August 16, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 538 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Oleh Kiper, governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region, says overnight Russian drone attacks targeted port terminals and grain silos along the Danube River, which have seen increased use for grain transport to Europe following the collapse of an agreement with Russia that had allowed the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports. [more]
  • Reports say Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland are increasing security measures along their borders with Belarus due to increased illegal border crossings from the Russia ally and amidst ongoing concerns over the relocation to Belarus of forces from the Russian mercenary group Wagner that played a large role in the invasion of Ukraine. [more]

U.S. GOVERNMENT FUNDING | Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that he and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have spoken about the possibility of approving a continuing resolution to temporarily fund U.S. federal operations through December to avoid a potential government shutdown when current spending authority expires at the end of September. [more]

PENNSYLVANIA | A new taxpayer-funded University of Pittsburgh study concludes that living near natural gas wells in western Pennsylvania appears to be associated with increased risks of severe asthma reactions in residents of all ages and of the blood and lymphatic system cancer lymphoma in children. [more]

NEW YORK | Former FBI counterintelligence official Charles McGonigal yesterday pleaded guilty in a New York City federal court to charges of violating sanctions against Russia by working, after leaving his position at the Bureau, for billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who he had previously investigated. [more]

HAWAII | Hawaiian authorities say the death toll from last week’s wildfires on the island of Maui has risen to 106, that only about 32% of affected areas have been searched by cadaver dogs, and that only five victims have been definitively identified. [more]

CALIFORNIA | Authorities in northern California’s Siskiyou County ordered evacuations yesterday as firefighters battled wildfires in the Klamath National Forest, near the border with Oregon, that have burned more than 1.5 square miles. [more]

AFGHANISTAN | U.N. special envoy for global education and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested yesterday that Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity for denying education and employment to Afghan girls and women. [more]

NORTH KOREA | Citing government authorities, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reports that U.S. Army Private 2nd Class Travis King has said he fled to North Korea in mid-July because he “harbored ill feelings against inhuman mistreatment and racial discrimination within the U.S. Army” and “was disillusioned at the unequal American society.” [more]

CHINA AND INDIA | The Chinese and Indian defense ministries released a joint statement yesterday pledging to “maintain peace and tranquility” along their shared, but disputed, border. The statement follows the 19th round of commander-level talks between the two sides, which concluded on Monday. [more]

NIGER | Reports say a new initiative in Niger aims to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers to assist the country’s military junta, which took control of the country last month, in defending against any external military interventions aimed at restoring deposed President Mohamed Bazoum to power. [more]

PAKISTAN | Reports from the eastern Pakistan city of Faisalabad say crowds of Muslim residents set fire to multiple Christian churches and dozens of homes today following accusations that Christian residents had desecrated the Koran. [more]

E.U. CLIMATE | European Union statistics agency Eurostat reports today that greenhouse gas emissions in the E.U. fell by 2.9% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the year-ago period. According to the agency, emissions fell in 21 of 27 E.U. countries, with the largest decreases seen in Bulgaria, Estonia, and Slovenia. [more]

U.K. ECONOMY | According to data released by the U.K. Office for National Statistics yesterday, consumer inflation in the U.K. fell to 6.8% in July, compared to the year-ago period — down from 7.9% in June and the lowest level since February 2022. [more]

GERMANY | German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is expected to release details today on a government proposal to legalize the possession and recreational use of small amounts of cannabis by persons over the age of 18. The plan will require approval by the German parliament to become law. [more]

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP | England beat host country Australia, 3-1, today to secure a spot in Saturday's 2023 Women's World Cup final, where they will face Spain. [more]

BASKETBALL | The New York Liberty beat the Las Vegas Aces, 82-63, last night to win the mid-season WNBA Commissioner’s Cup. Liberty forward Jonquel Jones was named the game’s most valuable player. [more]

ENTERTAINMENT | The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced yesterday that Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan, and Sofia Coppola will receive career awards in October at the organization’s Academy Museum Gala fundraising event. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1888, British archaeological scholar and military strategist T.E. Lawrence—best known for his legendary activities in the Middle East during World War I, which earned him the nickname “Lawrence of Arabia”—was born in Wales.   [more history]

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