July 14, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 505 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • U.S. and Ukrainian officials have confirmed the delivery of controversial U.S.-provided cluster munitions to Ukraine’s military. [more]
  • Reports say Major General Ivan Popov, commander of Russia’s 58th Combined Arms Army fighting in southern Ukraine, was removed from his position after he criticized battlefield strategy and expressed concern about his troops fighting without rest. [more]

U.S. MASS KILLINGS | An Associated Press report says the first half of 2023 was the deadliest six months in terms of mass killings recorded in the U.S. since at least 2006. The report says there were 28 mass killings — defined as an occurrence when four or more people are slain, not including the assailant, within a 24-hour period — with 140 victims from January 1 to June 30. [more]

MINNESOTA | A judge yesterday approved and ordered the implementation of a 144-page agreement on police reforms between Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The agreement is the result of negotiations following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin and investigations that found the Minneapolis police department to have systematically discriminated against racial minorities, violated constitutional rights, and disregarded the safety of people in custody for years. [full agreement] [more]

PENNSYLVANIA | A federal jury yesterday found Robert Bowers, the gunman who killed 11 people at Pittsburg’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, eligible for the death penalty, despite defense attorneys’ claims that Bowers’ ability to form an intent to kill was impaired by mental illness. [more]

HOLLYWOOD | The SAG-AFTRA film and television actors' union went on strike today after talks with producers and studios failed to reach an agreement on pay and other issues. The actors’ union strike is expected to add significantly to the entertainment industry disruption already affected by the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. [more]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has reportedly launched an investigation into ChatGPT creator OpenAI, saying in its investigative demand paperwork that it seeks to determine if the artificial intelligence company “engaged in unfair or deceptive privacy or data security practices,” “engaged in unfair or deceptive practices relating to risks of harm to consumers, including reputational harm,” and whether FTC “action to obtain monetary relief would be in the public interest.” [more]

IOWA | Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign Iowa’s new ban on most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy into law today in Des Moines. Also today, an Iowa district court judge is set to consider a request by opponents of the ban to postpone its implementation while it is challenged in courts. [more]

BIRTH CONTROL | The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full over-the-counter marketing and sales approval to Perrigo’s once-daily Opill birth control pill, making it the first contraceptive medication available in the U.S. without a prescription. Ireland-based Perrigo is not expected to begin selling Opill in the U.S. until early next year. [more]

SOUTH AFRICA | South African military troops were deployed to four of their country’s provinces today to assist police in responding to a series of at least 21 truck burnings over the past week. Authorities indicate the burnings appear to be coordinated and reports suggest that they may be linked to the anniversary of violence sparked by the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma in 2021. [more]

NORTH KOREA | In a rare appearance before the U.N. Security Council, North Korea's U.N. Ambassador Kim Song said his country’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile into the ocean earlier this week was a self-defense exercise aimed at deterring military moves of hostile forces and condemned the convening of a Security Council briefing on the issue by the U.S. and its allies. [more]

CHINA | Reports say officials in China’s southwestern Chongqing municipality issued warnings for most of the region’s districts and counties today amidst ongoing flooding and forecasts for continued heavy rains. [more]

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER | The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, citing “limited evidence”, classified the commonly used artificial sweetener aspartame as possibly cancer-causing in humans today. Separately, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives said the data evaluated gives no sufficient reason to change its previously established acceptable daily intake level of 0–40 mg/kg body weight for the sweetener. [press release and findings] [more]

TENNIS | Ons Jabeur and  Marketa Vondrousova will face off in tomorrow’s 2023 Wimbledon women’s final after winning their semifinal matches. The men’s final on Sunday will feature the winners of today’s matches between Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1789, revolutionary insurgents in Paris, France, attempted to storm and seize control of the medieval armory, fortress, and political prison known as the Bastille, which was seen as a symbol of the French monarchy’s abuse of power. “Bastille Day” was a flashpoint of the French Revolution and is celebrated as a national holiday across France. [more history]

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