November 17, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 42 of the conflict:

  • Israeli officials released photos of an alleged Hamas operational tunnel under the Shifa hospital in Gaza yesterday and say the bodies of two hostages taken by Hamas on October 7 were found near the hospital compound. The findings come amidst ongoing condemnation of Israeli military operations in and around the hospital. [more]
  • Officials with the United Nations’ World Food Program said yesterday that Gaza is receiving only about 10% of its needed daily food supplies, and that dehydration and malnutrition among the Palestinian enclave’s civilian population are reaching crisis levels. [more]
  • Reports say Israel’s war cabinet today approved the delivery of two trucks worth of fuel into Gaza per day to aid in humanitarian efforts, including the powering of water, sewage, medical, and sanitary systems. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 631 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian military officials say their forces have expanded control of multiple previously-Russian-held positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region. Reports cite Ukrainian officials as saying the advances could open a new line of attack to southern Ukraine and Russia-annexed Crimea. [more]
  • A new BBC report claims that nearly 20,000 men have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion in order to avoid being drafted, and that another 21,000 attempted to flee but were caught by Ukrainian authorities. [more]

EDUCATION INVESTIGATIONS | The U.S. Department of Education announced investigations yesterday into seven schools and colleges over alleged incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia. The institutions being investigated include: the Maize Unified School District, a public district in Kansas; Cornell University and Columbia University in New York; Lafayette College in Pennsylvania; the University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College in Massachusetts; and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a private college in New York City. [more]

U.S. EMPLOYMENT | Initial unemployment benefit applications in the U.S. rose to 231,000 – the highest level since August – in the week ended November 11, according to Labor Department data released yesterday. [more]

CALIFORNIA | Gov. Gavin Newsom said yesterday that a section of freeway in Los Angeles, California, damaged by a fire and closed for repairs since last weekend will re-open next Tuesday. Repairs had been previously estimated to take several weeks, raising concerns of long-term traffic disruptions in downtown Los Angeles. [more]

PAUL PELOSI ATTACK | A federal jury yesterday found David DePape guilty on charges of attempted kidnapping of a federal official and assault on the immediate family member of a federal official in connection with an attack last year on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. DePape still faces state charges including assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and residential burglary in connection with the case. [more]

U.S. GOVERNMENT FUNDNG | President Joe Biden signed a temporary federal spending bill into law yesterday, averting a potential partial government shutdown. The measure, passed by the House and Senate earlier this week, funds some federal government operations through mid-January and others through early February. [more]

GEORGE SANTOS | The House Ethics Committee released a report yesterday on its investigation into Republican Congressman George Santos, finding “substantial evidence” that Santos violated federal law and engaged in a "complex web" of illegal activity involving his finances. Reports say the release of the report is expected to result in renewed efforts to expel Santos from Congress. [Ethics Committee statement] [more]

U.S. AND MEXICO | U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador are scheduled to meet today on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, with migration, fentanyl trafficking, and relations with Cuba expected to be among the main topics of discussion. [more]

RUSSIA | Russia’s lower house of parliament today approved a 36.66 trillion ruble (about $411 billion) national budget for 2024, which increases spending by approximately 25% over 2023 levels and, according to reports, expands defense spending to higher levels than social program spending for the first time in modern Russian history. [more]

ARMENIA | Authorities in the Armenian capital of Yerevan say an explosion in the basement of the chemistry department at Yerevan State University today killed one person and injured three others. The cause of the blast is under investigation. [more]

INDIA | Rescue operations to save 40 workers trapped in a collapsed road tunnel continue for a sixth straight day today in India’s Uttarakhand state, where authorities say they hope to complete drilling for an escape tunnel by later tonight. [more]

ITALY | Travel disruptions are being reported across Italy today as transport workers and other public sector workers from two major unions stage a one-day strike over wage, job security, and national budget issues. [more]

MEDICINE | U.K. medical regulators yesterday approved the world’s first-ever gene therapy for the treatment of sickle cell disease and thalassemia. The therapy, Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Casgevy, is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. [more]

BASEBALL | Ronald Acuña, Jr., and Shohei Ohtani have been named Major League Baseball’s most valuable players for the 2023 season in the National and American leagues, respectively. Both Acuña and Ohtani were unanimous selections – the first time MVP choices for both leagues have been unanimous in the same year. [more]

MORE BASEBALL | Major League Baseball team owners yesterday unanimously approved the relocation of the Oakland Athletics franchise to Las Vegas. [more]

WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME | The National Women’s Hall of Fame announced its 2024 inductees yesterday. Among next year’s honorees are: tennis player Serena Williams, civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, theologian Judith Plaskow, human rights educator Loretta Ross, and academician Allucquere Rosanne Stone. [full details on all inductees] [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1869, after 10 years of construction, the 193.3 km (120.11 mi) Suez Canal opened in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and significantly reducing maritime travel time and distance between the North Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. [more history]

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