First Thing: Prince Harry claims physical attack by brother William in new book | US news

Good morning.

In his highly anticipated autobiography, Spare, Prince Harry recounts what he says was a physical attack by his brother, William, now Prince of Wales, as their relationship fell apart over the younger prince’s marriage to the actor Meghan Markle.

Describing a confrontation at his London home in 2019, Harry says William called Meghan “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”, which Harry calls a “parrot[ing of] the press narrative” about his American wife.

The confrontation escalated, Harry claims, until William “grabbed me by the collar, ripped my necklace, and … knocked me to the floor”.

The extraordinary scene, which Harry claims resulted in visible injury to his back, is one of many in Spare, which will be published worldwide next week and is likely to spark a serious furore for the British royal family.

Amid stringent pre-launch security around the book, the Guardian obtained a copy.

  • What did Harry say happened during the attack? He writes that he offered his brother a glass of water. “He put down the water, called me another name, then came to me. It all happened so fast. So very fast. He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor. I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out,” Harry writes.

House adjourns as speakership evades McCarthy even after sixth vote

Kevin McCarthy speaks to the media as he leaves the House chamber during the second day of elections for speaker of the House. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The House remained paralyzed yesterday, after the Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed for the sixth time to capture the speaker’s gavel as his critics stood firm in their opposition to his candidacy. After the House adjourned for a few hours, McCarthy and his allies went into negotiations with the Republican holdouts without a clear path forward to end the standoff, then pushed back a seventh vote on the House leadership until today.

The House held a total of three inconclusive votes in the speakership election on Wednesday, mirroring the three votes held a day earlier. Across all six ballots, no speaker candidate successfully captured the 218 votes expected to be needed for a victory. The stalemate marked the first time in a century that a House speaker was not chosen in the initial vote. After the sixth vote on Wednesday evening, the House moved to adjourn until at least 8pm ET, giving Republicans more time to reach a solution, then pushed back the deadline again, voting to adjourn until noon the following day.

“It looks messy,” said congressman Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, in a speech nominating McCarthy for speaker on Wednesday, “but democracy is messy.”

  • What’s happening in the House while this is going on? All House business, including the swearing-in of new members, has come to a halt until the speakership is determined. The continued stalemate has infused even routine votes, like the vote on whether to adjourn the House until today, with unusual drama. There was shouting, arguments and confusion on the floor of the House last night.

Alarm as US states pass ‘very concerning’ anti-homeless laws

An unhoused person in Los Angeles.
An unhoused person in Los Angeles. Photograph: David Swanson/AFP/Getty Images

Alarm is growing as numerous anti-homeless laws are being passed across the US as funding for social services is widely reduced, raising welfare concerns among advocates for the homeless.

In Missouri, a new state law that took effect on January 1 makes it a crime for any person to sleep on state property. For homeless people, sleeping in public parks or under city highways could mean up to $750 in fines or 15 days in prison for multiple offenses.

Homelessness advocates have denounced the law, claiming that it unfairly targets Missouri’s homeless population. The law was signed by Missouri’s governor, Mike Parson, last June.

“We are absolutely hearing that law enforcement is using this new law that’s coming as a reason to displace people already,” said Sarah Owsley, advocacy director for the non-profit Empower Missouri, to St. Louis Public Radio, days before the law went into effect. .

A swath of people opposed the Republican-backed measure, including Parson’s appointed department of mental health director, Valerie Huhn, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

  • What else is happening across the country? Other cities and local municipalities in America have also passed measures targeting homeless individuals, through criminal consequences or forced hospitalization. Cities across the country have also seen a backlash to attempts by officials to remove homeless encampments or limit where homeless people can camp.

In other news…

William
William ‘Rick’ Singer was the kingpin of the nationwide college admissions cheating scheme. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters
  • The mastermind of the nationwide college admissions bribery scheme was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison yesterday. Rick Singer ensnared celebrities, prominent businessmen and other parents who used their wealth and privilege to buy their kids’ way into top-tier schools.

  • Apple has quietly launched a catalog of books narrated by artificial intelligence in a move that may mark the beginning of the end for human narrators. The strategy marks an attempt to increase the lucrative and fast-growing audiobook market.

  • An estimated 5,000 people – many of them Spaniards but also hailing from Italy and Holland – descended on a small Spanish village for a six-day rave. The illegal rave began on Friday, choking off traffic and leaving pulsating beats wafting over the nearby village of La Peza.

