February 5, 2024


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MIDDLE EAST | Beginning Friday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in retaliation for a late-January drone strike that killed three U.S. Army soldiers in Jordan. Late last night a new drone attack, for which the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility, killed six allied Kurdish fighters at a base housing U.S. troops in eastern Syria. [more]

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 122 of the conflict:

  • Israel announced at the end of last week that it is preparing for a potential ground assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Palestinian authorities say more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been sheltering from the fighting. [more]
  • Amid the circulation of a Gaza cease-fire and hostage exchange proposal formulated last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is headed to the Middle East today – his fifth trip to the region since the outbreak of the Israeli-Hamas war in October. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 711 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • According to a new BBC report, a loophole that classifies Russian crude oil that is refined in other countries as originating in the refining country has resulted in the U.K. and other western countries importing millions of barrels of fuel made from Russian oil despite sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine. [more]
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed in an interview yesterday that he is considering the possible dismissal of Ukraine’s top military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, as a “reset” or “new beginning” for his country’s fight against the Russian invasion. [more]

U.S. SECURITY FUNDING | A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators released a new $118 billion funding proposal yesterday that pairs border enforcement changes and funding with aid for Ukraine, Israel, and other U.S. allies. The measure is expected to face a test vote in the Senate this week, but faces strong Republican opposition in the House. [more]

CALIFORNIA | Residents of large parts of central and southern California are under emergency warnings today as the second atmospheric river in days brings strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding to the state. The storms have caused widespread power outages, travel delays, and school closings, with an estimated 600,000 electricity customers in the state without power in affected regions as of this morning. [more]

TRUMP FEDERAL ELECTION TRIAL | U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday formally postponed former President Donald Trump’s March trial on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election due to ongoing legal appeals related to the case still under consideration in various courts. Chutkan did not announce a new trial date. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | In an interview broadcast yesterday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said a strong job market, declining inflation, and an overall healthy economy mean the Fed remains on track to cut interest rates three times in 2024. [more]

CHILE | Authorities in Chile say at least 112 people have died over three days in massive wildfires burning in the South American country’s central region. The fires broke out during a week of record high temperatures and prompted President Gabriel Boric to declare two days of national mourning. [more]

GLOBAL ECONOMY | In an updated forecast for the 2024 global economy, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts 2.9% worldwide economic growth in 2024 – down from 3.1% in 2023, but higher than the 2.7% growth for 2024 the organization predicted in November. [full OECD forecast] [more]

FRANCE | Voters in Paris, France, yesterday approved a tripling of non-resident parking fees for large SUVs in the city center. The measure, which raises the parking fees to about $19.50 per hour, was promoted by Mayor Anne Hidalgo as a move to make the city greener and friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists. [more]

SINGAPORE | Lawmakers in Singapore today passed a bill to indefinitely detain some criminals even after they complete their jail sentences if they are deemed to be a risk of reoffending upon release. The measure, which authorities estimate would affect fewer than 30 offenders per year, applies to those convicted of crimes such as culpable homicide and sexual assault against minors. [more]

EL SALVADOR | Early results from yesterday’s presidential election in El Salvador show incumbent Nayib Bukele, popularized by his supporters as the "World's Coolest Dictator," with a commanding 83% of the vote, according to the country’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal. [more]

GERMANY | In a continuation of multiple similar actions this year, German transportation union Verdi has called for ground staff of the major airline Lufthansa to take part in a one-day strike on Wednesday at Germany’s Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, and Dusseldorf airports. [more]

SENEGAL | Senegalese authorities have reportedly restricted internet access in the West African nation amidst opposition protests sparked by speculation that the government intends to postpone Senegal’s February presidential election and extend the term in office of President Macky Sall. [more]

SPACE | Now on his fifth mission to the International Space Station, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko has set the record for the most cumulative time in space at 878 days and 12 hours. By the end of the current mission, Kononenko is expected to become the first person to ever accumulate 1,000 days in space. [more]

GOLF | Wyndham Clark was declared the winner of the PGA’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am yesterday after the tournament’s final round was cancelled due to severe weather affecting much of central and Southern California. [more]

2026 WORLD CUP | World soccer governing body FIFA has released its preliminary schedule for the 2026 World Cup, being jointly hosted by the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. The 39-day, 104-game tournament will open at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca stadium on June 11, and the final will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on July 19. [preliminary schedule] [more]

FOOTBALL | The NFC defeated the AFC with a cumulative 64-59 score over the weekend at the National Football League’s Pro Bowl Games. [more]

GRAMMY AWARDS | Winners at last night’s 66th annual Grammy Awards included Taylor Swift for album of the year for “Midnights;” Miley Cyrus for record of the year for “Flowers;” Victoria Monét for best new artist; and Billie Eilish for song of the year for “What Was I Made For?” Swift's album of the year win was her record-setting fourth time receiving the award. [full list of winners and nominees] [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 146 bce, the Third Punic War, the last of three between Rome and Carthage, came to an end, culminating in the final destruction of Carthage, the enslavement of its people, and Roman hegemony over the Mediterranean. [more history]

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