May 19, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 449 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is attending the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia today and will reportedly appear virtually later in the day at the G7 summit in Japan to brief attendees on battlefield conditions in Ukraine. There are conflicting reports concerning a possible in-person appearance by Zelenskyy at the G7 summit on Sunday. [more]
  • U.S. military officials say the Pentagon overestimated the value of weapons it has previously provided to Ukraine by some $3 billion and that the accounting error will allow it to send more weapons without requesting funding from Congress. [more]
  • Leaders of the G7 nations meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, have announced plans to expand sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and to strengthen efforts to enforce existing sanctions. [more]

U.S. DEBT | Amidst ongoing debt ceiling negotiations, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said yesterday that it is important to reach an “agreement in principle” by the weekend in order for the House and Senate to have time to vote on the issue ahead of a potential June 1 default deadline. [more]

INTERNET LAW | In a unanimous ruling yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit that sought to hold social media companies, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook liable for allegedly allowing their platforms to be used to aid and abet a terrorist attack at a Turkish nightclub that killed 39 people in 2017. The ruling is seen as supporting a 1996 law known as Section 230, which protects companies against liability for the social media posts of others, but the court did not directly address the issue of Section 230's applicability or legality. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has reportedly purchased $5.5 million in television ads in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire ahead of an expected formal candidacy declaration for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. [more]

NEBRASKA | Reports say a bill combining bans on gender-affirming healthcare for minors and abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy appears to have enough support to pass today in a vote by Nebraska’s unicameral state legislature. [more]

MONTANA | Five Montana residents who create content on the social media platform TikTok have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban of the platform, saying the measure, which was signed into law earlier this week and is scheduled to take effect in January 2024, is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights. [more]

FLORIDA | Amidst the ongoing political and social feud between the Disney corporation and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Disney announced yesterday that it has cancelled plans to build a $1 billion office campus that would have brought an estimated 2,000 jobs to the Orlando area. [more]

U.S. AND TAIWAN | Reports say U.S. and Taiwanese negotiators have reached agreement on the first parts of the “Initiative on 21st Century Trade” that cover customs and border procedures and regulatory and small business trade practices. The trade agreement, for which negotiations will continue this year on other issues, aims to strengthen economic ties between the U.S. and Chinese-claimed Taiwan. [more]

MYANMAR | State media in Myanmar reports that at least 145 people were killed, and more than 185,000 buildings were damaged, by Cyclone Mocha, which struck the country’s western Rakhine state earlier this week. [more]

IRAN | Judiciary officials in Iran say three men were executed today in connection with deadly violence during anti-government protests last year. Reports say a total of seven people have been executed in connection with the nationwide protests that erupted last September following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for allegedly violating Iran’s strict Islamic dress code. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | Tens of thousands of nurses in South Korea went on strike today after President Yoon Suk Yeol vetoed a law aimed at increasing nurses’ pay and improving working conditions. Yoon cited conflict among medical workers over the scope of nursing practices and care in the law as the reason for his veto. [more]

ITALY | Officials in Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region say the death toll from ongoing flooding in the region has risen to at least 13 and that plans are underway to begin cleanup and reconstruction operations ahead of an expected emergency declaration by national leaders next week. [more]

IRAN AND AFGHANISTAN | Amidst ongoing drought conditions in most areas of Iran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said yesterday that his government is determined to defend its water rights and warned Afghanistan's Taliban rulers not to violate the water rights of the Iranian people over their shared Helmand River, which originates in the Afghan Hindu Kush mountain range. [more]

AUSTRALIA | Police in the Australian state of New South Wales have launched an internal investigation after two officers used a stun gun earlier this week to shock a 95-year-old female nursing home resident who approached them using a walker while holding a steak knife. The elderly woman, Clare Nowland, was injured in a fall after being shocked and is hospitalized and in critical condition, according to reports. [more]

SOUTH PACIFIC | The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports that a 7.7-magnitude earthquake centered near the South Pacific’s Loyalty Islands caused a small tsunami — with maximum waves about two feet above tide level — to wash ashore early today on several South Pacific islands, including Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. No damage from the tsunami has been reported. [more]

CANADA | Ahead of the Victoria Day holiday weekend, authorities in the province of Alberta have closed some parks and campgrounds and have imposed fire bans amidst the province’s abnormally dry weather and the region’s ongoing battle against multiple active wildfires. [more]

CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT | A new study in the journal Science says that more than half of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs have shrunk since the early 1990s and suggests that climate change is responsible for the water level reductions. [related article] [more]

TENNIS | Speaking at a news conference yesterday, tennis great Rafael Nadal, 36, said that he will not play in the upcoming French Open due to ongoing recovery from injuries and that he will probably end his professional playing career in 2024. [more]

HOCKEY | Matthew Tkachuk’s goal in the final seconds of a fourth overtime in last night’s game between the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes gave Florida the win and ended the sixth longest game in National Hockey League history. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1884, the Ringling brothers opened a small circus in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and by the early 20th century had transformed it into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the leading American circus. [more history]

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