All In A Dog’s Work
May 10, 2022
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“In a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy.” – Barack Obama
West Friends Forever
As Russia has continued its relentless attacks on Ukraine, many Western countries have expressed their ongoing support for the embattled country. On Sunday, First Lady Jill Biden made a surprise appearance with First Lady Olena Zelenska at a school being used to temporarily house Ukrainian migrants. Biden said she “thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.” The first lady is the highest-profile American to visit the country since the war begin, and it also marked Zelenska’s first public appearance since the invasion on February 24. Biden spent about two hours in the country, which Zelenska called “courageous,” as “military actions are taking place every day” and “air sirens are happening every day – even today.” President Biden has said more than once that he wished he could visit the country himself, but likely due to security concerns, he hasn’t been able to.
The first lady’s visit coincided with the Biden administration’s announcement that, along with the E.U. and G7 nations, sanctions against Russia’s state-controlled media, elites, and services that help finance the war in Ukraine will be expanded. The U.S. will sanction three of Russia’s most viewed state-controlled television stations that have been among the largest recipients of foreign revenue, which feeds back into the Russian state. They’ll also prohibit Americans from providing accounting, trust and corporate formation, or management consulting services to anyone in the Russian Federation. They hope to deliver a blow to the country’s pocketbooks by prohibiting key services to companies and elites whose wealth generates revenue for Russia.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Sunday. After speaking with Zelenskyy, Trudeau addressed a news conference and announced that Canada will be expanding their sanctions against “40 Russian individuals and five entities, oligarchs, and close associates of the regime in the defence sector, all of them complicit in Putin’s war.” Trudeau also said Canada has pledged more weapons and other military equipment and will be reopening their embassy in Kyiv, and the country is also providing $25 million to the U.N.’s World Food Programme to help uphold food security. (AP, Reuters, NBC)
Keeping Them In Tech
- During the International Competition Network conference, the European Union announced that they are planning to begin enforcing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in spring 2023. “The DMA will enter into force next spring and we are getting ready for enforcement as soon as the first notifications come in,” said Commission executive vice president Margrethe Vestager.
- “This next chapter is exciting. It means a lot of concrete preparations,” Vestager explained. “It’s about setting up new structures within the Commission… It’s about hiring staff. It’s about preparing the IT systems.” The DMA still requires final approval from the Council and Parliament, but if implemented it would fine gatekeepers (companies that have a market capitalization of over $82 billion). (The Verge)
All Worked Up
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has noted that the employment situation in China is “complex and grave.” On Saturday, Keqiang instructed all levels of government to focus on measures to boost jobs and maintain economic stability. The measures are aimed at supporting small businesses, helping the internet economy, and incentivizing people to start their own businesses.
- “Stabilizing employment is critical to people’s livelihood, and is the key support for the economy to run within a reasonable range,” Li said. According to data from the Chinese government, the unemployment rate in the country has climbed to the highest point in almost two years.
- Over 27 cities across the country are currently under full or partial lockdown due to the country’s zero-tolerance policy against Covid-19, which has caused many businesses to suffer. Other industries, ranging from real estate to education, have also seen sharp job losses in recent months. (CNN)
Additional World News
- British YouTube travel star Benjamin Rich arrested at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia says (Reuters)
- UN rights chief denounces Christian-Muslim violence in Ethiopia (Al Jazeera)
- Brazil’s former leader Lula survived a corruption conviction and cancer. Now he’s vying for the presidency again (CNN)
- U.S. Presses Taiwan to Buy Weapons More Suited to Win Against China (NYT, $)
- Paris trial to open for 2009 plane crash that left 152 dead and 1 alive (NPR)
- Germany’s conservatives on track to win election in northern state (Reuters)
- Israeli police arrest two Palestinians over independence day attack (Guardian)
Up In Arms
- According to new data analysis by the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, the U.S. has seen a rise in guns stolen from vehicles over the past few years. From just 2019 to 2020, 180 cities followed this trend. The data comes from FBI crime statistics spanning 271 cities across 38 states.
- In 2020 alone, 77,000 guns were stolen in the cities observed by the study, and over half of those guns were taken from vehicles. In Jacksonville, Florida, 661 guns were stolen from cars in 2021. In South Carolina, 5,100 guns were stolen similarly, up from 4,200 in 2019.
- Experts are not decided on what has caused the increase in auto-based gun thefts, but there are a few possible explanations. One factor could be an increase in gun purchases: in 2020, the FBI conducted 40 million firearm background checks, more than any other year on record. Another explanation could be that there were more cars at houses as people stayed home during the pandemic. (NBC)
Sealed With A Missile
- On Sunday, Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet said that the company would almost double the production of its Javelin missiles. The U.S. has sent hundreds of the missiles to Ukraine in order to aid their defense against the ongoing Russian invasion.
- “Right now, our capacity is 2,100 Javelin missiles per year. We’re endeavoring to take that up to 4,000 per year, and that will take a number of months, maybe even a couple of years to get there because we have to get our supply chain to also crank up,” Taiclet stated. He noted that the situation in Ukraine highlighted the “need to have superior systems in large enough numbers” to maintain control over the airspace.
- The push for missile production comes as the U.S. continues to send military aid to Ukraine. Just last week, the Pentagon sent $1.45 billion to the Army and Marine Corps to fund a restock of the missiles they sent across the Atlantic. (Hill)
Additional USA News
- ‘I don’t know how my son will survive’: Inside the dangerous shortage of specialty formulas (Politico)
- The leaked abortion decision blew up overnight. In 1973, Roe had a longer fuse (NPR)
- More human remains discovered at Lake Mead, days after body found in barrel (NBC)
- Man, 25, Is the Fourth Inmate to Die at Rikers This Year (NYT, $)
- Landslide buries primary road connecting Alaska resort community to city of Seward (CNN)
- Preliminary 3.3 magnitude quake jolts South Carolina (AP)
- Michigan AG refuses ‘draconian’ 1931 abortion law (Politico)
All In A Dog’s Work
- This is one of those bittersweet stories – bitter because it’s about a horrible war, but sweet because…well, just look at a picture of Patron, the bomb-sniffing Jack Russell terrier who was awarded a medal of courage by President Zelenskyy on Sunday. Patron wagged his tail excitedly throughout the ceremony.
- The tiny pup has become a bright spot in a dark time, sniffing out land mines and educating children about the dangers posed by the explosives. Russian troops have set up land mines along Ukraine’s path of retreat, but Zelenskyy credited Patron with detecting more than 200 explosives since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion.
- In a statement after the ceremony, Zelenskyy said Patron’s role in educating children about avoiding land mines “is now one of the most urgent tasks.” The canine has also become a patriotic symbol for Kyiv, attracting a viral following on social media and inspiring a range of artwork, cartoons, and toys. (WaPo, $)
- A Haven for LGBTQ Students in the Heart of Alabama (NYT, $)
- Cerebral Receives Subpoena From Federal Prosecutors (WSJ, $)
- Sheriff’s office releases video of shark-infested waters off Florida coast, warns of “dangers below the water” (CBS)
- Russian climber dies at camp on Mount Everest, Nepali official says (Reuters)
- The Desert’s Fragile Skin Can’t Take Much More Heat (Wired)
- Corals convert sunscreen chemical into a toxin that kills them (Ars Technica)
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