9.18.2023

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Good morning. It's Monday, Sept. 18, and we're covering the International Court of Justice, the end of a yearlong political drama in Texas, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Court Considers Genocide Claims

Lawyers representing Ukraine and Russia square off today at the International Court of Justice, arguing over the legal technicalities underlying the ongoing war. Ukraine accuses Russia of abusing international law by claiming its invasion of the country last February was an attempt to intervene and stop an ongoing genocide. 

 

Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions requires signees—which includes Ukraine and Russia—to prevent and punish genocide. Russia has claimed Ukraine was systematically killing Russian-speaking populations in the eastern part of the country, obliging it to step in. Western officials have called the claims baseless, pointing out Ukraine has been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the region since Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. 

 

The high-profile proceedings are largely symbolic, as the ICJ has no enforcement mechanism. However, experts say a ruling in Ukraine's favor may help in any future restitution claims. This week's hearings will focus primarily on jurisdictional claims without digging into the merits of the arguments. 

 

See updates on the war here.

 

Paxton Acquitted

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was acquitted in his impeachment trial by the state senate Saturday, ending a yearlong saga over allegations of bribery, obstruction of justice, and misuse of public funds. Paxton, who has been suspended since May, will return to his office and resume normal duties. 

 

Paxton stood accused of, among other issues, providing benefits to a donor in exchange for help in facilitating an extramarital affair (see previous write-up). A probe by a Republican-led committee was launched into Paxton's dealings after he requested $3.3M to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by former staff. 

 

In May, a significant majority of Texas House legislators voted to impeach Paxton by a 121-23 vote. The trial, held by Senate, voted to hear 16 of the 20 articles of impeachment. Ultimately, no charge received more than 14 of the 21 votes needed to convict. 

 

Paxton also faces charges of securities fraud in a separate, long-delayed case.

 

Lee Batters Northeast

At least one person is dead and hundreds of thousands are without power after the much-diminished post-Tropical Cyclone Lee made landfall in Maine and Nova Scotia, Canada, over the weekend. Parts of Massachusetts and Maine saw three-foot storm surges and roughly four inches of rain as the system and its 70 mph winds—just shy of Category 1 status—rolled northeast. 

 

The 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and first to reach Category 5 hurricane status, Lee has been churning through the Atlantic Ocean for over two weeks. Its rapid intensification a week and a half ago as it drove westward toward the Caribbean was one of the fastest in hurricane history. 

 

Two months remain in this year's Atlantic hurricane season, which officials have predicted will see above-normal activity with 14 to 21 named storms, six to 11 of which are expected to become hurricanes. Lee was the season's fifth hurricane. See photos of the storm's impact here

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> British actor and comedian Russell Brand accused of sexual assault by four women; Brand denies the allegations (More)

> Sir Horace Ové, pioneering British filmmaker, dies at 86 (More) | Billy Miller, three-time Emmy-winning soap opera actor, dies at 43 (More) | Tony-winning actor Michael McGrath dies at 65 (More)

> "Rolling Stone" magazine cofounder Jann Wenner removed from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board of directors following comments made about Black and female musicians (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Study suggests problems with connections between neurons is the trigger for Parkinson's disease; findings challenge conventional theory the disease begins with the death of dopamine neurons (More)

> Engineers develop insect-sized robot capable of carrying up to 22 times its own weight, powered by chemical combustion instead of batteries (More, w/video)

> Annual Ig Nobel Prizes announced, list includes using dead spiders as mechanical grippers; awards spotlight strange-sounding research with practical applications (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with SmartAsset

> US stock markets close lower Friday (S&P 500 -1.2%, Dow -0.8%, Nasdaq -1.6%); S&P 500 and Nasdaq close lower for the second consecutive week (More)

> Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) offers 21% pay increases to UAW members; UAW is demanding 40% increases, work stoppages began Friday at Ford, General Motors Corp., and Stellantis plants (More)

> Rockefeller Foundation pledges $1B to fund climate change programs over the next five years (More)

From our partners: Vanguard vs. Fidelity vs. Schwab: Who are you partnered with? See how these popular brokerage firms stack up when it comes to fees and specific services, so you can decide on the right fit for you. Learn more.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Death toll in last month's Maui wildfires dropped from 115 to 97 after DNA testing; 31 people still unaccounted for (More) | Libya receives 30 tons in medical supplies after last week's floods; death toll reaches 11,300, expected to rise (More

> Rep. Lauren Boebert (R, CO-03) apologizes after surveillance video shows lawmaker vaping, disrupting the performance at a public theater earlier this month (More) | Ovidio Guzman Lopez, son of jailed cartel leader El Chapo, extradited to the US from Mexico on federal drug trafficking charges (More)

> Long lost letter suggests Pope Pius XII and the Vatican likely knew about mass murder of Jewish populations during World War II as early as 1942, contradicting longstanding claims about the Church's awareness (More)

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Etcetera
 

Oktoberfest parties kick off around the world.

 

Ranking the best US states for young workers

 

Up close and personal with Mexico's "alien corpses."

 

Gardener grows 20-pound onion

 

Starbucks trials 100% reusable cups at select stores.

 

The oldest book on British cheese.

 

How Tom Cruise insures his age-defying movie stunts

 

Florida vacationers rescue a stranded shark. (w/video)

 

Clickbait: A real, live Dr. Seuss fish.

 

Historybook: George Washington lays first cornerstone for the US Capitol (1793); New York Times founded (1851); Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg born (1959); Jimi Hendrix dies (1970); Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies (2020). 

"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."

- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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