Today’s edition of quick hits.
* In Iran: “The antigovernment protests that have erupted in cities across Iran in response to a young woman’s death in the custody of the country’s morality police have struck a national nerve. The demonstrations have spread to dozens of cities, and multiple casualties have been reported. The government said on Thursday that 17 people, including two security officers, had been killed since the unrest began last weekend. Rights groups say the toll is likely to be higher.”
* Gut-wrenching war crimes: “A United Nations-appointed panel of independent legal experts said Russian soldiers raped and tortured children, executed civilians and attacked without distinguishing between civilians and combatants.”
* Speaking of Russia: “Military-aged men fled Russia in droves Friday, filling planes and causing traffic jams at border crossings to avoid being rounded up to fight in Ukraine following the Kremlin’s partial military mobilization. Queues stretching for 10 kilometers (6 miles) formed on a road leading to the southern border with Georgia, according to Yandex Maps, a Russian online map service.”
* Staged voting is not, of course, actual voting: “A Kremlin-orchestrated referendum got underway Friday in occupied regions of Ukraine that sought to make them part of Russia, with some officials carrying ballots to apartment blocks accompanied by gun-toting police. Kyiv and the West condemned it as a rigged election whose result was preordained by Moscow.”
* A relationship worth watching: “India’s initial reluctance to condemn Russia for its war against Ukraine has been the subject of much debate and criticism in the West. ... A deeper look at Indian actions, however, suggests an altogether different reality. India is not backing Russia’s invasion, nor is it simply balancing between two major powers. Instead, a subtle but major shift is underway: India’s slow but inevitable decoupling from Russia.”
* Puerto Rico: “President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs of Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Fiona for the next month.”
* A worthwhile brief: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other high-profile Democrats filed an amicus brief in Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County v. Talevski [on] Friday, the case barreling towards oral arguments that could leave beneficiaries of major programs like Medicaid with little recourse should states neglect their care.”
* This suit has promise: “A Florida legislator has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state officials, challenging the legality of the state’s use of public funds to fly nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week.”
* Public safety package passes: “The House passed a package of police funding and public safety bills Thursday, legislation that will help vulnerable Democrats blunt GOP campaign attacks that they want to ‘defund the police’ and are ignoring rising crime.”
* Timothy Hale-Cusanelli: “A Jan. 6 rioter who has dressed up as Adolf Hitler and held a security clearance was sentenced to four years in federal prison Thursday.”
* Gaetz case: “Career prosecutors have recommended against charging Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in a long-running sex-trafficking investigation — telling Justice Department superiors that a conviction is unlikely in part because of credibility questions with the two central witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter.”
* Jan. 6 investigation: “A federal judge in Arizona ruled Thursday that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol can see the phone records of Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward and her husband.”
* James O’Keefe’s bad day: “A jury in a federal civil case on Thursday found that Project Veritas, a conservative group known for its deceptive tactics, had violated wiretapping laws and fraudulently misrepresented itself as part of a lengthy sting operation against Democratic political consultants. The jury awarded the consulting firm, Democracy Partners, $120,000.”
* Pillow Guy’s troubles: “Mike Lindell, the My Pillow Inc. chief executive and ally to former President Donald Trump, is under U.S. federal investigation for identity theft and for conspiring to damage a protected computer connected to a suspected voting equipment security breach in Colorado.”
Have a safe weekend.