May 19, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 85 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • In the first war crimes trial related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 21-year-old Russian soldier Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin pleaded guilty yesterday in Ukraine to killing a civilian on February 24. [more]
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has registered hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers who took part in the standoff in Mariupol as prisoners of war under an agreement between Russia and Ukraine. [more]
  • The executive arm of the European Union yesterday proposed a $315 billion energy package aimed at reducing dependence on Russian oil through the more efficient use of fuels and faster rollout of renewable power. [more]
  • The U.S. and Switzerland both announced this week that they are re-opening their embassies in Kyiv after more than two months of being closed due to the Russian invasion. [more]

NATO | U.S. President Joe Biden will meet with the leaders of Sweden and Finland today in Washington to discuss the Nordic countries' applications this week to join the NATO alliance. [more]

NORTH KOREA | U.S. and South Korean intelligence reports say North Korea is preparing to conduct a nuclear weapon test in the near future. [more]

MONKEYPOX | U.S. health officials have reported one new case of monkeypox in Massachusetts this week and are investigating possible links to recent small outbreaks of the disease in the U.K., Canada, Portugal, and Spain. [What is monkeypox?] [more]

BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE | In a move to address the shortage of baby formula in the U.S., President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to direct manufacturers to speed up production. Additionally, the House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday allocating $28 million in emergency FDA funding to alleviate the current shortfall and head off future shortages. [more]

ABORTION | Responses to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll indicate that 64% of Americans say they do not support overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights Supreme Court decision and about 70% say, however, that there should be some degree of restriction on abortion rights. [poll results] [more]

GREEN ENERGY | Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany announced an agreement yesterday to expand wind farm energy production in the North Sea fourfold by 2030 and tenfold by 2050. [more]

COVID-19 VACCINATION | Germany's Constitutional Court today rejected a challenge to a government COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, arguing that protecting vulnerable people in hospitals and care homes is more important than possible infringement on health workers’ rights. [more]

INTERNATIONAL FINANCE | The government of Switzerland today proposed allowing its domestic intelligence services to access the country's famously private banking system to monitor financial transactions potentially linked to the funding of terrorism, espionage, or violent extremism. [more]

WORLD ECONOMY | In a new report, the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs has lowered its 2022 forecast for global economic growth to 3.1% -- down from a projection of 4% earlier this year. The mid-year World Economic Situation and Prospects report cites high food and commodity prices, inflationary pressures, and the continuing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for the lower outlook. [full report] [more]

CLIMATE | A new report from the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization released yesterday says that four key climate change indicators -- greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021, and that the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record. [Full report PDF] [more]

U.S.-ASIA RELATIONS | U.S. President Joe Biden departs today on a five-day trip to Asia. Biden will visit South Korea and Japan. [more]

SOCCER | The U.S. Soccer Federation reached announced an agreement yesterday under which its men's and women's national teams will be paid equally. [more]

GOLF | The 2022 PGA Championship golf tournament opens today at the Southern Hills golf course in Oklahoma. [more]

FILM | Actor Tom Cruise was presented with an honorary Palme d’Or award for career achievement at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | The Ringling brothers opened a small circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin, on this day in 1884 and by the early 20th century had transformed it into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the leading American circus. [more history]

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