8.22.2022

Russian Car Bombing, Mexico Crackdown, and the Perfect Sandcastle Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Monday, Aug. 22, and we're covering a bombing in Russia, an arrest in one of Mexico's most notorious mass murders, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

 

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Car Bombing in Russia

Russian officials launched an investigation after the daughter of a close informal adviser to President Vladimir Putin was killed in a suspected car bombing over the weekend. State sources said the explosion appeared to be premeditated and of a professional nature.

 

Daria Dugina died in the blast while driving outside the Russian capital of Moscow. The 29-year-old was the daughter of Alexander Dugin, a prominent Russian nationalist credited with helping develop the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of Russia's claims in former Soviet territories and beyond. He has been described as "Putin's brain," though some have disputed his actual influence on Russia's foreign policies. Ukrainian officials denied involvement in the incident.

 

Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of a potential escalation by Russian forces ahead of Ukraine's Independence Day, which falls on Wednesday. See updates on the war here.

Arrest in Mexico Massacre

A former attorney general of Mexico was arrested Friday in relation to a 2014 alleged massacre of college students in southwestern Guerrero state. The arrest came a day after a federal commission declared the incident and its cover-up a state crime.

 

In September 2014, 43 young men from a teachers college were abducted while traveling to Mexico City to protest an education bill. Only three bodies were ever found. Jesús Murillo Karam, Mexico's top prosecutor from 2012 to 2015, oversaw an allegedly flawed inquiry into the events, blaming the young men's disappearance on a local cartel in cooperation with municipal police. 

 

In 2018, current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador formed a commission to investigate, which Thursday implicated the military and the former administration under Enrique Peña Nieto. Karam is accused of forced disappearance, torture, and obstruction of justice.

 

Government figures estimate over 100,000 people have gone missing in Mexico since former President Felipe Calderon declared a war on drugs in 2007. 

China Broils

China's monthslong heat wave officially passed the 70-day mark over the weekend, the longest continuous stretch of high temperatures since the country began recording such data in 1961. State officials said more than 240 cities saw temperatures over 104 degrees within the past week. 

 

The heat has been particularly acute in the central land-locked province of Sichuan, home to more than 80 million people and a number of manufacturing facilities. More than 80% of the region reportedly relies on hydropower, and government officials ordered operations at most production facilities in the area to shut down last week to preserve power. Residents have been asked to keep air conditioners just under 79 degrees. 

 

Among other effects, receding water levels revealed 600-year-old Buddhist statues, while Chinese scientists have launched an experimental cloud-seeding program in an attempt to induce rain. 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Las Vegas Aces drain WNBA record 23 three-pointers to sweep Phoenix Mercury and advance to semifinals (More) | Utah judge reverses ban on transgender girls from competing in girls school sports (More)

 

> Leon Vitali, actor and director Stanley Kubrick's right-hand man, dies at 74 (More) | Tom Weiskopf, British Open champion and famed golf course designer, dies at 79 of pancreatic cancer (More)

 

Leon Edwards upsets Kamaru Usman via fifth-round knockout to win UFC welterweight title (More) | Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk edges Briton Anthony Joshua in split decision to retain WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles (More)

Science & Technology

> New research suggests January's Tongan volcano eruption triggered an initial tsunami wave almost 300 feet high; scientists call for improved volcanic warning systems (More)

 

> Neuroscientists identify neural circuit that crosses the brain's left-right hemispheres to help process visual memory; study finds diseases such as Alzheimer's may impact the connections, degrading visual processing (More)

 

> Blood tests taken on the day of traumatic brain injuries may help predict death or long-term cognitive disability; tests link levels of two protein biomarkers with all-cause mortality (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower Friday (S&P 500 -1.3%, Dow -0.9%, Nasdaq -2.0%), snapping S&P 500’s four-week winning streak (More)

 

> Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, expands abortion coverage in memo to employees Friday (More)

 

> Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway received regulatory approval to acquire up to 50% of Occidental Petroleum; shares of the energy giant close up 10% Friday (More)

Politics & World Affairs

In partnership with Tangle

> At least 21 people killed, more than 110 injured after al-Shabab militants storm a popular hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu (More)

 

> Singapore to decriminalize same-sex relationships, will retain statutory definition of marriage as between a man and a woman; Taiwan remains only country in Asia to grant legal status to same-sex marriages (More)

 

> Defense begins in trial of Nikolas Cruz, who killed 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018; Cruz has pleaded guilty, reports say defense seeks to avoid death penalty (More)

From our partners: What's the other side saying? Tangle knows. Tangle is an independent, ad-free, non-partisan politics newsletter that summarizes the leading arguments from the right, left, and center on the news of the day. Sign up for free to get a 360-degree political read.

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ETCETERA

 

One fun thing to do in each state

 

How to engineer a perfect sandcastle

 

A restaurant run entirely by robots

 

Get to know the iceberg that sank the Titanic

 

Mapping where the next 1,000 babies will be born.  

 

... and Saint Peter's birthplace.

 

Making sense of Ruth's Chris Steak House.

 

You can now suggest a name for an exoplanet

 

Adorable nightmare clickbait: Hundreds of ducks encircle a car.

 

Historybook: International Red Cross founded (1864); American poet Dorothy Parker born (1893); Cadillac Motor Co. founded (1902); Althea Gibson is first African American to compete in a US national tennis tournament (1950); Black Panther Party founder Huey Newton is murdered (1989).

 

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

- Dorothy Parker

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