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Steve Bannon, Aleksei Navalny, Algorithm Bias: Your Friday Briefing

2020-08-21 05:07:02

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Good morning.

We’re covering the suspected poisoning of Russia’s opposition leader, the arrest of Steve Bannon on charges of fraud and the future of our abandoned offices.

Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former strategist, was charged on Thursday with defrauding donors in a scheme tied to building Mr. Trump’s wall on the Mexican border.

Aleksei Navalny, Russia’s best known and fiercest critic of President Vladimir V. Putin, was reported to be in serious but stable condition in a Siberian hospital as speculation that he had been poisoned mounted.

His doctor and fellow activist Anastasia Vasilyeva was denied access to Mr. Navalny’s medical records and the intensive care ward at the hospital in Omsk, Russia, where he was being treated after falling so violently ill on a flight to Moscow that the plane made an emergency landing.

A Berlin-based movie producer, Jaka Bizilj, said his foundation was flying an air ambulance to Omsk and hoped to bring Mr. Navalny back for treatment. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Emmanuel Macron of France offered medical help and possible asylum. “What urgently needs to be clarified is how this situation came about,” Ms. Merkel said.

A pattern: Mr. Navalny is the latest in a long line of Kremlin opponents to be suddenly afflicted by bizarre and sometimes fatal medical emergencies — often after drinking tea, which Mr. Navalny had done at the airport before his flight.

Fog of disinformation: The state-owned news agency Tass said that Mr. Navalny could have “taken something himself” before boarding the plane. Pro-Kremlin news outlets pumped out other apparently fictitious alternatives: a drug overdose; heavy drinking the night before; the side effects of anti-depressants; a botched medical treatment in the West.

Cook: Samin Nosrat’s sabudana khichdi, a savory tapioca dish with creamy potato and cumin seeds, is the perfect comfort food.


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