December 9, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 288 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • The defense funding bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday includes at least $800 million in funding for security aid to Ukraine in 2023, according to reports. [more]
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Western nations’ desire to maintain dominance in global affairs increases the risk of potential conflict escalation. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | Arizona’s first-term U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema has announced that she is leaving the Democratic Party and registering as a political independent. In an op-ed in the Arizona Republic explaining her decision, Sinema wrote, “When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party a victory than they are on improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are everyday Americans.  That’s why I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington.” [more]

DEFENSE SPENDING | The U.S. House of Representatives voted 350-80 yesterday to approve a record $858 billion in funding for the Department of Defense for the 2023 fiscal year. The funding bill, which will now begin consideration in the Senate, includes a 4.6% pay increase for service members, new armament, ship, and aircraft purchase funds, and support for Taiwan and Ukraine. [more]

PRISONER EXCHANGE | U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was freed from prison in Russia yesterday in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner, who was serving a prison term in Russia on drug-related convictions, returned to the U.S. early this morning. Not included in the exchange was American Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year prison term in Russia on espionage charges. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Labor Department reported yesterday that 230,000 people filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended December 3 — up 4,000 from the previous week. [more]

OIL SPILL | Canada-based TC Energy temporarily shut down its Keystone oil pipeline system this week following an estimated 14,000-barrel oil leak from the pipeline into a creek in Washington County, Kansas. Oil prices in the U.S. spiked on the news yesterday. [more]

COVID-19 | The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday authorized the use of updated COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer in children under the age of 5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to issue final approval for the updated use of the vaccines in the coming days. [more]

MARRIAGE LEGISLATION | The House voted yesterday to give final approval to a bill aimed at protecting same-sex and interracial marriage under federal law, clearing the way for President Joe Biden to sign the measure into law. The Respect for Marriage Act does not mandate that states legalize such marriages, but requires them to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed. [more]

HAITI | According to a statement by Ulrika Richardson, the head of the U.N. humanitarian mission in Haiti, close to 60% of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince is controlled by armed gangs and the situation has forced thousands to flee their homes and placed a large part of the population at risk of disease and famine-like conditions. [more]

SRI LANKA | Schools across Sri Lanka are closed today after health officials in the South Asia island nation warned of health risks from air quality deterioration caused by local pollution, polluted air from neighboring India, and weather conditions. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | Thousands of South Korean truckers voted yesterday to end their 16-day strike over freight rate issues that had disrupted construction and other industries across the country. The vote followed recent government back-to-work orders issued to other truck driver groups that had also been on strike. [more]

U.K. ECONOMY | Britain’s finance ministry today announced the rollout of its so-called "Edinburgh Reforms" — a collection of some 30 reform measures aimed at driving growth and competitiveness in the financial services sector. [more]

SPACE | The 26-day NASA Artemis I moon mission is on schedule to conclude this weekend when the unmanned Orion space capsule splashes down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja at 12:40pm ET on Sunday. [more]

GAMING | The U.S. Federal Trade Commission voted 3-1 yesterday to block Microsoft’s planned $69 billion purchase of video game maker Activision Blizzard, citing concerns that the merger could suppress competition to Microsoft’s Xbox game console and gaming business. [more]

WORLD CUP | The quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup begin today in Qatar with the Netherlands vs Argentina and Croatia vs Brazil. Tomorrow’s matches include England vs France and Morocco vs Portugal. [full bracket] [more]

COLLEGE FOOTBALL | Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams was named The Associated Press college football player of the year yesterday. TCU quarterback Max Duggan was second in voting, followed by Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, and Georgia’s Stetson Bennett. [more]

FILM | The National Board of Review yesterday named “Top Gun: Maverick” the best film of the year for 2022. Other awardees included Stephen Spielberg as best director for “The Fabelmans,” Colin Farrell as best actor for his role in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and Michelle Yeoh as best actress for her role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” [full list of awardees] [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1979, some 10 years after the World Health Organization began a global vaccination program against smallpox, the disease was officially declared eradicated. [more history]

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