10 things you need to know today: May 23, 2023
Russia battles a cross-border raid for a 2nd day, Biden and McCarthy finish 'productive' debt limit talks without a deal, and more
Russia battles cross-border raid for 2nd day
Russian forces fought to repel a cross-border raid for a second day on Tuesday. Moscow blamed the attack on Ukrainian military saboteurs but Ukraine said the attack, which left one civilian dead and at least nine others wounded, was an uprising by Russian partisans. The raid came as Russia claimed a symbolic victory in Bakhmut, a Ukrainian city of little strategic value where Russia lost thousands of fighters in nearly a year of conflict. Shelling also continued near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which had to operate on emergency diesel-generator power for several hours on Monday after its power was briefly cut off. Ukraine's state nuclear company, Energoatom, said the plant is "on the verge of a nuclear and radiation accident."
Biden, McCarthy finish 'productive' talks but don't reach debt limit deal
President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrapped up talks on raising the debt limit late Monday without a deal, but the two leaders said they "had a productive discussion" on a plan to avert an unprecedented, catastrophic default. "We reiterated once again that default is off the table," Biden said. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned it's "highly likely" the federal government will run short of money to pay the country's bills and default on some obligations as soon as June 1. McCarthy said he expected to speak with Biden every day until they have an agreement. Democrats have been calling for raising the borrowing cap without conditions while Republicans are demanding spending cuts as part of any deal.
E. Jean Carroll seeks millions more in damages from Trump
E. Jean Carroll on Monday asked a Manhattan federal court for "very substantial" damages from former President Donald Trump for insults he directed at her on CNN a day after she won $5 million from Trump in her sexual abuse and defamation complaint. News outlets said Carroll is seeking $10 million in new damages as part of a separate defamation suit she filed in 2019. A jury on May 9 found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll, a former advice columnist, in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s, and for defaming her by calling her a liar. On May 10, Trump said during a CNN town hall that Carroll was a "wack job" and her story was "fake."
Idaho college murder suspect stays silent, judge enters not-guilty plea
Bryan Kohberger refused to enter a plea Monday as he was formally charged with the murders of four University of Idaho students in a house near the campus in November. Kohberger's attorney, Anne Taylor, said her client was "standing silent" on the charges, which also included burglary. The decision left the judge in the case to enter a not guilty plea on Kohberger's behalf. Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology PhD student, was arrested at his parents' Pennsylvania home in December six weeks after Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were killed. His DNA was found on a knife sheath in the home where they were fatally stabbed. A trial is scheduled for October.
Sudan rivals start new 7-day cease-fire
Sudan's warring military factions on Monday started observing a new seven-day cease-fire. It was the latest in a series of short truce deals, but the first to be signed by both the Sudanese army controlled by the northeast African nation's de facto leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan. The two sides agreed over the weekend to stop seizing new territory and infrastructure, and to let humanitarian groups through to deliver aid. The rivals are continuing peace talks that started two weeks ago in the Saudi port city of Jeddah as United Nations officials warn the ongoing conflict is causing a worsening regional humanitarian crisis.
EU regulators fine Meta a record $1.3 billion
The Irish Data Protection Commission on Monday imposed a record $1.3 billion fine on Facebook-parent Meta after finding that the social media giant violated European Union privacy laws by transferring users' data from Europe to the United States. The commission ordered Meta to stop sending personal user data to the U.S. from the European Economic Area, which includes the E.U. and non-E.U. countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The fine is the largest the trading bloc has ever levied, surpassing an $887 million penalty a European privacy regulator demanded from Amazon, which the online retail giant said it would appeal. Meta said the decision was "flawed" and "unjustified," calling it a "dangerous precedent" that threatened many companies.
Carper becomes latest Senate Democrat to announce retirement
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced Monday he plans to retire at the end of his current term instead of seeking reelection in 2024. Carver, 76, is serving his fourth term in the Senate. Before winning his seat in 2000 he served two terms as governor. He held the state's at-large House seat for 10 years before that. He is the fourth Senate Democrat to announce he will retire after the current term, and his departure creates another primary battle in a heavily Democratic state. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) also plan to leave the Senate. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), long a leading Democrat in the state, is considered a front-runner to replace Carper.
Western states agree to cut Colorado River use
The states along the Colorado River — California, Arizona, and Nevada — have agreed to unprecedented water conservation in exchange for $1.2 billion in federal funding, state and federal officials announced Monday. The deal to voluntarily conserve 13 percent of their allotments from the river came after nearly a year of negotiations on protecting Lake Powell and Lake Mead, two massive reservoirs fed by the river, from dropping below critical levels over the next three years. The reservoirs have dropped far below normal levels due to rising temperatures and two decades of drought, reducing the Colorado's flow by 20 percent and threatening a critical source of water and hydroelectricity in the American West.
Nuggets sweep Lakers to advance to NBA Finals
The Denver Nuggets won the NBA's Western Conference championship on Monday, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 113-111 in Game 4 to complete a sweep and advance to the Finals for the first time in the team's history. The Nuggets came back after trailing by 15 points at halftime as Lakers star LeBron James delivered his best performance of the post-season, with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets' comeback and ended the game with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists in his eighth triple-double of the playoffs. The Nuggets will play the winner of an Eastern Conference Finals matchup the Miami Heat are leading against the Boston Celtics.
Irish actor Ray Stevenson, known for role in 'Thor' films, dies at 58
Veteran character actor Ray Stevenson, best known for his roles in the "Thor" film franchise and 2022's critically acclaimed "RRR," has died, his publicist Nicki Fioravante confirmed Monday to USA Today. He was 58. Stevenson started appearing in television shows in the 1990s, and made his big-screen debut in "The Theory of Flight," a 1998 film by Paul Greengrass. He also appeared as one of the knights of the round table, Dagonet, in Antoine Fuqua's 2004 film "King Arthur." He played a leading role in the 2008 Marvel movie "Punisher: War Zone," which was released just after he scored his first leading role in "Outpost," a horror film. He also had noteworthy roles in the TV shows "Rome" and "Vikings."