strength that has blunted “the operational advantages we’ve enjoyed for decades.” Eric Lipton reports for the New York Times.
One faculty member was killed in a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill yesterday. The suspect in the shooting is in custody. He has not yet been charged. Ben Brasch, Paulina Villegas, Praveena Somasundaram, and Maham Javaid reports for the Washington Post.
Tennessee Rep. Justin Jones (D), one of the “Tennessee Three” who protested for gun control on the House floor earlier this year, was temporarily silenced by Republicans in the House yesterday. The disciplinary action prohibited Jones from participating in debates for the rest of the day after House Speaker Cameron Sexton said Jones had spoken out of order twice. The move caused Democratic lawmakers to leave the chamber in protest. Adam Tamburin reports for Axios.
Seventy-seven percent of Americans said President Biden is too old to be effective for four more years, including 89% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats. About half of American adults say former President Trump is too old for the office, with many more Democrats holding this view than Republicans. Polling done by AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.