April 5, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 182 of the conflict:

  • In a phone call yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that continued U.S. support for Israel’s war with Hamas depends on Israel taking steps to protect civilians and aid workers in Gaza. [White House info on call] [more]
  • According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved a series of “immediate steps” this morning to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza, including the re-opening of the Erez border crossing in northern Gaza, use of the Ashdod port for processing aid shipments, and establishment of another land crossing to facilitate increased aid shipments from Jordan. [more]
  • Amidst ongoing concern over humanitarian conditions in Gaza, the U.N. Human Rights Council voted 28-6 today to approve a resolution calling on countries to stop selling or shipping weapons to Israel. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 771 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • According to Russian media reports, Ukraine targeted sites in Russia’s border regions of Kursk, Belgorod, Krasnodar, and Rostov overnight, launching more than 50 drones at sites in the regions. The BBC cites Ukrainian security sources as saying that some 14 Russian warplanes at an airbase in the Rostov region were damaged or destroyed in the drone strikes. [more]
  • Ukraine’s national power grid company, Ukrenergo, says an overnight Russian drone attack damaged energy production facilities in the country’s southern Odesa region – the latest incident in Russia's ongoing campaign of renewed targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure. [more]

U.S. VIOLENT CRIME | U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced this week that the Justice Department’s Violent Crime Initiative, which surges law enforcement tools and resources to target gangs and other violent groups that threaten the safety and security of communities, is being expanded to three new cities: St. Louis, Missouri; Jackson, Mississippi; and Hartford, Connecticut. The VCI model was first launched in Houston, Texas, in September 2022, and expanded to Memphis, Tennessee, in November 2023. [DOJ press release] [more]

U.S. EMPLOYMENT | Economists surveyed by the data firm FactSet predict that the latest Labor Department statistics, due out later this morning, will show that U.S. unemployment fell to 3.8% in March – down from 3.9% in February and the 26th straight month of sub-4% unemployment rates. [more]

U.S. CLIMATE FUNDING | The Environmental Protection Agency announced $20 billion in grants yesterday to eight community development banks and nonprofit organizations to fund clean energy and climate projects, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and address climate and pollution issues in disadvantaged communities. [EPA announcement] [more]

CALIFORNIA | According to the Los Angeles Times, yet-unidentified thieves stole an estimated $30 million in cash from a San Fernando Valley money storage facility earlier this week in one of the largest cash heists in California’s history. [more]

MARYLAND | The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a tentative timeline yesterday to restore access to the Port of Baltimore following the March 26 collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge after it was struck by a cargo ship. The timeline includes opening a limited access channel to support one-way traffic in and out of the port by the end of April and the re-opening of the permanent federal navigation channel by the end of May, restoring port access to normal capacity. [Corps of Engineers press release] [more]

TRUMP TRIALS | Rulings in two of the ongoing criminal court proceedings against former President Donald Trump were released yesterday. In the first ruling, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied a motion by Trump attorneys to dismiss the charges against him in the classified documents case based on his interpretation of the Presidential Records Act. In the second, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee denied a motion to dismiss charges against Trump in the Georgia election interference case on the grounds that it violates his free speech rights. [more]

U.S. AND CHINA | Speaking at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in China today, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on China to address manufacturing overcapacity issues that she says create unfair business conditions for U.S. firms operating in both the U.S. and China. [more]

INDIA | India’s Supreme Court today put on hold a lower court’s March 22 order that effectively banned Islamic schools in the country’s Uttar Pradesh state, which is home to some 12 million Muslims. The stay is expected to remain in place at least until the Supreme Court conducts a full review of the issue in July. [more]

KOSOVO | The government of Kosovo says the country’s first nationwide census since 2011, which begins today, will include surveys of the ethnic Serb minority in the country’s northern regions. The census comes amidst ongoing tensions with neighboring Serbia and continued efforts to pursue European Union membership. [more]

FINLAND AND RUSSIA | Finnish government officials announced yesterday that the closure of their country’s border crossings with Russia, which was put in place following a surge in asylum seekers from Yemen, Somalia and Syria crossing from Russia, and which was scheduled to end April 14, will be extended indefinitely. [more]

COLLEGE BASKETBALL | Iowa’s Caitlin Clark was named The Associated Press Player of the Year in women’s basketball yesterday – her second straight year of winning the award. Purdue’s Zach Edey was named the AP’s men’s college basketball player of the year earlier this week. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death following their conviction in New York on charges of conspiring to commit espionage for the Soviet Union, including providing top-secret information about American radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and nuclear weapon designs. They were executed two years later, becoming the first American civilians to ever be executed for that crime. [more history]

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