Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 4, 2022

Ukrainian forces break through Russian lines in southern Kherson, Trump sues CNN for defamation, and more

1

Ukraine penetrates Russian lines in southern Kherson

Ukrainian forces continued to push into Ukrainian territory formerly occupied by Russia on Monday, expanding their counteroffensive in the east and puncturing Russian defenses in the southern Kherson region, one of the four areas Russia is trying to illegally annex. Ukraine's gains were so clear that Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov uncharacteristically acknowledged that "the enemy managed to forge deep into our defenses" using "numerically superior tank units," although he said Russian troops inflicted major losses in return. Russia's withdrawal from the former stronghold of Lyman in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, also targeted by Moscow for annexation, prompted rare ridicule of the Kremlin's war effort by two powerful allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

2

Trump sues CNN for defamation

Former President Donald Trump on Monday filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN, accusing the network of conducting a "campaign of libel and slander" against him and seeking $475 million in damages. The lawsuit, filed in a Florida federal court, focuses partly on CNN's use of the term "The Big Lie" to refer to Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread fraud benefiting President Biden. Trump claims CNN has used the phrase, which has Nazi connotations, to "aggravate, scare, and trigger people." The suit says CNN has tried to "tilt the political balance to the left" and tainted Trump with "ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of 'racist,' 'Russian lackey,' 'insurrectionist,' and ultimately 'Hitler.'" CNN did not immediately comment.

3

Biden promises to help Puerto Rico rebuild after Hurricane Fiona

President Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday to survey damage from Hurricane Fiona, as tens of thousands of people remain without power in the U.S. Caribbean territory two weeks after the storm. Biden promised to "rebuild it all," saying, "I'm committed to this island." Fiona briefly knocked out power to the entire island of 3.2 million people five years after the more powerful Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Biden announced that his administration will provide $60 million from last year's bipartisan infrastructure law to improve levees and flood walls and develop a flood-warning system in Puerto Rico. On Wednesday, Biden will visit Florida, which was struck by Hurricane Ian last week. The state's death toll has risen to at least 101, CNN reported.

4

Supreme Court declines challenges to bump-stock ban

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear two cases challenging a ban on "bump stocks," attachments that allow semi-automatic firearms to shoot continuously, like fully automatic weapons. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives banned bump stocks in 2019. Then-President Donald Trump had ordered a review of the devices after a 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas in which an attacker using semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks fired on an outdoor concert from his hotel room, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds of others. Gun-rights advocates who sought to reverse the ban said the ATF overstepped its authority and "distorted" the definition of a machine gun under the 1934 National Firearms Act. Two separate appellate courts disagreed and upheld the ban.

5

Investigation finds rampant abuse in women's pro soccer league

A report published Monday documents extensive and "systemic" abuse in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the top professional women's league in the U.S. The report was the culmination of an investigation led by former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, who described a culture of abuse "rooted in a deeper culture in women's soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching," according to a copy of the report obtained by The New York Times. The report, based on more than 200 interviews, describes emotional, physical, and sexual manipulation from coaches. Yates' investigation was initiated in 2021 after former players Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly told The Athletic that coach Paul Riley had abused them verbally and sexually for years.

6

Hurricane Orlene hits Mexico's Pacific coast

Hurricane Orlene hit Mexico's Pacific coast Monday near the resort town of Mazatlan with top sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. The storm developed quickly, becoming a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum winds of 130 mph, but it weakened as it approached land. Orlene lost strength rapidly after making landfall near the borders of Nayarit and Sinaloa states and pushed inland. The storm's heavy rains could trigger flash floods and landslides, the National Hurricane Center warned. Forecasters said the storm dropped about 10 inches of rain over the Islas Marias archipelago and as much as six inches of rain in Nayarit and southern Sinaloa. Orlene is the ninth storm of the 2022 hurricane season in the eastern Pacific.

7

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan

North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan on Tuesday, causing the Japanese government to issue a rare warning for people in two northern prefectures to take shelter. The test of the missile, which came down in the Pacific Ocean east of Japan's exclusive economic zone, "represented a major escalation by North Korea" that increased concerns about the country's nuclear capabilities after several recent test launches during joint military drills by the United States, South Korea, and Japan, The New York Times reported. The missile flew 2,800 miles, the longest distance a North Korean missile has traveled, according to officials in Japan and South Korea. It was the first North Korean missile flight over Japan in five years.

8

Prosecutors give opening arguments in Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial

Five Oath Keepers leaders — including the far-right group's founder, Stewart Rhodes — participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack as part of a plot to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to President Biden and keep then-President Donald Trump in office despite his 2020 election loss, prosecutors said Monday. "They concocted a plan for an armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said in the trial's opening arguments. The five men are being tried for seditious conspiracy, in the most significant case yet from the Capitol attack. Prosecutors said the Yale Law–educated Rhodes acted "like a general" as he watched his "troops" enter the Capitol, and that the group stockpiled weapons near Washington, D.C.

9

Swedish researcher wins Nobel for Neanderthal genome sequencing

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded Monday to Sweden's Svante Paabo for his work unlocking secrets of Neanderthal DNA, which he managed to sequence from a 40,000-year-old piece of bone. The Nobel committee praised Paabo for the "sensational" accomplishment of discovering a previously unknown relative of modern humans, the Denisovans. Paabo's work helped scientists better understand evolutionary history. "By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human," the Nobel committee said. The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded Tuesday to Alain Aspect, John Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger for their "groundbreaking" work laying "the foundation for a new era of quantum technology."

10

Kim Kardashian to pay $1.26 million to settle crypto charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday that reality TV star Kim Kardashian would pay $1.26 million to settle charges that she recommended her 330 million Instagram followers buy a crypto security without revealing that she was paid to pitch it. The penalty includes a $1 million fine and forfeiture of $250,000, plus interest, that Kardashian was paid to make the post about Ethereum Max tokens. Kardashian is the latest celebrity penalized for failing to abide by regulations requiring full disclosure from people promoting financial products. As part of the settlement, Kardashian is barred from promoting financial products for three years. Actor Steven Seagal agreed to a similar ban and a $300,000 payment as part of a similar settlement in 2020.

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