May 18, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 448 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian officials say 29 of 30 Russian missiles fired at targets across Ukraine overnight were shot down and that one person was killed, and two others wounded, by the one missile that reached its target. [more]
  • At a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, representatives of more than 40 Council of Europe nations agreed yesterday to set up a system under which Russian damage inflicted on Ukraine and its citizens will be documented for potential use in obtaining reparations. [more]
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced yesterday that Russia has agreed to a two-month extension of the deal that allows Ukrainian grain shipments through Black Sea ports. Reports say the deal has allowed the shipment of more than 30 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain to be shipped since its initial implementation last summer. [more]

U.S. DEBT | President Joe Biden said yesterday that debt ceiling talks with congressional leaders have been productive and that he is confident an agreement will be reached to avoid a potential federal debt default. [more]

STATE DEPARTMENT | U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Michael McCaul says the State Department has offered to show him a classified diplomatic cable sent ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in a bid to avoid a push to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn the cable over to the committee. McCaul has indicated he still wants the rest of his committee to see the so-called dissent cable. [more]

TEXAS | The Texas state legislature has sent a bill to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that, if enacted, would ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state. Abbott has not specifically said he will sign the bill, which would make Texas the latest of at least 17 states with similar bans. [more]

GUN REGULATION | The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to block local and state bans on assault weapon sales in Illinois, rejecting an emergency request from gun rights advocates to keep the bans from taking effect while legal appeals take place. [more]

MONTANA | Citing privacy and security concerns, Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a measure into law yesterday that makes it illegal for social media platform TikTok to operate in the state. It is unclear how the state intends to enforce the law, which is scheduled to take effect in January 2024, and which has been labeled as unconstitutional by various rights and technology groups. [more]

MASSACHUSETTS | Department of Justice reports released yesterday say Rachael Rollins, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, leaked sensitive Justice Department information to a journalist in an effort to influence a local election, lied to investigators, and improperly attended a fundraiser. The reports come a day after Rollins announced her intention to resign by the end of this week. [more]

BORDER PATROL | The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says an 8-year-old girl who, along with her family, was in Border Patrol custody in Harlingen, Texas, experienced a medical emergency yesterday from which she died. Further details, including the nature of the medical emergency and the girl’s nationality, were not disclosed. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | Reports say Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will file paperwork next week formally declaring his candidacy for the 2024 Republican nomination for president. [more]

CHINA AND CENTRAL ASIA | The two-day China-Central Asia Summit begins today in Xi’an, China, bringing together leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and China for talks expected to focus on trade ties, regional security, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. [more]

ISRAEL | Reports say Israel has deployed some 2,500 police officers in Jerusalem today ahead of an annual march by Jewish nationalists through the main Palestinian thoroughfare in Jerusalem’s Old City. The “Jerusalem Day” march commemorates the capture of east Jerusalem by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and has been a triggering event for Israeli-Palestinian violence in the past. [more]

G7 | In addition to the issues of Ukraine, China, Russia, and artificial intelligence, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected highlight the risks of nuclear proliferation as the G7 summit kicks off in Hiroshima, Japan — site of the World War II atomic bombing by the U.S. that destroyed the city and killed 140,000 people in 1945. [more]

AFGHANISTAN | The U.K.-based Center for Information Resilience’s Afghan Witness project today announced the launch of an interactive map documenting more than 1,300 incidents of human rights abuses and violence against civilians in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in the country two years ago. [Afghan Witness map] [more]

PAKISTAN | Police in Lahore, Pakistan, have reportedly gathered around the home of former Prime Minister Imran Khan ahead of the expiration of a deadline for Khan to turn over suspects wanted in connection with violent protests last week who are alleged to be sheltering in the home. [more]

ITALY | Officials in Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region say the death toll from recent flooding in the region has risen to eight and that more than 10,000 people have been evacuated due to continuing flood risks. The floods also forced the cancellation of this weekend’s Formula One Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. [more]

ECUADOR | President Guillermo Lasso dissolved Ecuador’s National Assembly yesterday, which is allowed by the country’s constitution, heading off plans by opposition legislators to impeach him and triggering early legislative and presidential elections. [more]

TECH LAYOFFS | The U.K.’s largest broadband and mobile provider, BT Group, formerly British Telecom, has announced plans to cut some 55,000 jobs — about 40% of its workforce — by 2030 as part of a corporate  transformation that includes a move to fiber broadband and adoption of artificial intelligence technologies. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1980, following a 5.1-magnitude earthquake, Mount St. Helens in Washington state erupted in one of the strongest volcanic explosions ever recorded in North America. [more history]

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