The government is officially strapped for cash tonight, and Congress seems far from approving more with a needed debt ceiling hike. A riot in an Ecuadorian prison with bombs and beheadings left more than 100 dead. And Britney is free – of her father’s control, anyway.
Welcome to the brink. Tonight, the US federal fiscal year ends without a budget. The funds cannot be approved without raising the debt ceiling, which Senate Republicans have blocked. But fear not: “Every time this happens, the problem is solved,” said the CEO of JPMorgan. But political power games mean his bank and the rest of Wall Street are bracing for a financial crisis. The Treasury can use financial tricks to make things work until October 18, but then something’s got to give. And that could be President Joe Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion package that includes climate aid and maybe even a bipartisan $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill. Sources: (CNN, CNBC, WSJ [sub])
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More than 100 dead in Ecuadorian prison riot
At least 116 people have died, including five by beheading, in a riot in an Ecuadorian prison. The fighting, which began on Tuesday, took place between the “Los Lobos” faction and the “Los Choneros” gang linked to Mexico. Prisoners used knives, guns and even explosives in a carnage that required some 400 police officers to quell. A former justice minister said it was the worst violence in the history of the system, but it is not unusual, with 79 inmates dying in three prisons at the same time in February. The day after this week, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency and pledged to speed up approval of a $ 24 million prison improvement program. (Sources: PA, Al Jazeera)
January 6 investigation seeks testimony from Trump employees
Was it inducement? That’s the question behind 11 subpoenas issued last night for the Jan.6 assault on lawmakers certifying the results of the November election that toppled former President Donald Trump. Those summoned include former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson and others involved in organizing a rally near the White House. Trump was accused of inciting rioters with his unsubstantiated electoral fraud allegations during the event, which the public then marched to Capitol Hill. One of the Capitol Stormers, clad in a Team United States jacket, was Olympic swimming gold medalist Klete Keller, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to obstructing formal proceedings and is likely facing two years imprisonment. (Sources: The hill, Politics)
Cut and run
General accuses Taliban pact of collapse of Afghanistan
The message was powerful. But the agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020 “had a truly pernicious effect on the government” which then ruled Afghanistan with American military aid, the government said yesterday. Chief of the US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, to a House committee. “We have set a specific date for our departure” and this has had a psychological impact on both the Afghan government and the military. This precipitated the fall of Kabul last month and a chaotic evacuation. Among the victims were 10 members of an Afghan family, killed in a drone strike by mistake, whose survivors are now seeking resettlement in the United States (Sources: PA, CNN)
Important too …
Former French President Nicolas sarkozy potentially faces six more months in prison on top of a one-year sentence for corruption after being convicted of illegal campaign finance in Paris today. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Bahrain for a historical visit to establish an embassy. And a super PAC supporting former President Trump has Sacked Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s longtime aide after a donor accused him of sexual harassment.
Coronavirus Update: Campaigners demanding that the United States manufacture more doses of the vaccine for the rest of the world parked a “mountain “of false bones outside the Washington home of President Biden’s chief of staff. And a trio of teenagers surprised thousands of Australians using the CovidBaseAU virus tracking app by revealing that they designed it themselves.
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She’s ready now. Igniting cheers outside a Los Angeles courthouse, a California judge yesterday impeached pop star Britney Spears’ father Jamie as his estate curator and ordered him to provide financial documents to an accountant who will be the artist’s temporary curator. The ruling by Judge Brenda Penny, who called the arrangement “untenable,” could be the culmination of the #FreeBritney movement that has accompanied the media revelations and a review of guardianship in general. But the “Hit Me Baby One More Time” singer, deprived of her free will over mental health issues in 2008, must wait for a Nov. 12 hearing for a ruling to end her legal servitude entirely. (Sources: Variety, THR)
2 – Shot blockers
YouTube bans anti-vaccine videos
It won’t hurt. YouTube said on Wednesday it banned misinformation about vaccines, not just the COVID-19 variety. The ban includes videos that claim approved vaccines don’t work, cause major health complications like autism or cancer, or contain harmful substances, Google’s video-sharing site said. One of the first targets was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent anti-vaxxer who saw his channel shut down and called it “censorship.” The German version of Russian broadcaster RT saw two channels removed, prompting the Kremlin to threaten to block YouTube in Russia. (Sources: Ars Technica, The week)
3 – Animal hymn
Bear attacks inspire Japanese rock “Roar, Roar”
Some days the bear safety song gets you. Officials in Iwate Prefecture in Japan hope the launch of a new rock ‘n’ roll song will prevent the disturbing human-bear interactions. The electric guitar and hoarse voice warn potential victims that cubs may be cute, but a nearby relative will “roar, roar, roar, roar, roar, roar – he’ll suddenly attack you!” It may help as artists approach the age of the Rolling Stones, with Yuuzen Taguchi, 69, remembering his personal encounters with bears and his grandparents’ advice against leaking. And Kaoru Toudou, 61, who wrote the bluesy tune, admits playing the song outdoors could act as a repellant. (Source: AFP)
4 – Contactless robberies
Researchers hack Visa iPhone payments
It is effortless. For thieves, it seems. Security detectives from the University of Birmingham and the University of Surrey have made a video showing how, with a simple wireless device, they can make contactless payments with phones locked above limits supposed to prevent such flights. Experts say security holes in Apple and Visa payment systems allow hacking, which doesn’t work with Android phones. They also say the companies have not fixed the problem despite their warnings. Visa responded that such fraud schemes, carried out in laboratories, are “impractical to carry out on a large scale” in the real world. (Sources: Sky News, ZDNet)
5 – Late hit
Report: NFL Still Favoring Whites In Dementia Cases
It is still the norm. A Washington Post investigation found that the NFL continues to deny concussion settlement payments to black players due to “breed standardization.” It’s a diagnosis of dementia that assumes that black males have lower cognitive function, so they must show greater decline to prove brain damage. One doctor even quit: “I just felt the patients being jerked off,” said Maureen Leehey, professor of neurology. “It wasn’t fair.” The league denies it still uses the discriminatory practice, but Michelle Haselrig, widow of Pittsburgh Steeler Carlton Haselrig, accused NFL lawyers of maintaining the double standard “to save money.” (Source: Washington post)
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