Xi Jinping’s Mission Statement
Happy Tuesday! A pair of 140-year-old Levi’s jeans found in an abandoned mineshaft sold for a whopping $76,000 at auction earlier this month.
Husbands everywhere, rejoice: You can’t throw away your ratty old vintage sports T-shirts—they’re investments.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Explosions rocked Kyiv again on Monday as Russia deployed several Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones to Ukraine’s capital, destroying a number of buildings and terrifying civilians.
- In an effort to shore up financial markets, the United Kingdom’s new chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt told Parliament on Monday he and Prime Minister Liz Truss agreed to reverse “almost all” of the remaining tax cuts Truss and former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced as part of their pro-growth “mini budget” last month. Essentially all that remains from Truss’ original £45 billion plan are tweaks to national insurance contributions and stamp duty. Truss—whose Conservative Party now trails Labor in public polling by more than 30 percentage points, and whose authority is rapidly eroding—apologized for “the mistakes that have been made,” acknowledging she went “too far” and “too fast” with her growth plan.
- A German probe into last month’s Nord Stream pipeline leaks found the explosions were likely caused by sabotage, though investigators were unable to confidently link the allegations to one group or entity in particular. The results of the probe echo what Swedish officials found on a preliminary basis a few weeks ago.
- With the threat of severe energy shortages rising, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz bucked portions of his governing coalition by issuing an order on Monday extending the life of Germany’s three remaining nuclear power plants—which were slated to shut down at the end of December—through at least April 2023.
- Appeals from the United States and African Union for the resumption of a ceasefire in Ethiopia appear to have failed, with Ethiopian government officials announcing Monday they plan to seize airports and other federal facilities in the northern Tigray region. The Ethiopian government claimed the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was using the facilities to launch attacks, and urged civilians to distance themselves from the TPLF’s military assets.
- President Joe Biden announced Monday the form to apply for his administration’s student loan debt forgiveness program is live, noting more than 8 million people already submitted their information to a beta version of the website that was online over the weekend. The Department of Education will not process any applications until at least next week, as the plan is currently facing a number of legal challenges. A federal judge in Missouri is currently weighing the constitutionality of the move after hearing oral arguments on a motion brought by six Republican-led states challenging the plan.
- The Washington Post reported Monday that FBI agents have been notifying officials at Republican and Democratic state party headquarters in recent days of efforts by Chinese government hackers to identify vulnerabilities in the political parties’ systems before the midterms in advance of a potential breach. Anonymous U.S. officials told the Post that none of the potential targets have been hacked.
- The Treasury Department on Monday designated nine al-Shabaab leaders for sanctions, alleging they’ve engaged in weapons procurement, financial facilitation, and recruitment activities for the al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist group operating in east Africa. In a related move, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also formally designated five al-Shabaab leaders as terrorists.
Xi Has a Lot to Say
Chinese President Xi Jinping has certainly come a long way from his youth exiled to the countryside after his father’s fall from party leadership. During his decade at the pinnacle of Chinese power, he’s pushed to modernize the country’s military, purged political rivals alongside corrupt officials, cracked down on freedom of expression and imprisoned thousands of religious and ethnic minorities, and struck a confrontational tone toward other nations.
Xi insisted in a nearly two-hour speech Sunday that China will continue to prioritize economic growth, pursue its “Zero COVID” policy, defend its national security, and aim at unification with Taiwan.