May 31, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 461 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Reports say the U.S. will announce a new $300 million military aid package for Ukraine this week that includes drone and HIMARS munitions, Stinger missiles, mine-clearing equipment, night vision goggles, and small arms ammunition. [more]
  • Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov says Russian forces destroyed Ukraine's last warship earlier this week in a missile strike on the port of Odesa. [more]
  • Ukrainian drone strikes damaged an oil refinery in Russia’s Krasnodar region today, according to Russian officials. [more]
  • Officials in Russia’s Belgrade region say at least four people were injured and multiple buildings were damaged in an artillery strike blamed on Ukrainian forces on the town of Shebekino today. [more]

U.S. DEBT | Both the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office have been engaged in talks over the past day in an attempt to ensure the passage of the debt ceiling and budget cut package negotiated over the weekend. A full House vote on the measures is expected later today. [more]

NEVADA | Governor Joe Lombardo signed a bill into law yesterday increasing the penalty for harassing, intimidating, or using force against election workers in Nevada. Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar says need for the law was prompted by increased harassment of election workers following the 2020 elections and the resulting exodus of such workers in the state due to the increased threats. [more]

FBI | House Oversight Committee chair James Comer says he intends to move forward with holding FBI Director Chris Wray in contempt of Congress over the FBI’s refusal to turn over a bureau record purported to allege a criminal scheme involving President Joe Biden, his family, and a foreign national. [more]

MINNESOTA | Governor Tim Walz signed a bill into law yesterday legalizing the use of recreational marijuana in Minnesota for people over the age of 21. The new law, similar to ones passed in 22 other states, takes effect in August. [more]

U.S. AND CHINA | U.S. military officials say a Chinese fighter jet flew aggressively close to an American military aircraft over the South China Sea yesterday, forcing the U.S. plane to fly through heavy turbulence. The incident took place in an area over which China has claimed sovereignty, but which is largely recognized as international airspace. [more]

NATO | U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday called for Turkey to drop its objections to Sweden joining the NATO alliance and noted that the Biden administration feels it is time to provide Turkey with upgraded F-16 fighter jets. Blinken maintained that the two issues were not linked, as has been suggested by some U.S. lawmakers. [more]

QATAR AND AFGHANISTAN | Reuters cites unnamed sources as saying that Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani held secret talks earlier this month with Afghan Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada on resolving Afghanistan’s tensions with the international community. The report notes that the talks were Akhunzada’s first-known meeting with a foreign leader. [more]

CANADA | As firefighters continue to battle wildfires in Canada’s eastern province of Nova Scotia, provincial authorities say all travel and activities in the region’s wooded areas will be temporarily banned starting later today. [more]

NORTH KOREA | Evacuation and shelter orders were issued for regions of both South Korea and Japan today as North Korea attempted to launch its first spy satellite into orbit. The rocket carrying the satellite failed shortly after launch and fell into the sea, according to North Korean officials, who predicted that a second launch attempt would be made in the future. [more]

KOSOVO | NATO has announced plans to deploy an additional 700 peacekeeping troops to northern Kosovo following clashes earlier this week with ethnic Serbs who were taking part in actions to prevent ethnic Albanian elected officials from taking office. [more]

IRAQ | The U.N. Security Council voted yesterday to extend the U.N.’s political mission in Iraq for one year and to encourage the Middle Eastern country’s newly formed government and cabinet to continue its reforms, combat corruption, and pursue its ongoing fight against the Islamic State militant group, al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups. [more]

GERMANY | Prosecutors in Germany say seven people were arrested today in five German states in raids targeting alleged members of a network that helped to finance Islamic State militant group activities in Syria. [more]

ISRAEL AND LEBANON | Reports say at least five Palestinian militants were killed, and 10 others were wounded, early today in an Israeli airstrike on a Syria-backed Palestinian group in the eastern Lebanon town of Qusaya. Officials with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine group warned of retaliation against Israel for the strike “at the suitable time.” [more]

SUDAN | The Sudanese military has reportedly suspended talks with rival paramilitary forces, leading to concerns that a tenuous ceasefire in the African nation could be cancelled and humanitarian aid efforts suspended. [more]

JAPAN | A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Japan this week to conduct a final review of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s plans to begin releasing large amounts of treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea later this summer. Plant operators say the water will be treated to legally releasable levels and released over several years. [more]

AUSTRALIA | Speaking before Australian legislators yesterday, Angus Campbell, chief of the Australian Defense Force, says U.S. military officials have warned that allegations of war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan could prevent U.S. forces from working with Australian special forces units in the future. [more]

AMAZON | An estimated 1,800 employees of e-commerce giant Amazon are expected to take part in a lunchtime walkout at various company locations around the world today to protest the company’s return-to-work policy that requires workers to be in-office three days per week. Reports say about 20,000 Amazon workers have signed a petition urging a reconsideration of the policy. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1902, with the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging, the South African War, or Boer War, came to a close after more than two and a half years of fighting.  [more history]

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