February 17, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 358 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • In an Associated Press interview published yesterday, Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Russian forces have been increasingly using balloons and decoy missiles without explosive warheads to overwhelm and offer false targets to Ukrainian air defenses. [more]
  • Reports say the U.N. General Assembly will vote on a draft resolution next week marking the one-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The resolution calls for the withdrawal of Russian troops and a cessation of hostilities, and stresses the need for “a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace.” [more]
  • The European Union Parliament passed a resolution yesterday that recognizes next week’s one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calls for Western nations to give serious consideration to supplying Ukraine with modern fighter jets and helicopters, and moves for the adoption of a 10th round of E.U. sanctions against Russia. [more]

TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS | Selected portions of a report from the Fulton County, Georgia, special grand jury investigating alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state by then-President Donald Trump and others were released to the public yesterday, as ordered by the judge who oversaw the grand jury proceedings. The released documents show that the grand jury believed “one or more witnesses” committed perjury during their testimony, but did not include information on who did so, or what, if any, other criminal charges should be brought against any persons under investigation. [released report sections] [more]

CONGRESS | U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) has checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of clinical depression, according to a statement released by his office. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday that the Producer Price Index — a key economic measure of prices domestic producers receive for their output — rose 0.7% in January, a level significantly higher than had been predicted, and which was attributed largely to a 5% increase in energy prices. Stock indices fell sharply on the news, and U.S. futures and international markets are mostly down this morning. [more]

ENVIRONMENT | A new report released by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute this week says the waters off the coast of New England had their second-warmest year on record in 2022. The institute attributed the high average temperatures largely to global warming and suggested that the warming trend poses threats to the local marine ecosystem. [more]

UNKNOWN AERIAL OBJECTS | At a press conference addressing the recent shooting down of three balloons over North America by U.S. military planes, President Joe Biden said yesterday that the objects were most likely not related to the Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down and that the intelligence community's current assessment is that the three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research. [Biden statement] [more]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND WAR | The U.S. State Department published a declaration yesterday on the “Responsible Military Use of Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy” — a 12-point initiative intended to promote international norms and responsible behavior in wartime and other military use of emerging AI technologies. Among other things, the declaration calls for legal reviews of military AI capabilities and ensuring that human control of all actions informing the use of nuclear weapons is maintained. [full declaration] [more]

TURKEY AND SYRIA | Officials with the Turkish disaster management agency said today that the death toll from last week’s earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria has risen to more than 41,000. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called yesterday for the international community to fully fund a $1 billion relief effort for the affected regions. [more]

NORTH KOREA | In response to newly announced expansions of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said today that the exercises are “preparations for war” and that the U.S. and South Korea will face “unprecedentedly persistent and strong counteractions.” [more]

IRAN | Reports say the most widespread anti-government marches in weeks are taking place today in multiple Iranian cities, marking 40 days since the state executions of two men on charges related to protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the country’s morality police last September. [more]

NATO AND FINLAND | Officials in Finland said yesterday that the country’s parliament will vote on February 28 on legislation necessary to allow Finland to become a member of the NATO alliance. [more]

HAITI | At a meeting of Caribbean leaders yesterday in The Bahamas, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will send naval vessels to Haiti to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering as part of efforts to deal with ongoing high levels of gang violence that have disrupted the island nation. [more]

GERMANY | Reports say some 2,300 flights at seven German airports have been cancelled today due to coordinated strikes by airport workers over pay issues. Affected airports include the major travel hubs of Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg. [more]

PORTUGAL | The Portuguese government announced a series of measures yesterday aimed at addressing the country’s housing crisis. Measures include a ban on new licenses for Airbnbs and other short-term vacation rentals, increased regulation of rent increases, and state rentals of some vacant houses. [more]

AUTO RECALL | Automaker Tesla has announced plans to update the self-driving software in some 362,000 of its vehicles due to issues that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in a recall notice “may allow the vehicle to act unsafe around intersections.” [more]

SOCCER | The U.S. beat Canada, 2-0, last night in both teams’ opening match of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup women’s soccer tournament in Orlando, Florida. Forward Mallory Swanson scored both U.S. goals. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1801, following a tie in the electoral college, the U.S. House of Representatives elected Thomas Jefferson president of the United States of America. [more history]

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