Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 20, 2023

Zelenskyy arrives in Japan as G7 ramps up pressure on Russia, White House and GOP make no progress on debt ceiling negotiations, and more


Zelenskyy arrives in Japan as G7 ramps up pressure on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Hiroshima, Japan, on Saturday for the G7 summit, in a show of solidarity from the world's seven largest economies. Zelenskyy's trip comes just a day after the G7 nations issued a statement calling for global cooperation on a variety of issues. It was clear that helping to stop Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine was among the top concerns, as well as hindering China's continued growth on an international scale. Leaders of the G7 specifically called out China for not helping to bring the war in Ukraine to an end, and Zelenskyy tweeted that "peace will become closer today" following the meetings. 


White House and GOP make no progress on debt ceiling negotiations

Debt ceiling talks resumed Friday evening between the White House and the GOP, but the two sides remained at an impasse heading into the weekend, as the prospect of a national default continues to inch closer. President Biden, who is attending the G7 in Japan, told reporters he was not worried, and "still believe we'll be able to avoid a default, and we'll get something decent done." Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), who was tapped by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to lead the GOP talks, said the two sides had a "candid discussion" about the path forward. The White House previously issued a statement saying Republicans were "taking the economy hostage and pushing us to the brink of default."


Jim Brown, NFL legend and civil rights activist, dies at 87

Jim Brown, the Cleveland Browns fullback who crafted a legendary NFL career before becoming a noted civil rights activist and Hollywood star, has died at the age of 87. Brown died this past Thursday at his home in Los Angeles, his wife Monique Brown said in a statement. Brown played for Cleveland from 1957 to 1965 after a standout career at Syracuse University, and won an NFL Championship in 1964. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and is considered among the greatest NFL players ever. Following his retirement, Brown became significantly active in the civil rights movement, and became a bonafide action movie star, appearing in over 40 films for various studios. 


Republicans rush to defend Marine who fatally choked subway rider

GOP presidential candidates are standing alongside Daniel Penny, the man who was caught on video placing fellow New York City subway rider Jordan Neely in a chokehold while he reportedly suffered a mental health crisis. Neely would later die, and Penny has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Republicans have since rushed to defend Penny as a good Samaritan, even as Democrats insist he is a vigilante and a criminal. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is widely expected to enter the presidential race, told Penny that "America's got his back." Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has already launched her candidacy, has called for New York's governor to pardon Penny. 


Georgia criticized for resuming direct flights to Russia

Georgia faced criticism for resuming direct flights to Russia on Saturday, with both Ukraine and the European Union lambasting the country's decision. While Georgia has not had official diplomatic relations with Russia since 2008, the nation's flag carrier, Georgian Airways, resumed flights to Russia after Moscow officials lifted a temporary flight ban. While Georgia has been attempting to balance its desires to remain in Russia's good graces with a push to join the EU, Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko tweeted that Georgia was "welcoming Russian airlines and sending its own to Moscow" while the rest of the world isolated them. "The Kremlin will surely be delighted with such a result," Nikolenko added. 


Suspect in Pentagon leaks ordered detained ahead of trial

Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents from the Pentagon, was ordered by a judge on Friday to remain in jail ahead of his trial. Prosecutors had asked that Teixeira, 21, stay behind bars because he posed "a serious flight risk," warning that a "foreign adversary" could potentially help him escape the country. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy agreed, saying there was a "list as long as a phone book" of people Teixeira allegedly put at risk, "including military personnel, medical workers overseas, and Ukrainian citizens." The government has alleged that Teixeira, who held a top secret security clearance, revealed documents containing sensitive materials about American interests abroad. 


Rudy Giuliani ordered to provide account of finances in defamation suit

Rudy Giuliani was ordered by a federal judge on Friday to provide an account of his finances and net worth related to an ongoing defamation lawsuit from two Georgia election workers. Giuliani had been sued by the election workers more than two years ago, and the trial had reached its discovery phase for relevant emails and messages. During the hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell focused on Giuliani's claim that he was unable to search through his databases for relevant evidence because he could not afford to do so. Howell said that Giuliani's "claim of poverty" meant the plaintiffs were entitled to see his finances, ordering him to produce them in full. 


China approves Microsoft’s $69B Activision Blizzard takeover

Microsoft said Friday that China had approved its plan to buy video game company Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, even as the deal is still facing pushback from antitrust regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom. China, along with the European Union, have both approved the controversial deal, despite the fact that Activision stopped offering many of its games in China due to a local publishing dispute. The EU had previously approved the transaction on the condition that Microsoft would boost competition in the gaming market, but critics remain skeptical of the industry if the deal were to get widespread approval. Microsoft said the purchase has now been approved in 37 countries. 


Brittney Griner makes regular-season debut for WNBA

Brittney Griner made her WNBA regular-season debut with the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night, returning to the court for season play after nearly 600 days following her detention in Russia. Griner and the Mercury began the 2023 season against the Los Angeles Sparks. Though Phoenix would lose 94-71, Griner would lead her club with 18 points, six rebounds, and two assists, while shooting seven-of-nine from the field during 25 minutes of play. The game marked her first regular season appearance following her detention in Russia after officials found a vape cartridge in her luggage. She would be detained in Russia for the next 10 months before being released in a prisoner swap with the United States. 


Emotional Harrison Ford says farewell to Indiana Jones at Cannes

Harrison Ford cracked Indiana Jones' whip one last time, as the fifth installment in the legendary series, "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny," premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. Following the film's screening, the typically stoic Ford became visibly emotional, with tears in his eyes as "Dial of Destiny" received a five-minute standing ovation from the festival goers. Director James Mangold was also moved to tears as the pair thanked those in attendance. Ford was also presented with an honorary Palme d'Or, the highest prize awarded at Cannes. The actor said he was "deeply moved" and humbled by the show of affection. 


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Thousands flock to Missouri to see body of nun who died in 2019
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China plans to land astronaut on the moon by 2030, official says
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State Farm stops insuring California homes
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