Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 11, 2022

Biden delivers 9/11 speech at Pentagon, Canada's Conservatives pick populist Pierre Poilievre to challenge Trudeau, and more


Biden calls for 'true sense of national unity' in 9/11 speech at Pentagon

President Joe Biden marked the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Sunday with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon. In the remarks that followed, Biden said that the "greatest lesson of Sept. 11 is that we "regain the light by reaching out to one another, and finding something all too rare: a true sense of national unity." He also addressed those whose loved ones died in the attacks. "I know for all those of you who lost someone, 21 years is both a lifetime and no time at all," Biden said. Also on Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris visited National September 11 Memorial in New York City.


Canada's Conservatives pick populist Pierre Poilievre to take on Trudeau

Canada's Conservatives on Saturday elected populist Pierre Poilievre as the party's new leader. Poilievre received 68 percent of the vote on the first ballot in an apparent rebuke to the party's more moderate wing, which favored former Quebec Premier Jean Charest. "Tonight begins the journey to replace an old government that costs you more and delivers you less with a new government that puts you first — your paycheck, your retirement, your home, your country," Poilievre said in a victory speech. Charest claimed that Poilievre was "unfit" to be prime minister due to his support for the Freedom Convoy protests against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's COVID-19 policies.


Russia withdraws troops from Kharkiv region as Ukrainian forces retake Izium

Russia's Defense Ministry said Saturday that Russian forces would withdraw from two areas in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv Oblast as a Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to gain ground. This withdrawal would constitute the most significant Russian retreat since invading forces pulled back from the capital city of Kyiv at the end of March. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the withdrawn troops would be redeployed to the Donetsk region. Also on Saturday, Ukrainian forces entered the strategic city of Izium, which Russia has held since April. Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian regional governor of Russian-held Luhansk Oblast, suggested that the city of Lysychansk, which fell to Russian forces in July, could be Ukraine's next target.


Queen Elizabeth II's coffin begins journey to London

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, who died Thursday after reigning for 70 years, left Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Sunday to begin the journey to London. Her coffin will lie in the throne room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the monarch's official residence in Scotland, on Sunday before traveling to Edinburgh's St. Giles Cathedral the following day. After a flight to London and a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, the queen's body will then lie in state at Westminster for four days before her state funeral — Britain's first since Winston Churchill died in 1965 — on Monday, Sept. 19.


Ukraine begins shutting down final nuclear reactor at Zaporizhzhia

The Ukrainian engineers that operate the country's Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant began powering down the facility's last operating reactor on Sunday. Energoatom, Ukraine's state-owned nuclear company, said in a statement that the sixth and final reactor would be "transfer[red] ... to the safest state — cold shutdown" for safety reasons as Russian and Ukrainian forces continue to clash in the vicinity of the nuclear plant. This move decreases the possibility of a disaster but also means that the plant will have to rely on diesel generators to operate its safety equipment if further shelling cuts off external power. The plant reportedly has enough fuel to operate these generators for just 10 days.


Swedes head to polls with right-wing and center-left coalitions running neck-and-neck

Swedish voters headed to the polls Sunday to cast ballots in what is projected to be a close-run race between the governing center-left coalition, led by the country's Social Democrats, and a right-wing bloc in which the nationalist, populist Sweden Democrats have gained considerable influence. Ulf Kristersson, who leads the opposition alliance and the Swedish Moderate Party, said he plans to "prioritize law and order" and "build new climate-smart nuclear power." Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, the country's first female prime minister, touted her support for "Swedish companies and households" during the pandemic and promised to "act in the exact same way" if voters return her to power.


Tropical Storm Kay leads to flood warnings but bolsters firefighting efforts in California

Tropical Storm Kay swept across Southern California Saturday, triggering flash flood warnings and leaving tens of thousands of people without power. Kay, which made landfall in Mexico on Thursday as a hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm, has also brought relief to California, with the lower temperatures and increased humidity and precipitation helping firefighters contain the raging Fairview Fire. Rob Roseen, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Riverside County Fire Department, said that, as of Friday morning, only five percent of the fire was contained, a number that quickly jumped to 40 percent.


Australian PM won't hold a republic referendum during his 1st term

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Sunday that he would not push for a referendum to cut ties with the British monarchy during his first term. This pledge would almost certainly delay such a referendum until at least 2025. "Now is not a time to talk about our system of government," Albanese told Australia's public broadcaster on Sunday. "Now is the time for us to pay tribute to the life of Queen Elizabeth." In 2020, Albanese said Australia was "entitled to have one of our own as our head of state." A 1999 referendum that would have turned Australia into a republic failed largely due to disagreements over how the republic should be organized.


Suspect in Eliza Fletcher murder charged with raping and kidnapping another woman

Authorities have indicted Cleotha Abston, the 38-year-old Memphis man already charged in the abduction and murder of Eliza Fletcher, on rape, kidnapping, and firearms charges in connection with an attack on another woman, according to a report published Saturday. The indictment, which is dated Sept. 8, alleges that Abston — also known as Cleotha Henderson — "did unlawfully and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly sexually penetrate [the victim] by use of force or coercion, while armed with a weapon." Abston was released from prison in 2020 after serving 20 years of a 24-year sentence for armed kidnapping.


Earthquakes strike Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Around 200 people in Indonesia's Mentawai Islands evacuated to higher ground on Sunday after two earthquakes — of magnitudes 6.1 and 5.3, respectively — struck the area. One person was reportedly injured and some buildings were damaged, but no fatalities have been reported, and authorities say there is no danger of a tsunami. Also on Sunday, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea. The extent of the damage remains unclear.


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