March 16, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 385 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • According to reports, Russian defense chief Sergei Shoigu told U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a phone call yesterday that spying by American drones near Ukraine could lead to an escalation in the conflict and that Russia will respond proportionally to future U.S. intelligence-gathering operations. [more]
  • Officials at Poland’s Internal Security Agency say nine people have been arrested in connection with the dismantling of a Russian espionage network operating in Poland that was alleged to have been preparing acts of sabotage and monitoring air, trucking, and rail routes to Ukraine. [more]

IMMIGRATION | The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency reports that border officials encountered migrants 128,877 times trying to cross the country’s southwestern border illegally in February — almost the same number as in January and the lowest number of monthly encounters since February 2021. [more]

LOS ANGELES | Unions representing some 65,000 teachers and other school workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District have announced plans for a three-day strike next week, beginning on Tuesday, over stalled contract talks. [more]

CALIFORNIA | Heavy rainfalls in Southern California over the past several months led to an announcement yesterday by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that it is ending drought-related water-use restrictions imposed last year on some 7 million residents of the region. [more]

PREGNANCY DEATHS | The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 733 women in the U.S. died during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth in 2022 — down from a nearly six-decade-high of about 1,200 in 2021, which was attributed to increased risks from COVID-19. [more]

TEXAS | State education officials in Texas yesterday announced the state takeover of the nearly 200,000-student Houston Independent School District due to poor academic performance at some schools and failures to improve student outcomes. [more]

GLOBAL BANKING | Amidst global concern for the banking industry, Credit Suisse announced today that it will borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($53.7 billion) from Switzerland’s central bank. Concerns about the bank’s liquidity prompted share prices for it and other major European banks to fall significantly yesterday before recovering today following news of the central bank loan. [more]

LIBYA | International Atomic Energy Agency head Rafael Grossi said yesterday that some 2.5 tons of natural uranium is missing from a storage site in Libya and that investigations into its removal are ongoing. Reports note that natural uranium cannot be immediately used for energy production or weapons, but could be processed and enriched for such uses. [more]

FRANCE | The National Assembly is scheduled to vote today on French President Immanuel Macron’s controversial plan to raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64. Reports say nearly 500,000 people took part in protests against the plan across France yesterday. [more]

YEMEN | Hans Grundberg, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, said yesterday that the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who back rival sides in Yemen’s civil war, has created an opportunity for progress in resolving Yemen’s eight-year conflict. [more]

SOUTHEASTERN AFRICA | Reports say the death toll from Cyclone Freddy in Malawi and Mozambique has risen to over 275 and that more than 130,000 people remain displaced in the wake of the storm. [more]

COLOMBIA | Officials in Colombia say at least 11 people were killed, and at least 10 others remain missing, following a suspected methane explosion in a series of interconnected coal mines in the South American country’s Cundinamarca region. [more]

KOREA AND JAPAN | Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol are meeting today in Tokyo for talks aimed at increasing security and economic ties between their two countries. Hours prior to the meeting, North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile into the seas off its eastern coast. [more]

COCAINE PRODUCTION | The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reported today that increases in the cultivation and processing of the coca plant led to a spike in global production of cocaine over the past two years following an initial slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. [full report] [more]

NFL | Four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers said yesterday that, after 18 years with the Green Bay Packers, he plans to play for the New York Jets next season and is waiting for the Packers to trade him. [more]

DOG BREEDS | In its annual report on the most popular dog breeds in the U.S., the American Kennel Club says that the 31-year reign of the Labrador Retriever as America’s most popular breed has ended, and that the French Bulldog became the most popular in 2022. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1945, U.S. Marines captured the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II. [more history]

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