Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 30, 2022

Cleric's retirement sparks deadly protests in Baghdad, the FBI completes its review of potentially privileged documents it seized from Trump, and more

1

Deadly clashes erupt in Baghdad's Green Zone after cleric quits politics

Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced via Twitter on Monday that he is withdrawing from politics, prompting his followers to take to the streets. At least 12 supporters were shot and killed by government security forces in protests around Baghdad's Green Zone area, which is home to the Iraqi Parliament, government offices, the U.S. Embassy, and other diplomatic missions. Witnesses said Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and live bullets to push demonstrators out of Iraq's Republican Palace, which houses the prime minister's office. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said security forces are not allowed to use live fire, and he is launching an investigation. The government imposed a citywide curfew as the chaos deepened a political crisis.

2

FBI completes review of possibly privileged Trump documents

A special "filter team" has completed their review of potentially privileged documents seized in the FBI's Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, the Justice Department said in a court filing Monday. The team, which aimed to sift out material that criminal investigators should not look at, "identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information," the DOJ said in the filing, adding that the flagged documents will be processed according to procedures laid out in court documents. The news could disrupt Trump's effort to have a court appoint an independent special master to review the documents. Trump's lawyers have accused the FBI of seizing private records in a politically motivated raid.

3

Ukraine says it has launched counteroffensive to retake south

The Ukrainian military announced Monday it has launched a counteroffensive to retake parts of southern Ukraine that Russia seized early in its invasion. The Ukrainian government said its forces had "breached the occupiers' first line of defense near Kherson," a port city and provincial capital. The Ukrainian military said it had destroyed a military base behind Russian lines in the region, although there was no immediate independent confirmation of the claim. A U.S. defense official said the announcement demonstrated Ukraine's "appetite for progress on the battlefield." Russia's Ministry of Defense confirmed that Ukrainian troops had launched attacks in the region but said they had "failed miserably."

4

NASA postpones Artemis 1 launch due to technical problems

NASA on Monday scrubbed the launch of the first test flight of the Space Launch System rocket designed to return astronauts to the moon, citing an issue getting one of the four RS-25 engines to the proper temperature range for liftoff. The countdown had been delayed earlier in the day due to a fuel leak. "I think it's just illustrative that this is a very complicated machine," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. The next window to launch the massive rocket — the largest the U.S. space agency has ever built — and an unmanned Orion capsule will be on Friday. The mission to send the spacecraft into orbit around the moon is the first part of NASA's Artemis program.

5

Georgia judge delays Kemp testimony until after election 

A Georgia judge on Monday denied Gov. Brian Kemp's request to quash a subpoena for him to testify before the special grand jury called by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to investigate efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to reverse the state's 2020 president election results. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney did say the Republican governor could testify at "some date soon after" voters decide on his bid for reelection on Nov. 8, though. "Judge McBurney acknowledged the potential political impact of the timing of these proceedings," Kemp spokesman Andrew Isenhour told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kemp resisted pressure from Trump to call for a special legislative session to overturn President Biden's narrow win in the state.

6

IAEA inspectors head to Ukraine nuclear plant endangered by shelling

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors headed Monday to Ukraine's Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia power plant, with the team of scientists expected to examine damage at the facility later this week. The United Nations nuclear watchdog hopes to "protect the safety and security of Ukraine's and Europe's biggest nuclear facility," said Rafael Grossi, head of the IAEA. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other leaders have warned that shelling around the plant could cause a nuclear disaster. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for artillery strikes that have threatened the facility in recent weeks. Grossi is leading the inspection team, which will meet with local officials and visit the nuclear plant to evaluate working conditions and how well safety systems are functioning.

7

Judge sentences Jan. 6 rioter to 55 months

A federal judge on Monday sentenced Washington, D.C., bartender Joshua Pruitt, an aspiring member of the far-right Proud Boys group, to 55 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters. Text messages indicated that Pruitt went to the Capitol ready for violence. He was photographed hurling a sign and throwing a chair during the riot, and he also approached Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as he was being led to safety. Pruitt, 40, pleaded guilty in June to obstructing an official proceeding. Federal sentencing guidelines indicated he should serve 51 to 63 months, partly due to his long criminal record, which includes assaulting police.

8

Fewer Americans living paycheck to paycheck as inflation eases slightly

The percentage of Americans saying they are living paycheck to paycheck has fallen slightly as inflation inches back from the 40-year high it hit in mid-summer, according to a LendingClub report released Monday. In July, 59 percent of respondents said they were living paycheck to paycheck, down from 61 percent in June. The number remained higher than it was at the same time last year, when it was 54 percent. Among people earning less than $50,000 a year, about three-quarters said they were earning only enough to get by until their next payday, compared to 63 percent of those making between $50,000 and $100,000. Among those making $200,000 or more, about 30 percent said they were living paycheck to paycheck, down from 36 percent in June.

9

Melting Greenland ice sheet will raise sea levels nearly a foot, study says

Climate change caused by human activity is melting so much of Greenland's ice sheet that sea levels will rise nearly a foot even if greenhouse gas emissions stopped today, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. The study found that it's inevitable 3.3 percent of the Greenland ice sheet, or 110 trillion tons of ice, will melt. The authors indicated that much of the melting and sea-level rise will occur by the year 2100. Some forecasts are more dire. "The point is, we need to plan for that ice as if it weren't on the ice sheet in the near future, within a century or so," said research climatologist William Colgan, a study co-author. "Every study has bigger numbers than the last. It's always faster than forecast."

10

Serena Williams wins 1st round of what is likely her last U.S. Open

Tennis legend Serena Williams extended her career by at least one match on Monday, winning in the first round of the U.S. Open. Williams overpowered Danka Kovinic 6-3, 6-3 as fans filled Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York to cheer her on. "When I walked out, the reception was really overwhelming. It was loud and I could feel it in my chest. It was a really good feeling," said Williams, who has won six U.S. Open championships and a record 23 Grand Slam titles overall. "It's a feeling I'll never forget." Williams, 40, said in a Vogue essay three weeks ago that she was preparing to step away from the sport at some point soon after the U.S. Open so she can focus on having a second child and her venture capital firm.

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