August 3, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 525 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Officials in the Ukrainian city of Kherson say at least eight people were wounded today in Russian shelling that struck the city’s landmark St Catherine’s Cathedral and a nearby trolley bus. [more]
  • Russian authorities say six Ukrainian drones were shot down overnight in Russia’s Kaluga region, southwest of Moscow. No casualties or damage were reported as a result of the drone attack. [more]

TRUMP INDICTMENT | Former U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to enter a plea of not guilty when he appears at a Washington, DC, federal court today for arrest and arraignment in connection with his indictment on four felony counts related to alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. [more]

U.S. CREDIT RATING | In response to this week’s downgrading of the United States credit rating by Fitch Ratings, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the downgrade was "entirely unwarranted" and that Fitch’s “flawed assessment” of U.S. national credit worthiness “is based on outdated data and fails to reflect improvements across a range of indicators, including those related to governance, that we’ve seen over the past two and a half years.” [more]

PENNSYLVANIA | A federal jury in Pittsburg yesterday unanimously recommended that Robert Bowers, the gunman who killed 11 people at the city’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, be sentenced to death. Bowers is expected to be formally sentenced today by the judge in the case, who is expected to hand down what would be the first federal death sentence imposed during the Biden administration. [more]

TEXAS | Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is scheduled to appear before a Houston court today for discussions about a change of venue for his long-delayed trial on securities fraud charges. Paxton is also awaiting the September start of an impeachment trial against him in the Texas Senate on charges that include bribery and abuse of public trust. [more]

U.S. OIL RESERVES | The Department of Energy announced yesterday that it would delay a Biden administration plan to purchase 6 million barrels of oil for the U.S. strategic oil reserve this week, saying that while it remains committed to replenishing the reserve, it wants to secure more favorable purchase terms. [more]

HAITI | Reports say the U.S., which holds this month’s presidency of the U.N. Security Council, is preparing to put a resolution before the Council that would authorize a multinational peacekeeping force in Haiti led by 1,000 Kenyan police officers. [more]

ETHIOPIA | Amidst ongoing clashes between federal security forces and local ethnic militia in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen called the situation “increasingly grave,” and called for talks aimed at seeking a peaceful resolution of disputes that center on the proposed disarming of regional forces by the central government. [more]

IRAN | The Iranian government declared yesterday and today to be public holidays across Iran due to “unprecedented heat” affecting large parts of the country. State media has reported that temperatures exceeded 123 degrees Fahrenheit (51 Celsius) in some southern regions of the country this week. [more]

ISRAEL | Israel’s Supreme Court heard arguments today on a petition to overturn a law passed earlier this year that prevents a prime minister from being removed from office for any reason other than medical or mental incapacitation. Critics of the law say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government approved the law to protect Netanyahu, who is facing trials for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in three separate cases. [more]

COLOMBIA | A six-month ceasefire between the government and the National Liberation Army rebel group took effect in Colombia today — the latest effort by President Gustavo Petro's government to end the nearly 60-year conflict between the two sides. [more]

LEBANON | Acting Prime Minister Najib Mikati reportedly warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today that Lebanese troops may be called in to intervene if violence between rival Palestinian factions in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp does not subside. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | Police in South Korea say at least nine people were stabbed and four others were injured by a fleeing car today in a violent incident in the Seoul-area town of Seongnam. Reports say one person has been arrested in connection with the case, for which the motivation remains unclear. [more]

NORTH KOREA | North Korean officials have confirmed their country’s custody of U.S. Army Private 2nd Class Travis King, who fled across the border from South Korea on July 18 while on a tour of the U.N. Joint Security Area between the two countries. King was due to be returned to the U.S. to face disciplinary proceedings related to assault charges for which he served two months in detention in South Korea. [more]

TAIWAN | Schools and businesses across much of northern Taiwan are closed, and dozens of flights have been cancelled, as Typhoon Khanun passes by the island’s northeast today. [more]

WORLD YOUTH DAY | Speaking at a World Youth Day event today at Lisbon, Portugal’s Catholic University, Pope Francis urged students to use their educational privilege to make the world a more just place, combat global warming, and lessen economic inequalities. [more]

RUSSIA AND NORWAY | Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that Russia has added Norway to its list of countries that have committed so-called “unfriendly” acts against Russian diplomatic missions. Norway expelled 15 Russian diplomats in April for alleged spying. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1921, a day after being acquitted on insufficient evidence —largely because key evidence had disappeared from the grand jury files — eight Chicago White Sox players were banned from baseball for life, accused of receiving bribes to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series.  [more history]

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