Happy Tuesday! University of Tokyo researchers say they’ve discovered that rats can dance.
They’ve also discovered that rats have impeccable music taste, bopping their heads to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and Mozart’s “Sonata For Two Pianos In D Major.”
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Democrat Katie Hobbs is projected to defeat Republican Kari Lake in the race to become Arizona’s governor, securing 50.4 percent of the vote to Lake’s 49.6 percent with more than 95 percent of ballots counted. Lake has aligned herself with former President Donald Trump and repeatedly claimed the 2020 presidential election was rigged, saying she wouldn’t have certified Biden’s Arizona win had she been governor at the time. Lake had not conceded as of Monday night, insinuating on Twitter she believed the results were “BS.”
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled a Wednesday vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would require state and federal governments to continue recognizing same-sex and interracial marriages even if the Supreme Court overturns precedent supporting those unions—as some believe it might after this summer’s Dobbs decision. The House passed an earlier version of the bill, but it has since been modified to include certain religious liberty protections. The bipartisan group of senators working on the bill—including Sens. Thom Tillis, Tammy Baldwin, Susan Collins, Kyrsten Sinema, and Rob Portman—said Monday they believe it has enough support to pass.
- After his first in-person meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping since being elected to the White House, President Joe Biden said Monday that he doesn’t believe China has imminent plans to invade Taiwan. “There need not be a new Cold War,” Biden said. “We’re going to compete vigorously, but I’m not looking for conflict.” The leaders made no major policy announcements, but, in a gesture toward de-escalating tensions, agreed to resume communication between high-level officials.
- Turkish police claimed Monday Monday that a Syrian woman suspected of conducting a Sunday bombing in Istanbul that killed six people and wounded 81 more had confessed to taking direction from PYD, a U.S.-backed Syrian group that Turkey considers an affiliate of the Kurdish militant party PKK. Both groups have denied involvement, but Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the U.S. is complicit in the attack and rejected its condolences.
- Iranian missiles and suicide drones targeted Kurdish opposition bases in northern Iraq on Monday, killing at least two people and injuring 10 more. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has targeted the region repeatedly in recent months as Iranian officials blame foreign agitators for aiding and abetting the anti-government protests that have ravaged Tehran and other cities since September. The demonstrations were sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, detained for allegedly violating Iran’s religious dress code.
- Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday the FBI has opened an investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in May while covering an Israeli military raid in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority and Abu Akleh’s family have accused Israeli troops of targeting her as a member of the press, but Israel denies the claim, finding in an investigation Abu Akleh was likely killed by “unintentional fire.” The Biden administration also concluded in July that she was likely killed by unintentional Israeli fire, but a ballistics test was inconclusive. Gantz called the Justice Department’s new investigation a mistake and said Israel won’t cooperate.
- As part of the United States’ ongoing effort to tighten restrictions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury Department on Monday imposed sanctions against dozens of people and companies U.S. officials say have helped supply Russia’s military. The Treasury also targeted Swiss businessman Alexander-Walter Studhalter, accused of helping Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov launder assets to dodge previous sanctions.
- Major cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy on Friday—and founder Sam Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO—after rival exchange Binance pulled out of a deal to acquire the company amid a liquidity crunch, citing bookkeeping concerns. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Justice Department began investigating FTX last week after revelations that the company spent some $10 billion in customer assets to fund investments by sister company Alameda Research came to light. Alameda Research, in turn, had an unusually large number of assets tied up in FTX’s native cryptocurrency.
- Twitter’s heads of cybersecurity, privacy, compliance, and trust and safety all resigned last week amid concerns that product changes made under Elon Musk’s leadership would violate the company’s 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission, which requires Twitter to assess privacy, security, and confidentiality risks before launching or changing products. “We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” an FTC spokesperson said Thursday. “No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them.” After the executives’ departures, Musk said in a company-wide email that Twitter “will do whatever it takes to adhere to both the letter and spirit of the FTC consent decree.” The company has also fired as many as 5,500 contract workers in a surprise second round of layoffs.
- Google will pay $391.5 million to 40 states to settle a multistate lawsuit that claims the tech giant violated consumer protection laws by continuing to track users’ locations even when they turned off their phones’ location histories—a practice Google spokesman José Castañeda said the company abandoned “years ago.” The settlement also requires Google to give users more information about location settings and offer more user-friendly account controls.
- Officials at the University of Virginia (UVA) announced yesterday that a student suspected of killing three UVA football players and wounding two more in a campus shooting Sunday was detained Monday morning and charged with three counts of second-degree murder and gun offenses. The shooting occurred aboard a charter bus returning from a class field trip, and, although the suspected shooter’s motive isn’t clear, he briefly played football for UVA in 2018, and was being investigated by the school over claims he owned a gun. In 2021, he was convicted of a concealed weapons violation.
McCarthy: So Close, Yet So Far
Returning to Washington for the first time since last week’s midterms, GOP lawmakers were in a far less celebratory mood than they expected to be. “[The election] was the funeral for the Republican Party as we know it,” Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri posited. “The Republican Party as we have known it is dead, and voters have made that clear.”
That doomcasting may be a smidge hyperbolic, but Hawley is far from alone in his pessimistic wallowing. “Our voters didn’t show up,” Sen. Rick Scott—chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) told Fox News’ Sean Hannity—last week. “We didn’t get enough voters. It’s a complete disappointment.”