Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 3, 2023

Ukraine missile strike kills dozens of Russian troops, McCarthy faces an uncertain leadership vote as Republicans take control of the House, and more


Dozens of Russian soldiers killed in Donetsk missile strike 

Ukrainian rockets demolished a building Russia's military was using as a temporary barracks in an occupied city in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, killing 63 Russian troops, the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday. The strike, one of the deadliest since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, prompted calls from Russian nationalist bloggers for the Kremlin to punish commanders for housing soldiers at the site, next to an ammunition dump in a former vocational college in Makiivka, twin city of the Russian-occupied regional capital. Ukraine said the strike killed hundreds of Russians. Igor Girkin, a former Russian paramilitary commander in Ukraine, wrote on Telegram that "many hundreds" were killed or wounded.


McCarthy faces uncertain leadership vote as GOP takes House control

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) struggled on Monday to line up the votes to be elected speaker, and remained a few votes short as Republicans prepared to take control of the House when the new Congress opens Tuesday. A small number of Republican lawmakers publicly oppose him despite extraordinary concessions he made to win over conservative holdouts. The rule changes McCarthy proposed would make it easier for members of the GOP caucus to force a vote on removing him from the job. The changes also would end proxy voting and remote committee meetings allowed because of the pandemic, and halt fines for failure to comply with mask mandates and security screenings.


Officials: Times Square machete attack suspect motivated by Islamic extremism

Trevor Bickford of Wells, Maine, has been charged with attacking three police officers with a machete near New York City's Times Square on New Year's Eve. He faces two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, and two counts of assault. Investigators believe Bickford, 19, traveled to New York from Maine to hurt police in an Islamic extremist attack, The New York Times reported Monday, citing a senior law enforcement official. Bickford had been placed on a federal watchlist that would have barred him from traveling overseas after his mother told the FBI her son had gravitated toward Islamic extremism, ABC News reported, citing law enforcement sources.


Northern California braces for more rain after historic-storm flooding

Nearly 50,000 homes and businesses remained without power in California on Monday as some areas braced for up to eight more inches of rain that could trigger more flooding following a historic New Year's Eve storm. A new storm, with another "atmospheric river" like the one that just drenched Northern California, is forecast to hit parts of Northern California before heading to Southern California on Tuesday. Then a bigger storm could hit Northern California late Tuesday and Wednesday. "The slow-moving nature of the storm and its moisture will lead to multiple hours of moderate to heavy rain," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Joe Lundberg said, according to USA Today.


Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin in critical condition after post-tackle collapse

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was hospitalized in critical condition Monday after suffering a cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin, 24, had just tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, who ran into him at full speed. Hamlin got up after the play, took two steps, and fell on his back. Medical staff restored his heartbeat on the field. Hamlin was then rushed by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for "further testing and treatment," the Bills said. National Football League officials said the game, which was being watched by millions of viewers on ESPN's Monday Night Football, was postponed indefinitely.


Brazil revives fraud case against incoming Rep. George Santos

George Santos will be sworn in Tuesday as the new Republican congressman representing New York's 3rd Congressional District despite admitting that much of his résumé and biography is a lie. Santos also faces federal and local investigations into potential criminal activity during his campaign, and as of Monday, a criminal fraud investigation in his native Brazil, The New York Times reports. A Brazilian judge approved charges against Santos in 2011 after he admitted using a stolen checkbook and a false name to make fraudulent purchases near Rio de Janeiro in 2008. That case was suspended because police could not find Santos, who moved to New York in 2011. Rio de Janeiro prosecutors said the case has been reopened now that he has been located.


Big-bank economists predict 2023 recession

More than two-thirds of the economists at 23 large financial institutions predict that the nation's economy will slip into a recession in 2023, according to a Wall Street Journal survey. Two others said a downturn would hit in 2024, the Journal reported Monday. Several factors contributed to the gloomy assessment, including tightening lending standards, a housing market decline, and the fact that U.S. households are going through their pandemic-era savings. But the main recession threat comes from the Federal Reserve's aggressive interest-rate hikes, which are designed to cool the economy to bring down high inflation. Inflation has fallen slightly but remains far above the central bank's 2 percent target.


Martina Navratilova reveals cancer diagnosis

Legendary tennis player Martina Navratilova announced Monday that she had been diagnosed with both stage one throat and breast cancer. "This double whammy is serious but still fixable," Navratilova, 66, said in a statement on the Women's Tennis Association website. "I'm hoping for a favorable outcome. It's going to stink for a while, but I'll fight with all have I got." Navratilova survived a battle with breast cancer in 2010. During a long career, Navratilova won 18 grand slam singles titles, 31 grand slam doubles titles, and 10 grand slam mixed doubles titles. Her wife, Real Housewives of Miami star Julia Lemigova, thanked friends and fans for their support on social media, writing, "Together, we will fight this."


Stock futures rise ahead of 1st day of 2023 U.S. trading

U.S. stock futures surged early Tuesday ahead of the first day of U.S. trading in the new year. European stocks started 2023 with solid gains on Monday, after global markets lost more than $30 trillion in 2022 as investors fretted about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and central bank rate hikes to fight inflation. The regional Stoxx 600, which fell 12.9 percent in 2022, gained 1.0 percent on the first weekday of the new year. France's Cac 40 and Spain's Ibex rose 1.9 per cent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The few Asian markets that were open had a mixed day. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.5 percent, while the Sensex in Mumbai rose 0.4 percent. U.S. markets were closed for the observed New Year holiday.


Thousands pay respects to late Brazilian soccer star Pelé

Thousands of mourners filed past soccer superstar Pelé's coffin at the Vila Belmiro Stadium in his hometown of Santos, Brazil, on Monday. Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, died Thursday of cancer. He was 82. Pelé led the Brazilian national team to three World Cup championships, in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He later served as Brazil's minister of sport, and was recognized as a national treasure. Among the fans who showed up to pay their respects were FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes, who said he has shirts signed by Pelé in his office. "It is a very sad moment, but we are now seeing the real meaning of this legendary player to our country," Mendes told journalists.


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