March 17, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 386 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • In a report released yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council concludes that Russian authorities have committed a wide range of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in various regions of Ukraine, many of which amount to war crimes. Among the Russian war crimes noted in the report are: attacks on civilians and energy-related infrastructure, willful killings, unlawful confinement, torture, rape and other sexual violence, and unlawful transfers and deportations of children. [full report] [more]
  • Slovakia announced plans today to provide Ukraine with 13 Soviet-built MiG-29 fighter jets, joining Poland as the only NATO members to have yet promised such military aircraft to Kyiv. [more]

MINNESOTA | Regulators say they are monitoring the cleanup of a leak of low-radiation water from Xcel Energy’s Monticello, Minnesota, nuclear power plant. The company says the contaminated water has been contained on the site of the plant and poses no immediate public health risk. [more]

U.S. BANKING | Federal Reserve regulators said yesterday that an unspecified number of banks in the U.S. have borrowed about $300 billion from the Fed in the past week amidst continuing industry concerns over the recent failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Reports say about half of the borrowed funds went to holding companies for the two failed banks. [more]

MORE U.S. BANKING | Eleven of the largest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, announced a $30 billion emergency rescue deposit package for San Francisco-based First Republic Bank yesterday amidst fears that First Republic could become the third U.S. bank to fail in the past week. [more]

U.S.-IRELAND RELATIONS | Continuing a tradition of a U.S.-Ireland bilateral summit on St. Patrick's Day, President Joe Biden is scheduled to host Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House today. [more]

MENTAL HEALTH | Amidst ongoing concern over mental health challenges and suicide rates among U.S. military service members, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a series of initiatives yesterday that includes the hiring of more behavioral health specialists, easier access to mental health care, and increased mental health and substance abuse screening. [more]

VIRGINIA | Seven Virginia sheriff’s deputies and three hospital workers were charged with second-degree murder this week in connection with the death of 28-year-old Irvo Otieno, who was a patient at the Central State Hospital mental-health facility in Petersburg, Virginia. [more]

CHINA AND RUSSIA | Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week, according to statements released today from both countries. Relations between the countries and the war in Ukraine are expected to be the main topics of discussion. [more]

FRANCE | Ahead of an uncertain vote in the National Assembly yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to invoke a special constitutional provision that would allow Macron's plan to raise the country's retirement age from 62 to 64 to be implemented without legislative approval. The move, which is expected to be challenged through a no-confidence vote next week, sparked protests and demonstrations in cities across France. [more]

ISRAEL | Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday urged world leaders to refrain from meeting with current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary system. [more]

EL SALVADOR | Legislators in El Salvador voted yesterday to approve another extension of the country’s emergency rules allowing the arrest of suspected street gang members. It was the 12th such one-month extension of the measures, which have resulted in the arrest of more than 65,000 suspected gang members, but which have also raised concerns over alleged rights abuses. [more]

PAKISTAN | Overturning a lower court ruling issued yesterday, the Islamabad High Court today ordered the suspension of arrest warrants for former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a graft case linked to his term in office, but ordered Khan to appear in court tomorrow. [more]

AUSTRALIA | Australian defense officials announced today that they plan to purchase 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States. The U.S. State Department approved the sale earlier today. [more]

U.K. STRIKES | Reports say most workers in Britain’s passport offices plan to take part in a five-week strike next month over pay issues, prompting concerns about the delivery of passports ahead of the summer holiday season. [more]

TIKTOK | The U.K. and New Zealand are the latest countries to ban use of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok on government devices over privacy and security concerns. The U.K. government-wide ban takes effect immediately, while the New Zealand ban, which applies only to devices of those persons who work inside the country’s parliament, takes effect at the end of March. [more]

SPACE BUSINESS | Satellite launch company Virgin Orbit announced yesterday that it is suspending all operations as it seeks funding to continue its work. Reports say the company plans to furlough almost all of its staff as it evaluates its options. [more]

FORD RECALL | Ford Motor Co. has announced the recall of more than 1.2 million Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles from the model years 2013 to 2018 due to issues with the vehicles’ front brake lines. [more]

NCAA BASKETBALL | Two early NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament upsets — Furman over Virginia and Princeton over Arizona — busted the vast majority of brackets filled out by fans. In ESPN’s Tournament Challenge bracket game, only 658 perfect brackets remained after yesterday’s opening games out of more than 20 million brackets submitted. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1992, nearly 69 percent of white South African voters backed F.W. de Klerk's reforms—which included the repeal of racially discriminatory laws—and effectively endorsed the dismantling of apartheid. [more history]

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