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The Morning Rundown™

North Korea shows Russia its banned ballistic missiles: The Rundown July 27

Jul 27, 2023


North Korea gives Russia a tour of the North’s weaponry that includes the country’s banned ballistic missiles. And Tesla has some competition – as seven automakers join together to form a new company to provide EV charging across the country.  It’s time for The Rundown for Thursday, July 27, 2023.

North Korea shows banned ballistic missiles to Russia

We got our first look at a meeting between Russia’s defense minister and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the two countries look to strengthen their relationship.

Video released by North Korean state media on July 27 shows Sergei Shoigu accompanying Kim to a defense exhibition that featured the North’s banned ballistic missiles.

The defense minister, along with a Chinese delegation, arrived in North Korea this week to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, known in the North as “Victory Day.” 

The nuclear-capable missiles were banned under U.N. Security Resolutions adopted with Russian and Chinese support.

This was the first visit by a Russian defense minister to North Korea since the fall of the Soviet Union – and the first prominent visitors to the North since the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Korean media reports that Shoigu gave Kim a letter from Russian president Vladimir Putin. Kim reportedly thanked Putin for sending the military delegation and said the visit had deepened the “strategic and traditional” relations between North Korea and Russia. 

Hunter Biden’s plea deal on hold, questioned by judge

In a dramatic turn of events, what was seen to be a straightforward plea deal between Hunter Biden and the Department of Justice unraveled in the courtroom on Wednesday.

Federal judge Maryellen Noriega, who is overseeing Hunter Biden’s tax and gun possession case, expressed concerns over the agreement, even questioning the legality over portions of the deal.

The president’s son entered a not guilty plea in court on July 26. Though the deal could still happen, for now both parties have 30 days to address the judge’s concerns before she issues a decision.

Largest grid in U.S. issues hot weather alert

The largest electrical grid in the United States has issued a “level one emergency alert” for July 27, preparing its customers as a heat wave potentially strains the grid. PJM Interconnection LLC serves 13 states along the upper eastern region of the U.S.

Demand is forecast to reach 153,000 megawatts. PJM has a generating capacity of 186,000.

Other parts of the country are facing similar circumstances. The Texas power grid hit a record high on July 18 and has so far avoided rolling blackouts. Arizona also saw power usage at an all-time high this week.

Mitch McConnell freezes at news conference, escorted away

On Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave his colleagues a scare when he froze on July 26, and stopped talking mid-sentence near the top of his weekly news conference.

McConnell was escorted away before returning a few minutes later to answer reporters’ questions. A staffer said the 81-year-old felt “lightheaded” and just needed to step away.

President Biden called McConnell later that evening to make sure he was OK. Four months ago, McConnell fell and suffered a concussion.

Automakers team up for EV charging venture

Seven major automakers are taking a crack at Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle marketplace by forming a new company to provide EV charging in the U.S. The group includes General Motors, Stellantis, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

While these companies make up about half of U.S. vehicle sales, they only occupy a small portion of the EV market. They aim to roll out 30,000 charging stations in North America, starting along major highways and in cities.

The automakers did not specify how much they would invest in this project individually or collectively – for reference, it costs anywhere from less than $100,000 to more than $200,000 to build just one station. Industry executives familiar with the cost of chargers said establishing this venture could cost multiple billions of dollars.

Music world mourns death of Sinead O’Connor

The music world is mourning the death of Irish singer Sinead O’Connor who has died at the age of 56.

O’Connor rose to fame in the 1990s with her version of the Prince song “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

The singer was no stranger to controversy throughout her career, including ripping up a photo of the pope during an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” as a protest to the church’s cover-up of child abuse by clergy.

Musicians from all corners of the industry have come out to share their condolences including Alanis Morisette, Billy Corgan of the band Smashing Pumpkins, and Melissa Etheridge – all calling her passing a tragedy and remembering her talents.

O’Connor’s family released a statement on July 26 expressing their devastation and requesting privacy. A cause of death is unknown.

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