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What We’re Watching: Navalny poisoning confirmed, Israel-Hamas truce, Japan PM hopefuls

Germany confirms Russian dissident was poisoned: German lab tests have verified that Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, a defiant critic of Vladimir Putin, was recently poisoned with Novichok, the same Soviet-era nerve agent used in 2018 in the UK against former KGB spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, both of whom survived. After Germany asked Russia for an explanation, the Kremlin (as expected) brushed off the allegations and demanded that Berlin share information about the case. The use of Novichok, a rare and highly specialized poison, suggests some level of state involvement in the attempted killing, but Putin has so far declined to comment publicly on the poisoning.

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What We’re Watching: Wisconsin riots turn deadly, COVID-19 spreads in Gaza, Xinjiang (still) on lockdown

Chaos and anti-racism riots in Wisconsin: A white teenager was arrested Wednesday on murder charges a day after killing at least one of two people shot dead amid street protests over the police shooting of an unarmed Black man in the US city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Also on Wednesday, the NBA postponed several playoff basketball games after players for the Milwaukee Bucks, Wisconsin's home team, went on strike to protest racial injustice. Although the exact details are still unclear, the two killings occurred after a group of armed civilians — which police described as vigilante militia groups — clashed with protesters once police had cleared the area to enforce a curfew. The protests were sparked by the case of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, who has been left paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back by a white police officer on Sunday. We're watching to see if the protests and riots spread to other parts of the country as was the case back in June, when the killing of George Floyd (also a Black man) by a white police officer in Minneapolis ushered in a wave of mass rallies calling for a national reckoning on racial justice and police brutality, including proposals to reform the police itself in many US cities (and around the world, too). The unrest in Kenosha also takes place as the US presidential election campaign ramps up — President Trump will likely push his tough law-and-order approach to dealing with violent protesters to draw a contrast with his opponent Joe Biden, whom Trump wants to portray as soft on crime.

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