May 17, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 447 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Russian officials say they do not intend to extend a U.N.- and Turkey-brokered deal that allows shipments of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports if conditions to fully implement a separate agreement to facilitate shipments of Russian food and fertilizer are not met by Thursday of this week. [more]
  • At a meeting with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, yesterday in Seoul, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol condemned Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and said his country will expand its non-lethal aid to Kyiv. [more]

U.S. DEBT | The White House and Congressional leaders have appointed lead negotiators to continue talks this week on a deal to raise the federal debt limit ahead of a looming default. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said yesterday that although the parties remain far apart for now, a deal could be reached by the end of this week. [more]

MEDAL OF VALOR | U.S. President Joe Biden will honor nine people today with the Medal of Valor — the nation’s highest honor for bravery by public safety officers. Among those to be honored are three NYPD officers, three FDNY firefighters, a Houston police officer, a Colorado police official, and an Ohio sheriff’s deputy. [more]

ABORTION | A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today on last month’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas that ordered the nullification of the FDA’s decades-old approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. An immediate ruling by the panel is not expected. [more]

PENNSYLVANIA | With Heather Boyd’s win in a special election yesterday in Delaware County, Democrats maintained their narrow majority in the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives. [more]

NORTH CAROLINA | The Republican-led North Carolina legislature voted yesterday to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would ban most abortions in the state after 12 weeks of pregnancy, allowing the bill to become law on July 1. [more]

MASSACHUSETTS | Reports say Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins intends to resign this week following a Justice Department investigation into her appearance at a political fundraiser and other potential ethics issues. [more]

G7 | Leaders of the Group of Seven nations begin a summit today in Hiroshima, Japan, where major topics of discussion are expected to include the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, artificial intelligence, and increased aggressiveness by China concerning Taiwan. [more]

GLOBAL WARMING | In its latest annual global climate update report, the World Meteorological Organization says it is, for the first time, more likely than not (66%) that global average temperatures more than 1.5 degree Celsius above preindustrial levels will be reached at some point within the next five years. Last year’s report put the odds of reaching the 1.5-degree threshold at about 50-50. [full report] [more]

CHINA | Chinese state media reports that at least 39 people remain missing after a Chinese fishing boat capsized early Tuesday in the Indian Ocean. Officials say search and rescue operations will continue today in efforts to locate the boat’s crew, which included citizens of China, Indonesia, and the Philippines. [more]

ITALY | Authorities in northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region say at least three people are dead and some 5,000 have been evacuated due to flooding of the Savio river and its tributaries. Heavy rains in the area are expected to continue in the coming days. [more]

ECUADOR | National legislators in Ecuador yesterday debated alleged evidence of wrongdoing by President Guillermo Lasso ahead of an anticipated vote this week on removing Lasso from office. Reports note that Lasso, who defended himself during the legislative session, could dissolve the legislature before the impeachment vote and govern by decree, which is allowed by the South American country’s constitution. [more]

SYRIA | After years of being largely blocked out of regional politics due to his government’s crackdown on demonstrators in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising and subsequent civil war, Syrian President Bashar Assad is set to attend Friday’s Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia. Assad has also been invited to attend the upcoming COP28 climate summit in Dubai later this year. [more]

RUSSIA AND IRAN | Russian and Iranian officials yesterday signed a deal to finance and build the new Rasht-Astara railway along the Caspian Sea coast that will connect the two countries as part of a planned North-South regional trade and transport corridor. [more]

SINGAPORE | Reports say Singapore hanged a citizen yesterday for cannabis trafficking — the island nation's second execution for the crime in the past three weeks -- prompting calls for abolishing the death penalty for drug crimes from the U.N. and multiple human rights groups. [more]

NEW ZEALAND | Officials in New Zealand say they believe the fire that killed at least six people at a Wellington hostel yesterday was arson and have launched a formal homicide investigation into the blaze. [more]

GERMANY | The trial of five people associated with Germany’s Reich Citizens movement, which rejects the legitimacy of Germany's postwar constitution, begins today. The suspects — four men and one woman — are charged with treason and being members of a terrorist organization. [more]

FRANCE | A French appeals court today upheld the one-year prison sentence imposed on former President Nicolas Sarkozy following his conviction on corruption and influence peddling charges. Lawyers for Sarkozy say they intend to appeal the ruling. [more]

AI | In testimony yesterday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on Privacy, Technology & the Law, Sam Altman, CEO of artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT maker OpenAI, said that a U.S. or international agency should regulate and license makers of powerful AI systems and have the power to revoke such licenses to ensure compliance with safety standards. [more]

TECH LAYOFFS | U.K.-based wireless carrier Vodafone announced yesterday that it will lay off some 11,000 employees — about 11% of its workforce— over the next three years as part of efforts to reduce costs and improve the company’s financial performance. [more]

BASKETBALL | The San Antonio Spurs won last night’s NBA Draft lottery and are expected to draft 7-foot-3 French basketball star Victor Wembanyama with the No. 1 pick. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1792, meeting on what is now Wall Street in New York City, 24 businessmen took the initial steps toward forming the New York Stock Exchange. [more history]

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