Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 23, 2022

Mass graves discovered near Mariupol, DeSantis signs bill removing Disney's self-governing privileges, and more

1

Mass graves discovered near Mariupol, Ukrainian officials say

Ukrainian officials said Thursday and Friday they have discovered two mass graves in the area around Mariupol. Russian forces appear to have captured all of Mariupol except for the sprawling Azovstal steel plant, where some 2,000 Ukrainian troops continue to resist. The first mass grave, located in the Russian-occupied village of Manhush about 12 miles outside of Mariupol, could hold up to 9,000 bodies, the Mariupol City Council said on Telegram. On Friday, Ukrainian officials reported that another mass grave had been discovered in the village of Vynohradne, about seven miles east of Mariupol.

2

DeSantis signs bill removing Disney's self-governing privileges

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill on Friday abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which gave Disney the power to act as a local government in the area around Disney World. DeSantis targeted Disney after the company announced its intention to oppose Florida's parental rights in education law, referred to by critics as the "Don't Say Gay" bill. "You're a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you're gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state. We view that as a provocation, and we're going to fight back against that," DeSantis said.

3

Leaked audio: Kevin McCarthy says Trump accepted 'some responsibility' for Jan. 6

Yet another piece of leaked audio of ​​House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) emerged Friday, in which he can be heard telling Republican lawmakers in January of 2021 that former President Donald Trump told him he bears some responsibility for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The audio was obtained by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns. "I asked [Trump] personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened?" McCarthy said. "Does he feel bad about what happened? And he told me he does have some responsibility for what happened." A previous piece of leaked audio on Thursday night revealed McCarthy told House GOP colleagues he planned to urge Trump to resign.

4

Russia tried to frame France with fake mass graves in Mali, French military says

Russian mercenaries, likely with the Wagner Group, buried a dozen Malian bodies in a mass grave about 2.5 miles east of France's former Gossi military base with the goal of blaming France, a French military officer said. The French military released video images taken Thursday morning showing what appear to be 10 Caucasian soldiers covering bodies with sand. France handed the Gossi base over to Malian forces on Tuesday. France announced in February it would be withdrawing troops it had in Mali since 2013, when they arrived to fight jihadist rebels. Mali's ruling military junta had decided to hire Wagner Group mercenaries, exacerbating tensions with the French military.

5

Guns become leading cause of death for children and adolescents in America

Guns have become the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the United States, surpassing car crashes, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. A research letter from the medical journal examined mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found there were more than 4,300 firearm-related deaths among people under 19 in the U.S. in 2020, a 29 percent increase from 2019, NBC News reports. Jason Goldstick, co-author of the letter, said that "in the last 40 years, and almost certainly before that, this is the first time that firearm injuries have surpassed motor vehicle crashes among kids."

6

Russia wants to seize land corridors to Crimea and Moldova, Russian general says

Russian General Rustam Minnekayev said Friday that Russia plans to take "full control of Donbas and southern Ukraine." These gains, he said, would open "a land corridor to Crimea" — connecting the separatist-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine with the peninsula Russia annexed in 2014 — and "give the Russian army access to Transnistria." Transnistria is a narrow strip of land with around 400,000 inhabitants that is internationally recognized as part of Moldova but is de facto self-governing. Russia has had troops stationed in Moldova since 1992. Minnekayev said there is evidence "that the Russian-speaking population" in Transnistria "is being oppressed," a claim that could lay the groundwork for future Russian interventions.

7

Philadelphia abruptly ends briefly revived indoor mask requirement

Philadelphia's new public indoor masking requirement, which took effect Monday, is ending Friday morning, city health officials said Thursday night. The city Board of Health said it voted to rescind the mandate Thursday in part because of "decreasing hospitalizations and a leveling of case counts." The health board's April 11 announcement that masks would be required again was also met with threats of legal challenges. "We're in a situation that we really had not anticipated being in this soon, but it is good news," acting Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said at Thursday's meeting.

8

Marjorie Taylor Greene testifies under oath in Jan. 6-related challenge to candidacy

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) testified under oath for over three hours on Friday, defending herself against claims by a group of Georgia voters that her activities in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot should bar her from seeking re-election. Greene claimed she "was asking people to come for a peaceful march" but not "to actively engage in violence." Under the 14th Amendment, public officials can be disqualified from holding office in the future if it can be proven that they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against" the United States. Judge Charles Beaudrot is expected to issue a recommendation to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) in the next few weeks.

9

Macron and Le Pen make final pitches to French voters ahead of Sunday’s runoff election

Centrist French President Emmanuel Macron led right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen by around 10 points in final polling averages on Friday as campaigning ended ahead of Sunday's runoff election. Macron — who defeated Le Pen by a wide margin in 2017 and is seeking to become the first French president in 20 years to win a second term — said the election is "a referendum on the future of France." Le Pen has accused the incumbent of being arrogant and aloof. "It's Macron or France," she told voters.

10

Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' sequel reportedly banned in Saudi Arabia over gay character

Marvel is bringing more LGBTQ+ representation into its universe — and running up against overseas censors. The new Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia due to "LGBTQ issues." The report said this ban appears to also apply to Kuwait but that this hasn't been confirmed. The ban is attributed to the film's introduction of a new hero to the Marvel universe, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who is gay in the comics. It was previously reported that her sexuality would be acknowledged in the film.

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