Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 1:07 PM

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan issued a two-week state of emergency in two regions of the Central Asian country after widespread protests over rising fuel prices erupted early Wednesday, writes the New York Times. The protests began after the government lifted price caps for liquified petroleum gas on Jan. 1, effectively doubling the cost of the fuel overnight. According to a document published to the president’s website, the state of emergency includes an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew, movement restrictions and a ban on mass gatherings. Additionally, mobile internet was unavailable and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram were blocked.

Australia and Japan will sign a treaty during a virtual leader’s summit on Thursday that will strengthen security and defense cooperation, a move that may exacerbate tensions with China, according to Bloomberg. The agreement is the first of its kind for Japan outside of the United States and the United Nations, marking a significant step forward toward what is commonly referred to as a “quasi-alliance.” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the security pact will include an expanded agenda for the Quad, the term used to describe India, the U.S., Japan and Australia,  and a shared technology-led approach to reducing carbon emissions.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday, its first weapons test in two months, signaling the country does not intend to rejoin denuclearization talks, writes AP News. The launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to expand the country’s military power at a high-profile ruling party conference last week. South Korea’s military said it believes the missile was fired from North Korea’s northern Jagang province toward its eastern waters. North Korea conducted a series of weapons tests last fall in what experts saw as an attempt to apply greater pressure on its rivals to recognize it as a nuclear power in hopes of relief from economic sanctions. North Korea suspended weapons testing activity until Wednesday’s launch.

The U.S. military carried out attacks in Syria after indirect fire posed “an imminent threat” to soldiers near a base near the Iraqi border, according to CNN. While the United States has not confirmed that the attacks were carried out, a defense official with direct knowledge of the situation said only U.S. forces have weapons capable of carrying out such operations. The Operation Inherent Resolve official said in a statement “[i]ndirect fire attacks pose a serious threat to innocent civilians because of their lack of discrimination.” For months, drones and indirect fire have attacked U.S. and coalition forces in the region.

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that a man suspected of being involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was apprehended in the United States, reports CBS News. The criminal complaint alleges that Antonio Palacios and others entered the presidential residence on July 7, 2021, with the “intent and purpose of killing President Moïse” before fleeing to Jamaica. The assassination added to the upheaval in Haiti, which was already beset by gang violence, political unrest and poverty and led to the exodus of people from the island. Many Haitians traveled to the U.S. border in hopes of obtaining asylum.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack requested to speak with Fox News personality Sean Hannity about the riot and its causes, writes NPR. According to the joint appeal from the committee to Hannity, the panel received "dozens of text messages" between Hannity and key Trump White House officials.

Some of the cheapest and most popular at-home coronavirus test kits in the United States are seeing price increases following the expiration of a deal with the White House to sell the kits at $14, says the Wall Street Journal. Walmart, Kroger and Amazon reached an agreement with the Biden administration last summer to discount BinaxNOW at-home rapid tests. “When the prices are that high, people will rationalize not using a kit.” said epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding. “The problem with this pricing, besides creating a lack of access, is that it creates a perverse incentive for people not to use them.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Alan Rozenshtein and Christina Koningisor talk about how state and local governments invoke government secrecy rationales that in the past, only the president and the national intelligence community were able to claim.

Robert D. Williams analyzed how the “rules of the road” can stabilize U.S.-China competition.

Rohini Kurup shared a D.C. Circuit Court opinion that reversed a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit over whether medical supply and manufacturing companies can be held liable under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act.

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s Lawfare Live in which Natalie Orpett, Rohini Kurup, Ian Enright and Benjamin Wittes will discuss Lawfare and Goat Rodeo’s new podcast series, “The Aftermath,” which covers the government’s response to the Jan. 6 attack.

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