Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 9, 2023

Biden promises resources to address border surge, Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazil's Congress, and more

1

Biden promises resources in 1st visit to border as president

President Biden visited El Paso, Texas, on Sunday in his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as president. Biden, facing pressure to address a surge of migrants trying to enter the United States through Mexico, last week announced that he was expanding the Trump administration Title 42 rule allowing border agents to turn away asylum seekers as a COVID-19 precaution. Biden met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican critic of his immigration policies. Abbott gave Biden a letter accusing him of fueling the "chaos" at the border with his "failure to enforce" immigration laws. Biden said he learned that authorities on the border "need a lot of resources. We're going to get it for them."

2

Supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro storm Brazil's Congress

Thousands of supporters of far-right former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the South American nation's Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential offices on Sunday in an explosion of anger fueled by false allegations that Bolsonaro was ousted in a stolen election. Security forces arrested at least 200 and cleared out the last rioters Sunday night. Brazil's newly sworn-in President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, beat Bolsonaro in a close October vote. Lula said Bolsonaro's refusal to accept the results as legitimate "triggered" the riot, which was reminiscent of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump who falsely claimed the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen from Trump. 

3

Ukraine dismisses Russia's claim of deadly strike against Ukrainian troops

Ukraine on Sunday rejected Russia's claim that it had killed 600 Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk region with a missile strike. Journalists also disputed Moscow's assertion that the attack hit a building housing Ukrainian soldiers in Kramatorsk in "retaliation" for a Ukrainian strike that killed dozens of Russian soldiers in the nearby city of Makiivka last week. Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine's forces in the eastern region, told The Associated Press the country's "armed forces weren't affected," but the missiles damaged civilian infrastructure. Sunday's missile strike came shortly after a 36-hour unilateral ceasefire that Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in observance of Russian Orthodox Christmas. Russia reportedly only partially respected its ceasefire.

4

GOP-controlled House to launch panel to investigate FBI

The House, now controlled by Republicans, is expected to vote this week on creating a special judiciary subcommittee to investigate the FBI and national security agencies and what GOP lawmakers call the "weaponization of the federal government." Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), one of the far-right members of Congress who delayed Rep. Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) election as speaker, indicated in an interview with Fox News that the panel was part of the deal McCarthy's hard-right opponents reached in exchange for dropping their challenge and backing McCarthy. The subcommittee will be overseen by incoming Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an ally of former President Donald Trump. Roy said McCarthy promised to give the subcommittee as many resources as the House Jan. 6 committee got.

5

Prince Harry says palace behind 'heinous' articles about him and Meghan

Prince Harry appeared in more interviews Sunday to promote his new memoir, Spare, accusing his father, King Charles III, brother Prince William, and stepmother Camilla, the queen consort, and their PR teams of leaking some of the "most heinous, horrible things" that have been printed about him and his wife, Meghan Markle. The Duke of Sussex, appearing on the British network ITV and CBS's 60 Minutes, said when an article in the British press about Harry or Meghan includes a "royal source," that is actually "the palace" itself, "covering their tracks." Buckingham Palace has repeatedly declined to comment on Harry's memoir, coming out Tuesday. He was scheduled to appear on Good Morning America on Monday.

6

New coronavirus variant, 'most transmissible yet,' dominates in parts of U.S.

The new coronavirus variant XBB.1.5, which features mutations helping it spread more easily than other variants, jumped from 2 percent of U.S. COVID-19 cases in early December to more than 27 percent in the first week of January, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The World Health Organization has called the new variant "the most transmissible" version of the omicron variant yet. XBB.1.5 is believed to account for more than 70 percent of cases in the Northeast. There is no evidence the new variant causes more severe illness than other strains, but it has caused a new problem for public health officials — fresh misinformation blaming vaccines for the rise of new variants.

7

California faces 'relentless parade of cyclones'

California residents braced Sunday for what forecasters warned was a "relentless parade of cyclones" bearing down on northern and central parts of the state already drenched by several brutal recent storms. Heavy rains and powerful winds in the earlier storms left at least seven people dead, and hundreds of thousands without power. An airborne stream of dense ocean moisture called an atmospheric river combined with a vast low-pressure system known as a bomb cyclone to cause flooding and record snowfall. Reuters said the storms demonstrated how warmer air and sea temperatures caused by climate change are generating dangerous weather. 

8

Former child star Adam Rich dies at 54

Actor Adam Rich, who became famous as a child star on the TV drama Eight is Enough, died over the weekend at his home in Los Angeles. He was 54. His family did not release the cause of death. Rich played Nicholas, the youngest child in the Bradford family, on the show. After Eight is Enough, he had roles in '70s and '80s TV shows and movies, including Fantasy Island, CHiPs, and Small Wonder. He stepped away from show business for a decade after making his last TV role on an episode of Baywatch in 1993, but later returned for occasional appearances, including in the CNN series The History of the Sitcom in 2021.

9

'M3GAN' exceeds expectations to become 1st box office hit of 2023

M3GAN exceeded expectations with a $30.2 million box office haul in North America during its opening weekend, becoming the first hit movie released in 2023. It trailed only blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Water, which crossed the half-billion mark just over three weeks after its debut. M3GAN, which The New York Times described as "a campy PG-13 horror movie starring a mean-girl robot," received 94 percent positive reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The Universal/Blumhouse/Atomic Monster film got a boost from an aggressive and creative marketing campaign that included a battle between an account attributed to M3GAN and one controlled by another terrifying big-screen doll, Chucky.

10

Award-winning author Russell Banks dies at 82

Russell Banks, author of award-winning novels including Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, died in upstate New York over the weekend, The Associated Press reported Sunday, citing his editor, Dan Halpern. He was 82. Halpern said Banks, a professor emeritus at Princeton University, had been undergoing treatment for cancer. Banks' fiction touched on the "dreams and downfalls" of a wide range of characters, from blue-collar workers in his native northeast to the radical abolitionist John Brown in Cloudsplitter. "I loved Russell & loved his tremendous talent & magnanimous heart," the writer Joyce Carol Oates, a former Princeton colleague, wrote on Twitter. "Cloudsplitter (was) his masterpiece, but all his work is exceptional."

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