September 21, 2023


Listen to this issue.

UKRAINE | Today is day 574 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Washington, D.C., today, where he is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, U.S. military leaders at the Pentagon, and House and Senate congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. [more]
  • Reports say dozens of overnight Russian missile strikes across Ukraine comprised the largest such action in over a month and that Ukrainian energy facilities appear to have been the main target of the attacks. Among the Ukrainian cities targeted in the attacks, which killed at least two people and wounded dozens of others, were Kyiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Lviv, and Rivne. [more]
  • Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said any deal under which North Korea receives technology and knowledge for its weapons programs in exchange for providing conventional arms to Russia for use in Ukraine would be a “direct provocation threatening the peace and security of not only Ukraine but also the Republic of Korea.” Yoon’s statement follows recent meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. [more]

U.S. IMMIGRATION | The Department of Homeland Security announced plans yesterday to accelerate the granting of work permits for an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans who have arrived in the U.S. prior to July 31 of this year. The Department notes that the accelerated Temporary Protected Status plan only applies to those immigrants who applied to enter the country, and not to those who entered the U.S. illegally. [more]

U.S. MILITARY | The Senate voted 83-11 yesterday to confirm the appointment of Air Force General CQ Brown as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is expected to confirm General Randy George to be Army Chief of Staff and General Eric Smith as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps this week. The individual confirmation votes come amidst Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville’s ongoing blockage of bulk confirmations for high-level military appointments. [more]

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE | Facing often contentious questioning before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday about the prosecution of former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the Justice Department against charges of political weaponization of its work, saying, “Our job is not to take orders from the president, from Congress, or from anyone else, about who or what to criminally investigate." Garland added that, "I am not the president’s lawyer. I will also add that I am not Congress’ prosecutor. The Justice Department works for the American people.” [more]

FLORIDA | A new high-speed passenger train service between the Florida business and tourism hubs of Miami and Orlando is scheduled to open tomorrow. The privately-owned Brightline rail service will travel at speeds of up to 125 mph (200 kph). [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The U.S. Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at yesterday’s conclusion of its latest policy meeting. Fed Chair Jerome Powell suggested, however, that the interest rate could remain high through next year as the fight against inflation continues. [more]

U.S. CLIMATE CORPS | The Biden administration yesterday announced the formation of a new climate-related jobs training program. The American Climate Corps initiative aims to train more than 20,000 people in high-demand skills for jobs in the clean energy economy “conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice.” [White House fact sheet] [more]

CANADA AND INDIA | In a continuation of diplomatic tensions sparked by allegations of possible Indian government involvement in the killing of a Canadian Sikh independence activist, India’s visa processing center in Canada announced yesterday that it had suspended its services. [more]

GLOBAL CLIMATE | Opening a special climate ambition summit yesterday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres characterized global heat-related climate crises as the “gates of hell,” and called on wealthy nations that have benefitted most from the use of fossil fuels to both strengthen their climate protection efforts and help fund similar efforts in emerging economies. [more]

NAGORNO-KARABAKH | Following yesterday’s ceasefire agreement in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia, talks are scheduled to begin today between Nagorno-Karabakh separatist leaders and the Azerbaijan government on the “reintegration” of the region into Azerbaijan. [more]

HAITI | Kenyan President William Ruto yesterday said his country is committed to leading a multinational force in Haiti to combat gang warfare that has massively expanded in the Caribbean nation since 2021. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry requested the deployment of such an international force last year. [more]

CONGO | Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi, president of the Congo, suggested yesterday that the decades-long, 17,000-member U.N. peacekeeping mission in his country should move up its planned departure from December 2024 to December of this year. [more]

AI | A group of 17 authors sued artificial intelligence company OpenAI, creator of the ChatGPT system, yesterday, accusing the company of “systematic theft on a mass scale” and “flagrant and harmful infringements of plaintiffs’ registered copyrights” through unauthorized use of the authors’ materials. Among the authors taking part in the lawsuit are John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, George R.R. Martin, and David Baldacci. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1937, English writer J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, a coming-of-age fantasy that became a classic of the genre, was published.  [more history]

Support independent information for independent minds.

Sign up for a free or supporting membership to further our mission.