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10 things you need to know today: January 29, 2023

Memphis police disband Scorpion Unit after fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, Israel seals off home of Jerusalem synagogue attacker, and more


Memphis police disband SCORPION Unit after fatal beating of Tyre Nichols

The Memphis Police Department announced Saturday that it would be permanently disbanding the specialized gang unit that the five officers involved in the beating death of Tyre Nichols had belonged to. The SCORPION Unit, tasked with tackling rising levels of gang crime throughout the city of Memphis, was originally launched in 2021. However, it has seen harsh criticism and calls for its end from civil rights attorneys following the incident with Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was severely beaten by the five officers, who were also all Black, following a traffic stop earlier in January. Nichols died days later, and the five officers involved have been fired by the Memphis Police and charged with murder. 


Israel seals off home of Jerusalem synagogue attacker

Israeli officials on Sunday sealed off the home of the Palestinian attacker who opened fire outside of a synagogue days earlier, killing seven people and wounding three others. The measure was one of several approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet, with the prime minister himself promising a swift and strong response to the attack. "We sealed the home of the terrorist who carried out the horrendous attack in Jerusalem, and his home will be demolished," Netanyahu said. "We are not seeking an escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario." The Jerusalem shooting came in response to an Israeli raid on the West Bank last week that killed nine Palestinians. 


Iran falls victim to drone attack on defense factory

Iranian officials said Sunday that a series of drones had attacked a defense factory in the nation's capital of Tehran. Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari, the deputy head of security for the Isfahan governorate, told the country's Far News Agency, "An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers affiliated to the Ministry of Defense." He added that the attack had left damage to the property, but that nobody had been killed. Iranian officials did not say who they believed was behind the attack, and no group has claimed responsibility yet. However, it comes as Iran continues to face ongoing protests and anti-authoritarian sentiments at home, as well as pressure abroad, to end the nation's totalitarian rule. 


Rishi Sunak fires Conservative Party leader for ethics violatons

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired the chairman of his governing Conservative Party on Sunday for what he called a "serious breach" of political ethics. Nadhim Zahawi was dismissed in a letter by the prime minister after allegations surfaced that he had secretly settled a massive tax bill while he was the chancellor of the Exchequer, in charge of the U.K.'s Treasury. The bill, which is estimated to be in the multimillion-dollar range, has been acknowledged by Zahawi, but he maintains that nothing was done wrong. However, Sunak wrote that he had to fire Zahawi in order to ensure that his government "would have integrity, professionalism, and accountability at every level."


Ex-NATO general Petr Pavel elected president in Czech Republic

Petr Pavel, a former NATO general and political newcomer, was elected the next president of the Czech Republic on Saturday. Pavel won his nation's highest office in a reported landslide, emerging victorious by an estimated vote margin of 58.3 percent to 41.6 percent against his opponent, former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. This represents the largest margin of victory in the history of Czech elections and came out to a difference of more than 958,000 votes. Pavel, 61, a pro-westerner and formerly NATO's second-in-command, defeated Babiš despite the latter painting Pavel as a warmonger. However, voters overwhelmingly chose Pavel over Babiš, a populist billionaire who had sought to distance the Czech Republic from the war in Ukraine. 


U.K. official admits government is partially to blame for Grenfell fire

British Housing Minister Michael Gove said Sunday that the U.K. government bore some responsibility for the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Gove said that the tragedy was partially the result of "faulty and ambiguous" guidance on building regulations from housing officials. His admittance comes more than five years after a fire, started by an electrical fault in a refrigerator, tore through Grenfell Tower, a social housing block akin to affordable or public housing in the United States. The 23-story apartments were completely destroyed by the fire, and 72 people died in the blaze, the government response to which was heavily criticized. 


Bus plunges off cliff in Peru, killing at least 25

At least 25 people died Saturday when a tour bus plunged off the side of a cliff in northwestern Peru, police said. The tour bus, belonging to a company called Qorianka Tours, was en route to the border town of Tumbes via the Peruvian capital city of Lima. However, for reasons that are still unknown, the bus diverged from its route near the town of Organos and plunged down a steep cliffside. An unknown number of victims were transported to local hospitals, police said, and their conditions remain unclear. Traffic accidents are very common in Peru, with CBS News reporting that at least 2,600 people were killed on Peruvian streets in 2016 alone. 


Novak Djokovic wins 10th Australian Open, 22nd Slam overall

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic returned to dominating form in Melbourne on Sunday, besting Stefanos Tsitsipas to win his 10th Australian Open and record-tying 22nd Grand Slam overall. Djokovic, widely considered one of the best tennis players of all time, was able to easily best his opponent, taking Tsitsipas down in a series of 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victories in one of the most dominating performances in the history of the Australian Open. Following his win, Djokovic was seen openly weeping, the emotion of the moment appearing to overwhelm him. The Serbian native was unable to defend his title last year after being deported from Australia over his controversial refusal to confirm his COVID-19 vaccination status


Conference championship games to decide Super Bowl LVII matchup

The two NFL conference championships on Sunday are primed to decide the matchup for Super Bowl LVII, which is now just weeks away. The NFC Championship will pit the San Fransisco 49ers against the Philadelphia Eagles. While both teams have strong units on both sides of the field, most of the betting odds are on the Eagles to take the game due to their dominating recent play from quarterback Jalen Hurts. In the AFC Championship, the Kansas City Chiefs will face the Cincinnati Bengals, with both teams looking to return once again to the big game. The match should be an offensive highlight reel, with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow among best in football. 


‘Saturday Night Live’ mocks ongoing classified documents scandal

Saturday Night Live's latest episode saw host Michael B. Jordan wearing a variety of hats. However, the cold open, as it does many times, stayed political, with SNL tackling the ongoing classified documents scandal. The show spoofed the FBI raids on the residences of President Biden, former President Donald Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence. The show also humorously addressed the request for all former presidents and vice presidents to check their homes for classified documents. The skit also featured Mikey Day in character as Attorney General Merrick Garland. However, the most notable moment came toward the end of the sketch, when Garland says he "sincerely hopes" that justice will be served for Tyre Nichols in Memphis. 


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