Representatives of Ethiopia’s government have reached a deal to permanently halt hostilities against people in the northern Tigray region. The peace deal announced Wednesday capped a week of African Union-mediated talks in South Africa aimed at bringing an end to a two-year-old war that’s sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo led the negotiations.
Olusegun Obasanjo: “The two parties in the Ethiopian conflict have formally agreed to the cessation of hostilities, as well as to systematic, orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament.”
All parties to the Tigray War have been accused of war crimes. The peace talks did not include Eritrea, whose forces joined Ethiopia’s assault on Tigray. Eritrean troops have been accused of massacring hundreds of civilians and other war crimes, including widespread rape, sexual assault and looting. The United Nations says 5.2 million people in Tigray are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. By some estimates, up to 800,000 people have died as a result of the war, which erupted exactly two years ago today.
In Ukraine, the Zaporizhzia nuclear power plant has again lost its connection to the power grid after fighting damaged high-voltage lines. Ukraine’s national nuclear operator blamed Russia for the outage and said the plant has once again had to rely on backup diesel generators to prevent a radiation disaster.
The U.N. Security Council has rejected a Russian bid to order an investigation into unsubstantiated claims Ukraine and the U.S. are carrying out “military biological” operations in violation of an international convention. Only China sided with Russia in approving the resolution on Wednesday, with other Security Council members voting against or abstaining. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top diplomats from the G7 are meeting in Germany today to discuss support for Ukraine.
The Pentagon has confirmed active-duty U.S. military are deployed inside Ukraine and have “resumed on-site inspections to assess weapon stocks.” This is Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder.
Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder: “My understanding is they would be well far away from any type of frontline actions. We are relying on the Ukrainians to do that. We’re relying on other partners to do that. … We’ve been very clear there are no combat forces in Ukraine, no U.S. forces conducting combat operations in Ukraine. These are personnel that are assigned to conduct security cooperation and assistance as part of the Defense Attaché Office.”
On Wednesday, the U.N. said some 14 million people have now been forcibly displaced since the February Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it “the fastest and largest displacement witnessed in decades.”
In Washington, D.C., a witness testified Wednesday that the head of the far-right Oath Keepers militia tried to contact then-President Trump four days after the January 6 Capitol riot to tell him it was not too late to use paramilitary violence to remain in power. Military veteran Jason Alpers told a federal jury he never delivered the message from Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. Instead, Alpers says he warned the FBI about Rhodes’s threats of violence. Jurors also heard audio of Stewart Rhodes declaring that on January 6, “we should have brought rifles.” Rhodes also said he would have killed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He’s expected to testify today in the trial.
With less than a week to go before midterm elections, President Biden warned political violence and lying politicians pose a growing threat to democracy and are putting the United States on a “path to chaos.”
President Joe Biden: “This intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisan officials just doing their jobs are the consequence of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol, and even violence. In this moment, we have to confront those lies with the truth. The very future of our nation depends on it.”
In his primetime speech from Union Station Wednesday, Biden refused to name Donald Trump but said the former president’s lies about the 2020 election results led to violence against election workers and tragic events like the January 6 insurrection and the attack last week on Paul Pelosi, the spouse of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to The New York Times, over 370 Republican candidates in the midterm elections have questioned or denied the outcome of the 2020 election.
New emails shared with the House committee investigating the insurrection reveal Trump’s legal team saw Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as their “only chance” to help overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss. The former president’s lawyers wanted to orchestrate events so Thomas would be in a position to cast doubt on Georgia’s vote count before Congress proceeded to record electoral votes on January 6. The plan had the support of Trump lawyer John Eastman, who also warned Trump against lying about having evidence of voter fraud in Georgia. “I have no doubt that an aggressive DA or US Atty someplace will go after both the President and his lawyers once all the dust settles on this,” Eastman wrote.
In Wisconsin, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels threatened permanent GOP rule if he wins his election.
Tim Michels: “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor.”
