December 12, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 291 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Reports say current large-scale fighting in eastern Ukraine appears to be centered on the city of Bakhmut, with an estimated 30,000 Russian troops involved in operations in and around the city. [more]
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with the leaders of the U.S., France, and Turkey this weekend ahead of planned Group of Seven and E.U. meetings scheduled for today that are expected to include talks on implementing further sanctions against Russia. [more]

PAN AM FLIGHT 103 | The U.S. Justice Department announced yesterday that Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, a Libyan intelligence official accused of making the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, has been taken into U.S. custody and will face terrorism charges in a Washington court. Two hundred and seventy people in the air and on the ground were killed in the attack, including 190 citizens of the United States. [more]

JANUARY 6 | Opening statements are scheduled to begin today in the second seditious conspiracy trial to arise from the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. The trial of Joseph Hackett, of Sarasota, Florida; Roberto Minuta of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel of Punta Gorda, Florida; and Edward Vallejo of Phoenix, Arizona — all of whom were associated with the far-right Oath Keepers group — comes two weeks after the group’s founder, Steward Rhodes, and another group leader, Kelly Meggs, were convicted on seditious conspiracy charges. [more]

COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS | The seven-day average number of daily hospitalizations for COVID-19 infection in the U.S. rose to 4,864 last week — up 10.1% from the previous week, but well below the year’s peak seven-day average of 21,525 in January. [CDC data] [more]

WASHINGTON DC | Authorities in the District of Columbia have announced that the city will make its public bus transit free starting around July 1, 2023.  The city will also expand its bus service to 24-hours-a-day on 12 major routes. [more]

FUEL PRICES | AAA reports that the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. fell to $3.31 last week — down 13 cents from the previous week. [more]

CHINA | In the latest move easing China’s coronavirus-related restrictions, health authorities in Beijing announced today that a smart phone app used to trace residents’ travel as part of the government’s “zero-COVID” strategy will be disabled starting tonight. [more]

AFRICA | The three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit begins tomorrow in Washington, DC, with talks expected to focus on COVID-19, climate change, trade, and U.S.-Africa relations. Among the expected announcements at the summit is a Biden administration proposal to support adding the African Union as a permanent member of the Group of 20 nations. [more]

PERU | Following weekend protests both against her new government and in supported of recently ousted leader Pedro Castillo, Peruvian President Dina Boluarte announced today that she will call for new national elections to take place in April 2024 — two years ahead of schedule. [more]

NIGERIA | Reuters cites more than 40 civilian and military sources as saying that at least 60 children were killed by Nigerian military forces in at least six major operations against Islamic insurgents, with the latest occurring in February 2021, and that thousands of children may have been killed in government military operations over the course of the country’s 13-year war against Islamist extremists in the country’s northeast. [full report] [more]

IRAN | Iran’s judiciary-controlled Mizan news agency reports that a second person detained and convicted on charges related to ongoing nationwide protests has been executed. Majidreza Rahnavard had been charged with the November 17 stabbing deaths of two members of Iran’s security forces. [more]

EUROPEAN UNION AND QATAR | European Parliament vice president Eva Kaili is among four officials charged this weekend with participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, and corruption in connection with allegations that Qatar bribed European Parliament members to influence decision-making. [more]

GREECE | Following recent accusations of illegal government surveillance, the Greek parliament voted Friday to ban the sale and distribution of spyware and to reform rules on legal wiretaps. [more]

CLIMATE | According to a recent report from insurance and catastrophe firm Swiss Re, natural catastrophes caused an estimated $268 billion in damage worldwide in 2022 — down from $303 billion in 2021, but higher than the 10-year average of $219 billion. [full report] [more]

SPACE | The NASA Artemis I mission concluded yesterday with the successful splashdown of the unmanned Orion capsule off the coast of Baja, California. The next Artemis mission — a manned flight around the moon — is expected to take place in 2024. [more]

WORLD CUP | In quarterfinal play at the World Cup in Qatar, Croatia and Brazil tied, as did the Netherlands and Argentina, on Friday, with Croatia and Argentina advancing on penalty kicks. On Saturday, Morocco beat Portugal and France beat England. Semifinal games are Argentina vs Croatia on Tuesday and France vs Morocco on Wednesday. [full bracket] [more]

NFL | The Philadelphia Eagles became the first team to clinch a playoff berth for the 2022 season with yesterday’s 48-22 win over the New York Giants. [more]

COLLEGE FOOTBALL | USC quarterback Caleb Williams was named the winner of the 2022 Heisman Trophy on Saturday as the most outstanding player of the year in college football. [more]

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE | "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" topped the North American box office over the weekend with an estimated $11.1 million in receipts, followed by "Violent Night," and "Strange World." [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1964, Kenya became a republic on the first anniversary of its independence from Britain. [more history]

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