February 1, 2024


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MIDDLE EAST | U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said yesterday that the U.S. believes a drone strike that killed three U.S. Army soldiers in Jordan on Sunday was planned, resourced, and facilitated by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias. [more]

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 118 of the conflict:

  • South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor suggested yesterday that Israel has already been ignoring last week’s U.N. International Court of Justice ruling that ordered Israel to take steps to prevent death, destruction, and any acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. [more]
  • Reuters cites unnamed Palestinian officials as saying that Hamas is unlikely to reject a cease-fire proposal circulated by international mediators this week, but that it will not agree to the plan without assurances of an Israeli commitment to ending the war in Gaza. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 707 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to address a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels today following the bloc’s early morning approval of a 50-billion-euro aid package for Ukraine, which had previously been blocked by Hungary. [more]
  • Speaking to political activists ahead of March’s Russian presidential election yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a current focus of Russian forces in Ukraine is to push back the front lines to “such a distance from our territory that will make it safe from Western-supplied long-range artillery that Ukrainian authorities use for shelling peaceful cities.” [more]

U.S. TAXES | The House of Representatives voted 357-70 yesterday to approve a $78 billion bipartisan package of tax breaks for businesses and low-income taxpayers. Among measures included in the bill are an increase in the Child Tax Credit and a reinstatement of some Trump-era tax deductions on business research and development and certain capital investments. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a 22-year high 5.4% level yesterday, but reiterated its intention to begin cutting rates later this year as it gains confidence of sustained movement toward a targeted 2% inflation rate. [more]

U.S. CLIMATE POLICY | The White House announced yesterday that senior Biden administration advisor John Podesta will take over as the top U.S. official on international climate issues following John Kerry’s resignation from the role last month. [White House statement] [more]

TRUMP CANDIDACY | An ABC News report cites new federal election filings as showing that former President Donald Trump's legal fees associated with the multiple cases against him cost his political fundraising committees more than $50 million in 2023. [more]

FLORIDA | A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Walt Disney Company claiming that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration violated the First Amendment by taking over the special tax district in which Walt Disney World is located. [more]

IDAHO | Authorities in Boise, Idaho, say three people were killed, and nine others injured, yesterday when a privately-owned hangar at Boise Airport collapsed. The cause of the collapse is under investigation. [more]

U.S. AND VENEZUELA | The Associated Press cites a secret 2018 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration memo as detailing a years-long covert DEA operation that sent undercover operatives to Venezuela to build drug-trafficking cases against the South American country’s leadership. [more]

NORWAY | Authorities in central Norway issued weather alerts, closed schools, and suspended some transportation services yesterday as the region was hit by hurricane-force winds in what reports say was the Nordic country’s strongest storm in 30 years. [more]

EUROPEAN FARMING | Reports say hundreds of farmers drove tractors and sounded horns at the site of the European Union leaders’ summit in Brussels, Belgium, today as part of ongoing protests against high energy prices, low-price foreign competition, and E.U. bureaucracy. [more]

GERMANY | A one-day strike by airport security workers is severely disrupting air travel in Germany today, with an estimated 1,100 flights from the country’s airports being cancelled, affecting some 200,000 passengers. [more]

MORE GERMANY | According to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, beer sales fell 4.5% in Germany in 2023 to about 8.4 billion liters (2.2 billion gallons), resuming a long-term downward trend after a 2.7% sales increase in 2022. [more]

SOCIAL MEDIA | The CEOs of major social media companies, including Facebook, X, Snap, and TikTok, testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday as part of the Committees investigation into the effects of social media on children and what some lawmakers said are companies’ failures to protect children from online sexual exploitation. [more]

COLLEGE SPORTS | The attorneys general of Tennessee and Virginia filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA yesterday, challenging the collegiate sports organization’s ban on the use of name, image, and likeness, or NIL, compensation in college’s recruitment of athletes. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order against NCAA enforcement of NIL recruiting rules. [more]

GOLF | The PGA Tour announced a $3 billion investment from Strategic Sports Group yesterday in a deal under which, according to reports, PGA players would be given equity in the new PGA Tour Enterprises venture. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 2003, while returning to Earth from an orbital mission, the U.S. space shuttle Columbia broke up catastrophically at an altitude of about 40 miles over Texas, killing all seven crew members. [more history]

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