December 21, 2023


PUBLICATION NOTE: In recognition of the Christmas holiday here in the U.S., and barring any particularly extraordinary news events, there will be no Daily Brief published tomorrow, Dec. 22, or Monday, Dec. 25. We look forward to resuming service on Tuesday, Dec. 26.
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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 76 of the conflict:

  • Voting on a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza was delayed again yesterday amidst ongoing negotiations aimed at avoiding a U.S. veto. According to reports, the U.S. maintains that the resolution should condemn the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and state that Israel has the right to defend itself. [more]
  • Israeli military officials said yesterday that their forces have uncovered a major Hamas command center in Gaza City. Reports say the command center is part of a large underground tunnel network used by Hamas and characterize the discovery as a major blow to the Islamic militant group. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 665 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said today that Kyiv has received the final 1.5 billion euros of 18 billion euros in European Union financial aid approved for 2023. Shmyhal’s statement comes amidst ongoing concern over the renewal of aid from both the U.S. and the European Union, where negotiations for further aid have been pushed to next year. [more]
  • The BBC cites Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov as saying in an interview that Ukrainian men between the ages of 25 and 60 living abroad will be expected to report for military service to fight against the Russian invasion, and notes that an estimated 768,000 Ukrainian men aged 18-64 have left the country for the E.U. alone since the start of the war. [more]

TEXAS | In a continuation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s policy of sending migrants from Texas to multiple Democratic-led cities in the U.S., Texas sent a plane carrying more than 120 migrants to Chicago earlier this week, drawing condemnation from Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. Abbot’s office says the relocation of migrants will continue until more is done to secure the U.S. southern border. [more]

OREGON | The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that regulations related to the state’s 2022 climate protection program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 90% by 2050 are invalid. State officials say the ruling hinges on an administrative error and does not touch on whether the state Department of Environmental Quality has the authority to implement the program. [more]

CALIFORNIA | A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction yesterday blocking California’s new law that bans the carrying of firearms in most public places. U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney said the law, which was due to take effect January 1, violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and is openly defiant of related U.S. Supreme Court rulings. [more]

U.S. AND VENEZUELA | A prisoner exchange deal between the U.S. and Venezuela announced yesterday involved the release by the U.S. of Alex Saab, a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in exchange for the return of 10 Americans imprisoned in the South American country and the return to U.S. custody of Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian ship-servicing company owner wanted in connection with a Pentagon-related bribery investigation. [more]

CHINA | Reports say the earthquake in northwestern China earlier this week killed at least 135 people and destroyed more than 14,000 homes. An estimated 87,000 residents of the affected region have been relocated, many to temporary housing units and tents, according to state media. [more]

SUDAN | The U.N. International Organization for Migration says up to 300,000 people have been forced to flee Sudan’s Jazeera province this month due to an escalation in fighting between military and paramilitary forces involved in the northeastern African nation’s eight-month-old civil war. [more]

ALBANIA | The Socialist-led Albanian parliament voted today to lift the legal immunity of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who leads the opposition Democratic Party and was charged with corruption earlier this year in the Balkan nation. [more]

CONGO | Voting in Congo’s presidential election was extended to a second day today in multiple areas of the country due to delays in the deployment of materials and equipment that led to polling disruptions, according to election officials. [more]

POLAND | The government of Poland’s newly installed Prime Minister Donald Tusk yesterday announced the firing of state media executives and took Poland’s public news television channel off the air as part of efforts to “restore impartiality” in media outlets Tusk has characterized as being used for propaganda by the country’s previous government. [more]

AI | According to a new report from Stanford University researchers, a widely-used dataset used to train popular artificial intelligence image generation models contains hundreds of instances of child sexual abuse material. The report offers information on both the prevalence of such materials and recommendations on mitigating the issue. [full report] [more]

VEHICLE RECALL | The U.S. unit of automaker Honda has announced the recall of some 2.5 million vehicles due to fuel pump issues that can cause an engine stall while driving. The recall includes certain models of Honda’s most popular models including the 2018-2020 Honda Accord, Civic, CR-V, HR-V, Ridgeline, Odyssey, and some Acura models. [more]

MERGER TALKS | Reports say entertainment giants Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global held preliminary talks this week to discuss a potential merger. [more]

SOCCER | The European Union’s top court said today that soccer governing bodies UEFA and FIFA defied E.U. competition laws by blocking new plans for a breakaway Super League unveiled earlier this year. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1988, Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, because of a terrorist bombing. In 2003 the government of Libya accepted responsibility for the explosion and in 2004 agreed to compensate the families of the victims. [more history]

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