December 15, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 70 of the conflict:

  • An Israeli military update today says a Hamas command and control center in Gaza City’s Sheijaia district was destroyed and a targeted raid on militant infrastructure was carried out in Khan Younis. Palestinian health officials say hospitals in Gaza have seen an influx of patients due to increased Israeli operations throughout the Palestinian enclave. [more]
  • U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today for discussions on possible security arrangements in Gaza following a future end to the Israel-Hamas conflict. [more]
  • Government and shipping industry analysts say a Liberian-flagged, German-owned cargo ship was struck by a projectile launched from rebel-controlled Yemen earlier today, damaging cargo and causing a fire on the vessel. Yemen’s Houthi rebel group, which has fired on international ships in the Red Sea recently in moves it links to the Israel-Hamas conflict, has not claimed responsibility for the attack. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 659 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • The European Union yesterday agreed to move forward with membership talks for Ukraine following a surprise abstention from voting by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who had previously voiced his opposition to the move. The E.U. did not, however, approve a 50-billion-euro financial aid package for Ukraine due to a veto by Orban. [more]
  • Ukrainian officials say at least 11 people were injured by falling debris overnight when Russian forces launched 42 drones and six missiles, most of which were shot down, at targets in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region. [more]

GEORGIA ELECTION INTERFERENCE TRIAL | The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today on an appeal by former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who is asking that charges of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia should be moved to federal court. Meadows maintains that his actions related to the charges were undertaken as part of his official duties – an argument previously rejected by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Commerce Department reports that retail sales in the U.S., powered by early holiday shopping, rose 0.3% in November – up from a 0.2% decline in October. [more]

U.S. GUN LEGISLATION | The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an emergency appeal challenging a new Illinois law banning some high-power and high-capacity firearms, including the popular AR-15 rifle. The Protect Illinois Communities Act is scheduled to go into effect January 1. [more]

U.S. MORTGAGES | According to mortgage firm Freddie Mac, the average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. fell this week to 6.95% – a seventh straight weekly decline, but still higher than the 6.31% average from the year-ago period. [more]

U.S. AND NATO | A provision in the $886 billion defense authorization bill passed by the U.S. House and Senate this week, and expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden, bars any president from withdrawing the U.S. from the NATO alliance without approval from the Senate or an Act of Congress. [more]

NIGER | The Economic Community of West African States’ Court of Justice ruled today that Mohamed Bazoum, who was removed from his office as president of Niger in a July military coup, was arbitrarily detained, and ordered Niger’s military junta to re-establish constitutional order in the West African nation by reinstating Bazoum. [more]

GLOBAL COAL USAGE | According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, global demand for coal is expected to rise by 1.4% in 2023, surpassing 8.5 billion tons for the first time ever. The report notes that coal demand in the U.S. and the E.U. fell by about 20% for the year, but that higher demand in China and India resulted in the overall increase. [full report] [more]

IRAN | Iranian state media reports that at least 11 security personnel were killed early today in an attack on a police station in the country’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan. Reports say the Jaish al-Adl Sunni militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack. [more]

RUSSIA | Reports say portions of European Russia saw record snowfall today, including in Moscow, where more than one-fifth of the average snowfall for December was recorded over a 24-hour period. The heavy snowfall has closed schools and disrupted travel throughout the region. [more]

CHINA | Chinese state media reports that at least 500 people were injured yesterday when two subway trains in Beijing collided due to “signal degradation” during a snowstorm. [more]

SPAIN | Authorities in Spain say 14 workers at the country’s Tenerife airport in the Canary Islands have been arrested in connection with the theft of some $2.2 million worth of property taken from airline passengers’ luggage. [more]

AUTO INDUSTRY LAYOFFS | General Motors has announced plans to lay off about 1,300 workers at two plants in Michigan early next year due to production halts on the company’s Chevrolet Bolt and Camaro models. [more]

BASKETBALL | Los Angeles Clippers guard James Harden became the 24th player in NBA history to score 25,000 career points during last night’s 122-113 Clippers’ win over the Golden State Warriors. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1791, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the Bill of Rights, which is a collection of mutually reinforcing guarantees of individual rights and limitations on federal and state governments—were adopted as a single unit. [more history]

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