Monday, Dec. 04, 2023 |
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Lawmakers confront a rise in threats and intimidation, and fear worse
Members of Congress in both parties are experiencing a surge in threats and confrontations as a rise in violent political speech has increasingly crossed over into the realm of in-person intimidation and physical altercation. In the months since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, which brought lawmakers and the vice president within feet of rioters threatening their lives, Republicans and Democrats have faced stalking, armed visits to their homes, vandalism and assaults. It is part of a chilling trend that many fear is only intensifying as lawmakers scatter to campaign and meet with voters around the country before next month’s midterm congressional elections.
Spending on children surged during the pandemic. It didn’t last.
In 2021, the federal government spent $10,710 per child, through a mix of programs and tax changes, up from $6,810 in 2019, according to the latest installment of the Urban Institute’s annual Kids’ Share report. It amounted to $834 billion, invested in 78 million children. It didn’t last. Government financial support for families will largely return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024 — and in some categories, will decline from those levels — even though the evidence is clear that government support for families during the pandemic benefited children: In 2021, child poverty fell to the lowest rate on record.
In Washington, Putin’s nuclear threats stir growing alarm
For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis, top government leaders in Moscow are making explicit nuclear threats and officials in Washington are gaming out scenarios should President Vladimir Putin decide to use a tactical nuclear weapon to make up for the failings of Russian troops in Ukraine. In background conversations, a range of officials suggested that if Russia detonated a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukrainian soil, the options included unplugging Russia from the world economy or some kind of military response — although one that would most likely be delivered by the Ukrainians with Western-provided, conventional weapons.
Second day of tensions in Burkina Faso adds doubts to who is in power
A day after military officers seized power in Burkina Faso, the ostensibly deposed president refused to relinquish power and warned of a “fratricidal war.” The country’s newest self-styled leader, Capt. Ibrahim Traoré, on Saturday said that the former president, Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was planning a counterattack from a “French base” to “stir up trouble” in the country’s armed forces. The escalation between the two men, who appear to have rallied different factions of the armed forces, threatened to further destabilize the region. France, Burkina Faso’s former colonizer, quickly denied any involvement in the events.
Ukraine forces retakestrategic city as Russians retreat
Russian forces retreated from the strategic eastern Ukrainian city of Lyman on Saturday, a humbling setback for President Vladimir Putin the day after he illegally declared the surrounding region to be part of Russia. The Ukrainians’ assault on Lyman, a rail hub leading into the mineral-rich Donbas region, underscored their resolve to attack in territory Putin now claims sovereignty over — raising the stakes in a war in which a nuclear-armed Russia has declared it would use “all available means” to defend land it considers its own. The Russian retreat quickly spawned withering criticism among powerful allies of Putin’s, who blamed Russia’s military leaders for the recent losses, calling them incompetent.
129 dead after fans stampede to exit Indonesian soccer match
Panic at an Indonesian soccer match after police fired tear gas to stop brawls left 129 dead, mostly trampled to death. Police said Sunday that several brawls between supporters of the two rival soccer teams were reported inside the stadium after the Indonesia premier league game ended with Persebaya beating Arema 3-2. East Java’s police chief says the fighting prompted riot police to fire tear gas, causing panic among supporters. Hundreds ran to an exit gate in an effort to avoid the tear gas. Some suffocated in the chaos and others were trampled. More than 300 have been rushed to nearby hospitals for their injuries. But many of them died on the way and during a treatment.
Venezuela swaps 7 jailed Americans for Maduro relatives
Venezuela’s government has freed seven Americans imprisoned in the South American country in exchange for the release of two nephews of President Nicolás Maduro’s wife who had been jailed for years by the United States on drug smuggling convictions. The swap of the Americans, including five oil executives imprisoned for nearly five years, is the largest trade of detained citizens that the Biden administration has ever carried out. It amounts to an unusual gesture of goodwill by Maduro as he looks to rebuild relations with the U.S. after vanquishing most of his opponents and follows months of secretive talks, including repeated visits to Venezuela over the last year by Washington’s top hostage negotiator.
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