April 24, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 201 of the conflict:

  • U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk called yesterday for an independent investigation into mass graves recently discovered at two major Gaza hospitals – the Shifa medical center in Gaza City and Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis – both of which were sites of Israeli military raids over the course of the ongoing conflict that broke out following the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. [more]
  • Officials with the U.N.’s World Food Program said today that all three thresholds used to declare a famine – food insecurity, malnutrition, and mortality – are likely to be surpassed in Gaza in the next six weeks. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 790 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Following final approval of some $61 billion in aid for Ukraine by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Dept. of Defense is expected to immediately begin preparing $1 billion in new military aid for Kyiv. Analysts note that the U.S. aid approval will also allow Ukraine to move dwindling ammunition and other supplies, which it has been rationing, from its stocks to the battlefront. [more]
  • Russian forces intend to “increase the intensity of attacks on logistics centers and storage bases for Western weapons” in Ukraine, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. [more]

U.S. FOREIGN AID | The Senate completed congressional approval of the long-delayed $95 billion international aid package yesterday that includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid to Gaza, and $8 billion for the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan. A fourth bill passed as part of the package includes increased sanctions on Russian assets and allows for the banning of the social media app TikTok in the U.S. if its Chinese parent company does not sell the platform within nine months. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measures into law today. [more]

U.S. EMPLOYMENT | In a pair of employment-related government rulings yesterday, the Labor Department said employers will now be required to pay overtime to some salaried employees who make less than $43,888 in 2024 or $58,656 in 2025, and the Federal Trade Commission voted to ban most non-compete agreements, which bar workers for moving to or starting competing companies for a period of time and to which, according to the agency, about one in five U.S. workers are subject. [more on overtime] [more on non-competes]

U.S. COLLEGE PROTESTS | Pro-Palestinian demonstrations and encampments continue today at numerous colleges and universities in the U.S., with student activists calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and for their institutions to divest from companies that sell weapons to Israel. [more]

U.S. ABORTIONS | The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today in a case out of Idaho that centers on when, or if, doctors can legally provide abortions during medical emergencies in states that have banned the procedures. [more]

U.S. AIRLINE INDUSTRY | Under new regulations announced today by the Department of Transportation, airlines will be required to show the full price of travel, including fees, before passengers pay for tickets and to provide automatic and prompt refunds for flight cancellations, significant delays, and inoperative services, such as onboard Wi-Fi. [White House fact sheet] [more]

GLOBAL CONFLICT | In its latest annual report, human rights organization Amnesty International warns of the breakdown of international law amidst what it says are flagrant human rights violations in Gaza and Ukraine, the rise of authoritarianism, and ongoing rights violations in Sudan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and elsewhere. [full annual report] [more]

E.U. ENVIRONMENT | The European Parliament voted today to adopt stricter legally-binding pollution limits for the European Union. The new rules, which must still be approved by E.U. member nations, set new 2030 limits and target values for several pollutants that severely impact human health and provide for legal action by citizens if the rules are violated. [more]

NORTH KOREA AND IRAN | A high-level North Korean economic delegation is traveling to Iran today, according to the North’s KCCN state media agency. It is the first such top-level visit to Iran by senior North Korean officials since August 2019 and comes as both countries’ tensions with the U.S. and other western nations are on the rise. [more]

RUSSIA | Russian Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov was arrested yesterday in Moscow and charged with having accepted a bribe. Reports say Ivanov, whose role includes overseeing construction for the Russian army, has been considered a leading planner for Russia’s ongoing invasion and occupation of Ukraine. [more]

AUSTRALIA | Authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales say seven teenagers were arrested today on suspicion of belonging to a violent extremist group that “posed an unacceptable risk and threat to the people of New South Wales.” Among the group’s members, say police, was the 16-year-old boy accused of the April 15 stabbing of a bishop in a Sydney church. [more]

INDONESIA | Prabowo Subianto, currently serving as Indonesia’s defense minister, has been declared president-elect by the country’s electoral commission after election challenges filed by two losing presidential candidates were rejected by the Indonesian Constitutional Court this week. Subianto will take office in October. [more]

ARGENTINA | Reports say hundreds of thousands of people took part in union-backed demonstrations against planned budget cuts to public universities yesterday in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1800, the Library of Congress was officially founded when U.S. President John Adams approved the $5,000 appropriated to acquire “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” The library, which originally held a collection of 740 books and three maps, eventually became the largest library in the world. [LOC website] [more history]

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