August 31, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 553 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • According to U.S. intelligence releases, Russia and North Korea are “actively advancing” negotiations for a potential arms deal that would see North Korea provide large amounts of ammunition for various weapons systems to Russia for use in the invasion of Ukraine. [more]
  • Ukrainian officials say six members of the Ukrainian armed forces were killed yesterday in an apparent crash involving two helicopters while on a mission in a Russian-held area near the eastern city of Bakhmut. [more]

TROPICAL STORM IDALIA | Recovery efforts are underway in Florida and other southeastern U.S. states this morning after Idalia struck the region as a Category 3 hurricane yesterday, causing widespread flooding, property damage, and power outages. At least two storm-related deaths have been reported. The Carolinas are dealing with effects of the storm today, with Charleston, South Carolina reporting record water levels and a state-wide emergency having been declared in North Carolina. [more]

U.S. DRUG POLICY | In a new policy recommendation yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggested that marijuana be re-classified from a Schedule I drug, similar to substances including heroin and LSD, to a Schedule III drug. Reports say such a move would reduce or potentially eliminate federal criminal penalties for marijuana possession. [more]

U.S. SENATE | Following a similar incident in July, 81-year-old U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell appeared to experience a brief inability to speak yesterday during a press conference before recovering and answering two more questions. McConnell’s office said he would be evaluated by a physician and reports say he took part in a fundraising event later in the evening. [more]

U.S. LABOR REGULATION | The U.S. Department of Labor proposed a rule yesterday that would require employers to pay overtime premiums to salaried employees who earn less than $1,059 per week, or about $55,000 per year. If the rule is approved, the salary threshold for overtime pay, which applies to hours worked that exceed a 40-hour work week, would increase from the current level of $35,500, which was set during the Trump administration. [more]

HAITI | Amidst ongoing violence and increased gang activity in Haiti, the U.S. State Department yesterday urged all U.S. citizens to “depart Haiti as soon as possible via commercial or private transport.” [more]

SOUTH AFRICA | Authorities in Johannesburg, South Africa, say at least 73 people died, and another 43 were injured, overnight when a fire broke out at an abandoned multi-story building that reports say was used by homeless people as an informal settlement. [more]

GABON | Soldiers who staged a coup in Gabon this week, forcibly removing President Ali Bongo Ondimba from power and placing him under arrest, have named Gen. Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema as the Central African country’s new leader. [more]

INDO-PACIFIC | Amidst regional concern over China’s growing military and diplomatic influence in the Indo-Pacific region, some 5,000 military personnel from seven nations — Indonesia, the U.S., Australia, Japan, Singapore, the U.K., and France — are taking part in this year’s Super Garuda Shield live-fire exercises, which begin today on the Indonesian island of Java. [more]

CHINA | Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reports that service on some 120 passenger train routes has been suspended in southern China ahead of the arrival of Typhoon Saola, which is expected to make landfall Friday afternoon in the province of Guangzhou. [more]

JAPAN | Signaling a second consecutive year of rapid military expansion, the Japanese defense ministry yesterday requested a nearly 12% budget increase as part of the security and defense strategy announced by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government last year. [more]

VOLLEYBALL | The world record for attendance at a women’s sports event was set last night when 92,003 people attended a volleyball match hosted by the University of Nebraska at the school’s football stadium. The event was planned as a celebration of volleyball, which is highly popular in the state. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1991, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan declared independence from the Soviet Union.  [more history]

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