10 things you need to know today: January 2, 2023
Lula returns to the presidency in Brazil, Ukraine shoots down Russia's latest wave of armed drones, and more
Lula returns to office in Brazil
Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva returned to Brazil's presidency on Sunday, starting a third term after serving between 2003 and 2010. Former President Jair Bolsonaro, defeated by Lula in an October election, left the South American nation for Florida on Friday, after fueling threats of violence with baseless allegations about electoral problems. Lula took the oath of office promising to fight hunger, poverty, and racism, and rebuild a country in "terrible ruins." The left-wing leader was in jail on corruption charges when Bolsonaro took office in 2019, but the conviction was later overturned. Lula blamed Bolsonaro's far-right policies for many of the country's problems, and said those who made mistakes under Bolsonaro would "answer for their errors."
Ukraine downs New Year's wave of drones as Russia continues attacks
Ukrainian forces shot down 45 Iranian-made Sahed drones fired by Russia on Sunday, the first day of 2023, Reuters reported. As air-raid sirens sounded in Kyiv, residents stood on their balconies, shouting, "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!" Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said Sunday night that Russia's waves of attacks with drones and missiles "will not help them... because we stand united. They are united only by fear." Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the latest attacks cause no reported injuries. U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink tweeted that Russia's latest attack was "cowardly." Russian President Vladimir Putin gave no sign in a New Year's address that Moscow would ease up on its ongoing series of missile and drone strikes.
Biden to tout bipartisan legislative successes as GOP takes House control
President Biden plans to start 2023 with an appearance alongside Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to announce a project funded under the bipartisan infrastructure law. Biden will join McConnell on Wednesday in Kentucky marking a bipartisan victory a day after Republicans take over the House with the narrow majority they won in the November midterms. The show of bipartisanship is expected to be the first of many White House efforts to stay out of political fights in the divided new Congress, and focus on implementing Biden's biggest economic initiatives, such as trying to boost domestic computer chip production under the CHIPS Act, according to NBC News.
Northern California towns under evacuation warnings after historic rainfall
Several Northern California towns were placed under evacuation warnings on Sunday after a New Year's Eve storm brought an "atmospheric river" that drenched the region with rain and dumped heavy snowfall in some areas. The town of Wilton was under a shelter-in-place order due to the threat of an "imminent levee failure." Residents of the low-lying communities of Point Pleasant, Glanville Tract, and Franklin Pond were told to be ready to leave. Flooding closed major highways. San Francisco got its second rainiest day since 1849, with 5.46 inches of rain in 24 hours. That was just under the record of 5.54 inches set Nov. 5, 1994.
Mourners pay last respects to Pope Emeritus Benedict
Thousands of mourners filed past Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's body as it lay in state at St. Peter's Basilica on Monday. Benedict's death on New Year's Eve brought to an end an unusual period in modern Catholic history, with two living popes — one former, one current. Pope Francis will preside over Benedict's funeral on Thursday. It is expected to have less pomp than the 2005 ceremony that honored John Paul II. Just two formal delegations — from Italy, and Benedict's native Germany — are expected to attend the funeral, which Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said would be "simple." Benedict's last words were, "Lord, I love you," his longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, said Sunday.
Anita Pointer of Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters dies at 74
Anita Pointer, a founding member of the Grammy-winning pop group the Pointer Sisters, died Saturday at her home in Beverly Hills, California. She was 74. Her publicist, Roger Neal, said the cause of death was cancer, which she had battled for years. The Pointer Sisters — Anita, Ruth, Bonnie, and June — formed in 1972, and Anita sang lead on all three of the original group's Top 40 hits, including its 1973 breakout hit "Yes We Can Can." The Pointer Sisters "helped define the sound of the early 1980s with a humid, sultry electronic sound and a brassy R&B approach," The Washington Post said. The group's hits included the original "I'm So Excited," and the Bruce Springsteen cover "Fire."
Landlord sues Twitter for unpaid rent
One of Twitter's San Francisco landlords is suing the social media company, accusing it of not paying its rent, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. In the lawsuit, filed Thursday, the landlord, Columbia Reit-650 California LLC, says Twitter owes $136,260 in rent on offices at 650 California St. The office space involved in the case is separate from Twitter's headquarters on Market Street. The landlord says it told Twitter in mid-December that it would be in breach of its contract if it failed to pay for the 30th-floor space within five business days. Several other companies, including a software provider, recently told Twitter it was late making payments. Twitter did not respond to the Journal's request for comment.
10 guards, 4 inmates die in attack at Mexico prison
Gunmen in armored vehicles attacked guards at state prison in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Sunday, killing 10 prison personnel and four inmates. Thirteen other people were wounded. Twenty-four prisoners escaped, the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office said in a statement. Mexican security forces regained control of the prison later Sunday. The incident came after an August riot at the same prison spread to the streets of Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. Eleven people died in the August violence. In that case, alleged gang members opened fire around town after two inmates were killed in the prison.
Actor Jeremy Renner in critical but stable condition after snow-plowing accident
Two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner was hospitalized in critical but stable condition on Sunday after "experiencing a weather-related accident while plowing snow" in Nevada, his spokesperson told Deadline. The spokesperson said Renner's family is with him, and he's receiving "excellent care." Renner stars in the Paramount+ series The Mayor of Kingstown, and plays archer Clint Barton/Hawkeye in the superhero Avengers movies and Disney+ series Hawkeye. Renner has a home near Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe, about 25 miles from Reno. The region was hit by a winter storm on New Year's Eve that knocked out power to 35,000 homes across five Northern Nevada counties.
Modest Mouse drummer Jeremiah Green dies at 45
Modest Mouse founding drummer Jeremiah Green died over the weekend, days after the band announced he was being treated for cancer. He was 45. "Today we lost our dear friend Jeremiah. He laid down to rest and simply faded out," said a statement posted Saturday on the band's social media accounts. Green was one of the founding members of Modest Mouse, an indie band that formed in Issaquah, Wash., outside Seattle, in the 1990s. The band debuted in 1996 with the album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, building a critical following before its fourth release, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, and singles like "Float On" and "Ocean Breathes Salty" brought it mainstream success.