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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Gilberto Teodoro Jr., the Philippine Secretary of National Defense, today accused China of bullying as the Philippines more forcefully protects its claims in the disputed South China Sea. “And if we don’t stop, China is going to creep and creep into what is within our sovereign jurisdiction, our sovereign rights, and within our territory,” he said. The South China Sea is becoming a flashpoint as China’s rise leads to tensions with its neighbors. Ivan Watson, Rebecca Wright, Helen Regan, Kathleen Magramo, and Yasmin Coles report for CNN.
China is spending billions on a global disinformation campaign, according to a new State Department assessment. Much of these efforts are aimed at developing nations, which might succeed in reshaping a global information landscape and aligning other countries with China. Dustin Volz and Michael R. Gordon reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.N. aims to convene a High-Level Advisory Body on A.I. by October to offer recommendations on regulating it by September 2024. Uncertainty remains about how the U.N. can best regulate the powerful technology, with some calling for a new agency modeled on the International Atomic Energy Agency. Others have said something like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which focuses more on expert advice, would be better. The geopolitical dimensions of A.I., a technology already used in war zones like Ukraine, make the regulation process more difficult. Adam Taylor reports for the Washington Post.
Dutch police have arrested a gunman, Fouad L., who killed at least three people in shootings in Rotterdam. The shooter attacked a home before storming the city’s Erasmus Medical Center, linked to his university. Fouad L. has been arrested, but his motives remain unclear. Anna Holligan and Jaroslav Lukiv report for BBC News.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 311-117 to approve $300 million in new aid to Ukraine yesterday night, shortly after Republican leaders stripped Ukraine assistance from a Pentagon funding bill on Wednesday. Mychael Schnell reports for The Hill.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general, and the defense ministers of the U.K. and France were in Ukraine yesterday, encouraging weapons production within Ukraine. Their visit comes just before a forum with international military contractors is convened by the Ukrainian government, as it tries to promote the development of a domestic weapons manufacturing and repair capacity. Constant Méheut and Lara Jakes report for the New York Times.
“Very difficult questions” must be resolved before the E.U. can start membership talks with Ukraine, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said today. E.U. members will decide in December whether to allow Ukraine to begin accession negotiations. Reuters reports.
Slovakia, a NATO member, may soon have a pro-Russia prime minister as elections loom. Former prime minister Robert Fico, who has blamed “Ukrainian Nazis and fascists” for provoking Russia’s invasion, is leading the polls. Only 40% of Slovaks believed Russia was responsible for the war in Ukraine, according to a survey by GlobSec. The survey also found that 50% of Slovaks see the United States as a security threat. Ivana Kottasová reports for CNN.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has held talks in Moscow with General Khalifa Haftar, the military leader of eastern Libya. The pair discussed the situation in Libya and the region. Haftar has relied on the paramilitary organization Wagner group forces, many of which are still in his territory. Mike Thomson reports for BBC News.
The Iranian move to point lasers at a U.S. attack helicopter in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday was “unsafe, unprofessional and irresponsible,” the U.S. Navy said. The incident resulted in no damage or injuries. Cmdr. Rick Chernitzer, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesperson, said the Navy would “remain vigilant and will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows while promoting regional maritime security.” Eric Bazail-Eimil reports for POLITICO.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard successfully launched an imaging satellite into orbit this week, the United States acknowledged. The successful launch “shortens the timeline” for Iran to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile because it uses similar technology, the U.S. intelligence community’s 2023 worldwide threat assessment suggests. Jon Gambrell reports for AP News.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the new chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would review Turkey’s F-16 fighter jet deal, which could help complete Sweden’s NATO bid. The former chair, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who stepped down following corruption charges, previously held up the deal. However, Cardin clarified he will “…need to talk to the administration on a lot of … issues, because it’s beyond just [Sweden’s NATO bid].” Patricia Zengerle reports for Reuters.
North Korea probably expelled Travis King, the soldier who dashed into North Korea, because he was more of a burden than a propaganda benefit. The expulsion indicates North Korea’s focus on nuclear weapons as its propaganda tool rather than parading defectors. The North Korean regime’s focus on a supposed racial “purity” may also have played a factor. Anti-Black racism is even stronger in North Korea than anti-white racism, Kim Dong-sik, a former North Korean spy, said. Choe Sang-Hun reports for the New York Times.
Preparations for a meeting between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are still underway, as high-level meetings are planned in the coming months. Vice Premier He Lifeng, Xi’s top economic-policy aide, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi are both expected to travel to the United States, in a tentative sign of easing tensions. Lingling Wei, Charles Hutzler, and Andrew Duehren report for the Wall Street Journal.
Over 400,000 migrants have crossed the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia so far this year, marking a record high. This is almost double the number for the whole of 2022. Crossings into the United States from Mexico have surged recently. Elida Moreno reports for Reuters.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged India to cooperate with a Canadian investigation into the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar during a meeting with Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar yesterday. Kanishka Singh, David Ljunggren and Humeyra Pamuk reports for Reuters.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL ISSUES
Former President Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York is set to begin on Monday after an appeals court rejected his bid to delay proceedings. Trump and three of his adult children are expected to be called as witnesses in the case. Prosecutors are seeking a fine of $250 million and a ban on Trump doing business in the state. Madeline Halpert reports for BBC News.
Former President Trump will not seek to move the Georgie election interference case to a federal jurisdiction, court filings showed yesterday. The decision comes after co-defendant Mark Meadows’ similar bid failed, though Meadows has appealed. It is unclear when Trump’s trial will begin. Mariah Timms reports for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Republican-picked witnesses said there is no evidence yet of a crime by President Biden during the first impeachment inquiry hearing by the House Oversight Committee yesterday. More bank records from President Biden and Hunter Biden are needed to determine if there might be any wrongdoing, a witness said. None of the witnesses were “fact witnesses,” with direct involvement, but are experts in their respective fields. Dareh Gregorian, Garrett Haake, Rebecca Kaplan, and Rebecca Shabad report for NBC News.
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent watchdog agency investigating the U.S. security programs, yesterday urged Congress to reauthorize Section 702, which allows warrantless surveillance of foreigners even when communicating with Americans. The Board agreed that the program threatens Americans’ privacy and suggested imposing new limits on it. The Board’s members disagree over how to place checks on the program. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times.
Far-right House Republicans may attempt to remove Kevin McCarthy as House speaker as early as next week. Members of the far-right faction have identified Representative Tom Emmer (R-MN), one of McCarthy’s top deputies, as a viable replacement. Yet Emmer said, “I fully support Speaker McCarthy. He knows that, and I know that.” Leigh Ann Caldwell and Marianna Sotomayor report for the Washington Post.