February 9, 2024


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MIDDLE EAST | The U.S. military’s Central Command says four drone boats and seven mobile anti-ship cruise missile launchers were destroyed yesterday in new U.S. airstrikes targeting Houthi rebel positions in Yemen. [more]

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 126 of the conflict:

  • Amidst increasing concern over possible escalation of military ground operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, reports say overnight Israeli airstrikes on the city hit two residential buildings and a shelter, killing at least twelve people. [more]
  • Reports say a Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo, Egypt, today for new cease-fire talks a day after Hamas’ latest conditions for a cease-fire and hostage deal were rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 715 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Reuters cites unnamed sources as saying that Ukrainian drones targeted two oil refineries in southern Russia’s Krasnodar region early today, causing a fire at one of the sites. [more]
  • Saying Ukraine’s military needed a “renewal,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed ground forces commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi as the new head of Ukraine’s armed forces yesterday, replacing General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi. Syrskyi says his immediate goals in the new office include improving the rotation of troops out of the front lines and harnessing the power of new technologies. [more]

BIDEN CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS INVESTIGATION | Special Counsel Robert Hur released his report on the investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents while a civilian yesterday. The report says that while Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen,” “the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Hur concluded that “no criminal charges are warranted in this matter.” References to Biden’s age and “poor memory” in the report have been criticized by Biden and his supporters. [full special counsel report] [more]

TRUMP CANDIDACY | Legal analysts say the tone and tenor of U.S. Supreme Court justices’ questions during oral arguments yesterday suggest that the Court is not likely to uphold a Colorado ruling that former President Donald Trump be removed from the state’s presidential primary ballot based on the constitutional provision that bars those who engage in insurrection from holding office. Reports say the Court could rule on the case prior to the Super Tuesday presidential primaries on March 5. [more]

AI | In a unanimous ruling yesterday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission adopted a regulation that imposes fines and other penalties on companies that use AI-generated voices in robocalls. The ruling comes amidst ongoing concern over political robocalls that appear to be using AI-generated voices to mimic candidates and mislead voters. [more]

KANSAS | In a letter to multiple school districts and to the state association for local school board members yesterday, Kansas Attorney General Kris Koback said that failure to inform parents when a child is socially transitioning their gender or identifying as non-binary at school violates parents’ rights. Kansas is not among the five U.S. states with a law requiring such disclosures by schools. [more]

U.S. DRUG PRICES | The CEOs of drugmakers Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson,  and Merck faced questions before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions yesterday about why drug prices are so much higher in the United States than they are in the rest of the world. Among the reasons for high prices cited by the company executives were that the prices fund research and development that leads to new and better treatments and that new medicines launch earlier in the U.S. than in the rest of the world, giving Americans faster access. [more]

U.S. AND GERMANY | The wars in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as European Union expansion, are expected to be among the main topics of discussion when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets with U.S. President Joe Biden today in Washington. [more]

RUSSIA | In an interview released yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told conservative American talk show host Tucker Carlson that the U.S. should recognize Moscow’s interests in Ukraine and persuade Kyiv to participate in talks aimed at ending the war. Putin also said Russia is ready to negotiate a potential prisoner exchange that would see the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in Moscow last March on espionage charges. [more]

SUDAN | In a new appeal, UNICEF says that more than 700,000 children in Sudan are at risk of dying from malnutrition and disease amidst upheavals caused by the country’s 10-month-old civil war, and called for increased funding and other support to bolster the organization’s operations in the African nation. [more]

PAKISTAN | With about half of the results from yesterday's parliamentary elections in Pakistan being released, reports say independent candidates supported by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan appear to be maintaining a slight lead over candidates backed by the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. [more]

ETHIOPIA | Ervin Massinga, the U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, today called for an impartial investigation into an alleged massacre of some 80 civilians killed last week in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region following clashes between soldiers and armed militias. [more]

MALAYSIA | In a ruling criticized by the country’s Muslim majority, Malaysia’s top court today declared more than a dozen Islamic laws enacted by the northeastern Kelantan state unconstitutional, saying the state had no authority to enact the laws, as the areas addressed in them were already covered by existing national secular law. [more]

YEAR OF THE DRAGON | Lunar New Year celebrations will be held across large parts of Asia and in other areas of the world this weekend, marking tomorrow's beginning of the Year of the Dragon. [more]

NFL AWARDS | Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was named the National Football League’s most valuable player last night – Jackson’s second time receiving the award. San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey won the Offensive Player of the Year award, while Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett was named the league’s defensive player of the year.  The Coach of the Year award went to the Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski, and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Cam Heyward received the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award. [full list of awardees] [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1943, the World War II battle of Guadalcanal in the southwest Pacific ended with an Allied victory over Japanese forces. [more history]

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