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Your Monday Briefing: U.S. Senate Passes Major Legislation

todayAugust 7, 2022 2

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The climate provisions, which at nearly $400 billion are the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change, could have global impact. The bill also includes plans to lower the costs of prescription drugs and make the tax code more equitable.

China’s 72-hour spectacle of warships, missiles and fighter jets swarming Taiwan’s borders was meant to smack down international defiance of China’s claim to the democratically governed island nation.

But even if China’s display of military might discourages Western politicians such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from visiting Taiwan, it also narrows the hope of winning over the island through negotiations and increases the risk of conflict.

“The attractiveness of the carrots in China’s Taiwan policy — economic inducements — has now fallen to its lowest point since the end of the Cold War,” said Wu Jieh-min, a political scientist at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan.

In an increasingly democratic Taiwan, few see themselves as future Chinese citizens. Polls show that a vast majority of the country wants some version of the ambiguous status quo, not unification on China’s terms.

History: Taiwan has never been ruled by the Communist Party, but Beijing maintains that it is historically and legally part of Chinese territory. Since the late 1970s, Chinese leaders have tried to coax Taiwan into unification under a “one country, two systems” framework.

Context: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is consumed with worry about perceived threats to his rule and the Communist Party’s control. According to a new textbook that explains Xi’s vision, opponents of China’s claims over Taiwan are “the biggest obstacle to unification of the motherland.”

One person was wounded by shrapnel and three radiation detection monitors were damaged, but a catastrophe was “miraculously avoided,” Ukraine’s nuclear energy company said on Telegram.

Russia, which controls the plant, blamed Ukraine for the attack. Ukraine blamed Russia, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying that the invading nation had become the first in the world “to use a nuclear plant for terror.”

More news from the war in Ukraine:

Kenya holds national elections on Tuesday, but the campaign may already have changed the country’s politics. Voters will decide whether to pick Martha Karua as their first female deputy president, and her candidacy has shifted the focus to women.

Analysts say Karua could convince the undecided that the presidential candidate on her ticket — Raila Odinga, a familiar face in Kenyan politics — could offer something new. Karua is also part of the Kenyan political establishment, but her strong anticorruption track record counts in her favor.

Like other women politicians, she is not immune to gender-based scrutiny. But Karua, a savvy politician, has leaned into it, embracing her role as a grandmother and sewing her own dress on the campaign trail.

Her prominence has put the spotlight on other female candidates, and at least two are running in races for governor. Some have been harassed or intimidated.

“These polls have seen much greater awareness and mainstreaming of women’s participation, in higher numbers and at many more levels,” said Njoki Ngumi, a social commentator who’s part of the Nest Collective, an art collective based in Nairobi.

With a third of Kenyan households headed by women, Ngumi says she hopes the conversation around the election will begin to create an “honest or caring awareness of women’s lived experiences” among Kenyans. —Lynsey Chutel, Briefings writer based in Johannesburg.

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After Rockets Strike Near Nuclear Plant, Ukraine and Russia Trade Blame

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Sunday of imperiling a captured nuclear power plant, saying that a catastrophic radiation leak was “miraculously avoided” after rockets landed on the complex’s grounds. It was the latest threat to Europe’s largest nuclear facility, where fighting in the southern region has prompted fears of a major accident.The rockets fired Saturday evening hit near a dry spent-fuel storage facility containing 174 casks, each with 24 assemblies […]

todayAugust 7, 2022 2