Happy Tuesday! Scientists at the University of Geneva recently found that high-frequency lasers beamed into the sky can divert lightning strikes, helping protect airports, power stations, and other critical infrastructure projects from harm.
So it’s the Swiss who control the weather.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported this morning the country’s gross domestic product grew just 3 percent in 2022, down from its 8.1 percent rate of GDP growth in 2021. The data, if accurate, would make 2022 China’s second-weakest year of economic growth since 1976, behind only 2020.
- Ukrainian rescue crews reported Monday the death toll from this weekend’s strike on a Dnipro apartment building rose to at least 40, making it one of the deadliest Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilians since the Kremlin launched its invasion last year. Russia and Belarus launched joint military exercises near Ukraine on Monday in a move experts see as a precursor to a renewed effort by Russia to regain battlefield momentum.
- At least 68 people were killed on Sunday after a plane operated by Yeti Airlines crashed in central Nepal en route to Pokhara from Kathmandu, marking the third-deadliest plane crash in Nepalese history and the country’s deadliest since 1992.
- Police on Monday arrested a former New Mexico state House candidate for allegedly plotting with and paying men to carry out shootings in the Albuquerque homes of four state and local Democratic lawmakers. Authorities said Solomon Peña, a Republican, had claimed his defeat by incumbent Democrat Miguel P. Garcia was the result of election fraud.
Yet Another Special Counsel
In recent years, we’ve been treated to a parade of special counsels appointed to head one investigation or another. First, of course, there was Robert Mueller, tapped to investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign—followed closely by John Durham, tasked with examining how the Trump-Russia investigation got going in the first place. More recently, Jack Smith was chosen to oversee two separate investigations into former President Donald Trump: over his possible interference in the transfer of power after he lost the 2020 presidential election, and his failure to return classified documents upon leaving office.
If this growing club ever grabs some beers—maybe to bond over the lurch from relatively unknown attorney to referee in a high-stakes game of political football—they’ll need to add a new name to the invite list: Robert Hur, the seasoned prosecutor now responsible for investigating President Joe Biden’s own scandal involving misplaced classified material.