Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 9, 2023

Pope asks for Ukrainian prayers during Easter message, China simulates attack against Taiwan during drills, and more


Pope asks for Ukrainian prayers during Easter message

Pope Francis rang in Easter Sunday at St. Peter's Square with a message highlighting hope, in which he asked for prayers for both the Ukrainian and Russian people. Francis, 86, who recently returned from a stay in the hospital, told the tens of thousands gathered that it was important to encourage "trust among individuals, peoples and nations," and that Easter "illumines the darkness and gloom in which, all too often, our world finds itself enveloped." This is just the latest instance of Francis urging the fighting in Ukraine to come to a stop, which he has done on a regular basis since the war broke out in February 2022. 


China simulates attack against Taiwan during drills

China simulated a series of strikes against the island of Taiwan during military drills on Sunday, as Taiwan's defense system reported numerous air force incursions within its territory. China, which has long claimed Taiwan as its own, began the three-day series of military exercises following a meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Chinese state media said that the drills would continue as tensions between the two countries continue to build. "Multiple types of units carried out simulated joint precision strikes on key targets on Taiwan island and the surrounding sea areas, and continue to maintain an offensive posture around the island," state television said. 


Jewish-Muslim tensions boil over in Jerusalem

Tensions between Jews and Muslims reached a fever point over the weekend in Jerusalem, as members of the two religions warred at the city's holiest sites. Thousands of Jewish worshippers gathered at the Western Wall to celebrate the Passover holiday, as throngs of mostly Muslim Palestinians gathered at the Al-Aqsa Mosque above them to hold prayer services for Ramadan. As the holidays coincided with each other, Jews were also seen heading to the Al-Aqsa compound under police protection, as Palestinians chanted and protested their presence. Religious Jews have often visited the compound in recent years, increasing tensions with Palestinians who fear that Israel may take over the site. 


Texas governor seeks to pardon man convicted of BLM protest murder

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Saturday that he would pardon Daniel Perry, who was on Friday found guilty of murder in the death of a Black Lives Matter protester. "Texas has one of the strongest 'Stand your ground' laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or progressive district attorney," Abbott wrote on Twitter, adding that while the Texas governor can only pardon someone following the recommendation of a parole board, "I have made that request and instructed the board to expedite its review." Perry was convicted of shooting and killing Garrett Foster in 2020, after Foster approached his car with a gun while among a group of Black Lives Matter activists.


Los Angeles school district workers finalize labor deal after strike

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) finalized a deal with the labor union representing thousands of school employees, marking the final breakthrough following a massive strike in March that effectively shut down schools in the nation's second-largest city. At least 99 percent of Service Employees International Union Local 99, the union that helmed the strike, voted to approve the new deal, which will provide a 30 percent wage increase to help offset the rising cost of living in Los Angeles, as well as a $1,000 bonus to those who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of full benefits to more school workers. Max Arias, the Local 99 director, called the deal "a major step forward."


Ben Ferencz, last living Nuremberg prosecutor, dies at 103

Ben Ferencz, the last-surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials that brought Nazi war criminals to justice after World War II, died on Friday at the age of 103. Ferencz reportedly passed away at an assisted living facility in Boynton Beach, Florida. The native of Romania was just 27 years old when he served as a prosecutor at Nuremberg, Germany, in 1947. Despite having no prior legal experience, he helped to secure guilty verdicts against 22 Nazi leaders, including Hermann Göring, one of the highest-ranking officers in the Nazi hierarchy. "Today the world lost a leader in the quest for justice for victims of genocide and related crimes," the U.S. Holocaust Museum tweeted


Hamburg police evacuate 140 after toxic fires break out

At least 140 people in the city of Hamburg, Germany, were evacuated on Sunday after a series of fires in storage facilities spewed potentially toxic chemicals into the air, officials said. A police spokesperson said that it is not yet known exactly how dangerous the situation is, and that the people were removed from the area as a precaution. A fire official said that while the blaze had been reduced somewhat by the middle of the day, it was still burning, and urged people in the city to remain indoors with their windows closed. The fire reportedly began around 4 a.m. local time in Rothenburgsort near southeast Hamburg. 


Nearly 70 infections, including three deaths, linked to bacteria from recalled eyedrops

Almost 70 infections and three deaths have been caused by an evolving form of drug-resistant bacteria in eyedrops, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The bacteria, known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has been around for years, but this new drug-resistant strain was only identified in the United States in 2022, the CDC said. The deadly bacteria can reportedly cause life-threatening eye infections and blindness, and only one known antibiotic, cefiderocol, has been found to be effective in stopping the bug. At least 68 cases of infection have been reported in 16 states as of April 7, and all bottles of the suspected contaminated eyedrops have been removed from store shelves. 


Tiger Woods pulls out of Masters following injury

Tiger Woods said Sunday that he would be withdrawing from the third round of the Masters tournament due to a foot injury. The golf legend said on Twitter that he was "disappointed to have to [withdraw] this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis," adding that he thanked "the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!" Woods had been going through a dry spell during the Augusta, Georgia, competition, clearly struggling in the opening holes of his third round and walking with a visible limp. Woods endured numerous leg injuries in a 2021 car crash and told reporters he doesn't play much golf anymore. 


'Saturday Night Live' spoofs Trump's Easter grievances in cold open

Saturday Night Live continued its spoof of former President Donald Trump's indictment by playing up the Easter holiday. Trump, played by SNL's James Austin Johnson, recited his grievances during a Last Supper event, complete with Jesus Christ and a vengeful Judas. Trump said that he was "a famous, wonderful man arrested for no reason at all. If you haven't put it together folks, I'm comparing myself to Jesus again. And what better time than on his birthday, Easter." He added that both he and Jesus were "very tall, very popular, and both, frankly, white Americans," and also joked about 'Trump's own Judas,' Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). 


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