Happy Wednesday! You know what’s cooler than listening to Spotify or Apple Music on your commute to work this morning?
Opening up the Radio Garden app, spinning a virtual globe, and tuning in to a random radio station from somewhere around the world. We recommend Radio Paysan San in Mali.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday Russia tested two supersonic anti-ship missiles—which can be fitted with both conventional and nuclear warheads—in the Sea of Japan. The launches come after two Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew over the Sea of Japan for several hours while the Japanese prime minister visited Ukraine last week.
- Biden administration officials confirmed Tuesday the United States will suspend sharing information about its nuclear stockpile with Russia, an obligation under the New START treaty Russia pulled out of last month. The move—ahead of scheduled data sharing between the U.S. and Russia—is intended to encourage Russia to rejoin the treaty. Russia has not provided any data since it left the agreement.
- The House voted overwhelmingly on Monday to pass a package of bipartisan, China-focused bills, including one blocking the State Department from classifying China as a developing country within international organizations and treaties, a label that can come with economic privileges intended to encourage development. Legislation seeking to combat organ trafficking in China and block Chinese access to materials for undersea cable projects is also headed to the Democratic-controlled Senate.
- Republican North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, a close ally of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and chair of the House Financial Services Committee, told Punchbowl News Tuesday he doesn’t see how House Republicans can reach a deal with the Biden administration over raising the debt ceiling. McCarthy called on President Joe Biden Tuesday to return to the negotiating table before the U.S. reaches the debt ceiling later this year and risks default, while Biden argued House Republicans should release their own budget plan before talks resume.
- Federal District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled Tuesday that former Vice President Mike Pence must testify before a grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. According to people who have seen the still-sealed decision, Pence may be shielded from testifying about his actions on the day of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, when he was serving in his role as President of the Senate and could therefore be protected under the Constitution’s “speech and debate” clause.
- Nearly one year after the Mother’s Day firebombing of a pro-life pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin, the FBI on Tuesday arrested a 29-year-old suspect at the Boston Logan International Airport as he was planning to leave the country. Investigators used DNA from the Wisconsin man’s half-eaten food to connect him to the crime.
- In a revised indictment filed in federal court Tuesday, the Justice Department alleged Sam Bankman-Fried—the former CEO of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX—paid $40 million in bribes to Chinese officials to regain access to accounts that had been frozen in the country. The bribery allegation joins 12 additional charges including fraud and money laundering.
- Thirty-nine migrants died—and 29 more were injured—when a fire broke out on Monday at an immigration detention center in Ciudad Juarez, across the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador alleged Tuesday the fire started when migrants protesting their impending deportation set mattresses ablaze, blocking the door of the shelter.
- Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Tuesday that the shooter who killed six people—three children and three adults—at Covenant School in Nashville on Monday had purchased seven guns legally before the attack, including three used in the shooting. The assailant was reportedly receiving treatment for an emotional disorder, and, although authorities are still piecing together a motive, they believe the school and church had been a target rather than any particular person.
- The Never Back Down PAC, founded by former Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli to support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s prospective campaign for president, has hired former top advisers to several high-profile Republican campaigns, including operatives from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s 2021 gubernatorial campaign, and former Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. The hires are yet another indication DeSantis plans to seek the Republican nomination in 2024.
- The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will split into six independent entities to operate more nimbly, the company announced Tuesday. The breakup comes as the Chinese government has signaled it’s ready to ease a regulatory crackdown targeting powerful tech companies and CEOs like Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, who stepped away from the company in 2019 and recently returned to China for the first known time in almost a year. Shares of the company were up 14 percent in the United States Tuesday.
Bibi and the Baby
King Solomon once threatened to split a child into pieces as a ploy to discover which of two women was really its mother. Today, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the baby is the nation of Israel and the intractable conflict is the fight over whether to give elected leaders more control over the judiciary—and Netanyahu wants everyone to quit yanking on the baby.
“Both sides in the national controversy claim to love the infant,” he said Monday, announcing he’ll put the reforms on ice until at least May when the Knesset returns from recess. “When there is a chance to prevent civil war through dialogue, I—as prime minister—will take a time-out for dialogue.”