January 3, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 89 of the conflict:

  • Reports say Saleh Arouri, a prominent leader of the Hamas political wing, was killed yesterday in a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Lebanese capital of Beirut. The airstrike has raised concerns of the Israel-Hamas war spreading into a wider regional conflict. [more]
  • Israeli government official Eylon Levy accused South Africa yesterday of “giving political and legal cover” to Hamas by filing a case with the International Court of Justice last week charging Israel with genocide over its military campaign in Gaza. [more]
  • Citing an unnamed U.S. official, the Associated Press reports that a U.S. intelligence assessment suggests, with confidence, that Hamas used Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital complex to house a command infrastructure and to hold hostages following the October 7 attacks on Israel. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 678 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Russia and Ukraine traded airstrikes overnight, with Russian forces targeting both Kyiv and Kharkiv, killing at least five civilians, and Ukraine’s military targeting the Russian border city of Belgorod with at least 12 missiles and several drones. [more]
  • Mariana Katzarova, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in the Russian Federation, has called for Russia to release two poets sentenced to several years in prison last week for reading works criticizing the war in Ukraine in public. [more]

U.S. NATIONAL DEBT | According to newly released Treasury Department data, the U.S. federal government’s gross national debt surpassed $34 trillion for the first time ever at the end of December. [more]

U.S. HIGHER EDUCATION | Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned yesterday following accusations of plagiarism. Gay’s resignation follows recent criticism of her testimony at a congressional hearing during which she failed to state unequivocally that calls on campus for the genocide of Jews would violate the school’s conduct policy. [more]

U.S. AUTO SALES | According to industry consultant Cox Automotive, final new vehicle sales data for 2023 is expected to show an 11.6% increase in U.S. auto sales, compared to 2022, with General Motors as the leading manufacturer, followed by Toyota, Ford, Hyundai Motors, and Stellantis. [more]

U.S. AND PHILIPPINES | In a move expected to be condemned by China, the U.S. and Philippine navies began a two-day joint patrol in the South China Sea today. Reports say U.S. ships participating in the patrol include an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, and two destroyers. [more]

IRAN | Iranian state-run news agency IRNA reports that at least 20 people were killed, and 40 others were wounded, today in two explosions in the central city of Kerman during an event honoring Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in January 2020. [more]

U.K. | Thousands of early-career doctors across England and Wales began a six-day strike today over pay issues. Officials with the National Health Service say the strike is expected to significantly disrupt medical care, especially given upticks in cases of flu and COVID. [more]

ITALY | Officials in Venice, Italy, say new measures aimed at reducing the impact of mass tourism on the canal city will take effect in June. Among newly announced measures are limiting tourist groups to 25 people and banning the use of loudspeakers, which follow a previously announced plan to test a new 5 euro per person fee during peak tourism months. [more]

CHINESE ECONOMY | China’s National Bureau of Statistics reports that Chinese manufacturing activity, as measured by the official purchasing managers index, contracted in December for the third straight month. Analysts say the contraction may indicate ongoing weak demand in the Chinese economy. [more]

AIR TRAVEL | In its 2023 review of air travel performance, aviation analytics company Cirium reports that Avianca Airlines had the best on-time arrival rate worldwide, while Delta Air Lines led in North America and Iberia Express led in Europe. The top-performing global airport in 2023, according to Cirium, was Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, as measured by on-time departures. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1521, Pope Leo X issued the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, excommunicating Martin Luther, the German priest whose questioning of certain Roman Catholic practices initiated the Protestant Reformation. [more history]

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