August 24, 2023
Mercenary chief Prigozhin is presumed to have died in a plane crash seen as the Kremlin’s revenge
Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and some of his top lieutenants were presumed dead in a plane crash — widely seen as an assassination to avenge a mutiny that challenged President Vladimir Putin’s authority. According to Russia’s civil aviation authority, the founder of the Wagner military company and six other passengers were on a private jet that crashed Wednesday, with a crew of three. Rescuers found 10 bodies, and Russian media cited anonymous sources in Wagner who said Prigozhin was dead. But there has been no official confirmation. At Wagner’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, lights were turned on in the shape of a large cross, and Prigozhin’s supporters created an improvised memorial outside.
Trump is set to surrender at a Georgia jail on charges he sought to overturn his 2020 election loss
ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump is set to surrender to authorities in Georgia on charges he schemed to overturn the 2020 election in the state. The booking process is expected to yield a historic first: a mug shot of a former American president. Trump’s arrival comes on the heels of a presidential debate featuring his leading rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination, a contest in which he remains the leading candidate despite accelerating legal troubles. Trump’s presence in Georgia on Thursday is expected to swipe the spotlight at least temporarily from his opponents after a debate in which other candidates sought to seize on his absence to elevate their own presidential prospects.
Vivek Ramaswamy takes center stage, plus other key moments from first Republican debate
Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have dominated the Republican presidential nomination fight for much of the year. Neither dominated the debate stage Wednesday night. Trump skipped the GOP’s opening presidential primary debate. DeSantis showed up, but he was overshadowed for much of the night by political newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy has crept up in recent polls, leading to his position next to DeSantis at center stage. And he quickly showed why when he showcased his ready-for-video, on-message approach. His rivals, however, attacked him for his lack of political experience and his view that the U.S. should stop supporting Ukraine.
China bans seafood from Japan after the Fukushima nuclear plant begins its wastewater release
OKUMA, Japan (AP) — Japan’s tsunami-wrecked nuclear power plant in Fukushima is releasing its first batch of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. In a live video from a control room at the plant Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings showed a staff member turn on a seawater pump, marking the beginning of the controversial project that’s expected to last for decades. China responded by banning seafood from Japan, effective immediately. Shortly after China’s announcement, TEPCO’s president said the utility will compensate Japanese business owners for damages suffered by export bans over the wastewater release. The Japanese government and TEPCO say the treatment and dilution exceeds international safety standards. Still, some scientists say the long-term impact needs attention.
Gunfire at a California biker bar kills 4 people, including the shooter, and wounds 5 more
TRABUCO CANYON, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say three people were killed and five others were wounded in a shooting at a Southern California biker bar. The gunman was also killed by deputies. The shooting occurred after 7 p.m. Wednesday at Cook’s Corner in rural Trabuco Canyon in Orange County, a popular longtime watering hole for motorcycle riders and enthusiasts who gather for live music and other events. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said the gunman was dead four minutes after reports of the shooting first came in. Six others were taken to a hospital, including five with gunshot wounds. The hospital said two were in critical condition.
Maui wildfires renew tensions around water rights in a centuries-old conflict over sacred streams
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — During the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, a developer of land around a threatened Maui community urgently asked state officials for permission to divert stream water to help fight the growing inferno. In letters reviewed by the AP, the developer suggests approval was delayed while the state sought the OK from a taro farmer downstream. The dispute highlights tensions over water rights that date to Hawaii’s mid-1800s plantation era. The executive who wrote the letters says he wants stream water for fire suppression. Native Hawaiians worry the developer is using the fires to reduce overall caps on their water use.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are among 6 nations set to join China and Russia in BRICS economic bloc
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Iran and Saudi Arabia are among six nations that have been invited to join the BRICS bloc of developing economies. United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia are also set to join the bloc of developing economies from 2024. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country presently chairs BRICS, made the announcement at a bloc summit Thursday in Johannesburg. BRICS is currently made up of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and those five members agreed at this week’s summit to expand the bloc. It currently represents around 40% of the world’s population and more than a quarter of global GDP, although that is set to increase with the new members.
FIFA opens case against Spanish soccer president Rubiales for his conduct at Women’s World Cup final
GENEVA (AP) — FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales for his behavior at the Women’s World Cup final. FIFA says its disciplinary committee will examine if he brought the sport of soccer into disrepute. Rubiales kissed Spain player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medal ceremony after the country beat England in Australia. Rubiales had earlier grabbed his crotch as a victory gesture with Queen Letizia of Spain and 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofía standing nearby. FIFA gave no timetable for a ruling.
Bans on diverse picture books? Young kids need to see their families represented, experts say
Across the country, books and lessons that represent different families and identities are increasingly the target of conservative pushback — even when they’re for the youngest of learners. Educators and free-speech advocates say the books and lessons caught up in these bans often simply acknowledge the existence of different identities. That’s crucial, experts say, to help young children develop empathy and an understanding of themselves — especially for children whose families include people of color or LGBTQ+ relatives. Of the bans targeting picture books, about three-quarters are books that address LGBTQ+ themes and roughly half mention race, PEN America says.
Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte turns 20, beloved by millions and despised by some
The seasonal drink that made pumpkin spice a star is marking two decades in the world. And unlike the autumn days it celebrates, there seems to be no chill in customer demand. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte goes on sale Thursday in the U.S. and Canada. It’s the coffee giant’s most popular seasonal beverage, with hundreds of millions sold since its launch in 2003. And it has spawned a huge and growing industry. In the year ending July 29, Nielsen says U.S. sales of pumpkin-flavored products reached $802.5 million. That’s up 42% from the same period in 2019.