February 3, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 344 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • E.U. policy makers, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, are attending a summit with Ukrainian leaders today in Kyiv for talks expected to center on Ukraine’s financial, business, and energy needs and on the potential for Ukraine to join the European Union. [more]
  • Officials from both the U.S. and Russian have rejected as a “hoax” a report in the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung that claimed U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns had offered a secret peace deal to Russia that involved the ceding of Ukrainian territory to Russia. [more]

SURVEILLANCE BALLOON | U.S. military officials say a Chinese surveillance balloon flying at an altitude well above that of commercial aircraft levels has been detected and tracked over the Western U.S. and that the balloon is thought to have been spying on military facilities, including missile sites. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Labor Department reported yesterday that initial claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 3,000 to 183,000 for the week ended January 28 -- the fifth weekly decline in a row and the lowest weekly level since April 2022. The department's jobs report, due to be released today, is expected to show a slowdown in hiring. [more]

2ND AMENDMENT | Reversing an earlier decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled yesterday that federal laws banning gun ownership by people who are under domestic violence-related restraining orders are unconstitutional. [more]

U.S. BORDER SEPARATIONS | The Department of Homeland Security’s Family Reunification Task Force said yesterday that about 1,000 children of the nearly 4,000 who were separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border under a controversial Trump administration policy aimed at fighting illegal immigration have yet to be reunited with their families and that the work to bring the families back together will continue until completed. [more]

ALASKA | The U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a report this week that recommends, but does not issue a final decision on, allowing oil company ConocoPhillips to construct three oil drilling sites on Alaska’s North Slope. Opponents of the proposed drilling cite environmental issues as a major concern. [more]

ISLAMIC STATE | According to a statement released yesterday, the U.S. military’s Central Command conducted 43 anti-Islamic State and ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria in January, resulting in 11 ISIS operatives being killed and 227 others detained. [more]

MYANMAR | The military government of Myanmar declared martial law in 37 towns in eight of the country’s 14 states yesterday and extended a nationwide state of emergency amidst ongoing violence between government forces and pro-democracy militias. [more]

SOUTHEAST ASIA | Foreign ministers from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, today for talks expected to center on food and energy security, financial and health cooperation, climate change, and deteriorating conditions in military-ruled Myanmar. [more]

PAKISTAN | Reports say at least two Pakistani Taliban insurgents were killed today in a military raid in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. [more]

ISRAEL AND SUDAN | According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, an agreement was reached yesterday to normalize relations between Sudan and Israel. The diplomatic move comes after decades of Sudanese refusal to recognize Israel. [more]

INDIA | Reports say multiple court petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages in India have been transferred to the country’s Supreme Court, which is expected to consider them in the coming weeks. If legalized, India would join Taiwan as the only nations in Asia to recognize same-sex marriages. [more]

BRAZIL | Federal police in Brazil are reported to have carried out a series of arrest and search and seizure raids in five states this morning as part of ongoing investigations into the January 8 storming of government buildings in Brasilia by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro. [more]

SWISS BANKING | Federal prosecutors in Switzerland announced yesterday that they have launched criminal proceedings related to the 2022 leak by unidentified persons of confidential information on some 18,000 Credit Suisse bank accounts, some of which were linked to human rights abusers, drug traffickers, and businessmen subject to sanctions. [more]

EYE DROPS RECALL | The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert this week informing doctors that the EzriCare Artificial Tears over-the-counter eye drop product appear to be linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant bacterial infections that have affected at least 55 people, one of whom died and five of whom had permanent vision loss. EzriCare, LLC has recalled the product and published a notice urging consumers to stop using the product. [more]

AUTO INDUSTRY | Ford Motor Co. said yesterday that it earned $1.26 billion on revenue of $44 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022. Quarterly net income fell 90% from the same period in 2021, which company officials say was due to higher costs, supply chain issues, and one-time expenses. [more]

TECH EARNINGS | Tech giants Apple, Amazon, and Google parent company Alphabet all reported fourth-quarter 2022 earnings yesterday. Apple reported $30 billion in profit on $117 billion in revenue for the quarter and had its first year-over-year quarterly revenue decline in about four years. Amazon says it earned $300 million on $149.2 billion in revenue, while Alphabet earned $13.62 billion on $76.05 billion in revenue. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race and intending to ensure, with the Fourteenth Amendment, the civil rights of former slaves. Additionally, on this date in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, granting Congress the authority to levy income taxes, was ratified. [more history]

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