October 19, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 237 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Russia’s TASS news agency cites Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed chief of the occupied Kherson region, as saying that as many as 60,000 residents of the area will be evacuated to Russia or to safer local areas in the next six days in anticipation of a Ukrainian counteroffensive aimed at retaking the city of Kherson. [more]
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that nearly one-third of Ukraine’s electrical power stations have been destroyed by Russian strikes since October 10, and urged Ukrainians to take steps to conserve power, especially during hours of peak usage. [more]
  • A new report from the U.N.’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine says its investigations have documented patterns war crimes and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including summary executions, unlawful confinement, torture, ill-treatment, rape and other sexual violence committed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. The report says Russian forces have been responsible for the vast majority of documented occurrences, but notes that Ukrainian forces have also committed violations. [more]

U.S. DEMOCRACY | Data from a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll indicates that just 9% of U.S. adults consider the country’s democracy to be working extremely or very well, while 52% feel it is not working well. Republicans polled were more likely than Democrats to say U.S. democracy is not working well — a reversal from similar polling two years ago. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | President Joe Biden yesterday said his first legislative priority in 2023 will be to ensure the right to abortion is signed into law if Democrats control enough seats in Congress. [more]

ENERGY | The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced yesterday that it will hold the first-ever U.S. lease sale for offshore wind energy development off the West Coast on December 6. The leases will cover areas off the coast of central and Northern California, with expectations that development could generate up to 4.5 gigawatts of power. [more]

U.S. FARMING | The Department of Agriculture announced yesterday that it will provide $1.3 billion in debt relief to about 36,000 farmers and livestock producers who have fallen behind on loan payments. The loan relief program will be funded by money set aside in the Inflation Reduction Act to assist borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA. [more]

U.S. STRATEGIC OIL RESERVE | President Biden is expected to announce plans today to sell the remaining 15 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve drawdown of 180 million barrels that began in May by the end of the year. [more]

U.S. TAXES | The Internal Revenue Service has announced its annual inflation adjustments for the 2023 tax year, which include increases in standard deduction levels — up $900 to $13,850 for single taxpayers and for married individuals filing separately, up $1,800 to $27,700 for married couples filing jointly, and up $1,400 to $20,800 for those filing as head of household. [more]

CANCER | Study results released by U.S. National Institutes of Health researchers this week suggest that women who use chemical hair straightening products are at significantly higher risk of developing uterine cancer, compared to women who do not use such products. [more]

CUBA | The U.S. will provide $2 million in humanitarian assistance to Cuba to assist in recovery from damage caused by Hurricane Ian last month, according to a U.S. State Department announcement yesterday. The aid will be administered through the U.S. Agency for International Development.  [more]

AUSTRALIA AND SINGAPORE | The prime ministers of Singapore and Australia announced an agreement yesterday for trade, energy production, and business collaboration between the two countries aimed at jointly achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. [more]

U.K ECONOMY | Britain’s Office for National Statistics said today that the U.K. consumer price index rose 10.1% in September, compared to the year-ago period, up from a 9.9% increase in August and the highest year-over-year jump since 1982. [more]

NORTH KOREA | South Korean military officials say North Korea fired about 250 artillery rounds into the maritime buffer zones between the two countries late last night. A statement from North Korea said the artillery drills were in response to similar drills conducted by the South earlier in the day. [more]

INDIA | Veteran politician Mallikarjun Kharge was named the new chief of India’s opposition Congress party today — the first person outside of the Nehru-Gandhi family to hold the party's top post in 24 years. [more]

EUROPEAN ENERGY | European Union officials announced plans yesterday to provide nearly $40 billion in funding to help offset soaring energy prices for consumers and small-to-medium-sized businesses. [more]

FRANCE | French cement company Lafarge pleaded guilty yesterday to U.S. charges of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization by paying millions of dollars to the Islamic State group in 2013 and 2014 to keep a plant operational in Syria. The company, which later merged with Swiss company Holcim in 2015 to form the world’s largest cement maker, will pay about $778 million in penalties. [more]

PHILANTHROPY | MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated $84.5 million to the Girl Scouts of the USA, according to a statement from the organization. [more]

ASIAN AMERICAN HISTORY | Early 20th-century actress Anna May Wong will be the first Asian American to be featured on U.S. currency when the U.S. Mint begins shipping quarters featuring Wong’s image on Monday as part of the American Women Quarters Program. [more]

BASEBALL | The Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 2-0, last night in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. The American League Championship Series opens tonight between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1781, Britain's Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, handing a huge victory to American General George Washington, effectively ending the American Revolution, and assuring America's independence. [more history]

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