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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – ISRAEL JUDICIAL OVERHAUL
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is expected to pass a law today limiting how the Supreme Court can overrule the government. The proposed law, which the government says would enhance democracy, would bar the court from using the controversial legal standard of “reasonableness” to block government decisions, giving ministers greater freedom to act without judicial oversight. Tens of thousands of Israelis marched to Jerusalem over the weekend in protest. Patrick Kingsley reports for the New York Times.
President Biden has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against overhauling Israel’s judiciary. The move is unusual because the United States typically does not comment on domestic Israeli issues. Peter Baker and Lisa Lerer report for the New York Times.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “doing excellently” and would attend today’s vote in the Knesset after an unscheduled pacemaker implant. Dan Williams reports for Reuters.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – CHINA
China and Russia concluded their “Northern/Interaction-2023” military exercise in the Sea of Japan yesterday intended to “safeguard” the security of waterways, the Chinese defense ministry said. Over ten warships and 30 warplanes from both sides participated in the four-day exercises. The drills come amid rising tensions as the United States enhances its ties with Japan and South Korea, and NATO looks to deepen its presence in the region. Reuters reports.
William Majcher, a retired officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.), was charged with foreign interference on Friday after spying for the Chinese government and targeting an individual on its behalf, the R.C.M.P. stated.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The fighting in Sudan between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has reached 100 days. At least 3,000 people have been killed, though the actual number may be much higher. The conflict has displaced more than three million Sudanese. BBC News reports.
The chaotic anti-government demonstrations in Kenya, which left at least 31 people dead in recent weeks, are worsening after the police clashed with demonstrators protesting against soaring food and fuel prices and steep tax hikes last week. Declan Walsh reports for the New York Times.
North Korea launched cruise missiles in the direction of its western sea over the weekend, according to South Korea’s military. The launch comes after the regime fired two short-range missiles on Wednesday. Tara Suter reports for The Hill.
Spain’s opposition conservative party has claimed victory in a snap election, but even with the support of the far right, it has fallen short of a majority in parliament. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared, “[t]he reactionary bloc has failed,” yet Spain is left with an inconclusive result. Laura Gozzi, Guy Hedgecoe, and Paul Kirby report for BBC News.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – BLACK SEA GRAIN DEAL
The Ukrainian port city of Odesa was struck by another Russian drone attack last night. Such attacks have continued since Russia pulled out of a U.N.-backed grain export deal. Kelly Kasulis Cho reports for the Washington Post.
It is an “absolute priority” for Ukraine to restore the Black Sea corridor that allows ships to carry Ukrainian grain to the world, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone on Friday. Andrew Jeong, Ellen Francis, Tamia Fowlkes, and Andrea Salcedo report for the Washington Post.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (F.S.B.) today said that it had found traces of explosives on a ship traveling from Turkey to the Russian port of Rostov-on-Don to pick up grain. The F.S.B. said the ship had been to the Ukrainian port of Kiliia in May and may have been used to deliver explosives to Ukraine. Reuters reports.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – COUNTER-OFFENSIVE
The Ukrainian military has retaken about 50% of the territory seized by Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday. Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
Ukraine had planned to launch the counter-offensive in Spring “[b]ut we didn’t, because, frankly, we had not enough munitions and armaments,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said yesterday. Because of this delay, Zelenskyy said Russia had the “time to mine all our lands and build several lines of defense.” Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO.
Ukraine has become the world’s most mined country. About 30 percent of Ukraine, more than 67,000 square miles, will require clearance operations, according to a recent report by GLOBSEC. The de-mining effort may take decades to complete. Eve Sampson and Samuel Granados report for the Washington Post.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
The U.S. and its allies are looking to recruit high-level Russian officials to spy for the West in a bid to exploit cracks in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power base following the failed armed action in Russia. In his call for recruits among the Russian elite, CIA Director William Burns has said divisions have presented a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to exploit cracks in the regime. Laura Kelly reports for The Hill.
Russian authorities said they destroyed two drones targeting Moscow today, blaming Ukrainian forces. No one was injured in the attack on at least two non-residential buildings. The New York Times reports.
U.S. RELATIONS – NORTH KOREA
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, yesterday said he is worried about Travis King, the soldier who dashed across the demilitarized zone into North Korea. “I think he was running from his problems,” McCaul said. “That was the wrong place to go. But, you know, we see this with Russia, China, Iran. When they take an American, particularly a soldier, captive they exact a price for that. And that’s what I worry about,” he added. David Cohen reports for POLITICO.
The U.N. Command and North Korea have begun discussing the case of Travis King, the soldier who dashed across the demilitarized zone into North Korea. Hyunsu Yim reports for Reuters.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
The United States, South Korea, Australia, and Japan began their largest-ever two-week biennial training exercise over the weekend. The Talisman Sabre exercises reflect U.S. efforts to deter Beijing from launching military action against Taiwan. Mike Cherney reports for the Wall Street Journal.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
The case concerning former President Trump’s handling of classified documents has been set for May 20 next year, Judge Aileen Cannon has ruled. The case will begin with the election campaign in full swing. Madeline Halpert reports for BBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
President Biden intends to nominate Adm. Lisa Franchetti as the Navy’s highest-ranking officer. Franchetti will become the first-ever female leader of the Navy if she is confirmed. Franchetti will serve in an acting role as the Navy’s top officer until her confirmation by the Senate. The confirmation process has been blocked by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) due to an ongoing disagreement about the Pentagon’s abortion policy. John Ismay reports for the New York Times.
President Biden on Friday said he asked CIA Director William Burns to become a member of his cabinet. The move, made in recognition of Burn’s “clear-eyed, long-term approach to our nation’s top national security challenges,” is mainly symbolic and will not give Burns any new authority. Andrea Shalal and Kanishka Singh report for Reuters.
Leading A.I. firms have committed to managing risks posed by the technology, including by testing the security of A.I. and making the results of those tests public., the White House has said. Representatives from Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI joined President Biden to make the announcement. Shiona McCallum reports for BBC News.
The FBI wrongfully searched a foreign-intelligence database for information about a U.S. senator and two state officials in June 2022, a federal surveillance court said. This finding could fuel a bipartisan effort in Congress to overhaul the controversial spying program. Dustin Volz reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Five members of Patriot Front, a white supremacist hate group, were convicted of plotting to riot at a gay pride event. The men were arrested last June after an onlooker spotted them with masks and shields getting into a lorry. All five men will spend three days in jail in addition to the two they have already served. Mattea Bubalo reports for BBC News.