Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 26, 2022

Far-right leader claims victory in Italy, gunman kills 12 at a Russian school, and more

1

Far-right leader claims victory in Italy

Provisional results and exit polls indicated that a far-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni's ultra-conservative Brothers of Italy party won Sunday elections, giving Italy its most right-wing government since the fascist era of World War II leader Benito Mussolini. The Brothers of Italy were expected to get 26 percent of the vote, with partners the League, led by Matteo Salvini, and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia giving Meloni's right-wing alliance a 44 percent total. Meloni, on track to become Italy's first female prime minister, declared victory and promised to "govern for everyone" with a mandate for "a right-wing government led by Brothers of Italy." The center-left coalition, led by the left-wing Democratic Party and centrist party +Europe, was likely to win up to 29.5 percent.

2

Gunman kills 12 at Russia school

A gunman opened fire at a school in Russia's Udmurtia region on Monday, killing at least 12 people, including five children, according to Russia's Investigative Committee, which handles major crimes in the country. The dead also included two teaches and a school security guard. The gunman, wearing a black balaclava and armed with two weapons, then killed himself. Video aired by local media showed panicked children fleeing the school as police rushed in. Authorities did not immediately say what they thought motivated the killer, who was wearing a black T-shirt with Nazi symbols and remained unidentified. The attack occurred on the same day that a young Russian man shot a local military enlistment officer in Siberia.

3

U.S. official warns Russia faces 'catastrophic' response if it uses nuclear weapons

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday warned Russia it would face "catastrophic consequences" if it used nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Sullivan's remarks came as Russia and pro-Russian separatists continued what Ukraine and the West have called "sham" referendums designed to pave the way for Russia to annex Moscow-controlled areas in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. After the voting concludes Tuesday, the Russian parliament is expected to move swiftly to make the annexation claim official. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said over the weekend that Moscow would vow full protection of the regions if they are annexed, increasing the threat of direct military conflict between Russia and NATO.

4

Ian reaches hurricane strength ahead of landfall in western Cuba

Cuban authorities are launching evacuations and suspending classes in Pinar del Rio province as Hurricane Ian, upgraded from a tropical storm early Monday, moves toward an expected landfall on the island's western tip later in the day or early Tuesday. The storm's top sustained winds reached 75 miles per hour early Monday, just below hurricane strength. Ian is expected to strengthen into a hurricane later Monday, then become a major hurricane as it intensifies rapidly traveling north over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Ian will approach the west coast of Florida on Wednesday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that Ian would have "broad impacts throughout the state." People throughout the state braced for severe weather, as forecasters warned there was "still significant uncertainty in the track of Ian."

5

North Korea launches missile ahead of Harris' Asia visit

North Korea fired a short-range missile into the sea Sunday ahead of joint U.S.-South Korea military drills and a trip by Vice President Kamala Harris to the region. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff condemned the test-launch of the ballistic missile, which flew about 373 miles, saying it was "an act of grave provocation." South Korea's National Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss how to respond. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch posed no "immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies," although it demonstrated how North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs can destabilize the region. Harris will visit South Korea next week after attending Japan's state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

6

Fiona moves on as eastern Canada, Puerto Rico focus on recovery

Former hurricane Fiona weakened and moved out to sea on Sunday after hammering Canada's eastern seaboard with powerful winds and torrential rainfall. The storm knocked buildings into the ocean, destroyed homes, and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people after making landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, on Saturday. It then crashed through New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland before weakening and moving into the Atlantic, and clearing the way for authorities to start clearing roads and addressing other damage. "It will take time," Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said Sunday. No injuries were reported in Canada, but Fiona has been blamed for at least 16 deaths in Puerto Rico.

7

Jan. 6 committee 'aware of' White House call to rioter

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said during Sunday's Meet the Press that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is "aware of" a call made that day between the White House switchboard and one of the rioters. Denver Riggleman, a former GOP lawmaker who served on the committee's staff, said in an episode of CBS' 60 Minutes that aired Sunday that the switchboard connected to the phone of a rioter, although he only knew about the "White House end" of the call. Raskin said he couldn't "say anything specific" about the call, but the panel knows about it and "lots of contacts between the people in the White House and different people" involved in the "coup attempt and the insurrection." 

8

British pound falls to record low against dollar

The British pound fell more than 4 percent on Monday to a record low of $1.035 against the U.S. dollar. The plunge in early trading in Asia came after a 2.6 percent fall on Friday as British Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng announced that the United Kingdom would increase spending while imposing the biggest tax cuts in 50 years. Former Tory chancellor Lord Ken Clarke warned Sunday the tax cuts could trigger a collapse of the currency. The previous record low for the pound was $1.054 in 1985. The euro also hit a 20-year low of 0.965 per dollar. Weak economic data and concerns about Russia's war in Ukraine have boosted the dollar, a safe haven in uncertain times.

9

Super Typhoon Noru hammers Philippines

Super Typhoon Noru slammed into the Philippines on Sunday after rapidly intensifying before making landfall off the eastern shore of the capital, Manila. The storm caused floods and power outages, and left five rescuers dead. Noru's top winds jumped from 60 miles per hour to 160 mph, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, in 24 hours. It was the fastest 24-hour intensification on record for a tropical cyclone, vaulting Noru to a super typhoon and posing what weather officials warned was a potential "extreme threat" to life and property. Scientists say human-caused climate change is increasing the threat of such "explosive" intensification. Forecasters said Noru weakened but remained at typhoon strength as it moved back into the Pacific.

10

Rihanna to headline 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show

Rihanna will be the headline performer in the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show in February, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter's management company Roc Nation said in a Sunday statement. The singer posted an image of an NFL-branded football on Instagram. "Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn," Jay-Z said in the announcement. "A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment." Rihanna has won eight Grammy Awards. The singer's eight albums have sold 60 million copies and 215 million digital tracks, although she has not released an album since 2016.

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