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FILE PHOTO: Rebel Bamar People's Liberation Army soldiers in full armor marching. April 15, 2023.

Matrix Images / Mar Naw via Reuters Connect

Myanmar’s democratic rebels set terms for talks. Will the Junta engage?

An alliance of fighters loyal to the former democratic government and ethnic minority militias has opened the door to talks with the junta in Myanmar over building a civilian-led federal government. The plan comes just ahead of the three-year anniversary of the coup against Aung San Suu Kyi and her brief democratic experiment, and follows three months of successful rebel offensives to take key border crossings to India, China, and Thailand.

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Law enforcement surround the Mississippi State Capitol

Hard Numbers: Bomb threats rattle state capitols, Egypt expands new desert metropolis, Myanmar junta springs prisoners, poll shows popular Jan. 6th conspiracy theory, “Bladerunner” walks out of jail

6: On Wednesday, six US state capitol buildings were evacuated after a mass email claimed a bomb threat. No bombs were found but the scare comes after a string of incidents in which state and federal representatives have been “swatted” – a kind of harassment in which prank callers tell the police there are emergencies at lawmakers’ homes, causing SWAT teams to be deployed there.
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Volunteer members of Karenni insurgent forces walk in Moe Bye in Kayah State, Myanmar November 12, 2023.


A rebel alliance makes Myanmar’s junta sweat

Yesterday marked one month since the start of Operation 1027, a joint offensive by the Three Brotherhood Alliance ethnic minority rebels in Myanmar that has pushed junta forces out of key border crossings with China. They’ve made common cause against the military junta that took over in 2021 with the People’s Defense Forces, paramilitaries organized by members of the former democratic government — but they face a tough fight to overthrow the regime.

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A general view of damage due to volcanic activity at a golf course, in Grindavik, Iceland Nov. 11, 2023.

RUV/Ragnar Visage/Handout via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Iceland's eruption alert, Scott's campaign ends, Myanmar junta's challenge, Japan's evacuation drill, Aussie's Tuvalu deal, Djibouti's first satellite

12: All eyes are on Iceland as the island nation braces for a volcanic eruption on a 12-mile stretch of the Reykjanes Peninsula. The town of Grindavik, population 3,000, has been evacuated after hundreds of earthquakes rattled the country within 48 hours and amid fears that it could be completely obliterated.

7: Sen. Tim Scott on Sunday suspended his campaign for the presidency just four days after the latest presidential debate in Miami and amid reported fundraising woes. Scott's departure leaves 7 contenders vying for the Republican presidential nomination.

50,000: A Myanmar fighter jet crashed Saturday near the country’s border with Thailand during fighting between military forces and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, who claimed responsibility for downing the plane. The ruling junta, installed after a 2021 coup, says the jet crashed due to a technical problem. The military is battling rebels on numerous fronts, including in Shan State on the border with China, where 50,000 people have fled since an anti-junta offensive was launched last month by three ethnic minority insurgent groups.

200: Japan held a tsunami evacuation drill on Yonaguni, its westernmost island, which sits just 68 miles from Taiwan. In anticipation of that country’s presidential elections in January and amid fears of Chinese aggression, Tokyo twinned the exercise with a drill to help residents respond to any attempt by Beijing to take control of Taiwan. About 200 Yonaguni officials and members of Japan's Self-Defense Force took part in the exercise.

280: Under a new treaty called the Falepili Union, Australia will grant 280 visas per year to residents of the low-lying island nation of Tuvalu, which is at risk from rising seas thanks to the effects of climate change. It marks the first time Australia has offered residency to foreign nationals based on this threat. The treaty also commits Australia to defend Tuvalu from military aggression and obliges Tuvalu to forgo other defense pacts unless it obtains Australia’s prior approval.

1A: In collaboration with engineers at the French Centre Spatial Universitaire de Montpellier, the African Republic of Djibouti launched its first satellite this weekend from the Vandenberg Space Force Base. Djibouti 1A will collect national, real-time data from climatological and seismic stations, including temperature, rainfall, river depth, and hydrometry, to help boost agricultural production and monitor environmental changes.

FILE PHOTO: Voting booths are set up at the Shawnee County Elections Office

Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters

Hard Numbers: The world gets set to vote, Myanmar rebels make gains, Uganda nabs terror boss, Israel’s Cabinet tangles over West Bank taxes, Jury convicts SBF

40: If you love to “get out the vote,” then next year is your time to shine. No fewer than 40 different countries, representing more than 40% of the world’s population and 40% of global GDP, will go to the polls in 2024. Some of the standout elections include those in Taiwan, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, possibly Ukraine, the European Parliament, and the United States.

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Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands behind a glass wall of an enclosure for defendants before a court hearing


Hard Numbers: Gershkovich to remain in Russian prison, Myanmar refugee camp airstrike, Micheal Jordan pumpkin breaks records, fall of the Argentine peso

9: Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter detained by Russian authorities earlier this year, lost his appeal on Tuesday and will remain in a Russian prison until at least Nov. 30. At that point, he will have spent 9 months behind bars for allegations of espionage. Espionage trials in Russia can be lengthy, and the country’s Foreign Ministry says it will not consider a prisoner swap until after a verdict is reached.

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Students from the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., hold hands after getting off a bus to meet their parents at the reunification site following a mass shooting.


Hard Numbers: Nashville school shooting, Rohingya flee to Indonesia, Deutsche disruption, America’s tumbling tolerance, white-collar AI wipeout

6: Six people, including three young children and three adults, were killed on Monday at the Covenant School, a private Christian primary school in Nashville, Tenn. Audrey Hale, a former student, was identified as the shooter. The 28-year-old was shot and killed by police during the attack, the 130th mass shooting in the US this year.

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U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacts to the cheers of his Republican colleagues.


What We’re Watching: Capitol Hill chaos, Putin’s biceps, Myanmar’s ‘vote’

The House speaker fiasco: Day 2

Another day, another letdown for Kevin McCarthy. For a second consecutive day, the Republican stalwart again failed to clinch enough votes from his own caucus to become House speaker, one of the most powerful jobs in US government. After six rounds of voting over two days – and a late-night team huddle on Wednesday in which McCarthy said he was willing to make significant concessions – 20 anti-establishment Republicans still refused to cast their ballot for McCarthy. Though they have some different demands, the broad consensus is that McCarthy is a creature of the swamp, slavish to special interests. What’s more, former President Donald Trump reportedly called on the group of detractors – a ragtag of his most ardent devotees – to “knock it off.” But the group shows no signs of backing down – for now – going so far as to say that Trump should have instead called on McCarthy to withdraw. Resolving the stalemate could still take days or weeks, and whoever prevails will emerge a weak leader with limited ability to control an unruly caucus. The last few days, however, have been a boon for President Joe Biden and the Democrats. Even Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of the QAnon variety, has distanced herself from some far-right members of the GOP by supporting McCarthy’s bid. She said on Wednesday that the current House speaker fiasco “makes the Republican Party look totally inadequate and not prepared to run the country.”

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