January 2, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 88 of the conflict:

  • The Israeli military has confirmed plans to pull thousands of troops out of Gaza in a move analysts suggest may signal a new long-term, lower-intensity phase of its war against Hamas. [more]
  • The U.S. Navy says it is recalling its USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group from the Eastern Mediterranean, where the group was positioned in support of Israel following the October 7 Hamas attacks. Reports say the carrier group will be replaced in the region by the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, the USS Mesa Verde marine force deployment ship, and the USS Carter Hall dock landing ship. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 677 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Russian authorities say a series of weekend Ukrainian missile strikes on the Russian border city of Belgorod over the weekend killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100 others. President Vladimir Putin called the attacks on Belgorod “a terrorist act” and promised retaliation. [more]
  • Ukraine’s two largest cities – Kyiv and Kharkiv – were struck by Russian hypersonic missiles overnight. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says four civilians were killed and 92 others were injured, in the attacks. [more]

U.S. OPIOID CRISIS | Consulting firm McKinsey and Co. has reportedly agreed to pay $78 million to settle allegations from insurers and health care funds that its marketing and sales work with drug companies contributed to the opioid addiction crisis. [more]

U.S. COURTS | In his 2023 year-end report on the federal judiciary, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said that while artificial intelligence will likely transform how judges and lawyers conduct their work, “caution and humility” should be exercised to protect against AI-related privacy and validity issues. [full report] [more]

U.S. IMMIGRATION | Reports say buses and a plane carrying more than 700 asylum-seekers from Texas were sent to Chicago and various locations in New Jersey over the weekend in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ongoing program of relocating migrants to other parts of the country. [more]

ISRAEL | Israel’s Supreme Court today struck down a portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial overhaul program, overturning a law passed in July 2023 that prevented judges from nullifying government decisions deemed “unreasonable." [more]

NORTH KOREA | At a meeting with military commanders on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country should “thoroughly annihilate” the United States and South Korea if provoked. Kim’s statement follows last week’s announcements of plans for North Korea to launch additional spy satellites and increase the production of weapons-grade nuclear materials. [more]

SOUTH KOREA | Lee Jae-myung, leader of South Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party, was stabbed in the neck by a yet-unidentified man today in the southeastern Korean city of Busan. The attacker was detained at the scene and officials say the incident is under investigation. [more]

TURKEY AND ISRAEL | Turkish police have arrested 33 people suspected of working for Israel's Mossad intelligence service within Turkey to identify, monitor, assault, and kidnap foreign nationals living in Turkey, according to Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya. [more]

JAPAN | Japanese officials say at least 48 people have died in the aftermath of yesterday’s 7.6-magnitude earthquake that struck the western Ishikawa prefecture. Reports day thousands of buildings were damaged in the quake and that water, power, and cell phone service remains unavailable in some areas. [more]

MORE JAPAN | Reports say all 379 passengers and crew members aboard a Japan Airlines jetliner that caught fire after colliding with a Coast Guard aircraft on a runway at Tokyo’s Haneda airport this morning were safely evacuated. Five of six crew members aboard the Coast Guard aircraft have died, according to Japanese media reports. [more]

ETHIOPIA | Reports say landlocked Ethiopia has signed a memorandum of understanding with the self-declared republic of Somaliland to secure access to seaports. Officials in Somalia, from which Somaliland declared its independence more than 30 years ago, have called the agreement an “act of aggression.” [more]

PAKISTAN | Citing “pre-poll rigging,” Pakistan’s independent human rights commission said yesterday that “there is little evidence to show that the upcoming elections will be free, fair, or credible.” Pakistan’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 8. [more]

DENMARK | Queen Margrethe II, Europe’s longest-reigning living monarch, announced Sunday that she plans to abdicate the throne of Denmark on January 14, after 52 years in the position. Her son, Crown Prince Frederik, will become king upon her abdication. [more]

COLLEGE FOOTBALL | Michigan defeated Alabama, 27-20, and Washington beat Texas, 37-31, yesterday to advance to the College Football Playoff championship game, which will be played in Houston on January 8. [more]

WEEKEND MOVIES | "Wonka" topped the North American box office over the New Year's holiday weekend with an estimated $24 million in receipts, followed by "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" and "Migration." [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1492, Granada, home of the Alhambra palace and the seat and final stronghold of the Moorish kingdom in Spain, was surrendered to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II and Isabella I, ending the Reconquest. [more history]

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