January 8, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 94 of the conflict:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the middle of a weeklong trip to the Middle East to meet with regional leaders as part of efforts to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading and to discuss options for post-war conditions in Gaza. Blinken is expected to meet with leaders from Turkey, Greece, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar, and Jordan, as well as Palestinian officials, during the course of his trip. [more]
  • Most staff, patients, and aid groups withdrew from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital – central Gaza’s largest healthcare facility – over the weekend due to local fighting between Israeli and Hamas forces and ongoing Israeli shelling of the region.  [more]
  • Reuters cites unnamed security sources as saying that Wissam al-Tawil, a senior Hezbollah commander, was killed in an Israeli airstrike this morning on the southern Lebanon village of Majdal Selm. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 683 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Russia launched more than 50 missiles and eight drones at targets across Ukraine this morning. Ukrainian officials say at least four civilians were killed and dozens of residential and commercial sites were damaged, while Russia’s defense ministry says it targeted only “facilities of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine.” [more]
  • During a trip to Kyiv yesterday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced $37 million in funding to NATO to help Ukraine defend against Russian drone strikes and said Japan plans to donate mobile gas turbine generators and electrical transformers to Ukraine to help maintain power supplies. [more]

TRUMP CANDIDACY | The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear an appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court decision that barred former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot due to his role in the January 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol. Oral arguments before the U.S.’s highest court are scheduled for February 8. [more]

U.S. GOVERNMENT FUNDING | House and Senate congressional leaders reached an agreement over the weekend on top-line spending levels for the current fiscal year. The agreement, which calls for $886 billion in defense funding along with $772 billion in domestic, non-defense spending, must still be passed and signed into law ahead of funding deadlines of January 19 for some federal programs and February 2 for others. [more]

AIRLINER GROUNDING | Most Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft worldwide were grounded for inspections following a fuselage blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight Friday that caused a sudden loss of cabin air pressure and forced pilots to make an emergency landing. [more]

U.S. MILITARY | Reports say notification of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalization for complications from an elective surgery was kept from senior officials, including President Biden and the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, for several days last week for unknown reasons. Austin has since resumed his duties and has released a statement committing to better transparency. [more]

U.S. AND CHINA | The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced sanctions yesterday against five U.S. defense-related companies in response to U.S arms sales to Taiwan and U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies. The new sanctions by Beijing prohibit operations in China by the U.S. companies BAE Systems Land and Armaments, Alliant Techsystems Operations, AeroVironment, Viasat, and Data Link Solutions. [more]

INDIA | The life prison sentences of 11 Hindu men convicted of raping a Muslim woman and killing her family members during religious rioting in 2008 were reinstated by India's top court today. The men, who were released from prison in 2022 under a policy in place at the time of their convictions, have been ordered to return to prison within two weeks.  [more]

BANGLADESH | Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party won 224 out of 299 parliamentary seats in Bangladesh’s elections yesterday, clearing the way for her fourth consecutive term in office. Low voter turnout of about 40% was exacerbated by a voting boycott supported by opposition parties. [more]

JAPAN | Japanese officials said today that the death toll from the country’s New Year’s Day earthquake has risen to at least 168 and that more than 300 people remain missing. [more]

PAKISTAN | The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a roadside bombing in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province today that killed at least six police officers assigned to protect workers in an anti-polio immunization campaign. [more]

GERMANY | The number of people applying for asylum in Germany rose 51.1% year-over-year to 351,915 in 2023, according to Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The agency says the largest number of asylum seekers came from Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan. [more]

SPACE | The first U.S. lunar lander mission since 1972 was launched this morning from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The NASA-funded Astrobotic Technology lander is scheduled to attempt its landing on the moon’s surface on February 23. [more]

COLLEGE FOOTBALL | Michigan and Washington play tonight in the College Football Playoff championship game, with Michigan generally given slightly better odds to win the game. [more]

ENTERTAINMENT | “Oppenheimer” won five awards, including best drama film, at last night’s 81st Golden Globes, while “Barbie” won the inaugural award for best cinematic and box office achievement and “Poor Things” won for best comedy or musical film. In the television categories, “Succession” received the award for best drama series and “The Bear” was named the best comedy series. [full list of winners] [more]

WEEKEND MOVIES | "Wonka" topped the North American box office over the weekend with an estimated $14.4 million in receipts, followed by "Night Swim" and "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1815, U.S. General Andrew Jackson defeated Great Britain in the Battle of New Orleans, the final engagement in the War of 1812. [more history]

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