- The U.S. Census Bureau reported a (very specific) total U.S. population of 331,449,281 in 2020. That’s only a 7.4% increase from 2010 to 2020—the slowest growth rate since the 1930s—thanks to a declining birth rate and flattening immigration rates.
- Six states will gain congressional seats (CO, FL, MT, OR, NC, and TX), and six states will lose seats (CA, NY, PA, OH, IL, MI, and WV).
- The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is establishing a new “Foreign Malign Influence Center” to serve as a hub for government agencies tracking and fighting meddling by Russia, China, and Iran—among others—in U.S. elections and activities.
- Russian prosecutors ordered all public activity by Alexey Navalny’s political groups—including protests and referendums—to stop immediately, effectively silencing the country’s only real opposition movement (and probably giving Navalny and his supporters new motivation for their plight).
- Czech President Milos Zeman walked back his country’s accusation that Russian intelligence agents caused the 2014 explosions at munitions depots in Vrbetice, saying that was only one of two explanations for the blasts—the other being negligent handling of explosives. (That said, the two Vrbetice blasts happened 48 days apart, which one would think should be enough time to correct handling protocol after a major disaster.)
- Romania became the latest EU country to evict a Russian diplomat: it declared Russia’s deputy military attache persona non grata because “his activities and actions contravene the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969” (i.e., he was spying).
- Meanwhile, China said it would step up anti-espionage activities after observing “intensified infiltration into China.” It announced new regulations that task various entities—including “social groups, enterprises, and public institutions”—with monitoring and reporting on foreigners.
- U.S. conservatives are pouncing on a piece of the newly-leaked audio recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in which Zarif says that former U.S. SecState John Kerry told him that Israel attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times. Kerry denied sharing any info on Israeli strikes with Zarif.
- Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual UK-Iranian citizen who was released from house arrest last month, was sentenced to another year (unclear if that means prison or house arrest) and a travel ban on new charges related to “propaganda activities.” Her husband says Iran is using her as a “bargaining chip.”
- An armed drone boat—likely piloted remotely by Houthis—targeted the Saudi port of Yanbu earlier today. Saudi says it intercepted and destroyed the boat, but local reports suggest it exploded first and damaged commercial vessels in the process.
- Chad’s new military leadership named a civilian politician and ally of late Pres. Deby, Albert Pahami Padacke, as its PM. Opposition leaders came out of the woodwork to reject Padacke’s nomination as a continuation of Deby’s autocratic rule.
- The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is mulling a proposal to send 2,500 to 3,000 troops from its 16 member nations to Mozambique to fight extremists in Cabo Delgado. SADC leaders are meeting on Thursday in Maputo to discuss. Mozambique’s Pres. Nyusi has complicated similar recent offers for help by tacking on unreasonable demands; he may do that again this time.