Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 27, 2022

Iranian police clash with protesters at ceremony honoring Mahsa Amini, Putin repeats Russia's baseless claim of Ukraine "dirty bomb" plan, and more


Iranian police clash with mourners at ceremony for Mahsa Amini 

Iranian police reportedly fired on protesters Wednesday as thousands of mourners gathered in the hometown of Mahsa Amini for a ceremony to mark the end of mourning 40 days after her death. Amini died three days after Iran's morality police arrested her on charges of wearing her required headscarf wrong. Authorities said she died after collapsing from a pre-existing condition, while her family says she was beaten in custody. Amini's death sparked widespread protests that have included students and schoolgirls, some of whom have burned their headscarves and clashed with security forces. Wednesday's demonstrations occurred despite security services warning Amini's family not to hold the ceremony, saying "they should worry for their son's life."


Putin repeats unfounded claim Ukraine plans 'dirty bomb'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday repeated Moscow's baseless claim that Ukraine is planning to explode a radioactive "dirty bomb." Western officials and Ukraine's leaders have accused Russia of making up the allegation as a pretext for escalating the war as Ukrainian forces drive Russian troops out of several areas they had occupied for months. Separately, the Russian military conducted annual tests of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Moscow alerted the U.S. of the drills ahead of time, but combined with the dirty-bomb claims, the exercises fueled concerns that Russia might use a tactical nuclear weapon to gain the upper hand in Ukraine. President Biden has warned Putin that using nuclear weapons would be "an incredibly serious mistake."


Mortgage rates rise above 7 percent for 1st time in decades

A key U.S. mortgage rate surged to 7.16 percent last week, the first time the popular 30-year fixed-rate loan had risen above 7 percent in more than 20 years, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. It was the 10th straight weekly increase. With loan costs rising and housing prices still high, the association's measure of applications to buy or refinance a home fell by 1.7 percent, the 10th drop in 11 weeks. Applications are at their lowest point since 1997. The housing market has been struggling as the Federal Reserve pushes up rates to cool the economy and fight high inflation. Data released Tuesday showed that home prices fell 1.3 percent in August from July, the biggest month-to-month decline since March 2009.


S.C. judge rules Meadows must testify in Georgia election investigation

A South Carolina judge ruled Wednesday that Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump's last chief of staff, must testify to an Atlanta-area grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to influence Georgia's 2020 election result. "I am going to find that the witness is material and necessary to the investigation, and that the state of Georgia is assuring not to cause undue hardship to him," Judge Edward Miller said as Wednesday's hearing concluded. The hearing was held in South Carolina because Meadows lives in the state, and the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney's office, which is leading the inquiry, asked a court there to compel Meadows to comply with their subpoena. Meadows' attorney said he plans to appeal.


Michigan jurors find 3 men guilty in Whitmer kidnapping plot

A Michigan jury on Wednesday found three men guilty in the plot to kidnap the state's Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Joe Morrison, his father-in-law Pete Musico, and Paul Bellar were convicted of providing "material support" for a terrorist act. The trio belonged to the Wolverine Watchmen, a group that held paramilitary drills, fueled by anger over restrictions Whitmer imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The three men face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced in December. They were among more than a dozen people arrested in October 2020 over the plot to snatch Whitmer at gunpoint from her vacation home and put her on "trial" for treason. Seven of the defendants have now been convicted or pleaded guilty.


2nd woman says Herschel Walker pressed her to get abortion

A second woman came forward Wednesday alleging that Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker pressured her into getting an abortion when she got pregnant with his child. The woman, identified by attorney Gloria Allred as "Jane Doe," said she started a relationship with Walker in the late 1980s, when he was a football star with the Dallas Cowboys. She said she got pregnant in 1993 and balked at getting an abortion, but Walker "pressured" her and paid for the procedure. Walker, who supports a hardline abortion ban, denied the latest claim, as he did a previous one by a woman who later had one of his children. "I'm done with this foolishness," Walker said. "I've already told people this is a lie."


Wisconsin man convicted of plowing into Christmas parade, killing 6 

A Waukesha County, Wisconsin, jury on Wednesday found Darrell Brooks Jr. guilty of intentionally killing six people when he plowed through a Christmas parade last year in his SUV. The jury convicted Brooks on all six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and 61 counts of reckless endangerment. Bailiffs removed one man from the courtroom after he yelled, "Burn in hell, you piece of s---." Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow set a Monday hearing to schedule sentencing. Brooks faces a mandatory life sentence for each of the homicide charges. Police said Brooks crashed into the parade to hit participants and spectators after he fled the scene of a domestic disturbance involving an ex-girlfriend.


Sen. Bob Menendez under federal investigation for 2nd time

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is the subject of a new federal investigation, the online news outlet Semafor reported Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York issued at least one subpoena and contacted people connected to Menendez, a Semafor source said. A Menendez adviser confirmed that Menendez is "aware of an investigation" but doesn't know its scope. Menendez was indicted in 2015 on charges that he accepted private flights from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for favors, including helping Melgen get government contracts. Menendez said he and Melgen were merely friends. The jury in a 2017 trial failed to reach a verdict.


Mercedes-Benz becomes latest company to exit Russia

German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday became the latest Western company to commit to pulling out of Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. A Mercedes spokesperson told CBS News the company intended "to withdraw from the Russian market and to sell its shares in its subsidiaries to a local investor," which Forbes identified as Russian auto dealership chain Avtodom. Mercedes-Benz stopped manufacturing vehicles in Russia in March, shortly after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, but it was one of just a few car companies that continued selling vehicles there. Ford said it, too, had completed its Russia exit by selling its 49 percent stake in the Sollers Ford Joint Venture, with an option to buy back the shares within five years if the situation changes.


L.A. City Council censures 3 current and former members over racist audio

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted 12-0 to censure two members and former council president Nury Martinez over leaked audio of a meeting they attended in which Martinez made racist comments. Police had to clear the council chamber before the vote after two dozen protesters demanded the council halt its meeting until council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin De León resign, because they participated in the meeting. Martinez has already stepped down, as did a union leader who hosted the meeting. The Los Angeles Times said the vote appeared to be "the first time that the City Council has censured one of its own members." Cedillo and De León have apologized for not cutting off Martinez's remarks, but resisted calls to resign.


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