September 18, 2023


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UKRAINE | Today is day 571 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Two Palau-flagged cargo ships docked Saturday at the Chornomorsk seaport in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region – the first civilian bulk carriers to enter an Odesa port since Russia’s July 17 withdrawal from the Black Sea grain shipping agreement and the establishment of a unilateral shipping corridor by Kyiv. When Russia withdrew from the shipping agreement it said it would consider any vessels bound for Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea to be military targets. [more]
  • Appearing before the International Court of Justice in The Hague today, Russian representatives said Ukraine’s allegations that Russia is abusing international law by saying its invasion was justified to prevent alleged genocide in eastern Ukraine are “hopelessly flawed” and reiterated Moscow's characterization of the Ukrainian government as a “Russophobic and neo-Nazi regime." [more]

NEW YORK CITY | Organizers say an estimated 75,000 people took part in yesterday’s March to End Fossil Fuels in New York City to bring attention to climate issues and support reduced usage of fossil fuels. The march kicked off a week of planned climate-related actions and came two days before the "Climate Ambition Summit" to be hosted by U.N.  Secretary-General António Guterres. [more]

WASHINGTON | Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the trial of three Tacoma, Washington, police officers charged in connection with the death of Manuel Ellis in March 2020 while being detained. Officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins, both charged with second-degree murder, and Timothy Rankine, charged with first-degree manslaughter, have pleaded not guilty. [more]

U.S. LABOR | As the United Auto Workers’ limited strike against the Big 3 U.S. automakers entered its second day on Saturday, the union said it had "reasonably productive conversations” with Ford. The UAW strike is currently limited to three assembly plants: a General Motors factory in Wentzville, Missouri, a Ford plant in Wayne, Michigan, and a Jeep plant run by Stellantis in Toledo, Ohio. [more]

OREGON | A state judge in Oregon is scheduled to hear arguments today in a challenge to the state’s voter-approved gun restrictions that require completing a safety training course and undergoing a criminal background check in order to purchase a firearm. Opponents say the regulations infringe upon their right to bear arms under the Oregon constitutions. [more]

TEXAS | The Texas Senate acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton on all 16 corruption and bribery articles of impeachment against him on Saturday, clearing the way for Paxton to resume his official duties. [more]

U.S. AND IRAN | Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said today that a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran is set to take place today following the release of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds from South Korean banks. [more]

U.S. AND CHINA | Biden administration National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met over the weekend in Malta for talks intended to, according to the White House, “responsibly maintain the relationship” between the world’s two largest economies amidst ongoing political and economic tensions. The talks came ahead of Wang's trip to Moscow this week for security talks with Russian officials. [more]

HURRICANE LEE | An estimated 11% of electricity customers in Maine and 27% in Canada’s Nova Scotia province were without power Saturday as Hurricane Lee affected the New England and Atlantic Canada regions with destructive winds and torrential rains. Power was restored to about half of affected customers as of yesterday as the storm began to weaken. [more]

TAIWAN | Taiwanese officials say a “recent high” 103 Chinese warplanes were detected flying towards Taiwan over the past 24 hours in a continued show of Chinese military strength near the self-governing island, which China claims as its own. Reports note that the aircraft turned back before reaching Taiwan, but that at least 40 of the planes crossed the symbolic median line between mainland China and Taiwan. [more]

BELGIUM | Government officials in Belgium say a series of recent school arsons appears to be linked to the controversial Evras relational, emotional, and sexual life education program, a form of which has long been offered in the country’s schools, but which was recently made mandatory for students aged 11 to 12 and 15 to 16 in some regions. [more]

GLOBAL HEALTH | According to a new report from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, international initiatives to fight the three deadly diseases on which the organization focuses have largely recovered from downturns experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, but climate change, conflict, deepening inequalities, and growing threats to human rights are hampering the group’s goal of eradicating the diseases by 2030. [full report] [more]

ETHIOPIA | The U.N.’s International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia says in a new report that war crimes and crimes against humanity continue to occur in Ethiopia nearly a year after government and Tigray regional forces agreed to end two years of hostilities. [full report (MS Word)] [more]

ITALY | Amidst ongoing increases in migrant arrivals, Italian government officials say they intend to pass measures that would lengthen the time migrants can be held and facilitate repatriation of migrants who do not have a right to stay in the country. Reports say an estimated 127,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year. [more]

COLLEGE FOOTBALL | After this weekend’s games, Georgia remains No. 1 in the AP Top 25 college football rankings, followed by Michigan, Texas, Florida State, and USC. No. 13 Alabama fell out of the top 10 this week for the first time since 2015. [full rankings] [more]

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE | "The Nun II" topped the North American box office over the weekend with an estimated $14.7 million in receipts, followed by "A Haunting in Venice" and "The Equalizer 3." [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1931, in the so-called Mukden Incident, the Japanese army in Manchuria used the pretext of an explosion along its railway to occupy Mukden and to increase its control, within three months, to all of Manchuria. [more history]

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