Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 13, 2023

Zelensky meets with Pope and Italian leaders in Rome, Elon Musk names advertising executive Linda Yaccarino as new Twitter CEO, and more


Zelensky meets with Italian leaders and pope in Rome

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Rome on Saturday for a one-day meeting with Italian leaders as well as Pope Francis. Zelensky met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for what he called "an important visit" ahead of his country's "approaching victory." While public opinion and some in Meloni's own government have shied away from continued support for Ukraine, the prime minister herself has remained a steady defender of Zelensky. This also marked the first time Zelensky and Francis met since before the outbreak of the war, which the pope has called a conflict of "unspeakable suffering and death." Zelensky also met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who said he was "fully at your side."


Elon Musk names advertising executive Linda Yaccarino as new Twitter CEO

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced Friday that he had selected advertising executive Linda Yaccarino to be the social media company's next CEO. Musk tweeted that he was "excited to welcome" Yaccarino, and that she will focus on "business operations, while I focus on product design & new technology." Musk had previously announced that he was stepping down as Twitter's CEO, but left out his replacement's identity. Yaccarino is a veteran media and advertising executive who served as chair of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal. Hours before Musk's tweet, NBCUniversal announced they were parting ways with Yaccarino amidst reports that she had been tapped by the technology mogul to be Twitter's next boss. 


Trump and DeSantis to hold competing events in Iowa

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) will collide in Iowa on Saturday, in a pair of events that will see each look to shore up Republican voters in the crucial caucus state. DeSantis — who is widely expected to announce his presidential bid — will host a GOP fundraiser in Cedar Rapids in an attempt to wrestle support away from Trump, who is leading in Republican polls by a large margin. The former president will be in Des Moines speaking to followers at a rally. Trump's event will be the first since his widely panned town hall with CNN, and both he and DeSantis are eventually expected to face each other in a head-to-head matchup. 


EU, U.S. to pledge joint action over China

The United States and the European Union will pledge joint actions to address concerns about China's non-market practices, Reuters reported Saturday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager, and other officials from both sides are meeting in Sweden at the end of the month. While there, they are expected to tackle competitive practices from China's economy as well as Chinese economic coercion, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters. They will also reportedly aim to hold regular talks on dealing with Chinese competitiveness in the global market. The sides will additionally work on deals for export control of "sensitive items," such as military equipment and semiconductors. 


Pilots at United picket for wages as airlines threaten strike

Pilots for United Airlines marched in picket lines at airports across the country on Friday, demanding higher pay in an increasingly competitive market. Pilots for the company have worked without a raise for more than four years while negotiating a contract that would set new standards for wages. The move from United pilots comes as both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have voted to authorize strikes. However, while the summer travel season could be messy for a number of reasons, a strike is unlikely to play a factor. A variety of federal laws make an actual pilot walkout very difficult, and these strike authorizations are often used more as a symbolic measure to speed up negotiations. 


Arizona officials ask judge to throw out Kari Lake’s last election challenge

Democratic officials in Arizona asked a judge on Friday to throw out the last remaining election fraud claim from defeated GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. Following her loss to Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) in 2022, Lake filed a number of lawsuits alleging unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. The majority of these legal arguments have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence, and Democratic officials in Arizona have asked that the same be done for this last case. In court on Friday, Lake's lawyers reportedly tried to reopen portions of the case that had already been dismissed multiple times. A hearing is expected to be held in the coming days, where a final decision will be made. 


Turkey’s Erdogan pledges peaceful transition if he loses election

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged a peaceful transition of power if he is defeated during the country's presidential election on Sunday, marking a turnaround from a previous threat not to leave office if he loses. When asked if he would try to usurp power even if he loses on Sunday, Erodgan replied that this was "a very ridiculous question. We come to power through democratic means in Turkey. If our nation decides otherwise, I will do what democracy requires, there is nothing else to do." The president, who is often seen as a strongman autocrat, previously said he would "not surrender" to his opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is neck-and-neck in the polls with Erdogan. 


Britney Griner plays in WNBA for 1st time since Russian release

Britney Griner played in the WNBA for the first time since 2021 on Friday, taking the court with the Phoenix Mercury for her first in-game action since returning home from detention in Russia. Griner played 17 minutes during 90-71 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, registering 10 points and nabbing three rebounds during the Mercury's preseason finale. Griner made international headlines in 2022 after she was arrested in Russia for going through an airport with a small amount of hash oil, and sentenced to time in a Russian penal colony on drug-related charges. After 10 months in captivity, the Biden administration released Griner through a prisoner swap. 


Suspect who allegedly killed newlywed bride says she ‘did nothing wrong’

The woman who is accused of killing a bride just hours after her wedding during a drunken car crash reportedly told police she "did nothing wrong," despite having a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit. Jamie Lee Komoroski, 25, was charged with one count of reckless homicide and three counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily harm after allegedly crashing into a golf cart, killing Samantha Miller hours after she had gotten married. Court documents reportedly showed that Komoroski refused to take a field sobriety test following the crash and claimed to have only had two drinks that night, and repeatedly stated she wanted to go home. 


LeBron James, Lakers eliminate defending champion Golden State Warriors

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers reached the NBA's Western Conference Finals on Friday, defeating the defending champion Golden State Warriors in six games. The Lakers, who started the season with a poor record and simmering expectations, took down the Steph Curry-led Warriors in a dominant 122-101 win that showed off James at the height of his talent. The Lakers star had 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, the first time in 18 straight playoff games that he had put up less than 30. The seventh-seeded Lakers will now face the top seed in the conference, the Denver Nuggets, for the right to advance to the NBA Finals. 


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