December 28, 2023


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 83 of the conflict:

  • The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned yesterday that the scale of fighting and devastation, as well as blocked roads, scarcity of fuel, and telecommunications blackouts, are impeding humanitarian efforts in Gaza. [more]
  • Amidst ongoing attacks on northern Israel by Iran-backed Hezbollah militants, Israeli government minister Benny Gantz warned yesterday that Israel's military will act to remove Hezbollah from the region along the Lebanon-Israel border if such attacks continue. [more]
  • Hamas yesterday denied a statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel were launched in retaliation for the 2020 killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike. In its denial, Hamas said the October 7 attacks were in response to “the Zionist occupation and its ongoing aggression against our people and our holy sites.” [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 672 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • The U.S. yesterday announced a new $250 million military aid package to Ukraine, consisting of air munitions and other missiles, artillery, anti-armor systems, ammunition, and demolition and medical equipment. Reports cite U.S. officials as saying the aid package could be the last given to Ukraine without Congress approving supplemental funding for more aid. [more]
  • An Associated Press report cites Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as saying that his discussions this week with his Indian counterpart included “the prospects for military-technical cooperation, including the joint production of modern types of weapons.” [more]

U.S. PROTESTS | Airport access roads in both New York City and Los Angeles were blocked for several hours yesterday by pro-Palestinian protesters. Reports say at least 62 people were arrested during the protests, which temporarily impeded access to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. [more]

MICHIGAN | The Michigan Supreme Court yesterday upheld a lower court ruling that denied a request to bar former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot due to alleged violation of the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause. [more]

SOUTH KOREA AND JAPAN | South Korea’s Supreme Court today ordered the Japanese company Hitachi to pay 17 Korean plaintiffs compensation related to forced labor during Japan’s occupation and rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910-1945. The court had previously issued such compensation orders against Japanese companies Mitsubishi and Nippon Steel. [more]

CHINA AND TAIWAN | China’s defense ministry today accused Taiwan’s government of deliberately “hyping up” the threat of Chinese military action against the island territory for political gain ahead of January’s presidential and parliamentary elections. [more]

EUROPEAN BORDERS | According to the Romanian interior ministry, Romania and Bulgaria have reached an agreement with Austria to join Europe’s 27-nation, passport-free, open-border Schengen zone by air and sea from March 2024. Talks to expand the agreement to include land borders are expected to continue next year. [more]

POLAND | In a continuation of the new Polish government’s action against state media agencies that it says had become propaganda outlets, Poland's culture minister announced plans yesterday to put state television, radio, and news agencies into liquidation. [more]

AI | The New York Times yesterday filed a federal lawsuit against ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, accusing the artificial intelligence company of threatening its livelihood by illegally using content from the Times to train AI platforms and chatbots. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of actions against OpenAI related to copyright infringement. [more]

SOCIAL MEDIA | A new study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that social media companies made more than $11 billion in U.S. advertising revenue from minors over the past year. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, says the findings suggest a “need for greater transparency from social media platforms as well as regulation of potentially harmful advertising practices that may exploit vulnerable child and adolescent social media users.” [press release] [full study] [more]

R.I.P. | Entertainer Tom Smothers, who, along with his brother, hosted CBS televisions’ “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in the late 1960s, died Tuesday at the age of 86, according to a statement released by the National Comedy Center on behalf of Smothers’ family. [more]

MORE R.I.P. | Jacques Delors, the French politician who served as the eighth president of the European Commission, and who is widely credited as the architect of the modern European Union, died yesterday at the age of 98. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1065, the original Westminster Abbey, located in London, was consecrated and opened by Edward the Confessor. It became the site of coronations and other ceremonies of national significance in England. [more history]

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