July 21, 2023


Listen to this issue.

UKRAINE | Today is day 512 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Officials in southern Ukraine say Russian cruise missile attacks overnight destroyed 100 metric tons of peas and 20 metric tons of barley, as well as farm and firefighting equipment, in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. Reports say two people were injured in the attacks. [more]
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today that he will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that could lead to a restoration of the deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports. [more]

U.S. SUPREME COURT | The Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines yesterday to approve a measure that would set ethics rules — and a process to enforce them — for Supreme Court justices. The measure, which includes transparency requirements regarding recusals, gifts, and potential conflicts of interest, is not expected to have sufficient support to pass in the full Senate. [more]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | U.S. President Joe Biden is meeting with the heads of leading artificial intelligence companies at the White House today to discuss ways to “seize the tremendous promise and manage the risks” posed by AI. Biden administration officials say the companies — Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI — have voluntarily committed to several measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of AI, including security testing, watermarking of AI-generated content, and ongoing research into AI-related bias, discrimination, and privacy. [more]

INSTANT PAYMENTS | The U.S. Federal Reserve launched its new FedNow service yesterday, which provides participating financial institutions the infrastructure to allow consumers and businesses to send and receive instant online payments. Fed officials say the number of banks implementing FedNow is expected to expand to most U.S. institutions over the coming years. [more]

SWEDEN | Demonstrations are planned today in multiple Muslim-majority nations, including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Lebanon, following a protest by an Iraqi Christian living in Stockholm, Sweden, yesterday during which a copy of the Quran was kicked and stood upon outside the Iraqi embassy. [more]

ISRAEL | Reports say thousands of Israelis are taking part in a march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem today to protest plans by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to overhaul the country’s judicial system. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on an initial part of the overhaul Monday. [more]

POLAND | Polish state-run news agency PAP cites national security committee officials as saying that the committee, along with the minister of national defense, agreed this week to move military units to Poland’s eastern regions in response to joint training announcements by neighboring Belarus and Russia’s Wagner mercenary group. [more]

CHINA | Reports say authorities in Beijing, China, have deployed more than 2,600 people to aid in clearing water pumping stations and drainage outlets today in anticipation of severe flooding from heavy rains. [more]

PHILIPPINES | President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said today that his government will not cooperate with ongoing investigations by the International Criminal Court into reports of thousands of killings alleged to have been committed during anti-drug operations under former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. [more]

NETHERLANDS | City officials in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam voted this week to ban cruise ships from docking in the city center due to overcrowding and pollution issues. Reports say the city has averaged about 100 cruise ship moorings per year in recent years. [more]

NFL | National Football League team owners yesterday approved the sale of the Washington Commanders franchise from Dan Snyder to a group led by Josh Harris for $6.05 billion — the highest price ever paid for a North American professional sports franchise. The NFL also announced a $60 million fine for outgoing owner Snyder related to its investigation into workplace culture and inappropriate business dealings. [more]

R.I.P. | Legendary American singer and entertainer Tony Bennett, known for his decades-long career that saw him release more than 70 albums and win 19 Grammy awards, died today at the age of 96, according to a release from his publicist. Speaking of Bennett in a 1965 interview, Frank Sinatra said, “For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business. He excites me when I watch him. He moves me. He’s the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more.” [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 2011, after 135 missions, the U.S. space shuttle program ended as the orbiter Atlantis landed at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.  [more history]

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