Germany has averted a potential coup.
Yesterday, authorities arrested at least 25 people in raids across Germany, Austria, and Italy. Members of a far-right and suspected terrorist group — which was formed over a year ago — reportedly include a former member of parliament, a Russian national, a special forces soldier, and a self-proclaimed prince.
What do they believe?
Apparently inspired by QAnon, the group views Germany as an illegitimate country being run by a “deep state.” Sound familiar? Prosecutors say the group was planning to attack the country’s parliament, overthrow the government, and make Prince Heinrich XIII — aka a D-list aristocrat — the head of state. Their new government would even include a military arm. All in a day's work.
But that never happened.
Nope. Authorities say the plans were in place and that violence would have ensued. They’d apparently even had arms training. Now, the raids are reportedly being described as one of the biggest anti-extremism operations in modern German history. And has some pointing out the potential similarities to the Jan 6 Capitol attack in the US.
The arrests yesterday didn’t happen in a vacuum. They come amid a steady rise in popularity of the far-right in Germany and across Europe, including in Italy, Sweden, and France. Now, Germany is trying to reign in extremism after it's hit a two-decade high with little signs of stopping.
Where things are loosening up…
China. Yesterday, the country rolled back its strict zero-COVID policy. Protests spread across China after many blamed delayed rescue efforts in a deadly apartment fire last month on the country's lockdown rules. Protesters called for an end to the lockdowns and for President Xi Jinping to step down. Last week, local governments in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing began loosening COVID-19 restrictions. Now, it appears that the Communist Party has listened to the protestors' calls, saying the move was in response to people's “strong reaction.” As part of the first official policy change on a national level, the government will allow people to quarantine at home, put limits on lockdowns, and ditch the health QR code that’s been mandatory for entering most public places. Chinese citizens applauded the move apparently saying, “we're going to be free.”
Who’s facing allegations…
NY Attorney General Letitia James (D). Yesterday, a former aide to the AG, Sofia Quintanar, accused James of protecting her alleged harasser. The former aide says that James’s longtime chief of staff, Ibrahim Khan, forcibly kissed her during a political event in 2021. And that the AG didn’t pursue the investigation with the same gusto as she did with former NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) sexual harassment investigation. She also claims that the AG is withholding information about wrongdoing from the public. The AG’s office has confirmed that it conducted an “independent, impartial investigation.” And maintains her office handled the matter “aggressively.” But Republicans are calling for an investigation into how the AGs office handled the claims. Khan has since resigned. While Quintanar says she deserves the “same vindication” as others.
What’s catching our eye…
Lasik surgery. The FDA is reportedly reviewing input on its draft guidance about the vision-correcting surgery. More than 500,000 Americans undergo it every year. And about 90% are happy with the results. But back in July, the agency recommended that patients could be left with double vision, dry eyes, difficulty driving at night, and persistent eye pain. And after all that, patients may still need glasses. The complications with surgery have left some people experiencing severe depression or possibly even suicide. Some say the draft guidance will help make patients more aware of the risks. An org repping surgeons and medical device manufacturers say the FDA is overstepping in regulating medicine itself. Next up: the FDA is reviewing input before issuing a final report.
Who’s dealing with Something…
Arielle Charnas. Yesterday, the influencer and Something Navy founder shut down rumors that her husband was embezzling funds from the fashion company. Oh, and also that they’re getting a divorce. Charnas has had her fair share of scandals, like her handling of COVID-19. Now, a rep for Charnas says discussions around her marriage are all just rumors and that the influencer is “happily married and in love.” Something Navy’s CEO has also denied embezzlement allegations.
Where employees are saying ‘read the fine print’…
The New York Times. Today, more than 1,100 employees are expected to walk out as part of a 24-hour strike. The newspaper and its union had been negotiating new contracts for more than a year and a half. But failed to meet the Dec 8 deadline for a new contract that included changes to salaries and benefits. It’s the first NYT strike in decades.
Who’s got bad blood…
While Lana Del Rey’s getting her turn after “Snow on the Beach”...
The Weeknd’s giving us strength.
While Wordle was the search of the year...
Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the person.
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