10 things you need to know today: August 26, 2023

The Kremlin denies Putin had Prigozhin killed, Sidney Powell becomes second Trump lawyer to request a speedy trial in Georgia election interference case, and more

Headshot of Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin
Yevgeny Prigozhin
(Image credit: AP)

1. Kremlin heatedly denies Putin had Prigozhin killed

The Kremlin on Friday denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the destruction of Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin's private plane. Kremlin spokesperson said speculation that Putin had anything to do with Prigozhin's apparent death was Western propaganda to smear Putin. "An absolute lie," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said, according to The New York Times. European leaders, U.S. intelligence analysts, Western news outlets and others have said Putin likely had Prigozhin killed in retaliation for the brief Wagner mutiny two months ago demanding a shakeup of Russia's military leadership, which Prigozhin had said was bungling the Ukraine invasion. Putin on Friday ordered Wagner fighters to sign an oath of allegiance to the Russian state.

The New York Times

2. Sidney Powell requests speedy trial in Georgia election case

Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for ex-President Donald Trump, on Friday became the second co-defendant in the Georgia election interference case to file a motion requesting a speedy trial. Kenneth Chesebro, the attorney who wrote a memo proposing to use fake electors to reverse Trump's loss to President Joe Biden, got an Oct. 23 trial date after filing his request. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who had asked for the trials to start next spring, asked for an October date for everyone after a judge granted Chesebro's request, but so far he's the only one scheduled to be prosecuted this year. Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has asked for his trial to be delayed until after the election.

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The Hill

3. Trump mugshot merchandise hits the market

Political campaigns and souvenir shops on Friday started selling T-shirts and other merchandise emblazoned with former President Donald Trump's mugshot, released by the Fulton County Jail where Trump was booked Thursday in Georgia's election interference case. The photo shows "Trump with a red tie, glistening hair and an icy scowl," as Reuters described it. Trump, who now faces four criminal indictments, is the first former president in American history to have his mugshot taken. The merchandise appeals to pro- and anti-Trump buyers alike. Trump's Save America fundraising committee is offering "NEVER SURRENDER" mugshot T-shirts for $34. The anti-Trump Lincoln Project is offering sets of six mugshot shot glasses for $55.


4. Fed chair says next move on interest rates hinges on data

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Friday the central bank was close ending its campaign to fight inflation by raising interest rates but would nudge rates a little higher, if necessary, to meet its 2% inflation target. "Doing too little could allow above-target inflation to become entrenched and ultimately require monetary policy to wring more persistent inflation from the economy at a high cost to employment. Doing too much could also do unnecessary harm to the economy," Powell said in his highly anticipated comments at the Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Fed paused rate hikes in June then raised them 25 basis points in July.

Business Insider

5. Crowds expected for event marking 60th anniversary of March on Washington

Tens of thousands of people are expected to gather Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on Aug. 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial during the historic event that attracted as many as 250,000 people. The anniversary celebration is coordinated by the Drum Major Institute, headed by Martin Luther King III, his wife, Arndrea Waters King and their daughter Yolanda Renee King, and the National Action Network. Martin Luther King III and his sister, Bernice King, visited their father's monument in Washington on Friday.

The Associated Press

6. Monster hunters gather for biggest Loch Ness monster hunt in decades

Hundreds of monster hunters are gathering this weekend in the Scottish highlands for the biggest effort to find the Loch Ness monster in 50 years. The folkloric creature, popularly known as Nessie, has been sought since the first sighting in the sixth century. But the group conducting the search on Saturday and Sunday might be the best equipped ever, with infrared cameras, flying and underwater drones, and a hydrophone that can pick up acoustic signals 60 feet below the water's surface. These are not just people with "binoculars and a tub of sandwiches," Paul Nixon, the head of the Loch Ness Center tourist hub organizing "The Quest" event along with the research group Loch Ness Exploration, told The Washington Post.

The Washington Post

7. China offers to build nuclear plant in Saudi Arabia

China has offered to build a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia, giving the kingdom a new way to pressure the Biden administration to loosen its resistance to helping the country develop nuclear power, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the situation. The United States has said it would only help if Riyadh agreed not to mine or enrich its own uranium. Israel and some U.S. officials have expressed concerns that Saudi Arabia could use a nuclear energy program to develop nuclear weapons. Saudi officials acknowledged they hoped the possibility of Chinese involvement would push the U.S. to accept their preferred option — having a South Korean company build the plant's reactor with U.S. expertise but without Washington's proliferation rules.

The Wall Street Journal

8. 100 of the 388 people still missing in Maui fire found 'safe and sound'

Maui authorities on Friday crossed 100 names off a list of 388 people who remained unaccounted for as of Thursday following the Hawaiian island's deadly wildfire that destroyed the historic seaside town of Lahaina. The FBI released the validated list, the most accurate yet, on Thursday night, and dozens promptly called to say they were "safe and sound," Steven Merrill, a special agent in charge of the FBI Honolulu Division, said during a Friday news conference. The death toll from the Aug. 8 blaze stood at 115 as of Friday. Officials said 99% of the burned area had been searched for dead bodies. Crews are doing rechecks and searching offshore, because many people fled the flames by plunging into the ocean.

The Washington Post Honolulu Star-Advertiser

9. Family: Bronny James diagnosed with congenital heart defect

Bronny James, the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James, has been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect but with treatment is expected to make a "full recovery and return to basketball in the very near future," a James family spokesperson said Friday in a statement. Bronny James, a freshman at the University of Southern California, suffered cardiac arrest during a basketball workout on July 2. He was revived quickly by the school's trainers and treated in a hospital for several days before being released to continue his recovery at home. The 18-year-old, a four-star recruit, committed to play for the Trojans at USC in May.

Akron Beacon Journal

10. Spain's Women's World Cup champions protest soccer chief's refusal to resign

Spain's national soccer team players on Friday — a week after winning the Women's World Cup — said they would not play any more games until the country's soccer federation president, Luis Rubiales, resigns. Rubiales sparked an uproar by kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent after earlier grabbing his crotch in a lewd gesture during the celebration of the team's 1-0 victory over England last Sunday. Rubiales had been expected to cave to calls to resign, but Friday said he was staying put, calling the campaign against him a witch hunt by "false feminists," according to The Associated Press. Hermoso denied Rubiales' claim the kiss was consensual, saying she felt like "a victim of aggression."

The Associated Press Reuters

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.