December 14, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 293 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Reports say Belarus began an unscheduled “emergency check” of its military’s combat readiness this week, raising concerns that the longtime Russian ally could directly enter the war in neighboring Ukraine. [more]
  • The Associated Press cites unnamed U.S. officials as saying yesterday that the U.S. is preparing to approve sending a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine to aid in defending against Russian missile attacks. If the plan moves forward, the Patriot system would be the most advanced surface-to-air missile system yet provided to Ukraine. [more]
  • An estimated $1 billion in aid for Ukrainian civilians was pledged by attendees at a one-day international donor conference held in Paris yesterday. The pledges come amidst continuing targeting of civilian infrastructure, including power and water production sites, by Russian forces. [more]

JANUARY 6 | Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol, said yesterday that the committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, December 19, at which it will announce and vote on its plans to issue criminal referrals and other recommendations arising from its investigations. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Labor Department reported yesterday that consumer inflation rose less than expected in November — up 0.1% from October and up 7.1% compared the same month a year ago. Today, the Federal Reserve is expected to announce a 0.5 percentage point increase in its benchmark interest rate. [more]

OREGON | OREGON. Governor Kate Brown announced yesterday that she is commuting the death sentences of all 17 inmates in Oregon prisons who are awaiting execution and ordering that the state's execution chamber be  dismantled. Those inmates who have their death sentences commuted will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole instead. [more]

HAWAII | Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said yesterday that two active volcanos in Hawaii — Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, and Kilauea, which had been active since September 2021 — have stopped erupting. [more]

U.S. GOVERNMENT FUNDING | Reports say Congressional negotiators, facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown, have made progress on an agreement framework for funding the federal government for the current fiscal year. [more]

FEDERAL PRISONS | A report released yesterday by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations says that Federal Bureau of Prisons employees sexually abused female prisoners in at least two-thirds of federal prisons that have held women over the past decade, and that the Bureau has failed to prevent, detect, and stop recurring sexual abuse, including by senior prison officials. [more]

AUSTRALIA | In the latest move concerning competition with China for influence in the Pacific, Australia announced today that it has signed a new security agreement with the island nation of Vanuatu. Among the areas covered in the new security pact are:  humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, law enforcement, cyber security, defense, border security, and maritime safety. [more]

IRAN | The 54-member U.N. Economic and Social Council is expected to vote today on a resolution to remove Iran from the council’s Commission on the Status of Women. The U.S. proposed the resolution, citing Iranian policies contrary to the rights of women and girls as the reason for the move. [more]

CONGO | Reports say at least 135 people died yesterday in flooding and related landslides brought on by heavy rains in and around the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city of Kinshasa. Congolese authorities have declared a three-day period of national mourning for the victims. [more]

ETHIOPIA | A lawsuit filed in Kenya today by two Ethiopian researchers and Kenya’s Katiba Institute rights group alleges that Facebook's recommendation systems amplified violent posts in Ethiopia, inflaming the country’s civil war. Plaintiffs are asking a Kenyan court to order Facebook parent company Meta to take steps to demote violent content, increase moderation staff, and create a global restitution fund of about $2 billion for victims of violence incited on Facebook. [more]

U.K. ECONOMY | Consumer inflation in the U.K. rose 10.7% in November, compared to the year-ago period — down from 11.1% in October and lower than the 10.9% that had been predicted. [more]

ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE | The NASA-led Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite mission is scheduled to launch tomorrow from California. The mission, jointly developed by U.S., U.K., French, and Canadian researchers, aims to conduct a first-of-its-kind comprehensive global survey of Earth's surface water, observe fine details of the ocean's surface topography, and measure how bodies of water change over time. [more]

WORLD CUP | Argentina defeated Croatia, 3-0, yesterday in the first semifinal of the World Cup in Qatar. France will face Morocco today in the other semifinal. [full bracket] [more]

HOCKEY | Scoring three goals in last night’s 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals’ star Alex Ovechkin became the third-ever National Hockey League player to reach 800 career goals. [more]

R.I.P. | Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach died Monday night at age 61 from complications of a heart condition. Leach compiled a 158-107 record over 21 seasons as the head coach at Texas Tech, Washington State, and Mississippi State. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1911, famed Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who left Norway for Antarctica in June 1910, became the first person to reach the South Pole. [more history]

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