Dec 25, 2017

Russian opposition leader barred from presidential race

Alexei Navalny (center) at a 2016 march in Moscow marking the one-year anniversary of the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

Russia's Central Electoral Commission has barred opposition leader Alexei Navalny from running in March's presidential election against Russian President Vladimir Putin, per the BBC. Navalny was convicted of embezzlement earlier this year after a 2013 verdict on the same charges was overturned by the European Court of Human Rights, which determined that he had received an unfair trial.

Why it matters: Navalny is seen as the only person who can credibly challenge Putin, who is running a fourth term as president, in next year's race. After the decision, he called for his supporters to boycott the presidential vote in protest.

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America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.