Michels made the remark during a campaign rally Monday, raising fears he would further crack down on voting rights in the swing state, which has been heavily gerrymandered to favor Republicans and is already governed by a Republican legislature. Conservative Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced hundreds of bills this year restricting voting rights. Incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers tweeted in response, “Tim Michels is a danger to our democracy. When you head to the polls on Election Day, remember that we’re fighting to protect our democracy, voting rights, and free, fair, and secure elections.”
Federal prosecutors have granted immunity to a close associate of former President Trump in exchange for his testimony. Kash Patel will appear before a federal grand jury to answer questions about Trump’s mishandling of classified documents, after the FBI recovered hundreds of records, including many marked “top secret,” when agents carried out a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August. Patel previously claimed Trump declassified the documents when he left the White House.
Meanwhile, top Republican strategists are expecting Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue an indictment of former President Trump within 60 to 90 days after Election Day. That’s according to the newspaper The Hill, which reports an indictment would most likely be for Trump’s violations of the Espionage Act in connection with the Mar-a-Lago documents.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has ordered the sharpest interest rate hikes since the 1980s. On Wednesday, Chair Jerome Powell announced the Fed’s fourth consecutive 0.75-point increase and warned further hikes may be necessary. Powell said the Fed’s overarching goal remains bringing inflation under control, even as he acknowledged the rate increases now look likely to trigger a recession.
Jerome Powell: “My colleagues and I are strongly committed to bringing inflation back down to our 2% goal. We have both the tools that we need and the resolve it will take to restore price stability on behalf of American families and businesses.”
The Fed’s actions have pushed mortgage rates to their highest level in 20 years and threaten to end a period of historically low unemployment. Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO federation of labor unions, said, “Working people should not be the target of lowering inflation — it should be corporations that are earning record profits.”
Israeli troops have killed two Palestinians in separate incidents in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In the West Bank, Israeli troops shot and killed 42-year-old Daoud Mahmoud Khalil Rayan as they raided a home of a man accused of ramming his car into an Israeli soldier. Elsewhere, Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem say they shot and killed a Palestinian man who stabbed a police officer, lightly wounding him.
This comes as Benjamin Netanyahu is set to reclaim his former role as prime minister, after a tally of late results from Israel’s election showed his far-right coalition with a nearly insurmountable lead.
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been shot and injured during a rally in Punjab province. Khan’s supporters say he escaped an assassination attempt but was struck in the leg. Imran Khan was six days into a high-profile journey from Lahore to Islamabad to call on the government to hold a snap election after he was removed from power in April.
In Florida, a judge has sentenced Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cruz killed 17 people in a 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Ahead of Wednesday’s sentencing, survivors and victims’ families were given an opportunity to confront Cruz directly in the courtroom. This is Samantha Fuentes, a former classmate of Cruz and a survivor of the massacre.
Samantha Fuentes: “You were a hateful bigot with an AR-15 and a god complex. You still are, minus the gun. You might have everyone else fooled, but not me, because this is personal. Racism is not a mental illness. Perfectly planned and articulated manifestos and plans are not characteristics of the sickly or the mentally unhinged.”
Samantha Fuentes and other survivors of the attack have become prominent gun control advocates.
In Jackson, Mississippi, federal and state officials have declared the city’s water supply to be in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. This follows a “boil water” advisory across Jackson that lasted nearly seven weeks, after flooding on the Pearl River led to a systemwide failure of the city’s water supply in August. On Monday, hundreds of Jackson residents rallied outside the Governor’s Mansion to hold the state of Mississippi accountable for the water crisis. The protest was led by Bishop William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Bishop William Barber II: “Majority Black and Brown and low-income communities are left to suffer the devastating consequences of crumbling, outdated water infrastructure.”
In Michigan, residents of Flint have asked a judge to intervene once again in their long-running campaign to replace the lead pipes that led to the mass poisoning of the city’s water supply, as well as a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. It’s the fifth time in six years community groups have asked a court to enforce an agreement requiring the city to take action. Melissa Mays, organizer with the group Flint Rising, said, “The people of Flint won’t tolerate any more broken promises from the city, which is under a federal court order to get the lead pipes out of the ground and somehow still can’t get the job done.”