Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 10, 2023

Biden releases budget calling for raising taxes on rich to reduce deficits, Manhattan prosecutors signal Trump could face charges, and more


Biden budget proposal seeks to raise taxes on the rich, lower deficits

President Biden on Thursday unveiled a $6.8 trillion budget proposal that seeks to raise spending on the military and social programs while cutting deficits through savings elsewhere and by raising taxes on corporations and the super-rich. It includes a 25 percent minimum tax on billionaires. The plan is considered "dead on arrival" in the House, which Republicans now control, USA Today said. But the spending blueprint spells out Biden's priorities ahead of his expected re-election bid and a looming battle with Republicans over raising the debt limit. Biden said at a Philadelphia campaign-style event that he is prepared to go discuss the spending plan line by line with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), "then fight it out in the Congress."


Manhattan prosecutors signal Trump likely to face charges

Manhattan prosecutors recently signaled to former President Donald Trump's lawyers that he could face criminal charges connected to hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who had been claiming during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign that they had an affair in 2006, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the mater. In what's widely seen as the strongest indication yet that a grand jury might indict Trump soon, his attorneys have been told he can testify before the grand jury next week. Trump would be the first former American president ever indicted. Prosecutors would argue that the $130,000 payment was both a business records falsification and an improper donation to Trump's campaign, as Daniels' silence benefited Trump's candidacy.


Mexican drug cartel apologizes after Americans kidnapped, killed

A letter purportedly written by a Mexican drug cartel apologized for the abduction of four Americans, two of whom were killed, and the killing of a Mexican bystander with a stray bullet. The letter was attributed to the Scorpions faction of the Gulf cartel, the group blamed for the attack. "We have decided to turn over those who were directly involved and responsible in the events, who at all times acted under their own decision-making and lack of discipline," according to a copy of the letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. The cartel handed over five members it said were responsible, leaving them bound on the pavement in front of a pickup with the apology letter on the windshield.


French Senate votes in favor of raising retirement age

French senators on Thursday backed raising the legal retirement age to 64 from 62, advancing President Emmanuel Macron's plan to reform France's pension system. The vote was 201-115 in favor of the plan's flagship article 7, which bumps up the retirement age. Liberal lawmakers energetically opposed the change. "Your name will forever be attached to a reform that will set the clock back almost 40 years," Socialist senator Monique Lubin told Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt. The proposal has sparked massive protests across the country. The upper house is expected to pass the rest of the plan later this week, then a mediation committee including members of the Senate and the National Assembly will review it.


Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis censured over stolen-election falsehoods

A Colorado judge overseeing a complaint to the Colorado State Bar has formally disciplined Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who once represented former President Donald Trump, after she admitted to knowingly falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump by fraud. Ellis admitted to 10 false statements, including when she told Fox Business that "ballots were manipulated," and when she told Fox News that 500,000 votes in Arizona "were cast illegally." Her admission of the false statements was part of her discipline. The judge said in a six-page opinion he was imposing an immediate public censure of Ellis.


Murdaugh attorneys file notice of appeal in murders of wife, son

Attorneys for Alex Murdaugh, the once-powerful South Carolina lawyer convicted of murdering his wife and younger son, have filed a notice of appeal in the case. Murdaugh was convicted last week of fatally shooting his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh, 22, at the family's 1,700-acre hunting property, Moselle, which straddles the Salkehatchie River in southeastern South Carolina. Murdaugh maintained his innocence throughout the trial. "I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son, Paw-Paw," he said during his sentencing hearing. Judge Clifton Newman gave Murdaugh two consecutive life sentences. Defense lawyers did not reveal the grounds for the appeal in the court papers.


8 killed in shooting at Jehovah's Witnesses hall in Germany

A shooting at a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Hamburg, Germany, left eight people dead, possibly including the gunman, and an unspecified number of other wounded, German police said Friday. "The dead all have gunshot wounds," a police spokesperson said. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a former Hamburg mayor, condemned the attack as "a brutal act of violence." Investigators did not immediately release a theory about a possible motive. Police said there appeared to have been a single gunman, and they believed the killer was a person found dead at the scene, a few miles north of the downtown area in Germany's second-largest city.


Shell CEO's pay package increased by half as oil profits soared last year

Former Shell CEO Ben van Beurden's pay package increased by 50 percent to $11.5 million last year, the London-based oil giant said Thursday. The big pay bump came as energy companies raked in record profits thanks to soaring fuel costs that drove up the cost of living. Shell's annual profits doubled to $40 billion, an all-time high, in 2022 as Russia's Ukraine invasion pushed up oil and gas prices. Van Beurden was replaced by Wael Sawan at the end of 2022. Major oil and gas companies have come under intensifying pressure to help reduce energy costs to give consumers some relief. British opposition lawmakers are pushing for an expanded windfall profits tax.


Bitcoin dives after Silvergate shuts down bank

The prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fell sharply Thursday after Silvergate Capital, one of the crypto sector's top banks, announced it would shut down. Bitcoin fell 7 percent. The decline might have been bigger, but cryptocurrency investors had time to price the news ahead of time after Silvergate warned last week it couldn't continue operating its Silvergate Exchange Network, a trading platform. Silvergate said it will return all deposits after it was forced to sell billions of dollars' worth of assets at a loss to cover a rush of withdrawals. Pressure intensified on the crypto sector when Silicon Valley Bank, which provides financial services to tech startups, announced it would raise $2 billion by selling stock, tanking its shares.


'Fiddler on the Roof' star Chaim Topol dies at 87

Chaim Topol, the actor best known for starring in Fiddler on the Roof both on stage and the big screen, has died. He was 87. Topol's representative told CNN the actor died after a "long illness." He suffered from Alzheimer's disease, according to Variety. Topol famously starred as milkman Tevye in the 1971 film version of Fiddler on the Roof after previously playing the role on stage during its West End production. He was nominated for Best Actor for the performance at the 1972 Oscars, and he won best actor in a musical or comedy film at the Golden Globes. Topol reprised the role during a Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, earning a 1991 Tony nomination, and a subsequent London revival.


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