November 20, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 45 of the conflict:

  • Yemen-based Houthi rebel forces seized an Israel-linked cargo ship in the Red Sea yesterday, taking some 25 international crew members hostage and increasing concerns over the possible spread of the Israel-Gaza war into a larger regional conflict. [more]
  • Reports cite the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry as saying that at least 12 people were killed when Israeli shelling struck the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza today. Military action around the hospital follows last week’s seizure of the Shifa hospital, which Israeli officials say Hamas used as an operations center. [more]
  • International aid group Doctors Without Borders says at least 70 people were killed, and 52 others were wounded, in Israeli strikes on the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis on Saturday. The group called yesterday for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to limit civilian casualties. [more]
  • Top Chinese diplomats are meeting with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Indonesia today in Beijing for discussions on ways to end the Israel-Hamas conflict as soon as possible. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 634 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to meet with senior Ukrainian officials today on a previously unannounced visit to Kyiv. Austin is expected to publicly emphasize Ukraine’s ongoing need for military aid to fight the Russian invasion as world focus centers on the Israel-Hamas conflict. [more]
  • Officials in southern Ukraine say at least two people were killed, and one other person was wounded, early today when Russian shells hit a parking lot in the city of Kherson. [more]
  • Citing the need for “a fundamentally new level of medical support for our soldiers,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday removed Major-General Tetiana Ostashchenko from her role as commander of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Medical Service. [more]

U.S. GUN VIOLENCE | Police in Memphis, Tennessee, say four female victims, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed, and another teenage girl was critically wounded, Saturday evening in a series of shootings that led to public danger warnings across the city. The suspect in the shootings, Mavis Christian, Jr., 52, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound early Sunday mornings. [more]

COVID-19 | The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced the expanded availability of free COVID-19 tests ahead of a potential rise in cases of the disease this winter. U.S. residents can now order four more free test kits, or up to eight free tests kits per household for anyone who hasn't placed an order yet this fall, at [more]

U.S. POLITICS | A Colorado judge ruled on Friday that former President Donald Trump can remain on the state’s primary ballot despite finding that Trump engaged in insurrection during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The ruling, which follows related decisions by courts in Michigan and Minnesota last week, was based on it being unclear if the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment applies to the presidency, according to District Judge Sarah B. Wallace. [more]

ARGENTINA | Conservative economist and former television pundit Javier Milei was elected Argentina’s next president yesterday, defeating Sergio Massa of the ruling Peronist party by more than 10 points. [more]

KOREA | South Korean military officials warned North Korea today that it should not proceed with a planned spy satellite launch, saying Seoul could suspend a 2018 inter-Korean military agreement on easing front-line tensions if such a launch takes place. [more]

JAPAN | Operators of Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant said today that a third release of treated radioactive wastewater from the plant was completed successfully today. An estimated 7800 tons of treated water was released in the third batch amidst ongoing opposition by fishing groups and neighboring countries. [more]

BRICS | China today reaffirmed its support for new countries to join the BRICS intergovernmental organization, which currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. At a recent summit, BRICS members invited Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates to join the organization. [more]

BALKANS | Kicking off a tour of Western Balkan countries today in Sarajevo, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO supports Bosnia’s territorial integrity and warned against “malign foreign interference” in the region by Russia. [more]

SLOVAKIA AND HUNGARY | In a continuation of moves aimed at stemming illegal migration, Slovakia announced today that it is extending temporarily heightened controls on its border with Hungary through December 23. [more]

AI INDUSTRY | Tech giant Microsoft announced today that it has hired OpenAI co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman after the two were fired by the ChatGPT maker on Friday. Reports say Altman and Brockman will lead Microsoft’s AI-related research team. [more]

WEEKEND MOVIES | "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes" topped the North American box office over the weekend with an estimated $44 million in receipts, followed by "Trolls Band Together" and "The Marvels." [more]

TENNIS | Novak Djokovic defeated Jannik Sinner yesterday to win the ATP Finals title for a record seventh time. [more]

COLLEGE FOOTBALL | Following this weekend’s games, Georgia remains No. 1 in the AP Top 25 college football poll, followed by Ohio State, Michigan, Washington, and Florida State. [full poll] [more]

CRICKET | Australia beat tournament favorite India yesterday to win the 2023 Cricket World Cup – the team’s sixth world title. [more]

R.I.P. | Former U.S. first lady and humanitarian activist Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, died yesterday at the age of 96 after living with dementia and suffering months of declining health. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1969, Native American activists began an occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, protesting what they saw as the U.S. government's ongoing economic, social, and political neglect of Native Americans. They were forced off the island in June 1971. [more history]

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