December 15, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 294 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Responding to a question yesterday about a possible “Christmas ceasefire” in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “no such offers have been received” and that the “topic is not on the agenda.” [more]
  • The “brave people of Ukraine,” represented by several Ukrainian human rights and civil officials, were awarded the European Union’s top human rights recognition, the Sakharov Prize, yesterday at a ceremony in Strasbourg, France. [more]
  • In a move that drew praise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the European Parliament passed a resolution today recognizing “the Holodomor, the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine caused by a deliberate policy of the Soviet regime, as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.” [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Federal Reserve yesterday raised its benchmark interest rate by a half-point to a range of 4.25% to 4.5%. The rate hike was smaller than the Fed’s previous four straight three-quarter-point increases, but Chair Jerome Powell indicated that continuing high inflation rates will likely require more interest rate hikes in the coming months. [more]

CYBERSECURITY | The FBI’s InfraGard information sharing portal — used to share information on security threats and risks with government and civilian managers of U.S. critical infrastructure — is reported to have been hacked earlier this month by a person who obtained an account on the portal by posing as the CEO of a financial institution and who has since offered information obtained from the portal for sale. The incident was first reported by independent cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs. [more]

COVID-19 | Ahead of an expected surge in COVID-19 infections over the winter, the Biden administration has announced the availability of an additional four free rapid virus tests available to all U.S. households starting today. The tests are available for ordering at [more]

WEATHER | At least three people were killed yesterday, and more than 40,000 households were without power last night, when a powerful storm system that included tornados struck across Louisiana. [more]

U.S. BORDER SECURITY | Amidst increases in migrant activity at the southern U.S. border, the Department of Homeland Security released a new update this week on preparedness ahead of the December 21 court-ordered expiration of Title 42 COVID-related border restrictions. The report does not lay out any major new structural changes, but notes progress on faster processing of migrants, increases in staffing and detention facilities, and expanded criminal prosecution of smugglers. [more]

U.S. AND E.U. TRADE | Amidst ongoing concerns that the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act favors American-made technology and locks European companies out of some U.S. markets, both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager made statements this week criticizing the U.S. policy and calling for changes that would facilitate more equitable U.S-European trade. [more]

LEBANON | Irish and Lebanese officials said today that an Irish member of the U.N.’s UNIFIL peacekeeping force in Lebanon has died after being shot by unidentified attackers on Tuesday while traveling in a convoy in southern Lebanon. At least three other soldiers were wounded in the attack, according to reports. [more]

INDIA | Reports say at least 31 people died, and 20 others were hospitalized, after drinking what is thought to have been tainted liquor this week in India’s state of Bihar, where the manufacturing, sale and consumption of liquor are prohibited. [more]

NURSING STRIKE | An estimated 100,000 National Health Service nurses at 76 hospitals and health centers across the U.K. are taking part in a one-day strike today over pay and staffing issues — the first such action in the nursing union’s 106-year history. An additional strike day has been scheduled for December 20. [more]

KOREA | The U.S. military announced the formal establishment of a new U.S. Space Force unit in South Korea yesterday. Expected to increase monitoring capabilities for North Korea, Russia, and China, the new unit, which is based at Osan Air Base near Seoul, is the first Space Force facility on foreign territory. [more]

EUROPEAN ECONOMY | The European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the Swiss central bank are all expected to raise interest rates by a half-percentage point today following the U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike yesterday. [more]

VIETNAM | G7 nations, along with Denmark and Norway, have announced $15.5 billion in funding over the next 3-5 years to help Vietnam transition away from coal-based energy production. [more]

CLIMATE | HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, announced yesterday that, as part of its updated climate strategy, it will no longer finance new oil and gas fields. [more]

WORLD CUP | France beat Morocco, 2-0, in the semifinals of the World Cup yesterday in Qatar. France will play Argentina in the tournament final on Sunday, while Morocco and Croatia will play Saturday to determine the tournament’s third-place finisher. [full bracket] [more]

COLLEGE SPORTS | The University of California Board of Regents voted yesterday to approve UCLA’s planned move to join the Big Ten college athletics conference in 2024. [more]

BECKER | Reports say German tennis legend Boris Becker has been released from prison in the U.K. after serving eight months of a 30-month sentence and is expected to be deported from the U.K. in the near future. Becker, who has lived in the U.K. since 2012, was convicted in April on charges of illicitly transferring large amounts of money and hiding assets after declaring bankruptcy. [more]

ENTERTAINMENT | The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced yesterday that comedian and actor Eddie Murphy will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment at the 80th Golden Globe Awards in January. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1791, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the Bill of Rights, which is a collection of mutually reinforcing guarantees of individual rights and limitations on federal and state governments—were adopted as a single unit. [more history]

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