December 14, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 69 of the conflict:

  • Responding to signs of heightened Hamas resistance in Gaza and to international calls for a cease-fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated yesterday that Israel will continue fighting until it destroys Hamas, saying, “We are continuing until the end, there is no question. I say this even given the great pain and the international pressure. Nothing will stop us.” [more]
  • According to a new study commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme, the economic cost of the Israel-Hamas conflict on neighboring Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan could be as high as $10.3 billion and may push some 230,000 people into poverty. [full report] [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 658 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • At an end-of-year press conference today in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s military operation in Ukraine will continue until its goals are achieved and noted that some 244,000 Russian troops are currently fighting in Ukraine. [more]
  • Ahead of the start of a European Union summit today, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that his country will not agree to E.U. accession talks for Ukraine and that he continues to oppose some $54 billion in financial aid for Kyiv from the E.U. budget. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | Amidst steady declines in inflation, the Federal Reserve, as expected, kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged yesterday and signaled that a series of three interest rate cuts could start as early as next summer. U.S. securities markets reacted strongly to the Fed news, with the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all closing up 1.4%. [more]

BIDEN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY | The U.S. House Of Representatives voted yesterday to approve a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Republican leaders note that the formal inquiry is intended to facilitate their investigations and it will not, necessarily, lead to actual impeachment, while Democrats condemn the move as political posturing. [more]

U.S. ABORTION | The U.S. Supreme Court agreed yesterday to hear a dispute over challenges to the use of the abortion drug mifepristone. At issue in the case, which is expected to be heard before the Court next summer, are limits on how long into a pregnancy the drug can be used and whether its  availability via mail can be restricted even in states where abortion remains legal. [more]

U.S. MILITARY FUNDING | The Senate yesterday passed an $886 billion defense funding authorization bill that calls for a 5.2% increase in military service member pay. The bill, which increases defense funding by about 3% over the previous year, now goes to the House for its consideration. [more]

TRUMP FEDERAL ELECTION TRIAL | U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan yesterday paused proceedings in the federal election interference trial against former President Donald Trump while Trump’s claims of immunity from prosecution are considered by a federal appeals court and, potentially, the U.S. Supreme Court. [more]

JANUARY 6 | The U.S. Supreme Court said yesterday that it intends to hear an appeal in March that challenges the validity of obstruction of an official proceeding charges against hundreds of people, including former President Donald Trump, involved with the January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. [more]

U.S. AND FINLAND | Finland’s government announced yesterday that it will sign a defense cooperation agreement with the United States next Monday. The agreement will reportedly allow the U.S. military to access and store military equipment and ammunition at numerous locations in Finland for use in case of conflict or crisis. [more]

DENMARK | Danish authorities report that several people were arrested today in a coordinated operation across Denmark “on suspicion of preparation for a terrorist attack.” Additional details on the arrests and operation are expected to be released later today. [more]

EUROPEAN LABOR | The European Parliament gave preliminary approval yesterday to new labor rules that boost protections and benefits for gig economy workers and increase accountability for apps and platforms that rely on independent contractors. [more]

VENEZUELA AND GUYANA | Amidst tensions following a Venezuelan referendum calling for Venezuela to claim the disputed Essequibo region from Guyana, Guyanan President Irfaan Ali and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro are scheduled to meet for talks today on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. [more]

JAPAN | In a third cabinet shakeup in 16 months, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida yesterday fired four cabinet ministers amidst an ongoing financial scandal involving his ruling Liberal Democratic Party. [more]

SOMALIA | The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank announced yesterday that Somalia has been granted a $4.5 billion debt relief deal from its international creditors hoping to facilitate the African country’s economic recovery and development. [more]

NFL | The National Football League announced yesterday that its first regular-season game in South America will be played next year at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil. [more]

NBA | The National Basketball Association yesterday suspended Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green indefinitely, noting that “this outcome takes into account Green’s repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts.”  The move came a day after Green was ejected from a game after hitting Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face. [more]

FILM | Among 25 films selected for this year’s additions to the National Film Registry at the U.S. Library of Congress are: “Apollo 13,” “Lady and the Tramp,” Home Alone,” Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” [full list] [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who left Norway for Antarctica in June 1910, became the first person to reach the South Pole. [more history]

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