Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Tuesday, January 4, 2022, 2:39 PM

Five of the world’s nuclear powers on Monday released a joint statement pledging to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, according to Deutsche Welle. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council, agreed “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control." The joint pledge was made ahead of the latest review of the Treaty of the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which was postponed to later this year.

On Tuesday, Iraqi air defenses shot down armed drones heading for a U.S. airbase west of Baghdad, foiling a second planned drone strike on U.S. soldiers, reports the Hill. A similar attack was launched on Monday, but the drones were shot down. The attempted strikes coincided with the second anniversary of the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike ordered by former President Trump.

The U.S. reported more than 1 million new coronavirus infections on Monday, setting a new record for daily coronavirus cases, according to CNBC. For the week ending Jan. 3, the United States reported an average of roughly 1,200 daily coronavirus deaths, well below the record numbers following last year’s Christmas season.

Trump endorsed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday, giving his “complete support” to the far-right leader who has boasted about turning his nation into an “illiberal state,” writes the New York Times. Orban and his Fidesz party have steadily consolidated power in Hungary by weakening the country’s independent and democratic institutions. The actions have caused concern in the European Union, which Hungary is a member of.

A World Health Organization official said on Tuesday that more evidence is emerging that the omicron variant of the coronavirus causes milder symptoms than previous variants, says Reuters. WHO Incident Manager Abdi Mahamud stated that this has resulted in a “decoupling” in some places between soaring case numbers and low death rates. Mahamud also said that rather than offering third and fourth doses in some countries, the best way to mitigate the impact of the omicron variant is to reach the WHO’s objective of vaccinating 70 percent of the population in each nation by July.

Ontatio’s Superior Court of Justice ordered Iran to pay $84 million to the relatives of six people killed when a passenger jet was shot down near Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020, writes the Washington Post. All 176 people aboard were killed when Iranian Revolutionary Guard missiles destroyed the plane en route to Kyiv in what Iran’s former president Hassan Rouhani called a “disastrous mistake.” Justice Edward Belobaba noted in his decision that the case was likely the first time a Canadian court had been asked to determine damages “for loss of life caused by terrorism.”

Hackers targeted Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper on Monday, a move the publication called an apparent threat to the country, says CNN. Rather than a main news page, the website showed a graphic that appeared to recall Soleimani, who was assassinated on the day by a U.S. drone attack. The newspaper tweeted that it was working to rectify the problem.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Julian Ku, Alan Rozenshtein, Benjamin Wittes, Natalie Orpett, Scott R. Anderson and David Priess answer questions from listeners.

John Bellinger discussed how the D.C. District Court judges have handled the Jan. 6 cases.

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