MORNING COFFEE: Judge rules I-1639 gun control initiative constitutional, Putin opponent poisoned, and airplane-sized asteroid comes close to Earth
Washington’s voter-approved semiautomatic rifle restrictions constitutional, judge rules
A law restricting the sale of semi-automatic rifles approved by voters in 2018 is constitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday. U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton rejected the challenge to Initiative 1639 filed by gun rights groups and some gun dealers. The initiative’s provisions that restrict the sale of those rifles to those at least 21 and prohibit sales to out-of-state buyers don’t place unreasonable restrictions on the Second Amendment, he ruled. Restrictions on the age to buy, possess and use firearms have existed for more than a century, Leighton said, and Washington already restricted the sale of handguns to those younger than 21 before the initiative passed. Click here for the full story.
Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent ‘To silence him,’ Merkel says
Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a variant of Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent, according to tests carried out by a German military laboratory. A German government spokesman says the evidence is “without a doubt.” Navalny “is the victim of a crime that intended to silence him,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a news conference Wednesday about the findings. The crime, she said, was an “attempted murder.” Novichok is the same nerve agent used to poison former KGB spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in a 2018 attack in Britain that Western nations have blamed on Moscow. Click here for the full story.
Video shows students being dragged away and loaded onto police vans in Minsk
Authorities in Belarus have instigated a harsh crackdown on student protesters after thousands demonstrated against the government Tuesday, according to a local human rights group. Videos shared on social media showed young people in Minsk being struck by masked police officers, dragged away and loaded into vans as their peers look on. The detentions followed major protests by the young in the Belarusian capital, with around 3,000 to 5,000 students marching to the city’s Independence Square on Tuesday, according to Human Rights watchdog Viasna 96. Click here for the full story.
An airplane-size asteroid gives Earth a close shave
An asteroid the size of a jumbo jet will have a close encounter with Earth today (Sept. 1), zooming past our planet at about one-third the average distance to the moon.
Asteroid 2011 ES4 will make its closest approach today at 12:12 p.m. EDT (1612 GMT), according to NASA. At that time, it will be about 75,400 miles (121,000 kilometers) from Earth. Because the object’s orbit isn’t well known, it could pass even closer than that, at a distance of just 45,400 miles (73,000 km), NASA added. Click here for the full story.