December 20, 2022


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UKRAINE | Today is day 299 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • During a trip to Belarus yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that proposals to establish a joint Russia-Belarus defense space were discussed with President Alexander Lukashenko. [more]
  • Intelligence officials in Moldova warned yesterday that Russia could launch a new offensive next year to create a land corridor through southern Ukraine to the Moscow-supported breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria. [more]
  • Russian state-backed oil company Transneft, which controls about 80% of all oil produced in Russia, said yesterday that its oil exports increased by about 20% during 2022, despite plans by many countries to reduce dependence on Russian oil. [more]

JANUARY 6 | Saying that former President Donald Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol yesterday recommended that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Trump for obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement, and inciting, assisting, or aiding or comforting an insurrection. The committee also voted to recommend House ethics investigations of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Andy Biggs for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas. A summary report of the House committee’s findings was released, with its full report scheduled to be released later this week. [more]

IMMIGRATION | The lifting of COVID-related Title 42 public health border restrictions scheduled for tomorrow has been temporarily postponed after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts yesterday granted a stay pending further order and gave the Biden administration until 5pm today to respond to objections to the immigration rule change. [more]

FEDERAL BUDGET | Facing a Friday funding deadline, Congressional leaders released a draft $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package for the 2023 fiscal year early this morning. The proposed budget includes about $772 billion for non-defense discretionary programs, $858 billion in defense funding, about $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine, and nearly $40 billon to assist communities across the U.S.  recovering from drought, hurricanes and other natural disasters. [more]

COVID-19 | A panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the federal government cannot require federal contractors to ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of receiving government contracts. [more]

OREGON | The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality yesterday approved a rule prohibiting the sale of new gasoline-powered cars in the state by 2035. Under the rule, hybrid vehicles and used gasoline-powered cars will still be available for sale in Oregon after it takes effect. [more]

CALIFORNIA | An estimated 60,000 customers are without power this morning in California’s Humboldt County following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck just off the northern California coast early this morning. [more]

NORTH KOREA AND JAPAN | North Korea threatened yesterday to take resolute and decisive military steps against Japan following the adoption of a new security policy that doubles Japan’s military spending and moves away from its strictly defensive military stance. [more]

NETHERLANDS | Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued a formal state apology yesterday for the Netherlands’ historical role in slavery and the slave trade, saying, "Today, on behalf of the Dutch government, I apologize for the past actions of the Dutch State: to enslaved people in the past, everywhere in the world, who suffered as a consequence of those actions, as well as to their daughters and sons, and to all their descendants, up to the present day." [full speech] [more]

U.K. | The British High Court ruled yesterday that a government plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda as part of efforts to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel to try to reach the U.K. is legal. The Court further stated that the circumstances of each case must be considered individually before deportations take place. [more]

CHINA | Reports confirm growing Chinese and international concern about the spread of COVID-19 infections in China following Beijing’s relaxation of strict anti-coronavirus measures. Beijing is reported to be ramping up hospital, clinic, and crematorium capacity across China, and some health experts estimate that up to 60% of people in China — equivalent to 10% of the world's population — could be infected in the coming months. [more]

PERU | Amidst ongoing widespread protests over the removal from office and arrest of former President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s Congress is set to consider a proposal today to hold early national elections next year — three years ahead of schedule. The move, similar to one rejected last week, is supported by caretaker President Dina Boluarte. [more]

GERMANY | A German court yesterday convicted 97-year-old Irmgard Furchner on accessory to murder charges and imposed a two-year suspended sentence on her for serving as a secretary to the SS commander of Nazi Germany’s Stutthof concentration camp between June 1943 and April 1945. [more]

GAMING | According to a U.S. Federal Trade Commission statement, Epic Games Inc., maker of the popular Fortnite video game, will pay $520 million in penalties and refunds to settle two lawsuits against the company concerning children’s privacy and deceptive payment interfaces. [more]

R.I.P. | Musician Terry Hall, lead singer of the post-punk, ska revival band The Specials since the late 1970s, has died at the age of 63 following a short illness, according to a statement released by the band yesterday. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1989, the United States launched Operation Just Cause, a military invasion of Panama, with the initial attack focusing primarily on the Panama City headquarters of leader Manuel Noriega. [more history]

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