June 28, 2024


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U.S. PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE | Early polling suggests a majority of viewers see former President Donald Trump as having outperformed President Joe Biden in last night’s CNN-hosted presidential debate. Reports note that Biden’s performance raised concerns over his age and stamina among both supporters and opponents. [more]

TEXAS | Former Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo and former school officer Adrian Gonzales were indicted by a grand jury yesterday on felony charges of child endangerment and abandonment in connection with the slow police response to the May 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were killed. [more]

U.S. SUPREME COURT | In new rulings handed down yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court:

  • Allowed abortions to be performed in Idaho when pregnant women are facing medical emergencies while challenges to the state’s near-total abortion ban play out in lower courts. [more]
  • Ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency’s “good neighbor” rule aimed at restricting emissions from power plants and other industrial sources that pollute downwind areas cannot be enforced while legal challenges play out in various states. [more]
  • Overturned the bribery conviction of a former Indiana mayor after finding that a federal public corruption law criminalizes bribes given before an official act, not rewards handed out after. [more]
  • Said that people accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission have the right to a jury trial in federal court instead of having their cases decided in administrative hearings – a ruling opponents say could have far-reaching effects on various other regulatory agencies. [more]

U.S. HEALTHCARE FRAUD | The Justice Department said yesterday that 193 people have been arrested in a nationwide crackdown on healthcare providers and others who allegedly made fraudulent medical payment claims worth some $2.7 billion. [press release] [more]

U.S. MILITARY PARDONS | President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the pardoning of some 2,000 former U.S. service members convicted between 1951 and 2013 of violating a now-repealed military ban on consensual gay sex. Those covered by the pardon will be able to apply to receive proof that their conviction has been erased, petition to have their discharges from the military upgraded, and move to recover lost pay and benefits. [more]

OKLAHOMA | State school superintendent Ryan Walters yesterday ordered all public schools in Oklahoma to incorporate the Bible into lessons for students in grades 5 through 12, saying the Christian text is “an indispensable historical and cultural touchstone.” The move drew immediate condemnation from civil rights groups and others who said the mandate is a violation of the separation of church and state and of the U.S. Constitution. [more]

WASHINGTON | A Washington state jury found former Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree assault for shooting Jesse Sarey twice while trying to arrest him for disorderly conduct – the first conviction under a 2018 state law that eased the standard for prosecution of law enforcement officers for on-duty killings. [more]

GLOBAL SPECIES RISK | According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s latest Red List of Threatened Species, more than 45,300 of the more than 163,000 species assessed worldwide are at risk of extinction. The organization cites climate change, invasive species, human infrastructure expansion, and illicit trade as being among the leading contributors to the extinction risks. [IUCN Red List website] [more]

EUROPEAN UNION | Leaders of the 27 European Union members states agreed yesterday on the bloc’s leadership for the next five years, reinstalling Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission and appointing Antonio Costa of Portugal and Estonia’s Kaja Kallas as European Council president and the E.U.’s top diplomat, respectively. [more]

JAPAN AND PHILIPPINES | Japanese and Philippine officials confirmed today that top defense and diplomatic officials from their two countries will meet in Manila next month with the hope of finalizing a mutual defense pact amidst ongoing regional concern over Chinese actions and influence, particularly in the South China Sea. [more]

ISRAEL | Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men blocked a major highway in central Israel for hours today, protesting a recent decision by the country’s Supreme Court that ended military service exemptions for ultra-Orthodox followers. Reports note that a large protest by opponents of the Court ruling has been scheduled for Sunday. [more]

BOLIVIA | Bolivian President Luis Arce yesterday denied allegations by army chief General Juan Jose Zuniga that Arce himself ordered Zuniga to carry out an apparent failed coup attempt earlier this week in a bid to boost Arce’s popularity. [more]

IRAN | Iranians are voting today in the country’s early presidential election, choosing among three leading candidates to fill the office left empty following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on May 19. [more]

FRANCE | The first round of France’s snap parliamentary elections takes place on Sunday, with voters choosing largely from candidates from three major political blocs: the far-right National Rally, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance, and the left-wing New Popular Front coalition. The second round of the election process is scheduled for July 7. [more]

AI | The Center for Investigative Reporting, the non-profit publisher of Mother Jones and Reveal, sued ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and its business partner Microsoft yesterday, joining a growing number of publishers who have accused the artificial intelligence company of illegally using copyrighted materials to train the company’s AI models. [more]

SOCCER | Games of note yesterday in the 2024 Copa America tournament included: a 2-1 United States loss to Panama with the U.S. playing most of the game shorthanded after Tim Weah was ejected for punching a Panamanian player early in the game, and Uruguay beating Bolivia, 5-0, to strengthen their bid for a spot in the tournament’s quarterfinals. [more]

CRICKET | With yesterday’s win over defending champion England, India advanced to tomorrow’s final of the T20 World Cup cricket championship, where they will face South Africa. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia, precipitating the outbreak of World War I. Five years later, also on this date, in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Palace of Versailles in France, signifying the end of World War I. [more history]

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