February 20, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 137 of the conflict:

  • The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote this morning on an Arab-backed resolution that demands an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. The resolution faces a veto by the U.S., which circulated its own proposal for a temporary cease-fire and hostage release ahead of today’s vote. [more]
  • Israel today ordered the evacuation of multiple neighborhoods in Gaza City – a move analysts suggest is indicative of ongoing Hamas resistance in areas of northern Gaza that were thought to have been cleared of militants weeks ago. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 726 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Russia's Federal Security Service said today that it has arrested a 33-year-old woman with dual Russian-U.S. citizenship on suspicion of treason for raising funds for Ukraine's armed forces. Citing privacy considerations, officials at the U.S. embassy in Moscow said they were unable to provide additional information on the arrest. [more]
  • Philippe Leclerc, the U.N. refugee agency’s Regional Director for Europe, said today that renewed U.S. funding is essential for the agency’s efforts to provide humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and to assure the safe return of Ukrainians who fled their country in the face of the Russian invasion. [more]

U.S. WATER INFRASTRUCTURE | The White House has announced the distribution of $5.8 billion in funding for water infrastructure projects in all 50 U.S. states. The projects, funded through 2021's $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, include upgrades to water treatment plants, water distribution, and piping systems, lead pipe replacement, and other major water projects. [White House fact sheet] [more]

WISCONSIN | New state legislative district maps were signed into law by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers yesterday, replacing maps that had been considered among the most gerrymandered in the United States. Reports say the Republican-controlled state legislature approved the new maps in part to avoid having the liberal-controlled state Supreme Court dictate new district boundaries. [more]

U.S. AND U.K. | Wikileaks founder Julian Assange begins a two-day hearing before  the High Court in London today in a final challenge to his being extradited to the U.S., where he faces espionage charges related to the publication of classified U.S. government documents. [more]

NATO | In a letter to the speaker of Hungary’s parliament today, the leadership of the governing Fidesz party requested that a vote be scheduled for next Monday on the ratification of Sweden’s application to join the NATO alliance. Hungary is the only NATO member to have not yet approved Sweden’s accession. [more]

HAITI | The widow of assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, former prime minister Claude Joseph, and ex-national police chief Léon Charles are among dozens indicted yesterday in connection with Moïse’s 2021 assassination. Charles faces the most serious charges in the case, including murder and “conspiracy against the internal security of the state.” [more]

IRAN | International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said yesterday that the nuclear deal under which Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of nuclear materials in exchange for the easing of sanctions has “all but disintegrated” and that the Middle East country’s current enrichment activity is well above that needed for commercial use. [more]

INDIA | Farmers taking part in a week-long protest in India to demand guaranteed crop prices reportedly rejected the government’s latest price proposal last night and said they will continue their march to the capital New Delhi in continuation of their labor movement despite some routes being blocked by authorities. [more]

ARGENTINA | According to a new study from the Catholic University of Argentina, about 57% of Argentina’s 46 million people were living in poverty in January – the South American country’s highest poverty rate in 20 years. Researchers note that the country’s poverty level spike in January, which was up 8% from the previous month, was partially due to President Javier Milei's devaluation of the Argentine peso following his inauguration in December. [more]

GUINEA | In a video address last night, Guinea’s military rulers, who have controlled the West African country since 2021, said they have dissolved the national government and intend to appoint a new one at an unspecified time. Elections intended to transition the country back to civilian rule are scheduled for 2025. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | Trainee doctors across South Korea are beginning a work stoppage today in protest of a government plan to increase medical school admissions starting next year, which physician groups argue would overwhelm medical schools and lead to unnecessary medical treatments due to increased competition among doctors. [more]

FRANCE | Tourist visits to the iconic Eiffel Tower remain blocked in Paris today as workers strike for a second-straight day in protest against what the leaders of the CGT union say is poor financial management of the tower. [more]

COMPUTER-BRAIN INTERACTION | Neuralink founder Elon Musk said today that the first human patient with an implanted brain-computer interface from the company has made a full recovery and has been able to move a mouse pointer on a computer screen by just thinking. [more]

CYBERSECURITY | Britain's National Crime Agency reports today that an international law enforcement operation has infiltrated and disrupted the Lockbit ransomware syndicate, which has been linked to thousands of cyberattacks and ransomware incidents since 2019. [more]

CREDIT MERGER | Capital One Financial yesterday announced plans to buy Discover Financial Services for $35 billion in a deal that would see the merger of two of the U.S.’s largest credit card companies. [more]

NASCAR | William Byron won yesterday’s season-opening Daytona 500 race at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway. The victory was Hendrick Motorsports’ ninth Daytona 500 win. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling the globe three times aboard  Project Mercury’s Friendship 7 spacecraft. [more history]

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