Happy Thursday! The Danish man who visited every country in the world without ever taking a plane recently returned home—by boat, of course—after 10 years of travel. On his journey, he withstood visa travails, a bout of malaria, and getting trapped in Hong Kong during the pandemic.
That’s cool and all, but we think his most impressive feat was living on $20 a day on perpetual vacation—teach us your ways.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Former President Donald Trump will appear in federal court in Washington today to be arraigned following his indictment Tuesday over charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The Secret Service announced that “there may be short term traffic implications due to protectee movements” in the nation’s capital.
- Liberal Wisconsin voting rights groups and law firms Wednesday filed a challenge to the state’s legislative districts, arguing they were unconstitutional and should be redrawn ahead of the 2024 election. The petition comes only a day after Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal judge elected in April, was sworn in as a justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, flipping the ideological balance from conservative to liberal. The filing, which does not address congressional districts, argued the state’s supreme court should take original jurisdiction of the case—heard by the high court immediately without being first directed to lower courts.
- The Republican National Committee is increasing its threshold for participation in the second Republican Primary debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on Sept. 27, Politico reported. Candidates will have to average 3 percent in at least two national surveys and 3 percent in polls from two separate early nominating states—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada. Contenders must also reach 50,000 unique donors, with at least 200 in 20 states or territories.
- A federal jury recommended the death penalty Wednesday for the gunman who stormed Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and killed 11 worshippers in 2018. The massacre represents the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history—the killer told a psychiatrist he thought the trial was effectively spreading his antisemitic message.
- The National Institutes of Health announced Wednesday Jeanne Marrazzo—the director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham—will be the next head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. She is replacing Dr. Anthony Fauci, who stepped down last year after leading the agency for almost 40 years.
- The Biden administration is reportedly recalling 1,100 active duty troops from the southern border after deploying 1,500 in May ahead of the end of Title 42—which many border enforcement officials expected to bring about a surge of migrants crossing the border. The 1,100 service members’ deployment will end by Aug. 8, with the remaining 400 to remain until Aug. 31.
- Russia launched a drone strike Wednesday against Ukraine’s main inland port of Izmail, across the Danube River from Romania—another attempt by Moscow to keep Kyiv from exporting grain after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain agreement last month. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the attack destroyed roughly 40,000 tons of grain destined for Africa and Asia.
- The Biden administration announced this week the North Korean government called the U.N. Command at the demilitarized zone between the country and South Korea to “acknowledge” U.S. Army Private Second Class Travis King’s presence in the country after the soldier crossed into the country from South Korea last month. A State Department spokesperson said the call was not “substantive” and yielded no progress towards his release.
- U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Tuesday the U.S. would present a Security Council resolution authorizing Kenya to lead a multinational police force in Haiti in order to combat increasingly destabilizing gang violence on the island. The announcement comes after two U.S. citizens—an aid worker and her child—were kidnapped near the capital of Port-au-Prince.
- The State Department announced Wednesday it will partially evacuate U.S. embassy personnel from Niger but said the embassy would remain open, following similar moves earlier this week by European countries to pull their diplomatic staff out of the country. The Nigerien army staged a coup in the west African nation last week, prompting sanctions and the threat of military intervention by neighboring African countries.
Pakistan in Crisis
More than 1,000 people gathered under a white canopy in northwestern Pakistan Sunday for a political rally with representatives of the ultra-conservative Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, (JUI-F), party. As the politicians took the stage, the crowd began to shout “Praise to God!” Then, there was an explosion.
“We came to the meeting with enthusiasm but ended up at the hospital seeing crying wounded people,” one attendee told Sky News. The death toll from the suicide bombing continues to grow, passing 60 Wednesday, with nearly 200 people—including children—reportedly injured. One of the local party leaders, Maulana Ziaullah, was reportedly killed in the blast, which some witnesses have suggested occurred close to the stage.