Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 15, 2023


Supreme Court places temporary hold on abortion pill ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday issued a temporary motion to hold off on a lower court ruling that would impose harsh restrictions on mifepristone, a commonly used abortion pill. The extension was filed by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and is meant to give the Court more time to consider the issue. Alito's extension will stay in effect until 11:59 p.m. ET this coming Wednesday. The Court's motion comes after Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk issued a controversial ruling that would pull the FDA's approval of mifepristone. However, the legal process was thrown for a loop when a fellow district court judge in Washington issued a competing ruling upholding the FDA's approval. 


Man throws explosive device at Japanese prime minister

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated unharmed from a campaign event on Saturday after a man allegedly threw an explosive device just moments before Kishida was scheduled to give a speech. The incident occurred in the city of Wakayama, where Kishida was in town to stump for candidates in an upcoming election. According to witnesses, a cylindrical object was thrown and landed about three feet from where Kishida was standing. Video of the incident posted on Twitter appears to show the object coming into frame, as members of Kishida's security team rush to cover it and whisk the prime minister away. The 24-year-old suspect was detained, police said. 


Survivors mark 10 years since Boston Marathon bombing

People across Boston will come together for a somber anniversary on Saturday, as the city marks 10 years since a pair of bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will join families of those impacted to lay a memorial wreath, and a ceremony will also be held at the marathon's finish line, where the two bombs exploded. Even as the city prepares to host the 127th running of the Boston Marathon this coming Monday, the wounds of the 2013 terrorist attack still remain. "I have since spoken with many, many community members, families who have been forever impacted and who carry that trauma with them to this day," Wu said. 


Blinken visits Vietnam following 50-year anniversary of war

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Saturday in an effort to strengthen ties between the two nations, 50 years after the last American troops left the country. This marks Blinken's first trip to Vietnam as secretary of state, as he met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. The secretary's visit is part of a push by the Biden administration to help build up ties in Southeast Asia, in an effort to counter China's continuing influence in the region. The United States is currently building a $1.2 billion embassy in Hanoi, and will likely push to extend its diplomatic outreach in Vietnam in the coming years. 


Montana passes unprecedented statewide ban on TikTok

Montana on Friday passed a bill that would ban the social media app TikTok, making it the first state to enact such a measure. The bill, SB 419, would prohibit TikTok from operating within the Montana state lines, and also bar app stores from even offering TikTok as a download option. However, the bill would notably not prevent Montanans that already have the app from continuing to use it — a prior version of the bill would have forced internet providers to block TikTok entirely, but this provision was later removed. The bill will now head to the desk of Montana Gov. Greg Gianfore (R), who is expected to sign it into law. 


Sudan militia groups take control of key sites in apparent coup attempt

A coalition of paramilitary groups in Sudan said Saturday that they had taken control of key sites within the country, in an apparent coup d'etat attempt to overthrow the existing government. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia forces claimed to have overtaken the Sudanese presidential palace, the residence of the nation's army chief, and at least three airports, though the validity of these statements remains up in the air. The army has denied the takeover and said that it is currently fighting to take down RSF bases. U.S. Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey tweeted that the "escalation of tensions within the military component to direct fighting is extremely dangerous."


Macron signs controversial pension bill into law

French President Emmanuel Macron signed a controversial bill into law on Saturday that raises the country's retirement and pension age from 62 to 64. The bill was previously passed by France's Constitutional Council, after it was forced through the French parliament without a final vote. Macron has consistently touted the reforms as necessary and pushed back against its opposition. Despite this, the bill remains deeply unpopular in France, and thousands have taken to the streets in protest in recent weeks. The crowds of protesters have been seen clashing with police, and large fires have often been set in the streets. The legislation is expected to go into effect this coming September. 


Biden rocked with emotional surprise on last day of Ireland trip

President Biden was given an emotional surprise on Friday, during the last leg of his international trip to Ireland. Biden was in County Mayo when he unexpectedly encountered Rev. Frank O'Grady, the priest who had performed the last rites on Biden's late son, Beau. O'Grady had been working as an Army chaplain at Walter Reed Medical Center when Beau passed away from brain cancer in 2015, and had performed the blessing on the then-vice president's son. O'Grady was not on the original guest list for the County Mayo visit, and even Biden's aides were reportedly surprised by his presence. One official described the meeting between the two men as an "incredible" emotional moment. 


Tampa Bay Rays’ historic win streak comes to an end

All good things must come to an end. The Tampa Bay Rays' historic 13-game winning streak was snapped Friday night, as they fell to the Blue Jays in Toronto, 6-3. The Rays' streak had tied the modern record for the best season start, which was first set by the 1982 Atlanta Braves and matched by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers. Tampa Bay now trails only the 20-0 run by the Union Association's St. Louis Maroons in 1884, which still stands as the best start in the history of professional baseball. "Losing always sucks," Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe said. "There's no loss that feels any worse or any better than any other one." 


Guitarist Mark Sheehan of The Script dies at 46

Mark Sheehan, the co-founding guitarist of Irish rock band The Script, died on Friday at the age of 46. In a statement on Twitter, The Script said that the "much-loved husband, father, brother, band mate and friend" passed away in the hospital following a brief illness. No other details about Sheehan's death were immediately available. The Script, known for hits like "Party All Night," "Hall of Fame," and "Superheroes," was first formed in 2001 and has become one of the most influential Irish bands of all time. The band collected more chart-toppers from 2010 to 2019 than any other Irish act. 


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