Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 9, 2022

Russians respond to bridge attack with airstrike, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he won’t consider president’s call for marijuana pardons, and more

1

Russians respond to bridge attack with airstrike, killing 13

A Russian airstrike on the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia on Sunday killed at least 13 people and wounded countless more, Ukrainian officials confirmed. A barrage of at least six missiles were launched towards the city, shot from fighter jets originating from Russian-held areas in Ukraine. The airstrike reportedly targeted ground infrastructure and residential neighborhoods of the city, totaling at least one high-rise apartment building and leaving countless more damaged. Zaporizhzhia official Anatoliy Kurtev originally said that the death toll was 17, but this figure was later revised by the Ukrainian president's office to be 13. The attack on Zaporizhzhia comes just one day after a massive explosion partially destroyed a bridge in Crimea, cutting off a key supply route for the struggling Russian forces. Ukrainian officials, while not officially claiming responsibility for the bombing, were seen celebrating the bridge's demise. 

2

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he won’t consider president’s call for marijuana pardons

The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, is reportedly declining a call from President Biden to pardon low-level marijuana offenders within his state. The president notably issued pardons last week for all federal low-level offenses related to marijuana, and urged all governors across the country to consider doing the same. Despite this, Abbott's office said that it would not consider such action. In a statement, a spokesperson for the governor said that he would not take advice "from the leader of the defund police party and someone who has overseen a criminal justice system run amuck with cashless bail and a revolving door for violent criminals." The statement additionally claimed that Texas could only pardon state offenders who had received official pardon recommendations. Abbott's gubernatorial opponent, Beto O'Rourke, has committed to legalizing marijuana across the state if elected. 

3

North Korea launches 2 more missiles in continuing escalation of violence

In a continuing show of force, North Korea launched two more missiles toward its eastern waters on Sunday morning, as tensions continue to escalate between the hermit kingdom and the joint South Korean-United States alliance. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the two missiles were detected following a launch from the coastal city of Munchon, and Japanese intelligence also confirmed the launches. Japan also believed that the weapons could possibly have come from submarines, though this has not been verified. The missile launches add to the running tally of weapons that have been fired by North Korea in recent weeks, with the rockets coming in response to military tests being run by joint U.S. and South Korean military forces. The allied military has responded to the North Korean tests by conducting a slate of rocket tests of their own. 

4

Hurricane Julia batters Nicaragua

It seems that world's coastlines can get no reprieve from bad weather, as Hurricane Julia slammed into Nicaragua on Sunday. The storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane. Despite this, it still carried with it winds of up to 85 miles per hour and torrential rains. While the storm is likely to weaken as it made its way across Nicaragua, flash flooding, and mudslides are likely to occur across Central America as the storm crosses the coast of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The storm is likely to dissipate by Monday night, forecasters said, following its path across land. No deaths from the hurricane have been reported as of yet. 

5

Iranian human rights group says at least 19 minors killed in protests

Protests continued across Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody, and a human rights group in the country said Sunday that at least 185 people — including 19 children — had been killed during the violence. The protests, which began in late September following Amini's funeral, have led to the most fervent and outspoken anti-government campaign in the country in years, even as Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, seeks to blame the United States and Israel for the violence. In addition to the 185 protesters that have lost their lives, at least 20 members of the Iranian security forces have also been killed, according to reports. Human rights groups have also accused Iran of using live ammunition against the protesters, though the government has denied doing so. 

6

Former President Trump seems to brag about crowd size during Jan. 6 attacks

Since taking office, former President Donald Trump has seemed to always have an obsession with the size of his crowds, and that seemed to continue Saturday night when he bragged about the number of people who were at the U.S. Capitol building during the Jan. 6 attacks. The comments came as the former president was giving a speech at a rally in Minden, Nevada. 

"They never want to show how massive our crowd was," Trump said. "You know the biggest crowd I've ever seen? Jan. 6, and you never hear that." The former president then claimed that the crowd had gathered at the Capitol to protest what he called a "rigged and stolen election," despite there being no corroborated evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. "You see very few pictures of [Jan. 6]," Trump added. "That was the biggest crowd I believe I've ever spoken to."

7

San Antonio cop fired after shooting teenager sitting in McDonald’s parking lot

A police officer in San Antonio, Texas has been fired after body camera footage showed him shooting a 17-year-old boy who was eating a meal in a McDonald's parking lot, the police department said. The unnamed officer reportedly saw the boy sitting in his car, and believed that the vehicle was one that had escaped from police the prior day. The body camera footage shows the officer walk up to the driver's side door, open it, and order the boy out. The boy appears startled, and can be seen holding a hamburger. He can be seen putting the vehicle into reverse and hitting the officer with the car door, at which point the officer fires several shots, striking the boy. The teen suffered multiple gunshot wounds and remains hospitalized. Police chief William McManus later said there was "nothing I can say in defense of that officer's actions that night."

8

Residents allowed to return to Florida island following damage from Hurricane Ian

Residents of the small Florida island of Estero Island were allowed to return home for the first time on Saturday following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian. The massive storm destroyed significant portions of the island's infrastructure, leaving many residents of the Fort Myers Beach-area town without basic necessities. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference that the state would be bussing in portable lavatories, shower trailers and hand-washing stations for people who did not have access to running water. However, even as basic supplies continue to be brought into the island, rubble and downed buildings are still strewn about, and officials said all of the debris still has to be removed. Official tallies from the state list 94 deaths from the hurricane, with the majority being in Estero Island's Lee County. 

9

China criticizes U.S. decision to tighten export controls on computer chips

Chinese officials on Saturday heavily criticized the actions of the United States in attempting to strengthen its hold on tech exports, which would make it harder for China to acquire advanced computer chips. The new U.S. restrictions would attempt to curb Chinese manufacturing of chips by barring certain American companies from selling to China. These restrictions will also seek to tighten control on foreign companies selling American technologies. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said that the decision would "isolate and backfire" on the U.S. "Out of the need to maintain its sci-tech hegemony, the U.S. abuses export control measures to maliciously block and suppress Chinese companies," Ning said, adding that it would "damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies." As the relationship between China and the United States continues to sour, the U.S. said that this was simply a move to protect its foreign interests.

10

‘Saturday Night Live’ pokes fun at controversy surrounding Herschel Walker

Saturday Night Live returned for its second episode of the new season, with host Brendan Gleeson and musical guest Willow. The show notably continued to poke fun at a variety of current events, including the ongoing situation surrounding Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker. The show's cold open began with a game show, seeing if contestants would be able to listen to news headlines without "losing it." Many vexing events, including news about Elon Musk, the situation in Ukraine, and of course, Herschel Walker, were poked fun at, causing the contestants to lose their temper and lash out. Walker was also made fun of during the show's Weekend Update segment, in which host Michael Che lambasted him for raising $500,000 in donations instead of raising his children. The jab comes amidst continuing controversy over allegations that Walker paid for an abortion for a woman he had gotten pregnant. 

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