December 20, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 75 of the conflict:

  • A vote on a new U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid efforts to proceed was delayed for second time yesterday as negotiations over the resolution's wording continued. Reports say the latest draft resolution calls for “the urgent suspension of hostilities to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and for urgent steps towards a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” [more]
  • Reports say Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo, Egypt, today for talks with Egyptian officials on the war in Gaza. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 664 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Speaking at an end-of-year news conference yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he is confident that the U.S. and other Western nations will continue to support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion and suggested that Ukraine could mobilize up to 500,000 more troops to continue the fight. [more]
  • Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine's minister for strategic industries, said today that Ukraine plans to produce a million first-person-view observation drones and more than 11,000 medium- and long-range attack drones in 2024 to upgrade its battlefield capabilities. [more]

2024 ELECTION | The Colorado Supreme Court, citing the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause, yesterday declared former President Donald Trump ineligible for holding the office of president due to his actions surrounding the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol, and ordered Trump’s name removed from the state’s 2024 presidential primary ballot. The court stayed its ruling until January 4 or until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case. [more]

TRUMP GEORGIA ELECTION TRIAL | A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who was indicted along with Trump and 17 others on charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, cannot move his trial to federal court. The court said in its ruling that the law allowing the change of venue does not apply to former federal officers and that Meadow’s actions charged in the case were not related to his official duties. [more]

U.S. TAXES | The Internal Revenue Service announced yesterday that it will waive penalty fees for people who failed to pay back taxes that total less than $100,000 per year for the tax years 2020 and 2021. The IRS says its temporary suspension of mailed reminders to pay overdue taxes during the pandemic is behind the decision and that the overall fee forgiveness is expected to total about $1 billion. [IRS press release] [more]

NEW YORK | Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law yesterday that creates a New York state commission to consider policy changes, programs, projects, and possible monetary reparations to address ongoing and harmful effects of slavery in the state. [more]

U.S. POPULATION | According to new Census Bureau data released yesterday, the U.S. population increased by more than 1.6 million people in 2023 to 334,914,895. The Bureau says lower death rates and immigration’s return to pre-pandemic levels were large factors in the population growth. [Census Bureau report] [more]

U.S. MILITARY | The Senate yesterday confirmed the promotions of 11 top-ranking military officers, ending Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s months-long block of the approvals over a Pentagon policy that allows service members to go out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care. The final confirmations come two weeks after some 425 lower-ranking officer promotions gained Senate approval. [more]

MINNESOTA | The Minnesota State Emblems Redesign Commission chose a design for a new state flag yesterday that features an eight-pointed North Star against a dark blue background shaped like the state, with a solid light blue field at the right. If approved by the state legislature, Minnesota’s current flag, which has been criticized as being offensive to Native Americans, would be replaced with the new one in April 2024. [more]

FRANCE | The French parliament yesterday approved new measures aimed at reducing immigration, largely through strengthening the government’s powers to deport foreigners and limiting foreigners’ access to social benefits. [more]

U.K. | Early-career doctors in the U.K.’s National Health Service began a three-day strike today over pay issues. NHS officials warn that the strike, which is expected to last through Saturday morning, will cause significant disruptions to health services. [more]

EUROPEAN MIGRATION | Following years-long negotiations, representatives of the European Parliament and E.U. nation governments reached an agreement early today on new E.U. rules to share the cost and work of hosting migrants across the bloc and to limit the number of immigrants. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum collection of laws is expected to go into effect next year. [more]

CHINA AND NICARAGUA | Chinese state media cites President Xi Jinping as saying that a new China-Nicaragua free trade agreement will take effect on January 1. The upgraded bilateral ties between Beijing and Managua follow the resumption of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2021 and come amidst ongoing international economic sanctions against Nicaragua over human rights issues. [more]

RWANDA | A Paris court yesterday sentenced Rwandan doctor Sosthene Munyemana, 68, to 24 years in prison for his role in Rwanda's 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and those who supported them were killed. Munyemana will reportedly remain free while he appeals his conviction. [more]

U.K. ECONOMY | Consumer price inflation in the U.K. fell to a lower-than-expected 3.9% in November, compared to the year-ago period, according to the country’s Office for National Statistics – down from 4.6% in October and the lowest level since September 2021. [more]

CONGO | An estimated 44 million people are expected to vote today in Congo’s presidential election in which President Felix Tshisekedi is seeking his second five-year term. Some 20 other candidates are also running for the office, including Moise Katumbi, a former governor of Katanga province, who is considered to be Tshisekedi’s main rival. [more]

CONSUMER PRIVACY AND SECURITY | Cable operator Comcast announced yesterday that personal data for some 35.9 million customers of its Xfinity services may have been illegally accessed by hackers in an October security breach. [more]

BASKETBALL | Milwaukee Bucks’ point guard Damian Lillard became the 51st player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points in last night’s 132-119 Bucks’ win over the San Antonio Spurs. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1860, in the lead-up to the American Civil War and following Abraham Lincoln's election as U.S. president, South Carolina became the first U.S. state to secede from the Union. [more history]

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