Happy Monday! The Beyhive can finally rest easy: Brazilian Justice Minister Flávio Dino made clear over the weekend he is not investigating Beyoncé in connection with the pro-Bolsonaro riots that took place earlier this month.
Noticeably silent about Shakira, though.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said Saturday he found five more classified documents at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday while conducting a search of the property accompanied by Department of Justice officials. Personal lawyers for Biden had found a classified document on the premises on Wednesday, and, per Sauber, “suspended any further search” because they do not have active security clearances. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a former U.S. attorney, Robert Hur, to serve as a special counsel to investigate Biden’s allegedly improper storage of the documents.
- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to congressional leaders on Friday informing them the U.S. government is projected to hit its statutory debt limit of $31.4 trillion on Thursday, at which point Yellen will initiate “extraordinary measures”—pausing deposits in some government retirement funds—to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations. The step will likely buy lawmakers until June or July to reach a deal on raising the debt limit, but negotiations are expected to be fraught. House Republicans have signaled their desire to pair any debt limit increase with spending cuts, but the White House has thus far maintained that’s out of the question.
- President Biden will deliver his annual State of the Union address on February 7, 2023 after Speaker Kevin McCarthy extended an invitation on Friday and the White House promptly accepted.
- China’s National Health Commission said Saturday almost 60,000 people have died with COVID-19 in the country since the lifting of COVID-zero measures in early December—a dramatic increase in the country’s official death toll but almost assuredly still a significant undercount. The Chinese Communist Party has obscured its COVID data throughout the pandemic, and Saturday’s tally includes only hospital deaths, not at-home deaths. Several countries have required travelers from China to present a negative COVID-19 test upon entry amid the country’s outbreak, and China last week froze new tourist and business visas for South Koreans in apparent retaliation for such measures.
- Brazil’s Supreme Court authorized an investigation into former President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday, with prosecutors accusing the right-wing leader of inciting last week’s riots in Brasília by repeatedly claiming the election he lost to leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last October was rigged. Bolsonaro has condemned the violence of his supporters, but continued to post unfounded election fraud claims after the attack on Brazil’s capital city. Anderson Torres—Bolsonaro’s former justice minister who was in charge of Brasília’s security—was arrested over the weekend.
- Peruvian President Dina Boluarte extended a state of emergency declaration for Lima, the nearby port of Callao, and the southern regions of Puno and Cusco amid ongoing protests over the ouster of leftist President Pedro Castillo, who tried to improperly dissolve Congress to avoid impeachment. More than 40 people have died in the protests since December, and the emergency decrees give special powers to police and limit the right to assembly. Boluarte has so far resisted calls to step down, but promised to move up the next general election from 2026 to 2024.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration announced Friday their Vaccine Safety Datalink surveillance system flagged a possible connection between Pfizer’s updated bivalent COVID-19 booster and ischemic stroke in people ages 65 and older. The agencies said the newest Moderna booster did not trigger the same alarms, and the VSD alert has not been validated by data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or Pfizer itself. “Although the totality of the data currently suggests that it is very unlikely that the signal in VSD represents a true clinical risk, we believe it is important to share this information with the public, as we have in the past, when one of our safety monitoring systems detects a signal,” the agencies said.
‘There is Too Much Greatness in Our Heritage to Tolerate the Pettiness of Race Hate’
In lieu of a main item today, please take a few minutes to read (or listen to) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln issuing his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Delivered in New York City on September 12, 1962, King’s address made sure to celebrate the United States’ founding ideals—and the ideals Lincoln espoused in the Proclamation—before turning to the myriad ways the country was failing to live up to them. Here are some key passages:
If our nation had done nothing more in its whole history than to create just two documents, its contribution to civilization would be imperishable.