Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 16, 2022

Trump calls for calm but repeats attack on FBI over search, the Taliban marks a year in power as Afghans endure hardship, and more

1

Trump calls for calm but repeats attack on FBI over search 

Former President Donald Trump on Monday said the "temperature has to be brought down" surrounding last week's FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago residence and club in Palm Beach, Florida. The FBI has faced increasing threats since agents recovered boxes of classified and top-secret documents Trump appeared to have taken with him when he left office. An armed Trump supporter who was apparently in Washington, D.C., when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, allegedly tried to breach the FBI's Cincinnati field office last week. Police shot and killed him after he fled. Despite Trump's call for calm, he also repeated his attacks on the FBI over the search, saying Americans aren't "going to stand for another scam."

2

Taliban celebrates takeover anniversary as Afghans endure hardship 

The Taliban on Monday celebrated the one-year anniversary of their return to power in Afghanistan. Bearded Taliban fighters brandished rifles and banners in victory parades through the streets of Kabul, the Afghan capital, which the Islamist group seized as the United States and other Western nations rushed to pull out their last forces, diplomats, and others. The turmoil surrounding the Taliban's unexpectedly quick ousting of the Western-backed government that preceded them dragged down the country's economy. Human rights groups say the new Taliban government, led largely by hard-liners, had reneged on initial promises to let women and girls continue to have access to education and jobs.

3

Russia reports explosions at Crimea ammunition depot

Russian authorities reported explosions at an ammunition depot in Crimea on Tuesday, in the latest setback for Russian forces in the Ukrainian peninsula Moscow seized and annexed in 2014. The news came a week after mysterious blasts appearently destroyed several warplanes at a Russian air base on Crimea's western coast. Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility for the explosions, but its leaders have celebrated them. Ukrainian media and officials shared videos on social media showing a fire and plumes of smoke coming from the temporary ammunition dump at a former farm in northern Crimea. The Crimean peninsula is the base of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

4

DOJ opposes releasing affidavit justifying Trump search

The Justice Department said in court documents filed Monday in southern Florida that it opposes unsealing the sworn affidavit it used to justify searching former President Donald Trump's Palm Beach, Florida, residence. Several news outlets have requested the document, but the Justice Department argued that making it public would "compromise" the investigation into the possible mishandling of classified material by Trump and his aides, and "likely chill" witnesses' cooperation. "This is not merely a hypothetical concern, given the widely reported threats made against law enforcement personnel in the wake of the Aug. 8 search," a footnote in the 13-page filing says.

5

China announces more military drills as U.S. delegation visits Taiwan

China on Monday announced more military drills around Taiwan after a delegation of five U.S. lawmakers arrived to meet with leaders of the self-governing island just 12 days after a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The delegation met with numerous officials, including Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and the chair of the legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee, Lo Chih-Cheng. Lo said the lawmakers' visit "proves that China cannot stop politicians from any country to visit Taiwan, and it also conveys an important message that the American people stand with the Taiwanese people." China considers Taiwan part of its territory, and views formal contacts between U.S. politicians and the island's government as advocacy of Taiwanese independence.

6

Iran denies involvement in Rushdie attack, says he's to blame

Iran's foreign ministry said Monday that Tehran had nothing to do with the Friday attack on author Salman Rushdie, suggesting Rushdie was to blame for his stabbing because he denigrated Islam with some of his writing. "(Regarding) the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone other than himself and his supporters worthy of ... reproach and condemnation," ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a news briefing. Rushdie has lived under a death threat since 1989, when Iran's then-supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, said passages in Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses were blasphemous, although the ayatollah reportedly never read the book. Rushdie is recovering after being stabbed several times at an event in New York.

7

Judge denies Graham effort to avoid testifying in Georgia election inquiry

A federal judge on Monday rejected Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) request to quash a subpoena for his testimony in a Georgia investigation into potential criminal interference in the 2020 presidential election by President Donald Trump and his allies. Graham said he should be granted immunity from testifying due to protections afforded him as a high-ranking elected official. But U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May said Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis "has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham's testimony." Rudy Giuliani, who has served as Trump's personal lawyer, was notified he is a "target" of the criminal investigation by the grand jury called by Willis, Giuliani's lawyer said.

8

Report: 'Extreme heat belt' to develop in central U.S.

An "extreme heat belt" stretching from Texas and Louisiana north to the Great Lakes could expose 100 million residents to heat index temperatures above 125 degrees Fahrenheit at least one day a year by 2053, according to a report released Monday by the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation. The projections, part of a new, peer-reviewed study, show that most of the country will experience highs above 100 degrees in the heat index — so-called "feels like" temperatures — due to climate change over the next three decades. "Everybody is affected by increasing heat, whether it be absolute increases in dangerous days or it's just a local hot day," said First Street Foundation's chief research officer, City University of New York professor Jeremy Porter.

9

U.K. authorizes COVID booster targeting variants

Britain on Monday authorized Moderna's new coronavirus booster, making it the first vaccine available to target two variants: the original virus and Omicron. Half of each dose was designed to fight the original variant, and the other half targets Omicron, which has been dominant since last winter's deadly surge. Current COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing severe cases and death, but the new booster will provide increased protection, said Dr. June Raine, the chief executive of Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. "What this bivalent vaccine gives us is a sharpened tool in our armory to help protect us against this disease as the virus continues to evolve," Raine said.

10

William Ruto declared winner in Kenya presidential election

Deputy President William Ruto on Monday was declared the winner of Kenya's presidential election to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta after his two-term limit. The announcement of Ruto's victory over veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga was immediately thrust into controversy when four of the seven national electoral commissioners said they would not stand by the results, citing the "opaque nature" of the electoral process. Ruto, 55, won 50.5 percent of the vote, and Odinga had 48.9 percent, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Tensions were high as the East African nation awaited the results of the balloting, which took place nearly a week ago. Past elections have been marred by deadly violence.

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