March 21, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 390 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Kyiv today for meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, while Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a second day of talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping today in Moscow. [more]
  • U.S. officials announced a new drawdown of military assistance for Ukraine from U.S. stockpiles yesterday. The new aid package, valued at an estimated $350 million, includes fuel vehicles, patrol boats, mine-clearing equipment, grenade launchers, small arms, and various ammunition. [more]

U.S. GUN VIOLENCE | One student was killed and another injured yesterday when an unidentified male student opened fire on the campus of Lamar High School in Arlington, Texas. Police say the suspect was arrested within minutes of the shooting and has been charged with capital murder. [more]

NEW YORK CITY | Ahead of a rumored indictment of former President Donald Trump on charges related to hush-money payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign, barricades were erected around New York City’s Manhattan Criminal Court building yesterday in anticipation of possible demonstrations and protests if the indictment takes place. [more]

ABORTION | Wyoming yesterday became the first U.S. state to explicitly ban prescription medications used to terminate pregnancies — a method used in more than half of all abortions in the U.S., according to reports. [more]

COVID-19 | U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation yesterday calling for the Director of National Intelligence to declassify certain information and research concerning the origin of COVID-19. [Biden statement] [more]

U.S. POLITICS | President Joe Biden issued the first veto of his presidency yesterday, blocking a bill that would have banned federal pension plan managers from considering factors such as climate change, social impact, or pending lawsuits when making investment choices. [more]

LOS ANGELES | Schools in the 500,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District are closed today as tens of thousands of teachers and school support staff begin a planned three-day strike over stalled contract talks. [more]

TEXAS | Officials in Texas yesterday added European bank HSBC Holdings to a state energy sanctions list, saying the bank’s investment decisions “push a social agenda and prioritize political goals over the economic health of their clients.” [more]

NATIONAL MONUMENTS | Reports say U.S. President Joe Biden will make a declaration today establishing two new national monuments — Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and the Castner Range National Monument in Texas. Together the two monument designations will put more than 500,000 acres of public land under federal protection. [more]

CLIMATE | The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a comprehensive report yesterday warning that urgent global action is needed to reduce carbon pollution by 2035 in order to prevent irreversible climate and ecological impacts. [report website] [more]

HUMAN RIGHTS | The United States released its annual Human Rights Report on 198 countries and territories yesterday. Among the items called out by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the preface to the report are China’s actions against Muslim Uyghurs, government violence against civilians and ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma), Taliban oppression of women and girls in Afghanistan, Syrian political oppression, and unjust prison sentences given to protestors in Cuba, Belarus, and Venezuela. [report website] [more]

FRANCE | President Emmanuel Macron’s government narrowly survived two parliamentary no-confidence votes related to pension reform yesterday. The pension bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, which Macron pushed through without a legislative vote, still faces a review by the country’s Constitutional Council before it can be signed into law. [more]

U.K. | A new comprehensive report on standards of behavior and internal culture in London’s Metropolitan Police Service says that racism, sexism, and homophobia are endemic in the service and that it has shown an unwillingness to acknowledge the necessity for wholesale reform. [full report] [more]

ISRAEL AND WEST BANK | In a move that could pave the way for reconstruction of four West Bank settlements dismantled almost two decades ago, Israeli lawmakers voted early today to repeal a 2005 ban on settlements in the northern regions of the occupied West Bank. [more]

SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN | As part of ongoing efforts to improve ties between South Korea and Japan, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced today that his government will move to restore preferential trade status for Japan. [more]

SRI LANKA | The International Monetary Fund approved a $3 billion bailout plan for Sri Lanka yesterday to aid in the Asian nation’s recovery from its humanitarian and economic crises. As part of the plan, the IMF will assess corruption and governance vulnerabilities in Sri Lanka and provide recommendations for improvement. [more]

VENEZUELA | Venezuelan oil minister Tareck El Aissami announced his resignation yesterday amidst ongoing government investigations into corruption in the South American nation’s oil industry. Reports note that El Aissami pledged to aid the investigations and that no charges have yet been filed against him. [more]

TECH LAYOFFS | E-commerce giant Amazon announced plans yesterday to eliminate about 9,000 jobs in the coming weeks, bringing to 27,000 the number of layoffs announced at the company this year. [more]

BASEBALL | Japan beat Mexico, 6-5, last night to advance to tomorrow’s final of the World Baseball Classic, where they will face the United States. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1990, after 106 years of German and South African rule, Namibia became an independent nation. [more history]

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