(You can also have “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
Steve Bannon, former adviser to former President Trump, surrendered to the FBI and appeared in federal court yesterday. Bannon was indicted last week after refusing to answer subpoenas from the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. He will not be detained until his trial for contempt of Congress. Bannon was defiant during yesterday’s events, telling reporters outside an FBI field office: “We are dismantling the Biden regime.” Bannon’s nonsense could be the precursor to a long legal battle that could put the House Committee’s investigations down. Today, the committee is expected to consider what to do about similar despite Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
“Respectful and straightforward.” A “healthy debate.” This is how officials described the virtual summit between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The countries have recently clashed over trade policies, military power and human rights issues, and yesterday’s meeting aimed to ensure, as Biden said, that competition between the two “does not fluctuate into conflict.” Biden reportedly raised concerns about human rights violations against the Uighurs in China, reaffirmed the need for transparency in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and asked about ways in which the United States could cooperate with China on climate issues. Throughout, the United States and China remain economically independent. In fact, two dozen companies before the summit called on Biden to ease tariffs on China, saying it would reduce record inflation at home.
The American intelligence community is struggling with an intelligence blind spot as it continues to monitor irregular Russian military movements near the border with Ukraine. U.S. officials have said publicly that they do not yet know what Russia’s intentions are, and there is concern that the country is somehow seeking to repeat the 2014 invasion of its Western neighbor. The United States has long struggled to infiltrate the Kremlin or gain strong intelligence around Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. Regarding the country’s current movements, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States remains committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. The NATO Secretary General warned Moscow against “potential aggressive actions” regarding the proliferation of Russian troops, which has raised concerns about the potential for a broader geopolitical crisis.
The Biden administration is withdrawing a policy from the Trump era that limited the FDA’s review of certain laboratory tests, including some Covid-19 tests. According to the policy, the agency did not require pre-market reviews of laboratory-developed tests, even in situations where they had poor results. The withdrawal of this policy aims to increase public access to more reliable tests, which experts say is still a cornerstone of pandemic protection. Meanwhile, India has opened its borders to fully vaccinated foreign tourists on commercial flights for the first time in almost two years. Depending on their country of origin, travelers may need to undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival. India has been one of the hardest hit nations in the pandemic and endured a devastating second wave this spring.
Taliban forces held a military parade in Kabul using dozens of captured US-made armored vehicles and Russian helicopters in a force demonstration, while the group continues to build a standing army after gaining control of Afghanistan. Most of the weapons and equipment now used by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the Western-backed government in Kabul with the aim of strengthening the fight against the rebels. Defense supplies and services worth about $ 28 billion were transferred from the United States to the Afghan government from 2002 to 2017. U.S. troops destroyed some vehicles and other equipment as they left during the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan earlier this year, but a significant amount of equipment was left and left vulnerable to Taliban use.
BROWSE FROM BREAKFAST
‘Dancing with the Stars’ has another double elimination
Four couples live to dance another day. Next stop: the final!
Taylor Swift debuts Blake Lively-directed video for ‘I Bet You Think About Me’
If You Didn’t Finish Becoming Emotional Victims Of All Ms. Swift’s artistic jokes recently.
Chick-fil-A holds closed Christmas weekend
Tick your calendars so no one gets ho-ho-hangry.
Applebee’s brings cheetah-flavored wings to restaurants for a limited time
Clean fingers never had a chance.
‘Megaspider’ is the largest of its kind we’ve ever seen, says the Australian reptile park
THIS RIGHT IN …
Two explosions have shaken the Ugandan capital city center, killing three people and injuring 33. One blast went off near the central police station and another near the parliament building. The cause of the explosions was not immediately clear and no group has claimed responsibility.
The jury’s hearings are set to begin today in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. The 18-year-old is charged with five crimes after he shot and killed two people and injured another during riots last summer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
That is the expected unemployment rate by the end of next year, as predicted by Goldman Sachs. If the estimate is correct, it would match the 50-year low hit in late 2019 and repeated in early 2020.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“This will help with proper compensation and compensation to anyone who may have been wronged. I would like to assure you that a White Paper will be issued.”
Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after a government-appointed panel concluded that the deadly exercise of power carried out by the Nigerian military during last year’s infamous Lekki bombing in Lagos could be considered a “massacre”.
Days of strong winds and rain have led to extensive flooding in parts of the state of Washington, closing a stretch of Interstate 5, knocking out power and displacing hundreds.
Check your local weather forecast here >>>
Who is a good bird?
Start your day like a kookaburra … with a little conversation and a little pat on the back. (Click here to view.)
Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter misidentified who died in explosions in Uganda’s capital. A police officer and two civilians were killed, police said.