March 30, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 399 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • A statement released overnight by the general staff of the Ukrainian military acknowledges “a degree of success” by Russian forces attempting to take control of the eastern city of Bakhmut, but says high casualty rates have blunted Russia’s offensive. [more]
  • Responding to recent Chinese proposals to work for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said today that China must press for a “just peace” and that “any peace plan which would, in effect, consolidate Russian annexations is simply not a viable plan." [more]

AI | Amidst the ongoing race to develop powerful artificial intelligence systems kicked off by the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, hundreds  of tech leaders, academics, and politicians, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, published an open letter yesterday calling for a six-month pause in the training of powerful artificial intelligence systems they say no one can understand, predict, or reliably control. The letter says the pause should be used to “develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts.” [open letter] [more]

WAR POWERS | The U.S. Senate voted, 66-30, yesterday to repeal the 1991 and 2002 measures that granted war powers authorization to presidents for the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq, respectively. The repeals, which President Biden has indicated he will support and which are expected to be voted on in the House in the near future, leave in place a separate 2001 authorization for the global war on terror. [more]

KENTUCKY | Army officials at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, say two 101st Airborne Division Blackhawk helicopters crashed last night during a training mission, resulting in several casualties. The cause of the crash is under investigation. [more]

U.S. ENERGY POLICY | The House is scheduled to vote today on a wide-ranging, Republican-sponsored energy policy package containing dozens of separate proposals that supporters say are aimed at reducing energy costs and boosting production and development. Opponents of the “Lower Energy Costs Act” say the package is a concession to energy companies and would reverse most recent policy changes aimed at addressing climate change. [more]

NORTH DAKOTA | A federal judge this week ordered the U.S. government to resume regular oil and gas lease sales on federal lands in North Dakota. The ruling came as a legal battle in the state continues over a Biden administration suspension of the leasing program two years ago. [more]

PHILIPPINES | Authorities in the Philippines’ southern Basilan province say at least 31 people died, and seven others remain missing, following a fire on a passenger ferry late last night. [more]

RUSSIA | Officials with Russia’s Federal Security Service domestic security and counterintelligence agency say the agency has arrested Moscow-based Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich on espionage charges, saying Gershkovich acted on U.S. orders to try to obtain classified information on a Russian military facility. [more]

PAKISTAN | Reports from Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province say four police officers were killed by a roadside bomb and six others were wounded in an attack on a police station in two attacks early this morning for which the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility. [more]

AUSTRALIA | The Australian Parliament passed new laws today that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says put his country on a realistic path to reducing carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. The new regulations create a national ceiling on carbon emissions and require Australia’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to reduce their net emissions by 4.9% per year. [more]

VATICAN | Pope Francis was hospitalized yesterday due to a respiratory infection, according to Vatican officials. Reports say Francis has resumed working in hospital while his treatment continues and that his condition is gradually improving. [more]

BRAZIL | Former President Jair Bolsonaro returned from the U.S. to Brazil this morning, where, according to reports, he intends to lead opposition to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ahead of next year’s national elections. [more]

GLOBAL FINANCE | In its annual ranking of global financial centers, the City of London Corporation says New York City and London are tied for first, followed by Singapore, Frankfurt, Paris, and Tokyo. [full report] [more]

BASKETBALL | Broadcaster Jim Nantz, coaches Joe Mihalich and Tim Cluess, and player Gail Marquis have been named as this year’s recipients of the Joe Lapchick Character Award, which celebrates “what is good in the game of basketball by honoring those who have demonstrated honorable character throughout their careers.” [more]

BASEBALL | Today is this season’s opening day for Major League Baseball. The new season comes with new rule and gameplay changes, including pitch clocks and a ban on overloading the infield to one side. [more]

MORE BASEBALL | A newly-negotiated collective bargaining agreement between minor league players and Major League Baseball would reportedly increase player salaries significantly and guarantee housing for most players. Players and MLB teams are expected to vote on the agreement in the coming days. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1867, William H. Seward, secretary of state under U.S. President Andrew Johnson, signed the Alaska Purchase, a treaty ceding Russian North America to the United States for $7.2 million—a price that amounted to about two cents per acre. [more history]

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