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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 – CHINA
The Chinese state has been spreading misinformation about the safety of Japan’s release of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant. This misinformation campaign has roused anger and fear among millions of Chinese. Experts believe China is using the release of water to sow doubts about Japan’s credibility and frame its allies as conspirators in malfeasance. Motoko Rich and John Liu report for the New York Times.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely skip a summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) leaders in India next week. Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent China instead. The G20 summit had been seen as an opportunity for President Biden to meet with Xi amid an effort to ease tensions. Krishn Kaushik, Laurie Chen, and Martin Quin Pollard report for Reuters.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
North Korea simulated nuclear strikes on military targets in South Korea by firing two short-range ballistic missiles off the east coast last night. The strikes were intended to warn against the U.S. deployment of strategic bombers to the region. George Wright reports for BBC News.
Japan seeks a 13% increase to its military budget to $53 billion, Japan’s Defense Ministry announced today. Japan said it would increase its defense budget to 2% of GDP by fiscal 2027, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged. The move reflects growing tensions between Japan and China. Chieko Tsuneoka reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Protests in Syria against the regime have gathered momentum over the past two weeks, reminiscent of the Arab Spring over 12 years ago. The growing protests are happening in government-held areas. Raja Abdulrahim reports for the New York Times.
Military officers in Gabon have formed a transitional government led by General Brice Oligui Nguema, former head of the presidential guard. President Ali Bongo has been placed under house arrest. The coup in Gabon marks the eighth in West and Central Africa since 2020. Gerauds Wilfried Obangome reports for Reuters.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Ukrainian soldiers are training to use Cold War-era German tanks, 10 of which arrived in Ukraine last month. Some experts and German officials say the old tank is a helpful stopgap and that it is superior to Soviet-era tanks already used by the Ukrainian army. Christopher F. Schuetze reports for the New York Times.
Russia is “actively advancing” negotiations with North Korea in a bid to secure weapons for the war in Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at a news conference yesterday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to North Korea last month was an opportunity to “try to convince Pyongyang to sell artillery ammunition to Russia,” she added. Kelly Kasulis Cho reports for the Washington Post.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Ukraine launched its most significant drone attack on military targets across Russia since the full-scale invasion began, while Russia launched its most sustained missile barrage on Kyiv in months. Playing down last night’s strikes, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the attacks showed “the terrorist nature of the Kyiv regime,” adding they would not have been possible without Western intelligence. Yaroslav Trofimov and Ann M. Simmons report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Russian government is investigating whether the plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin was a “deliberate atrocity.” While the Kremlin has denied any responsibility, it is the first time the Russian government has acknowledged the crash could have been an assassination. Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath reports for Axios.
The Biden administration on Tuesday approved the first U.S. military transfer to Taiwan under a program reserved for assistance to sovereign states. The Taiwan Foreign Military Financing package is a modest $80 million of what Congress had set aside of a potential $2 billion. Nevertheless, it is likely to escalate tensions with China. Miranda Nazzaro reports for The Hill.
The U.S. Embassy in Haiti has advised U.S. citizens to leave the country “as soon as possible.” The embassy cited “the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.” Americans should “use extreme caution in traveling around the country” and “avoid demonstrations and large gatherings of people,” the embassy added in its advisory yesterday.
U.S. export restrictions on advanced microchips and artificial intelligence have been expanded beyond China to include unspecified countries in the Middle East. U.S. officials generally impose export controls for national security reasons, though it is unclear what security risks are posed in the Middle East. Stephen Nellis and Max A. Cherney reports for Reuters.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – 2020 ELECTION
District Judge Beryl Howell ruled yesterday that Rudy Giuliani is liable for defaming two Georgia election workers after spreading conspiracy theories about them fabricating ballots. A jury trial will now determine how much money Giuliani must pay in the civil defamation case. Jan Wolfe reports for the Wall Street Journal.
District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled yesterday that Peter Navarro, a former Trump White House adviser, failed to prove that Trump asserted executive privilege to block him from testifying to the House Jan. 6 select committee. The ruling means Navarro faces a contempt-of-Congress trial on Sept. 5. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Free Speech for the People, a liberal-leaning group, is testing a legal theory that former President Trump is disqualified from running for election under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The group sent letters to the secretaries of state in New Hampshire, Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wisconsin, arguing that Trump is barred from running because he took an oath to protect the Constitution and later “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” The argument is gaining traction among liberals and anti-Trump conservatives. Nick Corasaniti and Jonathan Weisman report for the New York Times.
Former President Trump often overstated his net worth to financial institutions, including by $2.2 billion in one year, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office alleged in a filing yesterday. The allegation is part of a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump, his organization, and some of his children. Tom Winter and Zoë Richards report for NBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has argued that a government shutdown would impede Republican’s ability to impeach President Biden as he tries to convince right-wing Republicans to drop their opposition to a stopgap measure needed to keep funding the government beyond Sept. 30. However, some right-wing Republicans have dismissed this argument as “nonsense,” as they continue to call for deeper spending cuts, elimination of funding for the prosecution of former President Trump and stricter border controls. Carl Hulse and Luke Broadwater report for the New York Times.
The military has brought sexual assault charges against Maj. Michael Stockin, a military doctor, in what may be the largest sexual abuse case in years, involving at least 23 alleged victims. Army spokesperson Cynthia Smith said the “general nature of the charges include abusive sexual contact and indecent viewing.” The military recorded 8,942 reports of sexual assault in 2022, according to a Pentagon report released in April. Dan Lamothe reports for the Washington Post.
Most of the largest U.S. cities saw a significant rise in hate crimes in 2022, averaging 22% to a record 1,889 cases, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.