Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 3, 2022

Ukraine regains full control of city in region Russia just illegally annexed, Brazil's polarizing presidential election heads to a run-off, and more

1

Ukraine takes full control of city in region Russia illegally annexed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that his country's forces have driven out the last Russian troops from the city of Lyman in Donetsk, one of four provinces Moscow moved to illegally annex last week. "Lyman is cleared completely," Zelensky said in a brief address to Ukrainians. Burned-out Russian tanks and armored vehicles line roads leading into Lyman. Both sides reportedly suffered heavy casualties in the fight for the city. The advances in Donetsk marked Ukraine's latest battlefield victory since Kyiv launched an eastern counteroffensive in September, seeking to reclaim Russian-occupied areas. Ukraine has also made gains in the south, where its forces are slowly advancing toward the strategically important city of Kherson.

2

Brazil's divisive presidential election heads to run-off

Brazil's polarizing presidential race is heading to an Oct. 30 second round between far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and challenger Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a left-wing former president. Da Silva, known as Lula, led with 48.4 percent to Bolsonaro's 43.2 percent, with nearly all ballots counted, the South American nation's electoral authority said Sunday. The nine other candidates received little support. A candidate must exceed 50 percent to win outright. Lula, who was unable to run in 2018 due to a corruption conviction that a judge later annulled, remains popular for the social welfare system he built from 2003 to 2010. Bolsonaro, often referred to as the "Trump of the tropics," did significantly better than polls had predicted. He had threatened not to accept the results if Lula won.

3

Supreme Court to start new term with more precedents on the line

The Supreme Court on Monday opens a new nine-month term expected to give the expanded 6-3 conservative majority opportunities to rule on a host of controversial issues, including affirmative action, voting, religion, the environment, and gay rights. "On things that matter most," Irv Gornstein, the executive director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law, tells The New York Times, "get ready for a lot of 6-3s." President Biden's appointee Ketanji Brown Jackson, America's first Black woman justice, is joining the court's liberal wing, replacing the now-retired Justice Stephen Breyer. In the court's last term, the conservative majority expanded gun rights and overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision that had protected a woman's right to abortion for a half-century.

4

Hurricane Ian's death toll rises as southwest Florida begins long recovery

The death toll from powerful Hurricane Ian rose on Sunday as search crews continued combing through wreckage in southwest Florida, where Ian crashed ashore last week. News outlets gave different estimates of the deaths. USA Today reported that 47 fatalities had been confirmed in Florida, along with four in North Carolina and three in Cuba. CNN reported that 74 deaths had been confirmed in Florida and four in North Carolina. More than 4,000 people have been rescued in Florida after being trapped by flooding and other damage, state and federal authorities said. President Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to survey damage from Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico on Monday, and from Ian in Florida on Wednesday.

5

American vets captured in Ukraine describe life in Russian custody

American military veterans Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh told The Washington Post that they endured "horrible" interrogations between their June 9 capture in Ukraine and their release from Russian custody in mid-September. Drueke, 40, and Huynh, 27, met in April after traveling to Ukraine to help fight Russian forces, moved by images of families fleeing early in the invasion. They were captured on a drone reconnaissance mission north of Kharkiv after their unit was ambushed, then taken to a "tent city" in Russia with other captives, and then to a black site detention center in the Russian separatist–controlled Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. The men said they were beaten, deprived of sleep, and asked repeatedly if they were in the CIA.

6

U.K. abandons Truss' tax cut on high earners after uproar

The British government has dropped Prime Minister Liz Truss' controversial plan to cut the country's highest income tax rate, finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed Monday. Truss proposed slashing taxes on high earners just 10 days ago, saying it would stimulate growth. But the plan sparked a growing rebellion in her ruling Conservative Party and rattled global financial markets. "We listened to people, I get it," Kwarteng told BBC News before announcing the reversal. Kwarteng said the uproar over the policy had become "a massive distraction" that was "drowning out a strong package" that includes support for energy bills and cuts to basic income and corporate tax rates. Britain's currency rose to touch a one-week high after BBC first reported the reversal.

7

Hurricane Orlene weakens ahead of landfall on Mexico's Pacific coast

Hurricane Orlene weakened slightly as it approached Mexico's northwest Pacific coast, where it was expected to hit Monday. Orlene peaked as a Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 130 miles per hour on Saturday, but its top winds fell Sunday and early Monday, when they were 100 mph. Forecasters said Orlene, still a dangerous storm, is likely to pass over the archipelago of Las Islas Marias before hitting the mainland between San Blas and Mazatlan. The National Hurricane Center said Orlene is an "extremely dangerous" storm expected to hit the Islas Marias with heavy rain and storm surge. Mexico's National Water Commission warned that Orlene could trigger "mudslides, rising river and stream levels, and flooding in low-lying areas."

8

Burkina Faso's old junta leader resigns in deal after latest coup

Burkina Faso's ousted leader, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba, resigned Sunday and left the country to avoid further violence following a Friday coup. Capt. Ibrahim Traore, the leader of the forces that ousted Damiba, has been named head of state. He reportedly accepted seven conditions from Damiba, including guaranteeing his safety and that of the soldiers who backed him, and honoring a previous promise to the West African regional bloc ECOWAS. Damiba took power in a January coup and had recently agreed to hold elections in 2024. The turmoil has fueled concerns that authorities in the country will be too preoccupied with power struggles to contend with an Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced an estimated two million people.

9

OPEC+ to consider production cut to prop up oil prices

OPEC+ delegates say the group of oil-producing countries on Wednesday will discuss cutting production by more than a million barrels per day to boost prices, which have been falling due to expectations of weakening economic growth, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. OPEC+ is made up of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia. The exporters benefited from a surge in oil prices, which rose above $100 per barrel for months after Russia invaded Ukraine. But growing concerns of a global economic slowdown have dragged prices down at the fastest pace since the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020. Anything to reverse oil's decline could hurt Western nations struggling to contain the highest inflation in decades, and help Russia fund its war effort.

10

Extreme skier Hilaree Nelson gets traditional funeral in Nepal 

Famed American extreme skier Hilaree Nelson, who died last week in a fall from the world's eighth-highest mountain, received a traditional Sherpa cremation on Sunday in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Friends and relatives had traveled to Kathmandu for the ceremony, conducted by Buddhist monks. Nelson, 49, disappeared while skiing down Mount Manaslu with her partner, Jim Morrison. Rescuers searching in helicopters found her body two days later. Climbers had been struggling to reach and return from the 26,775-foot peak due to bad weather and avalanches. A Nepalese man was killed and several climbers were injured in an avalanche at a lower elevation on the same day that Nelson fell.

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