October 18, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 12 of the conflict:

  • Palestinian health officials in Gaza say at least 500 people were killed yesterday when a large explosion occurred at Gaza City’s al-Ahli Hospital, sparking widespread protests and demonstrations across the Middle East region. Hamas leaders have blamed the explosion on an Israeli airstrike, while Israeli officials say evidence shows it was caused by a rocket fired from within Gaza by the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. [more]
  • The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote today on a Brazil-drafted resolution expected to condemn the Hamas attacks on Israel and violence against all civilians, and call for the delivery of humanitarian aid to millions of Gaza residents. [more]
  • U.S. President Joe Biden is in Israel today for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden is expected to continue his expressions of support for Israel, but also call for humanitarian relief for civilian residents of Gaza. Biden was scheduled to meet with the leaders of Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority during his trip, but their summit was cancelled following yesterday’s explosion at Gaza City’s al-Ahli Hospital. [more]
  • Saying such a move would jeopardize his country’s security and its peace with Israel, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi today rejected calls for allowing Palestinian refugees from Gaza into Egypt’s Sinai region. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 601 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed yesterday that the United States has provided Ukraine with Army Tactical Missile Systems, and said that Ukraine’s first use of the longer-range missiles resulted in the destruction of multiple Russian helicopters at two airfields in Russian-occupied regions of eastern and southern Ukraine. [more]
  • Ukrainian officials say overnight Russian attacks damaged the power grid infrastructure in the northeastern city of Kharkiv and killed at least five civilians in strikes on Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Obukhivka. [more]
  • A new report from the Ukrainian government and the United Nations says the June destruction of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnipro River caused an estimated $14 billion in damage and loss. Ukraine has accused Russia of destroying the dam, which has Moscow denied. [full report] [more]

U.S. CONGRESS | The first vote on Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s bid to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives failed yesterday, with 20 House Republicans, as well as all Democrats, voting for someone other than Jordan. A second round of balloting is scheduled for later this morning. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Commerce Department reported yesterday that retail sales in the U.S. rose a higher-than-expected 0.7% in September, down from a 0.8% increase in August. Among the retail sales sectors that saw the largest increases were restaurants, with a 0.9% increase, and online spending, which rose 1.1%. [more]

JANUARY 6 | Former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley was sentenced to 60 days in jail and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine yesterday after pleading guilty to charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds in connection with his actions during the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol. [more]

U.S. AND CHINA | As part of an annual review of Chinese military power and associated security threats, U.S. military officials said yesterday that more than 180 intercepts of U.S. warplanes by Chinese aircraft have taken place in the last two years. Videos and photographs released as part of the review show “aggressive and risky” behavior by the Chinese aircraft, according to U.S. officials. [more]

MORE U.S. AND CHINA | The U.S. Commerce Department yesterday announced expanded restrictions on the export of advanced computer chips and chip manufacturing technology to China as part of efforts to prevent Chinese use of such materials for military applications. Responding to the announcement, Chinese officials called the restrictions “improper” and said that such moves “threaten the stability of industrial supply chains.” [new]

RUSSIA AND CHINA | Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met today in Beijing amidst activities commemorating the 10th anniversary of Xi’s “Belt and Road” global infrastructure initiative. In remarks at the meeting, Putin said bilateral relations between the two countries were “moving forward very confidently” and called for “close foreign policy coordination” between Russia and China. [more]

GERMANY | Police in the German capital Berlin say unknown persons attacked a synagogue in the city with Molotov cocktails early today. The attack came amidst rising levels of antisemitic incidents in Germany amidst the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. [more]

IRAQ | Reuters cites unnamed U.S. officials as saying that two attack drones were intercepted yesterday before they could strike Iraq's al Asad air base, which hosts American troops. The Reuters report notes that Iraqi militants warned last week of attacks if the U.S. intervened to support Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza. [more]

UGANDA | Authorities in Uganda say three people – a couple on their honeymoon and their guide – were killed yesterday in the country’s Queen Elizabeth National Park by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group. [more]

FRANCE | Reports say airports in six French cities – Lille, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Beauvais, and Lyon – were forced to evacuate today due to security threats and bomb scares. Operations at the Lyon-Bron airport are reported to have resumed. [more]

RUSSIA | The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, completed passage of a bill today that revokes Russia’s ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Russia says it does not intend to resume nuclear testing unless the U.S. does so. [more]

U.K. | Climate activist Greta Thunberg and 25 other activists were arrested and charged with public order offenses yesterday for failing to comply with demonstration conditions set by police to prevent disruptions outside a London hotel where an oil and gas conference was taking place. [more]

SPECIES EXTINCTION | The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week delisted 21 species from the Endangered Species Act due to extinction. The species declared extinct included one mammal, two fish, and multiple bird and mussel species. Service Director Martha Williams said the extinctions are "a wake-up call on the importance of conserving imperiled species before it’s too late.” [full FWS announcement] [more]

HOTEL MERGER | Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — owner of brands like La Quinta and Ramada — yesterday rejected a $7.8 billion takeover bid by rival Choice Hotels, which owns brands including Cambria Hotels and Comfort Inn. Wyndham directors said Choice’s unsolicited offer involved significant business risks and that it undervalued Wyndham’s growth potential. [more]

SOCCER | After having been sidelines for several matches due to muscle pain, Lionel Messi scored both goals yesterday in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru in a World Cup qualifying match. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1898, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States following the Spanish-American War. [more history]

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