June 30, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 491 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian defense intelligence officials said today that Russia has begun reducing its staff at the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southern Ukraine, with departures including three employees of the Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom who had led Russian activities at the plant. [more]
  • Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar characterized Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces as “advancing in all directions” today, despite President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying recently that the counteroffensive was proceeding more slowly than desired. [more]
  • International research and advocacy group Human Rights Watch says it has new evidence of the “indiscriminate use” of banned antipersonnel landmines by Ukrainian forces against Russian troops in Ukraine and has called for Kyiv to follow through with commitments not to employ such weapons. [more]

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION | In cases that centered on admission policies at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a divided ruling, struck down affirmative action in college admissions yesterday, saying race cannot be a determining factor in student acceptance. [more]

RELIGIOUS RIGHTS | In a unanimous ruling yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court said that employers must show they would suffer “substantial increased costs” in order to reject employees’ requests for religious accommodation, such as not working on days proscribed by their religious beliefs. The underlying case, in which a mail carrier had asked to not work on Sundays, will now be returned to a lower court for review. [more]

STUDENT LOANS | The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule today on the legality of the Biden administration’s proposal to forgive up to $20,000 in federally held student loan debt per borrower. [more]

FLORIDA | A Florida jury yesterday found former Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson not guilty of felony child neglect and other charges for what prosecutors said was Peterson’s failure to act during the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in which 17 people were killed. [more]

NEW MEXICO | Oilfield and environmental regulators in New Mexico said yesterday that Austin, Texas-based oil and natural gas producer Ameredev has been fined $40.3 million for violating pollution reporting and control requirements and causing excessive emissions by burning off large amounts of natural gas in the state’s Lea County in 2019 and 2020. [more]

FRANCE | French authorities say more than 600 people were arrested and at least 200 police officers were injured overnight in France’s third straight night of widespread protests and riots following the shooting death of a 17-year-old driver during a police traffic check earlier this week. Reports say President Emmanuel Macron, returning from an E.U. summit in Brussels, is expected to hold an emergency security meeting today in Paris. [more]

SYRIA | The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution yesterday calling for the establishment of an independent body to investigate the fates of some 130,000 people reported to be missing as a result of the 12-year conflict in Syria. [more]

HAITI | Catherine Russell, executive director of the United Nations children’s agency, or UNICEF, said yesterday that nearly half of Haiti’s people, including some 3 million children, are in need of humanitarian aid and that young people in the Caribbean island nation face “staggering levels” of gender-based violence. Russell’s comments came one day after William O’Neill, the U.N. human rights expert for Haiti, said a special international armed force is needed to stem gang violence in the country. [more]

EUROPEAN ECONOMY | European Union statistics agency Eurostat reports today that consumer inflation in the 20 countries that use the euro currency fell to 5.5% in June, compared to the year-ago-period — down from 6.1% in May. [more]

MEXICO | Forecasters say Tropical Storm Beatriz, located about 95 miles southwest of Acapulco early today, could strengthen into a hurricane and drop as much as 8 inches of rain on portions of southern Mexico in the coming days as it slows and approaches land. [more]

PAKISTAN | Saying Pakistan’s government has taken decisive steps to bring its policies more in line with economic reform program plans in recent days, International Monetary Fund official Nathan Porter said today that the IMF has agreed to provide Pakistan with a $3 billion bailout package over nine months to help shore up the country’s economy and increase investor confidence. [more]

ONLINE NEWS | Google announced yesterday that it will block Canadian news on its platforms in Canada in response to the country’s Online News Act, which requires payments to link to local news publishers’ stories and is scheduled to take effect in about six months. Google’s action follows a similar move announced by Facebook last week. [more]

ENTERTAINMENT STRIKE | In a possible further blow to an entertainment industry already hampered by the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, the SAG-AFTRA actors union, which represents some 160,000 actors, has warned of its own possible strike if the union is unable to reach a new deal with major film and television studios on pay and safeguards around the use of artificial intelligence by a midnight Friday deadline. [more]

NFL | The National Football League yesterday suspended three players — Indianapolis Colts' cornerback Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and defensive end Rashod Berry, as well as free agent defensive tackle Demetrius Taylor — indefinitely for gambling on NFL games last season. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1908, an enormous aerial explosion, presumably caused by a comet fragment colliding with Earth, flattened approximately 2,000 square km of pine forest near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in central Siberia.  [more history]

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