March 8, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 377 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, said today that his forces have taken full control of the eastern portions of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, site of months of fighting that has been a focus of operations in recent weeks and where, according to Western officials, as many as 30,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since last summer.  [more]
  • In a new interview, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva says the economic outlook for Russia beyond 2023 is “quite devastating,” with a decline of at least 7% in the medium term amidst ongoing Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. [more]
  • New reports suggest that a pro-Ukraine group may have been responsible for last year's sabotage of Russia's Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines. The reports originated in the New York Times, but have not been confirmed by government or intelligence officials. [more]

MEXICO | Authorities in Mexico yesterday located and recovered the four American citizens kidnapped late last week in the border city of Matamoros, saying the travelers were apparently not targeted, but that they were caught in the crossfire of a drug cartel confrontation. Two of the Americans were killed and two were taken to a hospital in nearby Brownsville, Texas.  [more]

STUDENT LOANS | SoFi Bank, known for its refinancing offerings, has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to end the Biden administration’s pause on federal student loan payments. The bank says the payment pause, which is due to expire later this year, has no legal basis and has cost the company millions of dollars in profits. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, said continuing strong economic indicators may mean the Fed will continue to raise interest rates this year to fight inflation. U.S. stock indices closed down sharply following Powell’s comments. [more]

RAIL SAFETY | The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said yesterday that it has opened a wide-ranging investigation into the safety practices and culture of the Norfolk Southern railroad company following multiple recent accidents, including the death of a train conductor yesterday at the site of a train collision with a dump truck in Cleveland, Ohio. [more]

U.S.-SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS | The White House announced yesterday that President Joe Biden will host South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a state visit in late April. The event will be only the second state visit of Biden’s presidency. [more]

JANUARY 6 | Republican congressional leaders, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, have joined Democrats in criticizing Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s selective airing of video footage of the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol. Carlson was granted exclusive access to some 40,000 hours of video footage from the attacks by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. [more]

TENNESSEE | In the wake of the January death of Black motorist Tyre Nichols after being beaten by police, the Memphis City Council yesterday approved a series of police reforms, including annual reviews of police training techniques, a requirement that only marked police vehicles be used for routine traffic stops, and a mandate for increased police data collection. [more]

OKLAHOMA | In a state-wide ballot yesterday, voters in Oklahoma rejected the legalization of recreational marijuana use in the state. [more]

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY | Marking today’s recognition of International Women’s Day, Sima Bahous, head of the U.N. agency promoting gender equality, said that governments are ignoring a U.N. resolution adopted in 2000 demanding equal participation for women in talks to end global conflicts. In other U.N. news recognizing International Women's Day, the organization released a statement yesterday saying that Afghanistan has become the most repressive in the world for women and girls, displaying a "singular focus on imposing rules that leave most women and girls effectively trapped in their homes." [more]

MALNUTRITION | A new United Nations report says the number of pregnant and breastfeeding adolescent girls and women suffering from acute malnutrition has increased from 5.5 million to 6.9 million – or by some 25% – since 2020 in 12 countries hardest hit by the global food and nutrition crisis. [full report] [more]

ISRAEL AND WEST BANK | Palestinian health officials say at least six Palestinians were killed, and more than two dozen others wounded, this morning during an arrest raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp. Israeli authorities say three of their troops were wounded in the incident. [more]

NATO | Following a meeting with Swedish lawmakers yesterday, a parliamentary delegation from Hungary said yesterday that it supports Sweden’s application for NATO membership. Hungary and Turkey are the only two NATO member nations which had not previously announced their support of the membership bid. [more]

COVID-19 | The Associated Press cites unnamed sources as saying the Biden administration is planning to ease COVID-19-related testing requirements on travelers from China as soon as this Friday. [more]

TAIWAN | Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said yesterday that China has “serious concerns” about Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's recently reported plans to travel to the United States and to meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the coming weeks. [more]

AIRLINE INDUSTRY | The U.S. Justice Department announced yesterday that it has filed an anti-trust lawsuit to block the proposed $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit Airlines by JetBlue Airways, saying the purchase would reduce competition and promote higher air fares for consumers. [more]

BASKETBALL | The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers retired former player Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey last night. Gasol played for the Lakers from 2008 to 2014 and was a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA team selection. [more]

NFL | The New York Giants reportedly agreed to a new four-year, $160 million contract with quarterback Daniel Jones yesterday and placed the franchise tag on running back Saquon Barkley. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1817, the New York Stock Exchange was formally created, eventually becoming one of the world's largest marketplaces for securities and other exchange-traded investments. [more history]

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