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February 2, 2023

UKRAINE | U.S. ECONOMY | GUNS AND CRIME | CALIFORNIA | WEATHER FORECAST | U.S. AND PHILIPPINES | NORTH KOREA | ISRAEL AND GAZA | IRAN | PERU | ISRAELI POLITICS | YEMEN | EUROPEAN ECONOMIES | TECH EARNINGS | NFL | MUSIC | TODAY IN HISTORY

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UKRAINE | Today is day 343 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Reports say at least three people were killed and 20 others wounded late last night in a Russian missile attack that destroyed an apartment building and damaged seven others in the city of Kramatorsk in the eastern Donetsk province. [more]
  • Top E.U. officials, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, arrived in Kyiv today ahead of a summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky scheduled for tomorrow. [more]
  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said today that Russia appears to be massing thousands of troops to take part in a major new offensive in eastern Ukraine that could take place as early as February 24 to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the invasion last year. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | As expected, the Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point increase in its key interest rate yesterday. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that while U.S. inflation is still an issue, “We can now say … that the disinflationary process has started.” [more]

GUNS AND CRIME | The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives yesterday released the most expansive federal report in over two decades on the criminal use of firearms and the diversion of firearms to illegal markets. Among other things, the National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment report notes shorter times between when a gun is purchased legally and its recovery from a crime scene, increased use of conversion devices that make a semiautomatic gun fire like a machine gun, and significant growth in the number of new guns overall in the United States. [announcement] [full report] [more]

CALIFORNIA | A judge in Shasta County, California, ruled yesterday that utility company Pacific Gas & Electric will face manslaughter charges related to its alleged role in starting the September 2020 Zogg Fire that destroyed more than 200 homes and killed four people. [more]

WEATHER FORECAST | At Pennsylvania’s famous Groundhog Day event, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today after emerging from his burrow — signaling, according to tradition, an additional six weeks of winter. [more]

U.S. AND PHILIPPINES | The United States and the Philippines jointly announced plans today to expand the U.S. military presence in the Southeast Asian nation as part of an expedited implementation of their Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. [more]

NORTH KOREA | In a statement today, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that the expansion of U.S.-South Korean military exercises is raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and warned that the North is prepared to counter military challenges with “overwhelming nuclear force.” [more]

ISRAEL AND GAZA | Following a rocket being fired at Israel by Palestinian militants last night, Israeli warplanes targeted what officials say were a rocket production workshop and a storage facility in the Gaza Strip early this morning. There have been no reports of casualties associated with either attack. [more]

IRAN | Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations published a letter today in which he blamed Israel for a drone attack that hit a military workshop in the central Iranian city of Isfahan last weekend and said that Iran reserves the right to retaliate for the attack. [more]

PERU | Amidst continuing protests following the impeachment and removal from office of former President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s Congress yesterday rejected a proposal from President Dina Boluarte to hold early elections later this year. Reports say different proposals on holding early elections are expected to be considered in the coming weeks. [more]

ISRAELI POLITICS | In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, Israel’s attorney general told Netanyahu that he risks conflicts of interest in his ongoing corruption trial by being involved in attempts to make changes to the country’s judicial system or by directing others to advance such changes. [more]

YEMEN | New reports say French special forces seized thousands of assault rifles, machine guns, and anti-tank missiles from a ship in the Gulf of Oman in January that are thought to have been shipped from Iran to Yemen’s Houthi rebel forces. [more]

EUROPEAN ECONOMIES | Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England are widely expected to announce half-point interest rate increases today in continuing efforts to battle high inflation. [more]

TECH EARNINGS | Facebook parent company Meta yesterday announced fourth-quarter 2022 earnings of $4.65 billion, or $1.76 per share on higher-than-expected revenue of $32.17 billion, and announced a $40 billion stock buyback plan. For all of 2002, the company had its first-ever year-over-year decline in revenue, which was down 1% from 2021. [more]

NFL | Quarterback Tom Brady, 45, announced his retirement from football yesterday, ending his 23-year career as the National Football League’s career leader in, among other things, passing yards, touchdowns, regular-season wins, Super Bowl appearances and wins, and playoff games and wins. [more]

MUSIC | Nominees for 2023 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame have been announced, including: Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Iron Maiden, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, The Spinners, A Tribe Called Quest, The White Stripes, and Warren Zevon. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1990, South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted the 30-year ban on the African National Congress, resulting in the release from prison of Nelson Mandela and marking the beginning of the end of apartheid. [more history]

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