March 8, 2024


Listen to this issue.

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR | Updates from day 154 of the conflict:

  • U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans yesterday for the U.S. military to build a temporary port on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to deliver food and other humanitarian aid to the Palestinian enclave. In a related move, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said today that a maritime aid corridor could start operating between Cyprus and Gaza as soon as this weekend. [more]
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel will continue its offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza, including in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite growing international pressure for a reduction in military operations amidst heightened concern over the Palestinian enclave’s humanitarian crisis. [more]

UKRAINE | Today is day 743 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are your updates:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today in Istanbul for talks expected to center on Russia’s ongoing invasion, the Black Sea grain deal, and bilateral relations between their two countries. [more]
  • Reports say senior Ukrainian officials met with a Chinese regional envoy yesterday in Kyiv and presented President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's peace plan to end the two-year conflict with Russia, as well as what they said was evidence of North Korean weaponry supplied to Moscow. [more]

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY | Today is International Women's Day – a globally recognized movement first held in 1911, and official holiday in many countries, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. [more]

STATE OF THE UNION | Among the topics on which President Joe Biden focused in last night’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress were reproductive rights, the country's economy, the wars in Ukraine and Israel, threats to democracy, immigration, infrastructure, health care and drug prices, and taxes. Senator Katie Britt of Alabama delivered the Republican response to Biden’s speech. [Video: Biden State of the Union | Britt Republican Response] [more]

TEXAS | Investigators from the Texas A&M Forest Service say evidence suggests that a downed power line ignited the ongoing Smokehouse Creek fire in Texas – the state's largest-ever wildfire, which has burned nearly 1,700 square miles and is currently considered to be about 74% contained. [more]

MORE TEXAS | An independent report commissioned by the City of Uvalde, Texas, into the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting in which 19 children and two teachers were killed, says that none of the city’s police officers violated department policy in responding to the incident. The report has drawn criticism from victims’ families, who point to findings from previous reports that found responding officers acted with “no urgency” and that their response to the active shooter situation was not in accord with generally accepted practices. [more]

U.S. BANKING | In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that the Fed intends to significantly revise a bank regulatory proposal that would require banks to hold more funds in reserve to protect against bad loans and other potential losses by the end of the year. The proposed rule, issued last year, has been criticized as having potentially harmful effects on banks’ ability to lend and on the ability of some people to obtain mortgage loans. [more]

U.S. CLASSIFIED MATERIALS | U.S. Army SGT Korbein Schultz was arrested yesterday at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and charged with selling national defense information to China. According to the Justice Department indictment, Schultz, who worked as an intelligence analyst, was paid $42,000 over several years to provide classified U.S. military information to a person he knew lived in Hong Kong. [more]

U.S. AND RUSSIA | The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a warning this morning that “extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts,” and urged U.S. citizens in the city to “avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours.” [more]

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION | In a report released today, the United Nations children’s agency, UNICEF, says more than 230 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation – 15% more than the level seen eight years ago. The report notes that the practice, which has been linked to physical, psychological, and social harm, is most prevalent in Africa, followed by Asia and the Middle East. [UNICEF press release and full report] [more]

NIGERIA | Authorities in Nigeria’s northwestern Kaduna State say gunmen attacked a school in the region yesterday and kidnapped at least 287 students. No claims of responsibility for the attack have yet been made, but reports note that similar recent incidents have been carried out by armed groups that have held hostages for ransom. [more]

HONG KONG | Lawmakers in Hong Kong officially unveiled the territory’s new proposed national security bill yesterday, which would expand the government’s power to quell challenges to its rule and increase enforcement and penalties for espionage, disclosing state secrets, and “colluding with external forces” to commit illegal acts. The proposed measure has been criticized by journalistic and human rights activists as overly broad and as a crackdown on political opposition and public dissent. [more]

IRAN | A new report from U.N. Human Rights Council investigators concludes that physical violence by Iranian authorities led to the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022 while in custody of the country’s morality police and that authorities committed unlawful and extrajudicial killings in their suppression of protests that followed Amino’s death. [more]

FRANCE | At a ceremony today in Paris, the right to abortion will be officially enshrined in France’s constitution, making France the first country to ever explicitly guarantee abortion rights in its national framework charter. [more]

ECUADOR | In a continuation of measures aimed at battling surges in gang-related violence, Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa yesterday extended the South American country’s national state of emergency – first declared in January – for an additional 30 days. [more]

CHINA | According to a report presented by prosecutors today at the National People’s Congress in Beijing, the number of cybercrimes and other phone- and internet-related crimes in China rose 36.2% in 2023 and involved 323,000 people. [more]

R.I.P. | Entertainer Steve Lawrence – best known for his stage and night club shows with wife Eydie Gorme in the 1970s and 80s – died yesterday at the age of 88 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. [more]

TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1817, the New York Stock & Exchange Board, which had its beginnings in 1792 and later became known as the New York Stock Exchange, was formally organized. It is the largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization. [more history]

Support independent information for independent minds.

Sign up for a free or supporting membership to further our mission.