June 1, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 462 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • According to a new report from the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington, DC-based think tank, troops from Russia’s Chechnya region have been ordered to take a more prominent role in “active combat activities” in Ukraine. [ISW report] [more]
  • Ukrainian officials say at least three people were killed, and another 16 were wounded, today in Russia’s latest missile attack on Kyiv. [more]
  • U.S. President Joe Biden has given formal approval for a new $300 million military aid package to Ukraine that includes Patriot and HIMARS munitions, Avenger and Stinger air defense systems, mine-clearing equipment, and some 30 million rounds of small arms ammunition. The package brings the total of U.S. aid to Ukraine to more than $37.6 billion since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. [more]
  • Russian military officials say some 30 Ukrainian fighters were killed overnight in three attempted incursions into Russian territory near the town of Shebekino. [more]

U.S. DEBT | The U.S. House of Representatives voted 314-117 last night to pass the compromise debt ceiling and spending cuts package negotiated between the White House and Congressional leaders. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the measures before the end of the week and ahead of a potential June 5 federal debt default. [more]

TRUMP INVESTIGATIONS | Reports say Justice Department prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of former President Donald Trump discussing a classified Pentagon document regarding a potential attack on Iran that he kept after leaving office, suggesting that Trump was aware of his limited ability to possess classified materials after his term in office ended. [more]

NEW MEXICO | A federal grand jury in New Mexico yesterday indicted former Republican candidate Solomon Peña and two alleged accomplices on charges related to a series of drive-by shootings at homes of state and local lawmakers and election officials in Albuquerque late last year and early this year. [more]

U.S. POLITICS | Former Vice President Mike Pence will formally launch his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination at an event in Iowa on June 7, according to reports. A campaign launch for the same nomination by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is expected to take place on June 6. [more]

CALIFORNIA | All criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric in connection to the 2020 Zogg wildfire that killed four people and destroyed hundreds of homes were dismissed by a California judge yesterday. In a separately announced agreement with Shasta County — one of the counties most affected by the fire — PG&E said it would pay $50 million in civil penalties and rebuilding assistance. [more]

U.S. BIRTHS | A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says the number of births in the U.S. did not return to pre-pandemic levels last year. The report further notes that a little under 3.7 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2022, that the highest birth rates were among mothers in their early 30s, the level of cesarean section births rose to 32.2%, and the teen birth rate fell to a record low. [full report] [more]

U.S. AND CHINA | Speaking today during a visit to Japan, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin characterized as “unfortunate” the refusal by his Chinese counterpart to meet in person during the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit both are scheduled to attend this weekend in Singapore. [more]

EUROPE | A European Political Community summit begins today in Moldova, with the war in Ukraine expected to lead the agenda. Attendees include heads of state and government officials from 47 countries, including European Union nations and other regional countries. [more]

E.U. ECONOMY | European Union statistics agency Eurostat reports today that inflation in the 20 countries that use the euro currency fell to 6.1% in May, compared to the year-ago period -- down from 7% in April. [more]

BRICS | Foreign ministry officials from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are meeting today in Cape Town, South Africa. Expected topics of discussion at the meeting are the offering of an alternative to Western geopolitical dominance, possible expansion of the group, and strengthening ties between group members. [more]

CANADA | As part of a program aimed at reducing the tobacco use rate in Canada to below 5% by 2035, Health Canada says new regulations requiring health warnings to be printed on individual cigarettes will begin to be phased in starting August 1. The warnings will include phrases such as “poison in every puff,” “tobacco smoke harms children,” and cigarettes damage your organs.” [more]

JAPAN | Preparations, including the closing of some businesses and airports, are underway on Japan’s main Okinawa island today ahead of tomorrow’s expected arrival of Tropical Storm Mawar, which has weakened from typhoon status since hitting Guam, Taiwan, and the Philippines over the past week. [more]

CLIMATE AND HUMAN ENVIRONMENT | In a new study published in the journal Nature, members of the international scientific group Earth Commission say that seven out of eight scientifically established global safety limits related to climate, the biosphere, water and nutrient cycles, and aerosol levels have been exceeded. [full study] [more]

UFOs | Ahead of the expected July release of a formal report, a NASA panel of experts held its first public meeting on what it calls unexplained anomalous phenomena yesterday. Following the meeting, NASA’s Dan Evans said that there is “absolutely no convincing evidence for extraterrestrial life associated with” any of the unidentified object sightings studied by the panel. [more]

PRIVACY | E-commerce and tech giant Amazon agreed yesterday to pay two separate fines to settle U.S. Federal Trade Commission allegations regarding alleged privacy violations: a $25 million fine related to the company keeping recordings of children’s voices and data recorded by its Alexa voice assistants and a $5.8 million fine for allowing employees and contractors to access consumers’ private videos recorded by its Ring doorbells cameras. [more]

BASKETBALL | The NBA's Detroit Pistons have reportedly reached an agreement to hire former Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 2002, the Czech Republic became the first country to enact a law to address light pollution, requiring all outdoor lighting fixtures to have a shield preventing light from extending above the horizontal. [more history]

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