Sunday's world stories

Blumenthal calls classified briefing on Russian interference "absolutely chilling"

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) called on the Trump administration to declassify intelligence detailing Russian efforts to influence the 2020 elections, telling MSNBC on Sunday that the classified briefing lawmakers received about the Kremlin's activities last week was "absolutely chilling."

The big picture: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in a statement Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. China and Iran would prefer that Trump is defeated, according to Evanina.

Aug 9, 2020 - World

Pelosi says election threats from China and Russia are "not equivalent"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the threats posed by China and Russia to U.S. elections are "not equivalent," stressing that "Russia is actively, 24/7, interfering in our election."

Why it matters: Top counterintelligence official William Evanina revealed in a statement on Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. The government of China, meanwhile, prefers that Trump does not win re-election, Evanina said.

Aug 9, 2020 - World

World leaders holding Lebanon aid summit after night of unrest in Beirut

Anti-government protesters at Martyrs' Square on Saturday after the deadly explosion at the Port of Beirut, Lebanon. Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump was due to attend on Sunday an online world leaders summit organized by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations to discuss raising aid for Lebanon following last week's deadly explosion.

The big picture: The talks come after massive protests Saturday night that saw demonstrators storm government ministries and attack the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks, as anger grows over the explosion that killed 158 people and wounded over 6,000 others, per Reuters. At least 728 people were wounded and one officer killed in overnight clashes between police and protesters, Al Jazeera reports. The Lebanese government has blamed poorly stored ammonium nitrate for the blast.

Go deeper: What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Updated Aug 9, 2020 - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.

Ukraine's Zelensky warns citizens not to interfere in U.S. elections

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting in a Parliamentary Hall in Kyiv, Ukraine, in July. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement on his Facebook page Saturday stating that it "is never and under no circumstances acceptable to interfere with another country's sovereign elections."

Why it matters: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday the Russian government had taken action to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before November's election and that a "pro-Russia" Ukrainian lawmaker was "spreading claims about corruption" to "undermine" the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

Venezuelan court sentences 2 former Green Berets to 20 years in prison

Identification cards of people linked to the operation, including Airan Berry. Photo: Miraflores Presidential Palace/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Venezuelan court on Friday sentenced two ex-U.S. special forces soldiers to 20 years in prison for their part in a failed operation to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, AP reports.

Why it matters: The case comes amid heightened tensions between Washington, D.C., and Caracas after the Trump administration last year publicly supported opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has vowed to oust Maduro through a military uprising.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

Security forces and protesters clash in Beirut after devastating explosion

Protesters clashing with security forces in Beirut on Aug. 8. Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters on Saturday who threw stones in Beirut over a massive explosion that devastated the city earlier this week, injuring roughly 6,000 people and leaving nearly 160 dead, AP reports.

Why it matters: Activists say political corruption and negligence are to blame for Tuesday's blast, caused by a store of ammonium nitrate left unsecured near the city's port for more than six years.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

Trump and Macron talk over aid for Lebanon after massive blast

Photo: Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that he and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke over the phone to discuss sending immediate aid to Lebanon following a massive explosion in Beirut this week that killed more than 100 people and injured thousands.

What he's saying: "Had a lengthy discussion this morning with President Macron of France concerning numerous subjects, but in particular the catastrophic event which took place in Beirut, Lebanon..." Trump tweeted.