April 12, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 189 of the conflict:

  • Amidst ongoing concern over threats by Iran to retaliate against Israel for an April 1 airstrike on an embassy compound in Syria that killed a senior Iranian general and several other Iranian military officers, the U.S., Russia, Germany, and the U.K. all released statements yesterday urging Middle East countries to refrain from actions that would escalate tensions and increase the risk of regional violence outside the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. [more]
  • Reports say at least 5 Palestinians were killed, and at least 70 others were wounded, early today in a new round of Israeli airstrikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 778 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • In ongoing Russian targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, airstrikes this week destroyed one of Ukraine’s largest power plants, the Kyiv-region Trypilska plant, and damaged multiple energy infrastructure sites in Kharkiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin has characterized the Russian strikes as being a response to Ukrainian targeting of Russian oil refineries. [more]
  • Responding to yesterday’s announcement by Switzerland of a planned June international conference on working toward a peace plan for Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that Russia has not been invited to participate in the conference and would not accept any type of enforced peace plan that ignores its interests. [more]

U.S. MEASLES | According to data published yesterday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the U.S. recorded 113 cases of measles in the first three months of 2024 – a level 17 times higher than the average number of cases seen in the first three months of the previous three years. The report notes that almost all of the cases in 2024 have been in persons who were unvaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown. [full report] [more]

U.S. MORTGAGES | Mortgage company Freddie Mac reports that the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. rose to 6.88% this week – up from 6.82% last week and from 6.27% at this time last year. [more]

U.S. INTELLIGENCE | House Speaker Mike Johnson is expected to propose an updated plan to re-authorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act today under which the provision would be approved for a two-year period, instead of five years. Consideration of the re-authorization was blocked earlier this week by House Democrats and 19 Republicans. [more]

U.S. WEATHER | A series of strong storms affected much of the eastern U.S. yesterday, with flash flood warnings and emergencies declared in parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania and power being lost by as many as 120,000 households in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. [more]

EAST CHINA SEA | The U.S., Japan, and South Korea are scheduled to conclude three days of joint naval exercises today in the East China Sea amidst concerns over Chinese territorial claims in the region. [more]

PERU | Health authorities in Peru say the South American nation has recorded 117 deaths caused by the mosquito-borne dengue disease so far this year, compared to 33 deaths in the same period of 2023, and that overall cases of dengue have more than tripled to 135,000 over the year-ago period. [more]

MALI | In a move strongly criticized by press freedom and human rights groups, the ruling military junta in Mali yesterday announced a ban on reporting on the activities of political parties and associations. The announcement came just one day after the junta said it was suspending all political activities in the West African nation until further notice. [more]

COLOMBIA | Strict emergency water conservation measures went into full effect yesterday in the Columbian capital of Bogota, where a severe drought linked to the El Niño climate phenomenon has pushed local water reservoirs to their lowest levels in decades. [more]

GLOBAL OIL DEMAND | The International Energy Agency cut its forecast for 2024 global oil demand by 130,000 barrels per day today, citing reduced consumption linked to unusually warm late-winter weather in many countries as a major factor in the change. [more]

GERMANY | The German parliament is scheduled to vote today on a measure intended to make it easier for transgender, intersex, and nonbinary people to change their name and gender in official documents. If approved, the measure, which would allow adults to change their first name and legal gender at registry offices without further formalities, would take effect November 1. [more]

ITALY | Italian authorities say the bodies of the last two workers missing after an explosion at a Bologna-area hydroelectric plant earlier this week were recovered today, bringing the final death toll from the incident to seven. [more]

GOLF | Bryson DeChambeau holds a one-stroke lead over Scottie Scheffler following yesterday’s rain-delayed opening round of the Masters golf tournament. [leader board] [more]

BASEBALL | Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, was charged with bank fraud yesterday for what federal prosecutors say was a long-term abuse of his relationship with Ohtani during which he stole more than $16 million, which was largely used in illegal sports betting. [more]

R.I.P. | O.J. Simpson, the former football and Hollywood star who's mid-1990s trial and acquittal on charges that he had murdered his ex-wife and her friend captivated U.S. media and public attention, died Wednesday at the age of 76 from complications of prostate cancer. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space. Also on this date, in 1981, NASA launched the first space shuttle, Columbia, which was designed to orbit Earth, transport people and cargo to and from orbiting spacecraft, and glide to a runway landing on its return to Earth. [more history]

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