April 19, 2024


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ISRAEL AND IRAN | Reports cite Israeli, Iranian, and U.S. officials as saying that Israel carried out a limited drone attack on military facilities near the Iranian city of Isfahan overnight, prompting the firing of air defenses and the temporary closure of regional airspace by Iran. The airstrike, which has not been officially confirmed by Israel has increased concern over continued back-and-forth strikes by Israel and Iran, as well as regional escalation of violence. CNN, late this morning, cited an unnamed regional intelligence official, as saying that direct state-to-state strikes between Israel and Iran are "over," but the claim has not been verified by either country. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 785 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian air force officials claimed today to have shot down a Russian strategic bomber overnight in the southern Russia region of Stavropol. Russian authorities, however, claim the aircraft crashed due to a malfunction following a combat mission in Ukraine. [more]
  • Authorities say at least eight people were killed, and 28 others were injured, in a Russian airstrike that hit a five-story residential building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro early today. [more]

TRUMP NEW YORK TRIAL | The full 12-member jury in the New York criminal hush-money and business record falsification trial of former President Donald Trump was seated and sworn in yesterday. Selection of alternate jurors is expected to continue today, and the judge in the case has said he expects opening statements in the trial to begin as early as Monday. [more]

NEW YORK | Police in New York City arrested more than 100 participants in a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at Columbia University yesterday. University officials say the encampment “violated a long list of rules and policies” and was a disruption to learning on the campus. [more]

U.S. PUBLIC LANDS | The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management announced final rules yesterday that aim to place conservation efforts on a more equal footing with oil drilling, grazing, and other industries on public land. The rule permits the leasing of public lands for restoration or conservation and allows wider special status designation of lands with historic or cultural significance or that is important for wildlife conservation. [press release] [fact sheet] [more]

ALASKA | The Biden administration announced today that it plans to restrict new oil and gas leasing on 13 million acres of a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska. Opponents of the move, including Alaska U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, have criticized it as an attack on the state’s economic livelihood and have predicted lawsuits to block implementation of the plan. [White House statement] [more]

U.S. FOREIGN AID BILLS | Ahead of an expected House vote in the coming days on aid packages for Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region, legislators added provisions to the bills that would allow the social media platform TikTok to be banned in the U.S. if its Chinese owner ByteDance does not sell its stake in the platform within a year. [more]

ISRAEL AND SYRIA | The Syrian state-run SANA news agency cites government sources as saying that Israel targeted an air defense unit in southern Syria with missiles overnight. Reports note that the Syrian facility is directly west of the Iranian military site also thought to have been targeted by Israel overnight. [more]

PALESTINIAN STATE | The U.S. yesterday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have recommended that the 193-member General Assembly approve permanent U.N. membership for Palestine. According to U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood, the U.S. veto “does not reflect opposition to Palestinian statehood but instead is an acknowledgment that it will only come from direct negotiations between [regional] parties.” [more]

INDIA | Six weeks of phased voting in India – the world’s largest democracy – begin today to elect 545 members of the country’s lower house of parliament for five-year terms. The general election, in which some 970 million people are eligible to vote, pits Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party against Rahul Gandhi’s Indian National Congress and multiple other opposition parties. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | Nearly two months into a nationwide strike by some 90% of the country’s junior doctors over government plans to increase medical school enrollment, South Korean officials said yesterday that they would slow the proposed increase in medical students and phase it in over several years. [more]

SYRIA | Suspected Islamic State militants attacks a bus carrying pro-government and Russia-backed Quds Brigade fighters in Syria late last night, killing 22, according to pro-government Syrian media. [more]

R.I.P. | Dickey Betts, co-founder and former guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, died yesterday at the age of 80. Betts, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, wrote the group’s biggest hit, “Ramblin’ Man.” [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1775, with the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the American Revolution – the eventually successful effort by 13 British colonies in North America to win their independence and form the United States of America –  was launched. [more history]

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