Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 15, 2022

President Biden says there's no need for "new Cold War" with China, Zelensky visits newly liberated Kherson, and more

1

Biden meets with Xi, says no need for 'new Cold War' with China

President Biden voiced U.S. opposition to China's "coercive and increasingly aggressive actions" during a Monday meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden's first in-person talks with Xi since taking office. Biden said after the meeting that the two countries should "compete vigorously, but I'm not looking for conflict." He added: "I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War" pitting the United States against China. Biden repeated his administration's support for Washington's longtime "One China" policy that recognizes only the Beijing government but permits informal relations with Taiwan, which China views as part of its territory. Xi stressed during the meeting in Indonesia that Taiwan is "the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations," Chinese media reported.

2

Suspect arrested in deadly UVA shooting

Police in Henrico County, Virginia, on Monday arrested Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., the suspect in a Sunday shooting that left three University of Virginia football players dead and two other students wounded. The attack occurred on a charter bus that had just returned to campus from a field trip. University of Virginia president Jim Ryan identified the dead as Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler, and D'Sean Perry. Jones, also a UVA student, was on the football team in 2018. The school had been investigating him for claiming he owned a gun. On the same day as the UVA shooting, four University of Idaho students were killed in a home near campus in what police are describing as a "crime of passion."

3

Zelensky visits newly liberated Kherson

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Kherson on Monday to show support for residents in the newly liberated southern port city, where the Dnipro river meets the Black Sea. Zelensky told a cheering crowd of several hundred people that Russia's retreat from Kherson marked "the beginning of the end of the war," although he warned that the Kherson region, which Moscow illegally has declared to be an annexed part of Russia, remained "very dangerous." Russian troops retreated just to the other side of the river. Zelensky told the Group of 20 summit in Bali via videolink that now is the time for world leaders to pressure Russia to end the war.

4

Biden says Democrats probably lack votes to protect abortion rights nationwide

President Biden said Monday that Democrats are unlikely to be able to pass a law codifying abortion rights nationwide, despite the party's better-than-expected performance in last week's midterm elections. "I don't think there's enough votes," Biden said during the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia. Biden had promised during the campaign that if Democrats gained seats he would be able to send Congress a bill proposing to restore nationwide abortion protections lost when the Supreme Court's conservative majority overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision earlier this year. Democrats held onto their razor-thin majority in the Senate, but Republicans are one seat from taking control of the House and appear likely to win a slim majority.

5

Latest wins put GOP one seat from House majority

Republicans pulled within one seat of securing a House majority on Monday after races called for Republicans in California, Arizona, and New York. Republicans now have been projected the winners in 217 House races, with 218 needed for a majority. Democrats have taken 204 seats. There were still 14 uncalled House races as of Monday night, most of them in California; Republicans lead in four of those races while Democrats lead in nine. New York Times election data reporter Nate Cohn tweeted Monday night that the GOP had several ways to "get that 218th seat, perhaps as soon as tomorrow." Even with several more wins, the GOP "will likely have the narrowest majority of the 21st century," The Associated Press reported.

6

Katie Hobbs defeats GOP election denier Kari Lake in Arizona

Democrat Katie Hobbs, Arizona's secretary of state, narrowly beat Republican Kari Lake, a former TV news anchor endorsed by former President Donald Trump, in Arizona's race for governor, The Associated Press and major television networks projected on Monday. "Democracy is worth the wait," Hobbs said via Twitter. "Thank you, Arizona. I am so honored and so proud to be your next governor." Hobbs, as the state's election chief, stood up to unfounded claims that Trump had lost the 2020 presidential vote due to widespread fraud. She had called Lake, who made election denial a central part of her campaign, a threat to democracy. Lake declined to concede, casting doubt on the count, saying, "Arizonans know BS when they see it."

7

SCOTUS says Jan. 6 panel can get Arizona GOP chair's phone records 

The Supreme Court voted 7-2 on Monday not to block the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack from obtaining the phone records of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, a key supporter of former President Donald Trump's unfounded claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Ward, one of the "fake electors" lined up by Trump and his allies to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, had argued that disclosing her phone and text records would subject everyone she communicated with after the election to scrutiny, which would "chill [...] public participation in partisan politics." Liberal Justice Elena Kagan last month temporarily blocked the subpoena pending a review by the full court.

8

Google to pay states $391.5 million in privacy settlement

Google on Monday agreed to a record $391.5 million privacy settlement with 40 states that sued over its location tracking. The agreement is the largest internet privacy settlement ever by U.S. states. Google has to better clarify its location tracking disclosures by 2023 under the deal. "For years Google has prioritized profit over their users' privacy," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a release. "They have been crafty and deceptive." The attorneys general said Google continued to track many users who thought they had turned off the feature. Google's policy communications manager José Castañeda said the company had already made improvements, and that the settlement involved "outdated product policies that we changed years ago."

9

Prosecutors decline to charge Giuliani over Ukraine work

Federal prosecutors said Monday they would not charge former New York City mayor and longtime Donald Trump ally Rudy Giuliani for his work with Ukrainian figures during the Trump administration. The decision ends a more than year-long investigation that appeared to be focused on whether Giuliani acted as an unregistered foreign agent in 2019 and 2020 as he pushed Ukraine to investigate the business dealings of Hunter Biden, President Biden's son, in Ukraine. Last May, FBI agents raided the former New York mayor's home and office. Giuliani said the decision vindicated him. "A prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. I wasn't even a ham sandwich," Giuliani, himself a former prosecutor, said on a Twitter broadcast.

10

Jay Leno seriously burned after car bursts into flames

Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno suffered serious facial burns over the weekend when a fire erupted in the Burbank, California, garage where he stores his car collection. "I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am ok. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet," Leno said in a statement to Variety. He was taken to Grossman Burn Center for treatment. The 72-year-old comedian had been scheduled to perform at a Las Vegas conference on Sunday, but the organizers notified participants that he had been forced to cancel his upcoming appearances due to "a very serious medical emergency." 

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