March 21, 2024


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ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 167 of the conflict:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Cairo, Egypt, today for talks with Arab leaders that are expected to focus on negotiating a cease-fire and hostage-release deal between Israel and Hamas, increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza, and plans for the Palestinian enclave’s post-war future. Blinken is scheduled to conclude his current Mid-East trip with a visit to Israel tomorrow. [more]
  • According to a newly released study by the United Nations Satellite Centre, about 35% of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged by Israeli military operations since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 756 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • In what reports say is the first attack on the Ukrainian capital in more than 40 days, Russia fired 33 ballistic and cruise missiles at Kyiv early today. Ukrainian officials say all of the missiles were shot down, but that 13 people were injured by falling wreckage. [more]
  • Among the topics to be discussed at a two-day meeting of E.U. leaders that begins in Brussels today is a plan to use billions of euros in profits from frozen Russian financial assets to buy arms for Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today that Russia will retaliate if any such E.U. action is taken. [more]

U.S. ECONOMY | The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged yesterday, but signaled that multiple rate cuts are still expected this year as inflation slowly declines and the job market and overall economy remain healthy. Fed policymakers revised their forecast of overall U.S. economic growth to 2.1% for 2024 – up from a 1.4% projection in December. [more]

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL | U.S. Army World War II units that took part in the “Ghost Army” camouflage and deception operations will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal – Congress’ highest honor – today at a U.S. Capitol ceremony. [more]

ALABAMA | Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation into law yesterday that bans diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public schools, universities, and state agencies in Alabama. [more]

IDAHO | Authorities continue to search today for an escaped Idaho prison inmate and an accomplice who fled yesterday after wounding three corrections officers during an escape while the inmate was being transferred from a Boise hospital. [more]

GLOBAL FERTILITY | According to a new study published in The Lancet, fertility rates in nearly all countries will be too low to sustain population levels by the end of the century, and most of the world's births will be occurring in poorer countries by that time. [press release] [full study] [more]

AFGHANISTAN | Taliban government authorities say at least three people were killed, and 12 others were injured, today when a suicide bomber carried out an attack at a bank in the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar. No claims of responsibility for the attack have yet been made. [more]

IRELAND | Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday announced his resignation, effective immediately, for “personal and political” reasons. A new prime minister is expected to be named in April by Varadkar’s center-right Fine Gael party. [more]

U.K. | Vaughan Gething, the leader of Wales’ governing Labour Party, was elected first minister of Wales on Wednesday, becoming the first Black leader of a government in the United Kingdom. [more]

INDONESIA | Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto was declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election yesterday by the country’s General Election Commission. Two other candidates, Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan, have announced plans to contest the results of the February election, citing alleged voting irregularities. [more]

SWITZERLAND | Ahead of similar expected moves by major economies around the world, the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.5% today. [more]

AI | The U.N General Assembly is expected to vote today on its first-ever resolution on artificial intelligence. The resolution, sponsored by the United States, emphasizes the urgency of achieving global consensus on safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems, and says the governance of AI systems is an evolving area that needs further discussion. [more]

SOCIAL MEDIA IPO | Social media company Reddit debuts on the New York stock exchange today, with its initial public offering valuing the company at about $6.4 billion. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1556, Thomas Cranmer, the first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake for violating heresy laws revised under the Roman Catholic queen Mary I, known as Bloody Mary. [more history]

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