Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2022

North Korea fires pair of ballistic missiles that could potentially reach Japan, EU reaches deal on key climate change agenda, and more

1

North Korea fires pair of ballistic missiles that could potentially reach Japan

North Korea fired a pair of medium-range ballistic missiles off the country's east coast on Sunday, the two projectiles potentially having the ability to reach the Japanese mainland. The pair of missiles were launched from North Korea's Tongchangri, where they reportedly traveled about 310 miles before landing in the waters between North Korea and Japan. The launch of the missiles caps off the end of a year in which the hermit state has fired off a record number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and comes just days after Japan doubled down on its calls to reinvigorate its military amid a rising North Korean threat. 

2

EU reaches deal on key climate change agenda

The European Union reached a deal early Sunday morning on a sweeping new climate agenda that could have drastic impacts on people living in impoverished countries. "After 30 hours of (net!) negotiation time we have an agreement about a new ETS and the creation of a social climate fund (SCF)," tweeted Esther de Lange, vice chair of the European People's Party. The agenda completely overhauls the EU's carbon market. More notably, though, it establishes the creation of a social climate fund to help protect vulnerable people in countries affected by climate-related natural disasters. The bill is the largest piece of climate legislation ever negotiated in the EU.

3

Heat fully restored in Kyiv following latest Russian missile attack, mayor says

Heat has been fully restored in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv following a series of Russian bombardments that targeted key infrastructure, the city's mayor, Vitali Klitschko, said Sunday. "The city is restoring all services after the latest shelling," Klitschko wrote on the social media app Telegram. "In particular, the capital's heat supply system was fully restored. All sources of heat supply work normally." Access to critical supplies such as heat and water were limited due to rolling blackouts after Russia fired more than 70 missiles into Ukraine on Friday, one of the largest attacks since the war began. 

4

Iranian government arrests acclaimed actress charged in relation to protests

One of Iran's most well-known actresses was arrested by her country's ruling regime on Saturday after reportedly expressing solidarity with an executed protester. Taraneh Alidoosti, who starred in the 2016 Oscar-winning film The Salesman, was reportedly detained by Iranian forces in the capital city of Tehran. A renowned feminist and activist within Iran, Alidoosti has previously shown support for the ongoing protests. Following the execution of Mohsen Shekari, who was put to death in relation to the protests, Alidoosti heavily criticized the Iranian government's actions, and called on the global community to offer their assistance to the protesters. Iran's state news agency said she had been arrested for spreading false information relating to the execution. 

5

Argentina to play France in World Cup final

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will come to an end on Sunday, as Argentina and France are set to play in the tournament's final to determine the world champion. France previously won it all in 2018, and will look to return to glory on the backs of superstar forward Kylian Mbappé, considered one of the best young players in the world. To do so, though, they will have to get through Argentina and Lionel Messi, the veteran star widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players in history. In what could possibly be his last international game, Messi will look to capture the one trophy that has eluded him all these years. 

6

Heavy snow batters east coast, leaves thousands without power

Thousands of people on the east coast found themselves without power on Saturday after a winter storm dumped more than two feet of snow in some parts of the Northeast. New England was hit particularly badly, as utility crews scrambled to turn the lights back on for more than 160,000 people were left without power following the storm. At least 20,000 more were left in a similar situation in New York as people throughout the eastern corridor were left to dig out from the icy conditions. People were similarly left without power in New Hampshire and Vermont, though power has begun to be restored in those regions. 

7

Sam Bankman-Fried will not contest extradition in reversal of course

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, will no longer fight any extradition attempts to the United States, it was reported Saturday. According to sources familiar with the matter, Bankman-Fried is planning to face his charges after he was indicted in a Manhattan court for allegedly scamming FTX's customers out of billions of dollars in stolen deposits. He is facing wire fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance charges, and was previously arrested in the Bahamas. He is expected to appear in court on the Caribbean island on Monday in order to reverse his decision to fight extradition. 

8

Libyan militia captured Lockerbie suspect prior to U.S. extradition

Libyan officials are accusing the United States of abducting a man the Justice Department says played a major role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombing killed 270 people and remains the deadliest terrorist attack in British history. According to his family, the suspect, Mohammed Abouagela Masud, was "kidnapped" from his home in the Libyan capital of Tripoli by a local militia group. Following a few days in the custody of this group, Masud was turned over to American forces for extradition to the United States. We have filed a complaint with the attorney general's office and demanded an investigation," Masud's nephew, Abdel Moneim al-Muraimi, said. 

9

Qatar doubles down on denial in relation to EU corruption case

Qatari officials on Sunday reiterated that the country did not have any part in the ongoing corruption investigation involving the European Union. At least four members of the EU's governing body are currently under investigation by Belgian authorities after it was alleged that Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, bribed officials with money in order to try and sway their favor toward the Qatari government. In a statement by the Qatari mission to the EU, the government lambasted the decision to suspend all Qatari-related legislation from the European Parliament. "The decision to impose such a discriminatory restriction ... will negatively affect regional and global security cooperation," the mission said. 

10

‘Saturday Night Live’ spoofs Trump’s NFT debacle

Many comedy shows have been making fun of former President Donald Trump's recent announcement that he would be starting a line of NFT trading cardsSaturday Night Live got in on the trend by re-creating Trump's announcement, albeit in a slightly more parodying way. Trump, played by James Austin-Johnson, jokingly said that those who bought his NFTs could win a prize and get to pick anything from his "prize box" — which turned out to be a container full of classified documents. The show also revealed that longtime mainstay Cecily Strong would be leaving the cast following the night's episode. 

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