Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 18, 2023

Ukraine's interior minister among 18 killed in helicopter crash, political standoff continues as debt-ceiling deadline approaches, and more


Ukraine interior minister among 18 killed in helicopter crash

Ukraine's interior minister was among at least 18 people killed Wednesday when a State Emergency Service helicopter crashed outside Kyiv, according to the country's national police chief. Nine of those killed, including other senior ministry officials, were on the helicopter. The people killed on the ground included at least two children who were at a kindergarten at or near the crash site, according to Oleksiy Kuleba, the head of the Kyiv region's military administration. Twenty-two people were wounded, including 10 children. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, although "there was no initial information that the aircraft had been shot down," The New York Times reported.


White House, House Republicans in standoff as debt-ceiling deadline looms

The Biden administration and House Republicans edged closer to an initial Thursday deadline on raising the federal debt ceiling, with no signs of progress toward ending a standoff. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned last week the nation would reach the $31.4 trillion borrowing cap and have to start resorting to "extraordinary measures" to keep from exceeding it. Republicans are demanding huge spending cuts before agreeing to raising the debt ceiling. Democrats have refused to discuss concessions. "We will not be doing any negotiation," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week. Without adjusting the limit, the government could eventually face a catastrophic default on its debt.


Greene, Gosar back on committees in GOP-controlled House

Two Republicans who had been expelled from House committees over extremist remarks have received new committee assignments under new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) will get spots on the House Natural Resources Committee, The Washington Post reported, citing two people familiar with the assignments. Reps. Greene, Gosar, Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) — all among former President Donald Trump's most controversial House allies — also will be seated on the powerful House Oversight and Accountability Committee. "Joe Biden, be prepared," Greene said in a statement. Freshman Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who has faced calls to resign for lying about his background, also received two committee seats.


GOP campaign staffer sues CPAC head over sexual assault allegation

A former Herschel Walker campaign worker who has accused American Conservative Union chair Matt Schlapp of groping his crotch last October filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Schlapp and his wife, fellow Republican operative Mercedes Schlapp, over the allegations. A Schlapp attorney said the allegations were false and had caused the Schlapp family "unbearable pain and stress." The accuser filed the lawsuit in a Virginia court anonymously, citing a fear of retribution given Schlapp's leadership of the group that hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference. He's seeking $9.4 million in damages. The GOP campaign staffer accuses Mercedes Schlapp of defamation for texting neighbors that he is "troubled" and had been "fired from multiple jobs," including for "lying on his résumé," which he denies. 


Former Mexico security chief faces U.S. trial over alleged drug cartel bribes

Mexico's former top drug cop, Genaro Garcia Luna, went on trial Tuesday on charges of conspiring with criminals he was supposed to be pursuing. Garcia Luna, who had been seen as the architect of Mexico's fight against the country's powerful drug cartels, was arrested in December 2019. A former cartel member testified in the trial of drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán that he delivered Garcia Luna briefcases of cash from the cartel, allegedly to let it operate freely. Garcia Luna called the claims "lies, defamation, and perjury." The case could unveil "the ties, the links, the connection between political power and the so-called drug gangs" in Mexico, Rodolfo Soriano Núñez, a sociologist who has studied the Mexican military, told the Los Angeles Times.


Tesla civil suit starts over Musk tweets

Elon Musk is facing a lawsuit brought by shareholders over an infamous 2018 tweet in which he revealed that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share, and declared, "Funding secured." The Tesla investors say Musk, Tesla's CEO, hadn't really lined up the money to carry out such a plan, and that he was reckless to make the claim and publicly discuss his undeveloped plan. Tesla shares rose 11 percent on the day of the tweet to $387.46, but a month later had dropped to $263.24. Tesla shares skyrocketed a year after the tweet, and they're still up 384 percent from the close on the day of the tweet, even after a recent 70 percent decline. The trial started Tuesday with jury selection.


German police briefly detain Greta Thunberg during coal mine protest

German police on Tuesday carried protesters, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, away from an open coal pit mine in the west German village of Lützerath. It was the second time Thunberg had been detained at the mine, police spokesperson Christof Hüls told CNN. Thunberg was released after a brief detention. Police said they were concerned for the activists' safety, citing a risk that "masses of protesters" could cause potentially dangerous shifts in ground softened by recent rains. Hundreds of people participated in anti-mining protests across the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The German government last year agreed to let energy company RWE destroy the village in exchange for ending its coal use by 2030, instead of 2038, CNN reported.


Husband charged with murder in disappearance of Ana Walshe in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts police on Tuesday charged Brian Walshe with murder in connection with the New Year's Day disappearance of his wife, real estate executive and mother of three Ana Walshe. Police found probable cause early in the investigation that Brian Walshe, 47, had "misled police investigators in material matters important to the search," Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said. Ana Walshe's body has not been found despite searches of the family's Cohasset, Massachusetts, home and surrounding areas. Investigators found a hacksaw and blood evidence in a dumpster near the home of Brian Walshe's mother, and at a garbage transfer station. Investigators also found a damaged knife with blood on it in the family's home. Brian Walshe's attorneys did not immediately comment. 


Trump to hold 1st 2024 campaign rally in S.C. 

Donald Trump's campaign announced Tuesday that the former president would hold a rally in South Carolina on Jan. 28 in his first public appearance since announcing his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in November. Two prominent GOP supporters from the state, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Gov. Henry McMaster (R) will join Trump as he announces his campaign leadership in the early-voting state. Democrats, backed by President Biden, are moving to make South Carolina their first nominating contest in 2024, partly because its diverse population reflects the make-up of the nation better than mostly white Iowa, which traditionally leads off. Republicans are keeping the order of the first three states unchanged, with South Carolina voting after Iowa and New Hampshire.


Lucile Randon, the world's oldest known person, dies at 118

French nun Lucile Randon, the world's oldest known person, died Tuesday in her sleep at a nursing home in Toulon. She was 118. Randon, known as Sister André, was born on Feb. 11, 1904, in southern France. She worked as a governess and teacher before joining a convent in 1944, retiring in 1979. She became the world's oldest known person after Kane Tanaka of Japan died in 2022 at the age of 119. Once asked by a French radio station her secret for longevity, Randon responded: "I've no idea ... only God can answer that question. I've had plenty of unhappiness in life and during the 1914-1918 war when I was a child, I suffered like everyone else."


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