February 8, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 349 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • In his second international trip since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is visiting Britain today, where he will meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, address Parliament, and hold talks with U.K. military leaders. [more]
  • Following Germany’s approval of plans to provide Ukraine with modern Leopard 2 tanks last month, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands announced yesterday that they will also supply Kyiv with at least 100 refurbished Leopard 1 battle tanks. [more]

TURKEY AND SYRIA | Reports say the death toll from Monday’s earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria has risen to above 11,000 and that some 60,000 relief workers are taking part in rescue and recovery efforts in the region. [more]

STATE OF THE UNION | Domestic issues emphasized in President Joe Biden’s 73-minute State of the Union speech before Congress last night included infrastructure, race relations, immigration, economic growth, and the need for political and social unity. Among the foreign policy issues emphasized were the war in Ukraine and threats from China and Russia. In the Republican response to the speech, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke largely of cultural, educational, and social issues and of the conflict between conservative and what she termed “woke” outlooks. [full transcript of Biden's speech] [video of Sanders' response] [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | Speaking before the Economic Club of Washington yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said interest rates may need to be raised higher than currently expected if the U.S. job market continues to strengthen or if other indicators of higher inflation accelerate. Powell's remarks came after last week's reports of very strong employment gains and record-low unemployment. [more]

TYRE NICHOLS | According to documents released yesterday by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, at least one of the former Memphis police officers charged in the beating death of Black motorist Tyre Nichols took and shared photos of Nichols after he was beaten. The documents provide a detailed account of the five former officers’ actions during Nichols’ arrest. [full document release] [more]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new DHS policy update on use of force by federal law enforcement officers yesterday, which includes a ban on chokeholds and imposes new restrictions on carrying out no-knock warrants. [full policy update] [more]

HAWAII | U.S. Space Force officials say a power surge was responsible for causing a mechanical issue that resulted in about 700 gallons of diesel fuel being spilled last week at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex at the summit of Haleakala on Hawaii's Maui Island. [more]

ABORTION | Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced yesterday that Texas has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent the Department from urging pharmacies to fill prescriptions for drugs that can be used to terminate a pregnancy. [more]

CHINESE SURVEILLANCE BALLOON | According to reports, U.S. State Department officials have briefed diplomats from at least 40 countries on the Chinese surveillance balloon that flew over the U.S. recently and noted that the balloon was linked to an ongoing Chinese military surveillance effort that has conducted dozens of missions across five continents since 2018. [more]

ELECTRICITY USAGE | In its newly released 2023 Electricity Market Report, the International Energy Agency says that global electricity demand is expected to grow 3% over the next three years, that 70% of the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years is expected to come from China, India and Southeast Asia, and that that electricity demand and supply worldwide are becoming increasingly weather dependent. The report also predicts that renewable sources of energy will become the world's top source of electricity within three years. [full report] [more]

PAKISTAN | Pakistani security officials say 12 TTP, or Pakistani Taliban, militants were killed overnight in a military raid in the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, along the border with Afghanistan. [more]

POLAND | The U.S. State Department informed Congress yesterday that it has approved a proposed sale of $10 billion in military equipment to Poland. The proposed sale includes mid-range, mobile HIMARS artillery rocket systems, as well as associated ammunition and equipment. [more]

COVID-19 | Australian health officials said today that they will authorize a fifth COVID-19 vaccine dose later this month for all Australians aged 18 and older who have not contracted coronavirus or been vaccinated in the past six months. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | The South Korean parliament yesterday voted to impeach Interior and Safety Minister Lee Sang-min, holding him responsible for safety, planning, and response failures associated with the October 2020 crowd rush incident that killed more than 150 people in Seoul. South Korea’s Constitutional Court has 180 days to decide whether Lee should be permanently removed from his position. [more]

CYBERSECURITY | The Associated Press cites a new report from United Nations experts as saying that government-sponsored hackers in North Korea stole between $630 million and $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency and other virtual assets last year using increasingly sophisticated techniques. [more]

TECH LAYOFFS | Digital communications and conferencing company Zoom announced yesterday that it is cutting about 1,300 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, due to reduced demand for its digital services. [more]

BASKETBALL | LeBron James became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer during last night’s Los Angeles Lakers’ 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. James passed the 24-year-old record of 38,387 points held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was present at last night’s game. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, rival of Queen Elizabeth I of England, was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle. [more history]

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