April 21, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 421 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Speaking at a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group today in Germany, U.S. military officials announced plans to begin training Ukrainian forces on how to use and maintain U.S.-supplied Abrams battle tanks in the coming weeks. [more]
  • During his visit to Kyiv yesterday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated the alliance’s support for Ukraine and said that “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO.” [more]

SUPREME COURT | U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin yesterday invited Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to testify before the Committee next week at a public hearing regarding Supreme Court ethics reform. The invitation comes in the wake of recent reports of alleged financial improprieties by Justice Clarence Thomas and what Durbin called a “steady stream of revelations” regarding Supreme Court justices “falling short of ethical standards expected of other federal judges.” [more]

TRANSGENDER | The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines yesterday to bar transgender athletes whose biological sex assigned at birth was male from competing on girls or women’s sports teams at federally supported schools and colleges. Reports say neither the Democratic-led Senate nor President Biden are expected to support the bill. [more]

ABORTION | The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to issue a ruling by midnight tonight on lower court decisions that placed restrictions on the distribution of the abortion drug mifepristone and ordered the nullification of the FDA’s 2000 approval of the drug. [more]

U.S. GUN VIOLENCE | Robert Louis Singletary, 24, the suspect in this week’s shooting of four people in Gaston County, North Carolina, that occurred after a basketball rolled into Singletary’s yard, surrendered to authorities in Florida yesterday. An extradition hearing for Singletary is scheduled to take place today. [more]

BOY SCOUTS | As part of its plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts of America has announced the establishment of a $2.4 billion fund to compensate members of the organization who were victims of sexual abuse by scoutmasters or other leaders. [more]

CALIFORNIA | The California Department of Water Resources announced yesterday that it will be able to provide 100% of water requested by cities and farms in the state this year for the first time since 2006 thanks to winter storms that increased snowpack runoff and filled reservoirs. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | In recent political action leading up to the 2024 presidential election, Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder announced that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination and reports say President Joe Biden is preparing to announce his re-election bid as early as next week. [more]

SOLAR POWER | The U.S. Department of Energy announced $82 million in funding for new solar energy-related projects across the country yesterday. Reports say the funding will be used for solar projects in 12 states and for research and development of next-generation solar technologies and integration of solar-generated electricity into the national power grid. [more]

U.S. AND PHILIPPINES | White House officials say President Joe Biden will host Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for talks in Washington, DC, on May 1. The talks are expected to center on strengthening economic cooperation between the two countries, climate change, human rights, and Indo-Pacific regional security and freedom. [more]

CLIMATE | In a video message prepared for the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Washington, DC, yesterday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the expansion of oil and gas drilling and other policies of the world’s richest countries amount to a “death sentence” for the planet. [more]

CHINA AND TAIWAN | In a continuation of increased Chinese government rhetoric concerning Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said today that, “The Taiwan problem is at the core of China’s core interests. We will never back down in the face of any act that undermines China’s sovereignty and security. Those who play with fire on the question of Taiwan will burn themselves.” [more]

SUDAN | Following the expiration of a 24-hour ceasefire between Sudan’s military and the country’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces yesterday, military officials said there could be no negotiations with paramilitary force leaders and that only terms of surrender could be discussed. New reports this morning say RSF leaders announced a new 72-hour ceasefire starting today to open humanitarian corridors for evacuations and to mark the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. [more]

RUSSIA | Russian military officials have acknowledged that a Russian warplane accidentally dropped a bomb on the Russian city of Belgorod last night, injuring several people and destroying multiple apartments. [more]

CHILE | Chilean President Gabriel Boric unveiled a plan yesterday that would require private companies that extract lithium in Chile to partner with the country’s government. Reports note that Chile has the world’s third largest reserves of lithium, which is in high demand globally for use in electric batteries. [more]

U.K. | British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned this morning following an investigation into allegations that he was abusive toward staff during a previous term as justice minister and while serving as foreign secretary and Brexit secretary — charges that Raab has denied. [more]

CANADA | Reports say Canadian police are investigating the theft earlier this week of about $14.84 million in gold and other valuables from a holding facility at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority notes that the theft took place in a third-party-leased warehouse location outside the Authority’s primary security line. [more]

SPACE | The SpaceX Starship rocket exploded four minutes into its planned 1.5-hour maiden test flight yesterday. SpaceX head Elon Musk called the test launch “exciting” and said the company learned a lot for its next test launch in the coming months. [more]

BASEBALL | New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball yesterday for having an unidentified sticky substance on his pitching hand during the Mets’ game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1918, Manfred, Baron von Richthofen, Germany's top flying ace in World War I, was shot down and killed during a battle near the French village of Vaux-sur-Somme. [more history]

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