The Storm Before The Storm
September 9, 2022
A Sun Sets In The British Empire
Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday at 96. Earlier this year, she celebrated 70 years as queen, making her the first British monarch to celebrate such a lengthy reign, and the second-longest serving monarch ever. Her path to the crown began during World War II when she survived the Blitz of London in Windsor Castle. In 1945, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she helped maintain military vehicles for a month. After the war, she married Lieutenant Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1947. As her father’s health declined post-war, Elizabeth began taking over more royal duties, appearing in parades in her father’s stead. She became Queen in 1952 after his passing.
As the royal figurehead of the United Kingdom, she met important world leaders around the world and consistently performed her ceremonial duties. The royal family suffered many controversies over her life, including the breakdowns of three royal marriages and the death of Princess Diana, which all occurred in 1992. In her later years, Britain’s favorite pastime of following royal family drama took a more serious tone. In 2021, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle left the United Kingdom altogether amidst accusations that members of the royal family had been racist towards Meghan. Prince Andrew, Elizabeth’s “favorite son,” also faced controversy at the time after his association with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was revealed. That same year, Philip, her husband of 73 years, died.
Her reign may have been controversial at times, with tabloid drama and royal use of public funds drawing anger from entirely different demographics, but Elizabeth’s reign was still remarkable. She saw the United Kingdom turn from a declining empire into a leader of the modern world while providing the country with some form of unity, and her loss will be felt by the country for some time. (CNN)
“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” – Rumi
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a surprise trip to Ukraine on Thursday, with the undisclosed visit marking his third visit to the country since the Russian invasion in February. There, he met with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just hours after Ukraine’s military head announced the possibility that Russia might make the invasion a nuclear conflict.
- The meetings saw large U.S. investments in Ukraine and its neighbors. First, Blinken promised a $675 million package of U.S. arms and military equipment directly to Ukraine, marking the U.S.’s 20th military aid donation to Ukraine since September 2021. At the same time, Blinken also announced $2 billion in long-term investments for Ukraine and its neighbors to strengthen their security. (NBC)
But Your Honor, We Were Only Selling The Illegal Devices!
- Amazon announced Thursday that it will be stopping the sale of devices that can disable seatbelt alarms in India in response to a request by the Indian government. India’s Transport Ministry notified the online retailer to stop selling replacement seatbelt clips used to trick car alarms into thinking that riders’ seatbelts are actually protecting them.
- Amazon stated that the company itself wasn’t manufacturing the safety-feature-dodging items – it was only allowing third-party retailers to sell them on its platform. “We take strict action against sellers in case they are found to be selling any product in contravention with applicable laws, including listing of unsafe or non-compliant products, as customer safety is a top priority,” said one Amazon representative.
- The government requested the items be taken off the website following the death of prominent Indian businessman Cyrus Mistry, who died in a car crash on Sunday. His passing sparked a national concern for driver safety, as traffic fatalities grew from 154,700 in 2019 to 155,600 in 2021. (CNN)
Additional World News
- Second suspect in fatal Canada stabbing spree dies in custody (NBC)
- The U.S. can’t solve Europe’s energy crisis (Axios)
- Hong Kong court finds five guilty of sedition over sheep books (Al Jazeera)
- 4 nations bordering Russia to restrict Russian tourists (ABC)
- Israel rejects U.S. call for review of IDF rules of engagement in West Bank (Axios)
- Hong Kong journalist union chair arrested weeks before Oxford fellowship (Guardian)
- China’s metropolis Chengdu extends Covid lockdown, again (CNN)
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The Storm Before The Storm
- After a week of nearly unbearable heat in California, the state is set to face even more extreme weather. More high temperatures could be joined by high winds of up to 60 mph and months’ worth of rain as a hurricane spins off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean and threatens to make landfall.
- Counter to what might seem to make sense, as it moves north, Hurricane Kay’s winds might actually leave the current record-setting temperatures even higher in some places. Flash flooding is also a concern, as the amount of rain Southern California gets in a typical year could downpour over the course of just two days.
- Hurricane Kay will likely weaken when it’s about 250 miles off the coast of San Diego, which the National Weather Service says has only happened four other times since 1950. The last time a hurricane passed this close to Southern California was in 1997. (CNN)
Chuck In The Middle
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is in a bit of a pickle thanks to some promises he made to convince Senator Joe Manchin to vote in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). On Wednesday, Schumer pledge to include permitting reform to a stopgap funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown.
- Despite Schumer promising that “permitting reform is part of the IRA and we will get it done,” environmental groups and progressives in the House aren’t so sure they want to allow that. More than 650 such organizations sent a letter to Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressing their opposition last month.
- 50 lawmakers have also signed onto a letter spearheaded by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) calling for a separate vote on the permitting reform provisions instead of putting them in the continuing resolution. The provisions would make it easier to develop energy projects that burn fossil fuels – obviously not ideal given the current climate crisis. (The Hill)
Additional USA News
- Memphis shootings: A shooting rampage left 4 people dead and 3 wounded, officials say, and a suspect is in custody (CNN)
- S.C. Republicans lash out at colleagues over strict abortion bill (WaPo, $)
- Oklahoma sued by 3 transgender students over new prohibitive bathroom law (CNN)
- Most Americans see Trump’s MAGA as threat to democracy (Reuters)
- Seattle school buses are stretched thin amid start of academic year (Axios)
- A 1931 law criminalizing abortion in Michigan is unconstitutional, a judge rules (NPR)
- Federal grand jury probing Trump PAC’s formation, fundraising efforts (ABC)
- Angelina Jolie’s former company Nouvel is counter-suing her ex-husband Brad Pitt for over $250 million in damages, accusing Pitt of “waging a vindictive war against” Jolie after their 2016 divorce. The countersuit comes in response to Pitt’s lawsuit in June which accused Jolie of damaging the reputation of Château Miraval, a vineyard that the couple formerly shared a controlling interest in.
- Pitt’s original suit took issue with Jolie selling her half of their stake in Miraval to a “stranger,” which he claimed intentionally “sought to inflict harm on” the business. He claims the couple had agreed to never sell their shares in the business without the consent of the other.
- Nouvel’s claims are a bit bigger than just the sale of the family vineyard. First, it claims that Pitt has “frozen Nouvel out of Château Miraval and treats it as his personal fiefdom,” spending assets on vanity projects like a swimming pool and recording studio upgrades. More egregious than a few home improvement projects, Pitt tried to arrange for Jolie to sell her share of the vineyard to him, but tried to slip a “hush clause” into the contract in order to prevent her talking about the events leading up to their divorce. Nouvel’s suit also alleges that Pitt’s documented alcoholism “resulted in increasingly destructive behavior towards Jolie and the rest of their family.” Maybe not the guy you want running a winery. (People)
- Sisters who survived Holocaust die days apart in Alabama (NBC)
- Jimmy Kimmel on Mar-a-Lago search: ‘Trump really is the worst ex ever’ (Guardian)
- Comfort dogs are greeting Uvalde students for their return to school. Here’s how canine visitors can help after tragedy (CNN)
- Israel acquires rare ancient papyrus with Hebrew inscription from Montana resident (NBC)
- The mystery of the human sacrifices buried in Europe’s bogs (BBC)
- Michigan man mauled by grizzly bear with three cubs while hunting in Alaska (USA Today)
- Chimps show off their ‘signature’ drum beats (BBC)
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