  • Iran has summoned the French ambassador over the publication of caricatures of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The weekly magazine published dozens of cartoons ridiculing high profile figures in support of the protest movement that began in Iran last September.

  • An estimated 100,000 Catholics have descended on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican for the funeral of the former Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict died on Saturday, aged 95, almost a decade after becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign.

Stat of the day: Number of populist world leaders at a 20-year low

A defeated Jair Bolsonaro (center) looks to his supporters in December, after losing the Brazilian presidential election.
A defeated Jair Bolsonaro (center) looks to his supporters in December, after losing the Brazilian presidential election. Photograph: Sergio Lima/Poder360/AFP/Getty Images

The number of populist leaders around the world has fallen to a 20-year low after a series of victories for progressives and centrists over the past year, according to analysis from the Tony Blair Institute showing the number of people living under populist rule has fallen by 800,000 in two years. The report says 1.7 billion people were living under a populist leader at the beginning of 2023, compared with 2.5 billion in 2020. The research claims 2023 could be an equally decisive year for populism, with critical elections in Turkey and Poland. Those two elections could result in the fall of two of the most influential populist governments in the world.

Don’t miss this: The $500m Romeo and Juliet case opens a new frontier for #MeToo reckoning

Franco Zeffirelli directing Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting in Romeo and Juliet.
Franco Zeffirelli directing Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting in Romeo and Juliet. Photograph: REX Shutterstock

Just when the #MeToo movement seemed to be getting marginalized in just the way activists had feared, a new frontier has opened up – history. The question of informed consent on the set of Franco Zeffirelli’s movie version of Romeo and Juliet in 1968 has revived the historical abuse argument after the stars Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who were 16 and 15 at the time, filed a lawsuit accusing Paramount of sexual exploitation. There may be other movie sets and productions where people are not in a forgiving mood and studio chiefs will be terrified of legal market forces driving new legislation. A lot is riding on the Romeo and Juliet lawsuit, writes Peter Bradshaw.

… Or this: ‘I saw it was over’: the boy who tried to escape the war in Ukraine via Russia

David (who did not wish to give his last name) is one of many Ukrainian children believed to have been deported and sent to Russia unaccompanied.  Ukraine
David (who did not wish to give his last name) is one of many Ukrainian children believed to have been deported and sent to Russia unaccompanied. Photograph: Instagram

David, who did not wish to give his last name, spent eight months living in a Russian children’s home after boarding a bus in Mariupol when Ukraine was invaded. He was only able to get out thanks to a huge effort by his former youth club leaders, who had evacuated to Kyiv on the second day of the war, and a secret network of Russian volunteers, who have been operating in the shadows to help deported Ukrainians leave Russia. David, who was 16 when he arrived in Russia, is one of thousands of Ukrainian children believed to have been deported and sent unaccompanied to Russia.

Climate check: US government approves the use of the world’s first vaccine for honeybees

Bees making honey near Lake Van, Turkey.
Bees making honey near Lake Van, Turkey. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The world’s first vaccine for honeybees has been approved for use by the US government, raising hopes of a new weapon against diseases that routinely ravage colonies. The conditional license is for a vaccine to help protect honeybees from American foulbrood disease. The US is unusually dependent upon managed honeybee colonies to prop up its food pollination of everything from almonds to blueberries. This is because many wild bee species are in alarming decline, due to habitat loss, pesticide use and the climate crisis, fueling concerns around a global crisis that threatens ecosystems and human food security and health.

Last Thing: Teen pilot makes emergency landing on Route 66

A Piper PA-28 light aircraft
A Piper PA-28 light aircraft, the same model that teenage pilot Brock Peters landed on Route 66 in California after its engine stalled. Photograph: cmtransport/Alamy

It was supposed to be a holiday treat: a teenage pilot taking his grandmother and two cousins ​​on a short Monday morning flight across southern California. Then, with the family cruising 5,500ft in the air, the plane’s engine suddenly failed. Brock Peters, 18, who had received his pilot’s license just four months earlier, said he heard a “boom” from the engine and “immediately after that” he lost all his engine power. The teenager’s emergency landing on a quiet stretch of one of the most famous highways in the US, Historic Route 66, made headlines across the country. And Peters said his message to others is simple: “Stay calm, remember your training and trust in God.”

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