Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 24, 2022

Boris Johnson drops out of U.K. leadership race, Bob Woodward releases "Trump Tapes," and more

1

Johnson bows out of U.K. leadership race

Boris Johnson late Sunday dropped out of the running to become Britain's next prime minister, claiming he had enough support to win back the job as leader of the ruling Conservative Party, but "this would simply not be the right thing to do" at this time. Johnson, who resigned as prime minister three months ago after a series of scandals, said he would not have the unified support necessary to "govern effectively." His withdrawal appeared to clear the way for frontrunner Rishi Sunak, Johnson's former finance minister, to become the next leader of the party and the United Kingdom's next prime minister, replacing Liz Truss. 

2

Woodward releases interview tapes, calls Trump 'unparalleled danger' 

Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward on Sunday released excerpts from his forthcoming audiobook, The Trump Tapes, which includes the transcripts and raw audio of the 20 interviews he conducted with then-President Donald Trump in 2019 and 2020. Much of the material, which touches on the pandemic, the "fake" press, and more, was quoted extensively in his 2020 book, Rage, which Woodward concluded by saying Trump wasn't up to the job of president. Woodward said Sunday in The Washington Post that he "didn't go far enough" in Rage, and was releasing the raw audio to provide a clearer understanding of Trump, his self-focus, and his evolving use of the presidency's power. "Trump is an unparalleled danger," Woodward said.

3

Ukraine calls Russia's dirty bomb claim 'absurd'

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Sunday accused Ukraine of preparing to use a radioactive dirty bomb as a "provocation" to escalate the war Russia started by invading Ukraine in February. The United States, Britain, and France rejected what they called "Russia's transparently false" claim. "The world would see through any attempt to use this allegation as a pretext for escalation," they said in a joint statement. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called Shoigu's allegation "absurd" and "dangerous," saying, "Russians often accuse others of what they plan themselves." The back-and-forth came as Russian military leaders evacuated part of the Kherson region in southern Ukraine as Ukrainian forces threatened to overrun occupying forces west of the Dnipro River.

4

Cheney: Jan. 6 panel won't let Trump turn testimony into 'circus'

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said Sunday that the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack would not let former President Donald Trump turn his testimony into a "circus" and "food fight." The committee has called for Trump to testify next month, and he reportedly has told associates he might comply without a fight if he can testify on live TV. Cheney also said the panel, on which she serves as vice chair, will take action if Trump fails to comply with the subpoena the committee members unanimously approved. Cheney said on NBC's Meet the Press that the committee will treat Trump's testimony, which could take several days, "with a level of rigor and discipline and seriousness that it deserves."

5

U.S. students' math, reading test scores drop

National test scores published Monday showed that American fourth and eighth graders fell behind in math and reading since 2019, in what The New York Times called "the most definitive indictment yet of the pandemic's impact on millions of schoolchildren." The National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, said the sample of 450,000 student in those grades experienced the largest declines since NAEP testing began in 1990. Math scores fell the most, with just 26 percent of eighth graders proficient in 2022, compared to 34 percent in 2019. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona called the results "appalling and unacceptable."

6

2 die after Hurricane Roslyn hits Mexico's Pacific coast

Two people died Sunday after Hurricane Roslyn slammed into Mexico's Pacific coast as a powerful Category 3 storm with top sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. A 74-year-old man was killed by a falling beam in Mexcaltitan de Santiago Ixcuintla, Nayarit state's Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection told Reuters. A 39-year-old woman died when a fence collapsed on her in the state's Rosamorada district. The storm's strong winds and torrential rains flooded streets and damaged homes. Roslyn weakened quickly and was downgraded to tropical storm status as it pushed inland, but its heavy rains continued to pose a flood threat before dissipating by early Monday.

7

Literary agent says Rushdie lost sight in 1 eye due to stabbing attack

Author Salman Rushdie has lost sight in one eye and the use of one hand after an August stabbing attack at the Chautauqua Institution in New York, his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, told Spain's El País newspaper. Wylie couldn't or wouldn't say whether Rushdie was still in a hospital. "He's going to live," he said. "That's the more important thing." Iran's leader in the 1980s issued a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, calling for Rushdie's death over his novel The Satanic Verses. "The principal danger that he faced so many years after the fatwa was imposed is from a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking [him] … you can't protect against that," Wylie said.

8

Chinese markets dive after Communist Party cements Xi's power

Stocks in Hong Kong plunged Monday in their worst day since the 2008 global financial crisis after China's ruling Communist Party solidified President Xi Jinping's power. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong dropped 7.3 percent, its biggest plunge after any Communist Party congress. China's currency, the yuan, fell to a 14-year low. Xi stacked top leadership positions with loyalists, including backers of the "zero COVID" policy that seeks to prevent coronavirus infections with costly lockdowns. "The market is concerned that with so many Xi supporters elected, Xi's unfettered ability to enact policies that are not market-friendly is now cemented," Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners, told Bloomberg.

9

'Black Adam' leads the domestic box office in its debut weekend

The superhero adventure film Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, led the weekend box office, bringing in $67 million in its domestic debut. The Warner Bros. comic book movie also piled up $73 million in international ticket sales, bringing its global total to $140 million. Johnson, in his first superhero role, plays a villain aiming to alter the "hierarchy of power" in the DC universe, Variety says. "As a spin-off, this is a strong opening," says David Gross, head of the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. Its opening was similar to fellow DC movie Aquaman (2018), which starred Jason Momoa. Black Adam is the sixth Warner Bros. film out of six to open at No. 1 this year.

10

Phillies, Astros advance to World Series

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 on Sunday to advance to the World Series for the first time since 2009. Bryce Harper hit a two-run homerun in the eighth inning to put the Phillies ahead, and they held on to take the game and the best-of-seven National League Championship Series 4-1. The Phillies were the last team to make the playoffs, and will be the first No. 6 seed in the postseason to reach the World Series. They will play the Houston Astros, who advanced to their fourth World Series in six seasons by beating the New York Yankees on Sunday to sweep the American League Championship Series.

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