November 18, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 267 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that some 10 million people in Ukraine are without power due the continued targeting of electrical infrastructure sites by Russian forces. [more]
  • The Moscow-appointed governor of the Russia-annexed Crimean peninsula said yesterday that work is being done to strengthen the region’s fortifications as Ukrainian forces continue efforts to reclaim territory in the neighboring Kherson region. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she will not seek a Democratic leadership position in the new Congress when it convenes in January. Pelosi first served as Speaker in 2007 and was the first woman to lead a major political party in either chamber of Congress. [more]

U.S. MORTGAGES | Mortgage firm Freddie Mac reported yesterday that the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. fell to 6.61% this week — down from 7.08% last week and the largest weekly decline since 1981. [more]

STUDENT LOANS | The Justice Department indicated yesterday that it plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the Biden administration’s student loan debt forgiveness plan, which has been blocked in two federal courts recently. [more]

JANUARY 6 | Closing arguments are scheduled to begin today in the federal seditious conspiracy case against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four associates in connection with their actions in the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol. [more]

KHASHOGGI | In response to a court request for opinion, the Biden administration yesterday said that Saudi Arabian crown prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman should be shielded from a U.S.-based lawsuit over the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, citing the sovereign immunity concept of international law, which holds that states and their officials are protected from some legal proceedings in other states’ domestic courts. [more]

WINTER WEATHER | New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency yesterday for 11 counties in western New York due to projections of up to five feet of snow in the region in the coming days. [more]

FLORIDA | A federal judge yesterday struck down multiple provisions in Florida’s “Individual Freedom Act,” also known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” that prohibited the teaching of selected topics on race at public universities. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said, “The law officially bans professors from expressing disfavored viewpoints in university classrooms while permitting unfettered expression of the opposite viewpoints,” and in striking down the provisions ruled that the speech of professors in the classroom is protected by the First Amendment. [more]

NORD STREAM | Swedish authorities said yesterday that the September ruptures of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines from Russia to Germany were the result of sabotage, citing investigations which found traces of explosives at the site of the pipelines’ damage. [more]

NORTH KOREA | In its second major weapons test this month, North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile this morning, drawing condemnation from U.S., South Korean, and Japanese officials. Reports say the missile flew about 3,600 miles on a high trajectory before landing in the water west of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. [more]

GAZA STRIP | Palestinian officials say 21 people died last night in a fire set off by stored gasoline in a residential building in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. [more]

FLIGHT MH17 | A Dutch court yesterday convicted two Russians and a pro-Moscow Ukrainian in absentia of murder for their roles in shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the separatist-controlled Donetsk region of Ukraine in 2014. All 298 people aboard the flight were killed when the aircraft was struck by a surface-to-air missile. [more]

CLIMATE | The U.N.’s COP27 climate summit is scheduled to conclude today in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Reports say summit delegates are facing major obstacles to approving an outcomes statement and climate plan, but note that previous summits have been extended to reach such an agreement. [more]

HUMAN RIGHTS | Geneva-based human rights organization UN Watch yesterday awarded its highest honor — the Morris Abram award — to jailed Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been imprisoned in Russia since April on charges of treason and of spreading false information about the Russian military. [more]

BASEBALL | Aaron Judge was named the American League Most Valuable Player yesterday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Paul Goldschmidt was named the National League MVP. [more]

SOCCER | The 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup begins on Sunday with a match between host country Qatar and Ecuador. [group stage pairings] [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1928, Walt Disney released Steamboat Willie, the first animated film with sound to feature Mickey Mouse. The huge success of the cartoon helped make Mickey an iconic character and led to the Disney Company's dominance in the animated market. [more history]

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