Happy Halloween 🎃👻! And a happy Reformation Day to the Protestants in the room.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Brazil’s election authority declared on Sunday that leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—known as Lula—won 50.9 percent of the vote in the presidential runoff election, defeating incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. It’s a comeback for Lula—the country’s former president who was jailed on corruption charges—and a narrow repudiation of Bolsonaro’s disastrous handling of the pandemic and limited popularity with women. Bolsonaro had yet to concede as of Monday morning, but some of his political allies—including House Speaker Arthur Lira—have begun encouraging him to do so. President Joe Biden congratulated Lula and Brazil on a “free, fair, and credible” election.
- Russia’s foreign ministry announced Saturday the Kremlin had, for an “indefinite period,” suspended a United-Nations brokered deal that allowed grain and other agricultural products to leave Ukrainian ports, claiming Russia couldn’t guarantee ships’ safety. The move came shortly after (unconfirmed) reports emerged over the weekend alleging a Ukrainian drone attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol had damaged the Admiral Makarov, Russia’s Black Sea flagship vessel. The Russian ministry’s statement also claimed—without evidence—that the United Kingdom helped Ukraine with the drone strike and was behind the explosions that damaged the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines. The British government denied both assertions, arguing the “invented” accusation “says more about arguments going on inside the Russian Government than it does about the west.”
- North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast Friday, the latest in a string of missiles North Korea has launched since late September to simulate nuclear strikes and retaliate for joint U.S.-South Korea defensive military exercises. South Korea’s annual 12-day “Hoguk” field exercises with U.S. troops ended Friday, and joint aerial exercises are scheduled to begin today.
- At least 153 people died and 133 were injured in an alleyway stampede in a Seoul, South Korea nightlife district during Halloween festivities Saturday night. Police are investigating what caused the rush and whether businesses took required safety precautions. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol declared a one-week period of national mourning and about 100 businesses near the scene have agreed to close through Monday to limit crowds.
- At least 132 people died and countless more were injured on Sunday when a pedestrian bridge over the Machchhu River in western India collapsed. The bridge—which was constructed in 1880—had reopened just days earlier after months of renovations, and was reportedly carrying higher-than-usual traffic as people traveled for holidays. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue work continues.
- Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said two car bombings near a busy Mogadishu intersection on Saturday killed at least 100 people and injured 300 more. Al-Shabab, a terrorist affiliate of al-Qaida, claimed credit for the attack and said it was targeting the nearby Ministry of Education, blaming it for leading Somali children away from Islam. A truck bombing at the same intersection five years ago killed more than 500.
- England’s National Health Service outlined a new clinical approach earlier this month, issuing an interim service specification that says most pre-pubescent children experiencing gender incongruence—feeling their gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex—are experiencing a phase that “does not persist into adolescence.” The NHS announced plans to close the United Kingdom’s only gender-identity clinic dedicated to children this summer after an independent review found problems including insufficient record-keeping and an “unquestioning affirmative approach.” It will stand up regional centers instead, but reportedly will take a more cautious tack when treating minors’ gender dysphoria and ban the use of puberty blockers in minors outside of clinical trials.
- The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index—the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation—showed prices rose 6.2 percent year-over-year in September. The so-called core index, stripped of volatile food and energy prices, rose 5.1 percent year-over-year—the fastest pace since March—while the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index showed that wages last month grew at a slightly slower pace than they did a month earlier. The data keep Federal Reserve officials on track for yet another 75-basis-point interest-rate hike at their meeting later this week.
Yet Another Attempt at Political Violence
The United States has come perilously close to losing a number of high-ranking officials to assassination attempts in recent years. A congresswoman from Arizona. The House majority whip. The vice president. A Supreme Court justice. A congresswoman from Washington. A gubernatorial nominee. And now, the speaker of the House.
At 8:40 a.m. ET on Friday, political reporters received a shocking statement from Drew Hammill—spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—in their email inboxes. “Early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr. [Paul] Pelosi,” it read. “The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation.”
The speaker was fortunate to have stayed in Washington Thursday night, as San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters Friday evening the crime—which took place a little before 2:30 a.m. PT on Friday—was “intentional” and “not a random act.” According to sources familiar, the invader—a 42-year-old man—broke into the Pelosis’ home through a back door armed with a hammer and zip ties, and was looking for the Democratic leader. “Where’s Nancy?” he allegedly shouted. “Where are you, Nancy?”