First Thing: Waukesha Christmas parade driver charged with homicide – The Guardian

Good morning.

A man has been charged with five counts of intentional first-degree homicide after a vehicle was driven into a Christmas parade on Sunday night in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The city’s police chief named him as Darrell E Brooks at an afternoon press conference on Monday. He is accused of killing five people and injuring another 48, including two children who remain in a critical condition.

Daniel Thompson, the police chief, said the suspect was involved in an unspecified domestic disturbance immediately before the parade incident, and that further charges were expected.

Thompson said Brooks “drove right through the barricades” to enter the parade route and raced towards a collision with those entertaining the holiday crowds, including a marching band, a troupe of Dancing Grannies.

  • Was it a terrorist attack? Thompson said there was no evidence the bloodshed on Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect knew anyone in the parade. The suspect had acted alone, the chief said.

  • Who were the victims? Tamara Durant and Jane Coolidge, both 52; Leanna Owens, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Wilhelm Hospel, 82, all died on Sunday.

  • How many are in hospital? At least 10 children remained in intensive care on Monday afternoon, health officials said. Injuries ranged from broken bones to serious head wounds.

Starbucks launches aggressive anti-union effort as upstate New York stores organize

Richard Bensinger, left, and baristas discuss their efforts to unionize three Buffalo-area stores at the movement’s headquarters in New York.
Richard Bensinger, left, and baristas discuss their efforts to unionize three Buffalo-area stores at the movement’s headquarters in New York. Photograph: Carolyn Thompson/AP

Starbucks has launched an aggressive anti-union campaign as six stores in the Buffalo, New York, area have filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in recent weeks. If successful, the stores would be the first Starbucks corporate locations to unionize in the US.

Workers at the coffee chain have reported numerous captive audience meetings, one-on-one talks, store shutdowns, closures, remodelings, and text messages – a mode of contact that was previously used only for emergencies. Dozens of corporate executives have flooded stores with the intent to deter workers from voting to unionize, workers say.

The billionaire former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz visited Buffalo to present a case against unionizing to workers on 6 November and incited criticism for making an analogy to the Holocaust in discussing the company’s mission.

Roger Stone and Alex Jones among five to receive Capitol attack subpoenas

Members of the Oath Keepers militia provide security to Roger Stone at a rally on 5 January.
Members of the Oath Keepers militia provide security to Roger Stone at a rally on 5 January. Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack on Monday issued new subpoenas to five political operatives associated with Donald Trump, including Roger Stone and the far-right radio show host Alex Jones, as the panel deepens its inquiry into the Save America rally that preceded the 6 January insurrection.

The subpoenas demanding documents and testimony expand the select committee’s inquiry focused on the planning and financing of the rally at the Ellipse, by targeting operatives who appear to have had contacts with the Trump White House.

House investigators issued subpoenas to the veteran operatives Stone and Jones, Trump’s spokesperson Taylor Budowich, and the pro-Trump activists Dustin Stockton and his wife, Jennifer Lawrence.

  • Why were they subpoenaed? The chair of the select committee, Bennie Thompson, said the subpoenas aimed to uncover “who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress”.

  • What else are they interested in? They want to know more about Stone’s connection to the Oath Keepers, the militia group he used as his private security detail before several members stormed the Capitol.

Joe Biden intends to run again in 2024, White House confirms

Joe Biden
Joe Biden has been keen to quash rumors of a one-term presidency. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House has said Joe Biden intends to run for re-election in 2024, a statement that comes amid speculation over his future after a dip in his approval rating.

There has been a drop in the president’s polling numbers in recent months, leading some Democrats to speculate he might not seek another four-year term.

“He is. That’s his intention,” said the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, as Biden flew onboard Air Force One for a Thanksgiving event with US troops in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Democrats were rattled by Republican victories in Virginia’s gubernatorial election this month and a narrow Democratic victory in New Jersey.

  • The statement from the White House follows reports that Biden has been reassuring allies of his intentions to run again, and that he is keen to quash rumors of a one-term presidency.

  • Biden will be 15 days short of his 82nd birthday on 5 November 2024. He was already the oldest presidential candidate to be elected as commander-in-chief when he beat Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

In other news…

Kevin Spacey
The ruling says the arbitrators found Kevin Spacey violated his contract’s demands for professional behaviour. Photograph: Steven Senne/AP
  • Kevin Spacey and his production companies must pay the studio behind House of Cards more than $30m because of losses brought on by his firing for alleged sexual misconduct, according to an arbitration decision made final on Monday.

  • At least 45 people including 12 children have died as a bus carrying mostly North Macedonian tourists crashed in flames on a highway in western Bulgaria hours before daybreak today. The tragedy is the most deadly bus accident in the country’s history.

  • For the past few months, small municipalities – many without any standing abortion clinics – such as Lebanon and Mason – have outlawed abortion. Though women in those cities can still travel to get an abortion, the bans send an intimidating message.

  • China’s birthrate has plummeted to its lowest level since 1978 as the government struggles to stave off a looming demographic crisis. The government is under pressure to prevent a potential population decline after decades of interventionist policies and, more recently, high living costs.

Don’t miss this: the female imams taking over an LA mosque

Nurjahan Boulden, Tasneem Noor, and Samia Bano after praying together on November 12, 2021 in Venice, California.
Nurjahan Boulden, Tasneem Noor, and Samia Bano after praying together in Venice, California. Photograph: Anna Boyiazis/The Guardian

In many mosques across the world, women are not even allowed to pray. In some mosques in the US, women may enter but are often forced pray in separate rooms – leading some to call it the “penalty box”. Spiritual leaders that have pushed boundaries – by running mixed congregation or an LGBTQ mosque – have received death threats. But at the Women’s Mosque of America, women are using their sermons to cover previously untouched topics including sexual violence, miscarriage and domestic violence.

Climate check: Want to fight for climate action but feel daunted or powerless? Try this

Insulate Britain activists protest in London, UK
Insulate Britain activists protest in London, UK. Photograph: Belinda Jiao/Sopa/Rex/Shutterstock

For anyone hoping for some optimism about our planet, the recent Cop26 climate summit left much to be desired. The scale of the crisis can make us feel powerless – and individual action may seem like a drop in the ocean where climate change is concerned. But there are ways to use the affiliations we already have – such as with employers, universities, unions or religious groups – to boost our collective voice for change.

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