REUTERS WORLD NEWS: Hundreds of Missing Syrians, Putin Orders Security Tightening, China Covid Surge has World Worrying, Crypto Exchange Secrecy, More

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Reuters

The Reuters Daily Briefing

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

by Judith Langowski

Hello

Here’s what you need to know.

Hundreds of death certificates show fate of missing Syrians, China’s Covid surge sparks global concern, and crypto exchange Binance lacks transparency.

Today’s biggest stories

People take part in a sit-in protest organized by Syrian activists, calling for the release of political detainees after an amnesty decree by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Berlin, Germany, May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Mang

People take part in a sit-in protest organized by Syrian activists, calling for the release of political detainees after an amnesty decree by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Berlin, Germany, May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Mang

WORLD

The war in Syria has killed over 350,000 people and forced millions to flee. Tens of thousands are estimated to have been held in government detention centers, with their whereabouts unknown. Reuters has been given access to death certificates by a rights group revealing the fates of 547 missing Syrians, some of them children. Read the exclusive here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Security Services FSB to step up surveillance of Russian society and the borders. He also made one of his clearest public admissions yet that his invasion is not going to plan, saying the situation in four areas of Ukraine that Moscow has unilaterally declared part of Russia was proving “extremely difficult”.

Here are the latest news from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

EU energy ministers agreed on a gas price gap, which triggers starting February 15 if prices exceed exceed 180 euros ($191.11) per megawatt hour for three days on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF). This emergency measure seeks to tame the energy crisis.

Cities across China scrambled to install hospital beds and build fever screening clinics as authorities reported five more deaths and international concern grew about Beijing’s surprise decision to let the virus run free. New analyses by various modeling groups predict the reopening could result in as many as 2.1 million deaths.

The U.N. COP 15 summit on biodiversity culminated on Monday with a global deal to protect the ecosystems and prevent further loss of plant and animal ecosystems. Here are the key takeaways from the summit hosted in Montréal, Canada.

Up to 100,000 nurses in Britain went on strike for the second time this month, and their union threatened to escalate a dispute over pay by setting out further strike days if the government does not respond to its demands within 48 hours.

Irmgard Furchner, a 97-year-old woman who worked as a secretary in Stutthof, a Nazi concentration camp, was convicted for her role in the murder of more than 10,500 people, in what could be one of the country’s last trials for World War Two crimes.

A group of migrants turn themselves into Border Patrol after wading across the Rio Grande as U.S. border cities brace for an influx of asylum seekers when COVID-era Title 42 migration restrictions are set to end, in Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S. December 18, 2022. REUTERS/Jordan Vonderhaar

A group of migrants turn themselves in to Border Patrol after wading across the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S. December 18, 2022. REUTERS/Jordan Vonderhaar

U.S.

President Joe Biden discussed migration with Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso, as the White House is required this week to lift the public health-related restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border, known as Title 42. The policy, implemented in March 2020, allows border officials to rapidly expel migrants without a chance to seek asylum. A Supreme Court order sides with Republicans, saying the restrictions should be kept in place.

The U.S. Capitol riot panel, probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, asked federal prosecutors to charge Donald Trump with four crimes, including obstruction and insurrection, for his role in sparking the deadly riot. This is the first time in history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution.

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern California, United States Geological Survey said, 12 kilometers west-southwest of Ferndale, California, which is 261 miles (420 km) north of San Francisco.

Thousands of striking academic workers began voting on whether to ratify a deal with the University of California and end a 5-week-old walkout that unions say is the biggest work stoppage ever at a U.S. institution of higher education.

A panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said the White House could not require federal contractors to ensure that their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of government contracts.

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and two other sexual assault counts by a Los Angeles jury, making this his second conviction.

Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, attends the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, attends the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France. June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

BUSINESS

After the collapse of its rival FTX, the world’s biggest crypto exchange Binance promised it would “lead by example” in transparency. But a Reuters Special Report shows that the core of the business remains mostly hidden. Get weekly crypto insights with the Reuters Crypto Wire newsletter here.

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried has decided to agree to be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday, just hours after the FTX founder’s lawyer told a Bahamas judge he was not ready to consent.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a longtime critic of Tesla boss Elon Musk, raised concerns in a letter to Tesla’s board chair that the automaker’s board had failed to address the risks posed by his role as CEO of Twitter.

The rouble slumped to its weakest point in more than seven months against the dollar on Monday and was on course for its biggest single-day drop since July amid fears that sanctions on Russian oil will hit the country’s export revenue.

The Bank of Japan shocked markets on Tuesday with a surprise tweak to its bond yield control that allows long-term interest rates to rise more, a move aimed at easing some of the costs of prolonged monetary stimulus. Investors had expected no changes to its yield curve control until Governor Haruhiko Kuroda steps down in April. Sign up for Morning Bid, our early outlook on the markets, here.

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