10 things you need to know today: February 2, 2023
Mourners call for police reform during Tyre Nichols' funeral, Ukraine conducts anti-corruption raids ahead of summit with visiting EU leaders, and more
Tyre Nichols' funeral includes calls for police reform
Mourners called for police reform on Wednesday during the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old Black motorist who died three days after being severely beaten by several Memphis police officers, also Black, during a traffic stop. "This is a family that lost their son and their brother through an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who had been charged with keeping them safe," said Vice President Kamala Harris, who embraced Nichols' mother in the pews before speaking to the mourners. Civil rights leaders and Nichols' relatives demanded an end to excessive police force against Black Americans. "We cannot continue to let these people brutalize our kids," said Nichols' stepfather, Rodney Wells.
Ukraine steps up anti-corruption push ahead of summit with EU leaders
Ukrainian authorities conducted a wave of anti-corruption raids on Wednesday in what the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said was part of an effort to fight "the internal enemy," even as Ukraine battles a Russian invasion. The State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) said agents found luxury watches, cars, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash at the home of the acting head of the Kyiv tax authority, who is accused of participating in a scheme to overlook $1.2 billion in unpaid taxes, according to CNN. The raids came as President Volodymyr Zelensky tries to show the country is working on reforms ahead of a Friday summit with visiting European Union officials on Ukraine's bid to join the trading bloc.
College Board changes AP African American Studies course after DeSantis criticism
The College Board on Wednesday released the final curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course in African American studies, after stripping it of material Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) had criticized. DeSantis said the course as previously designed "lacked educational value" and would not be endorsed for use in Florida schools. The College Board removed the names of many Black writers and scholars associated with critical race theory, the queer experience, Black feminism, and the Black Lives Matter movement from required material, The New York Times reported. College Board head David Coleman said the changes were made for educational reasons, not political ones. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said the College Board "capitulated" to DeSantis' "extremist anti-Black censorship."
FBI searches Biden's Delaware beach home, finds no classified documents
The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday sent agents to search President Biden's home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, as part of an ongoing investigation of his handling of classified documents from his years as vice president in the Obama administration. The agents found no materials with classified markings, according to a Biden lawyer and the FBI. No search warrant was needed because Biden consented to the search. "The search today is a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process we will continue to fully support and facilitate," said Bob Bauer, Biden's personal attorney. The Justice Department is investigating how classified materials wound up at Biden's Wilmington, Delaware, home, and an office he used at a Washington think tank.
Federal Reserve announces smaller interest rate hike as inflation eases
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it is raising its benchmark short-term interest rate a quarter percentage point. The increase, which was widely expected, marked a slowdown in the Fed's aggressive campaign to raise borrowing costs to cool the economy and fight persistent high inflation. The central bank raised rates seven times in 2022, with unusually large half- and three-quarter-point increases. The hikes have lifted rates from near zero to a range of 4.5 percent to 4.75 percent. Recent data indicate that inflation is slowing, but remains far above the Fed's 2 percent target. "A couple more rate hikes" will be needed, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said.
Biden, McCarthy start talks on raising the debt ceiling
President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met Wednesday to start talks on raising the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling to prevent the country from defaulting on its debt for the first time in history. Republicans are demanding unspecified cuts to government spending as part of any deal to increase the borrowing limit. McCarthy said he and Biden had a "good meeting," and would likely "find common ground." Biden said he "made clear that it's the shared duty of every leader in Congress not to allow a default," but added that he told McCarthy he would "welcome separate talks about how best to continue reducing the deficit while growing the economy."
4 suspects in Haitian president's assassination charged in U.S. court
Four top suspects in the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise made their first appearances in a U.S. federal court on Wednesday ahead of their prosecution for plotting and participating in the murder. Haitian-Americans James Solages, Joseph Vincent, and Christian Emmanuel Sanon, and Colombian citizen Germán Rivera García had been transferred to the U.S. a day earlier for prosecution in the case. Solages, 37, Vincent, 57, and Rivera, 44, were among the first suspects arrested. Shortly before Moise was shot 12 times, Solages allegedly shouted that their raid on the president's private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince was a DEA operation, in a bid to ensure Moise's guards wouldn't fight back.
Conservative attorneys general warn Walgreens, CVS against mailing abortion pills
A group of 20 Republican attorneys general sent a letter to CVS and Walgreens on Wednesday warning the nation's two largest drugstore chains against distributing abortion pills by mail in their states. The Food and Drug Administration last month changed a rule to allow retail pharmacies to sell mifepristone, which is used in medical abortions, provided they get government certification. The warning letter said "federal law expressly prohibits using the mail to send or receive any drug that will 'be used or applied for producing abortion,'" a reference to wording in the 1873 Comstock Act, which outlawed mailing pornography. Walgreens said it planned to get certified under the new rule but recognized "we may not be able to dispense mifepristone in all locations."
Philippines grants U.S. increased access to military bases
The Philippines has formally agreed to give the United States greater access to four military bases in a deal that will allow the U.S. to increase its presence in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China. "It is a really big deal," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday at a news conference alongside Philippine Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez. The announcement came as Austin is in the Philippines for talks on enhancing security in the region, where tensions have risen with China over Taiwan and the South China Sea. "Our alliance makes both of our democracies more secure," Austin said. The increased access to the bases also will allow "more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters," he said.
Tom Brady announces retirement from the NFL . . . again
Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar quarterback Tom Brady, who last year announced he was ending his career only to return for another season, said Wednesday that he is now "retiring for good." Brady said he was keeping his statement short and sweet, because "you only get one super emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year." Brady's on-again, off-again retirement last year was full of drama. Six weeks after he said he was stepping away from football, he announced he would return to play a 23rd season, saying, "I've realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands." Later that year, he and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, ended their 13-year marriage after arguing repeatedly about his decision to keep playing.