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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at New Zealand's parliament in Wellington. Photo: Mark Tantrum Photography via Getty Images

New Zealand authorities laid safety violation charges Monday against 10 organizations and three individuals over the fatal Whakaari/White Island volcanic disaster last December, per a statement from the agency WorksSafe.

Details: WorksSafe declined to name those charged as they may seek name suppression in court. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said government agencies GNS Science, which monitors volcanic activity, and the National Emergency Management Agency were among those charged over the "horrific tragedy" that killed 22 people.

The big picture: 47 people were on the island when it erupted, including New Zealanders and tourists from the U.S., Australia, the U.K., China, Germany and Malaysia. All "suffered serious injuries and trauma," WorkSafe Chief Executive Phil Parkes said in a statement.

  • He said they had "the reasonable expectation that there were appropriate systems in place to ensure they made it home healthy and safe."
  • The 10 groups face charges that carry a maximum fine of NZ$1.5 million (US$1.06 million). The trio, charged as directors or individuals required to exercise due diligence on health and safety obligations, face charges with a maximum fine of $300,000. They're all due to appear in the Auckland District Court on Dec. 15.

Of note: Parks stressed that the WorkSafe investigation related to parties taking tourists to the island.

  • It did not focus on the rescue and recovery of victims following the eruption, which may be the subject of other proceedings, such as a coronial inquest.

Go deeper: White Island eruption death toll rises to 22 ahead of 1st anniversary

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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What to know about the private equity firm linked to Tony Blinken

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Expect to begin hearing a lot about private equity firm Pine Island Capital Partners, as its partners include Tony Blinken (Biden's secretary of state nominee, now on leave from Pine Island) and Michèle Flournoy (Biden's possible defense secretary nominee).

What to know: Pine Island was formed in 2018 by former CIT Group and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, former Goldman Sachs buyout big Phil Cooper, and ex-Coca-Cola executive Clyde Tuggle. It focuses on mid-market companies in a variety of sectors, including aerospace and defense.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

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Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.