June 29, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 490 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to address a summit of leaders of the 27-nation European Union being held today in Brussels at which continued aid for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, and the aborted mutiny by Russia's Wagner mercenary group are expected to dominate the agenda. [more]
  • Authorities in Ukraine say an alleged Russian agent thought to have been involved in the targeting of a Kramatorsk restaurant by Russian missiles Tuesday has been arrested and charged with treason. [more]

HEALTHCARE FRAUD | The U.S. Justice Department yesterday announced that a two-week nationwide law enforcement action has resulted in criminal charges being filed against 78 defendants for alleged participation in health care fraud and opioid abuse schemes that included over $2.5 billion in alleged fraud. [more]

CALIFORNIA | Concluding its two-year effort, the California task force charged with studying potential slavery reparations is expected to officially submit its final report today, documenting the state’s role in slavery and perpetuation of discrimination against Black residents and making recommendations, including financial compensation and a formal apology, for harm done to descendants of slaves. [previously released interim report] [more]

AIR QUALITY | As many as 120 million U.S. residents are under air quality alerts and warnings today as smoke from Canadian wildfires pushes into the Midwest and New England, and south along the east coast as far as Georgia. [EPA Air Now maps] [more]

U.S. BANKING | Speaking at a banking conference in Madrid today, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed may need to strengthen its supervision and regulation of the U.S. financial system following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank earlier this year. [more]

AMTRAK | Reports say at least 14 people were injured yesterday when an Amtrak train traveling from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, California, with about 200 people on board hit a water truck that was stalled on the train track and partially derailed near the Southern California city of Moorpark. [more]

U.S. IMMIGRATION | Reuters cites government sources as saying the Customs and Borders Protection agency resumed the scheduling of asylum appointments at its Laredo, Texas, U.S.-Mexico border crossing facility yesterday — two weeks after such appointments were suspended following reports of criminal gangs extorting migrants in the nearby Mexican town of Nuevo Laredo. [more]

UNESCO | The U.N. cultural and scientific agency, UNESCO, begin a two-day meeting in Paris today, during which the agency’s 193 members are expected to approve the United States’ request to rejoin the organization. The U.S. withdrew from UNESCO in 2017, citing anti-Israeli bias and management issues as reasons for the move. [more]

FRANCE | Reports say more than 180 people were arrested in cities across France overnight in continued unrest following the shooting death earlier this week of a 17-year-old driver during a traffic check in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. In a statement to reporters today, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said up to 40,000 police officers would be deployed across the country in anticipation of further protests and riots. [more]

SUDAN | The International Committee of the Red Cross said today that it has facilitated the release of 125 Sudanese army soldiers who had been captured and held by the country’s paramilitary forces during the African nation’s ongoing 11-week internal conflict. [more]

U.K. | The British government’s plan to begin deporting illegal asylum seekers arriving in the country via English Channel crossings to Rwanda was determined to be unlawful today by the U.K. Court of Appeal, which said in its ruling that Rwanda could not be treated as a safe third country. [more]

RUSSIA | Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today declined to comment on reports that Russian General Sergey Surovikin has been detained in connection with last weekend’s short-lived rebellion by the Wagner mercenary group. Reports suggest Surovikin may have been aware of the Wagner action ahead of time and that he has been sympathetic toward Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. [more]

SRI LANKA | Officials in Sri Lanka have announced a plan to restructure approximately half of the South Asia nation’s $42.1 billion in local debt following agreements reached earlier this year with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for economy-stabilizing aid and financing. [more]

SWITZERLAND | Officials at Switzerland’s Geneva Airport say a strike by some employees tomorrow is expected to cause flight delays and cancellations as the summer vacation travel season begins. [more]

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER | Reports say the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency, is expected to declare the commonly used artificial sweetener aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in a report due out next month, though the report is not expected to address at what consumption levels the sweetener might pose a risk. [more]

BASEBALL | New York Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán pitched the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, and the first since 2012, in last night's 11-0  Yankees’ win over the Oakland Athletics. [more]

SOCCER | Jesús Ferreira scored three goals for the U.S. last night to lead the team to a 6-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. [more]

HOCKEY | Canadian Connor Bedard was selected first overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in last night’s opening round of the 2023 National Hockey League draft, followed by Sweden’s Leo Carlsson by the Anaheim Ducks and Michigan freshman Adam Fantilli by the Columbus Blue Jackets. [full draft details] [more]

MUSIC | Pop star Madonna was hospitalized earlier this week due to what her manager calls a “serious bacterial infection,” and has postponed her upcoming “Celebration” tour of North America, which was scheduled to begin in Vancouver on July 15, due to her illness. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | During a performance of William Shakespeare's Henry VIII on this date in 1613, the Globe Theatre was destroyed within an hour after its thatch was accidentally set afire by a cannon marking the king's entrance onstage.  [more history]

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