Today’s edition of quick hits.
* In Gaza: “Palestinians fled the Gaza Strip’s second-largest city of Khan Younis in the south of the territory as Israel’s forces were encircling the home of top Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Thursday. Sinwar is thought to be hiding underground. The encirclement comes as Israel’s military continues its military campaign against Hamas in all of the Gaza Strip.”
* At the U.N. “The United States vetoed a United Nations resolution Friday backed by almost all other Security Council members and many other nations demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, where Palestinian civilians are facing what the U.N. chief calls a ‘humanitarian nightmare.’”
* Given Putin’s dictatorial control, and the fact that he’s not allowed to face opposition, I’d say his election odds are quite good: “Vladimir Putin on Friday moved to prolong his repressive and unyielding grip on Russia for at least another six years, announcing his candidacy in the presidential election next March that he is all but certain to win, according to state media reports.”
* Gag order: “A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a narrowed version of the gag order against Donald Trump in his federal election interference case, leaving Trump free to speak about special counsel Jack Smith. Specifically, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s order to the extent it prohibits all parties and their counsel from making or directing others to make public statements about known or potential witnesses concerning their participation in the case.”
* Quite a breakthrough: “The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a powerful treatment for sickle cell disease, a devastating illness that affects more than 100,000 Americans, the majority of whom are Black. The therapy, called Casgevy, from Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, is the first medicine to be approved in the United States that uses the gene-editing tool CRISPR, which won its inventors the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2020.”
* The latest University of Michigan data showed improved consumer sentiments: “Much has been made about how Americans feel bad about the state of the economy, even though according to many broad-based statistical measures things are pretty good. It looks like that message has sunk in to some extent, as a widely followed reading of consumer opinion jumped in December and ended a four-month streak of declines.”
* The fake-electors story we’ve been following from the outset keeps moving forward: “Twenty-four of the so-called fake Trump electors now face criminal charges in three different states, and one of the legal architects of the plan to deploy them, Kenneth Chesebro, has emerged as a witness in all of the cases.”
* How predictable: “Donald Trump has told advisers he would like to attend the inauguration of Argentina’s new president-elect, Javier Milei, this weekend, although logistical hurdles make the visit unlikely, according to two people familiar with the matter. A handful of Republican House members will go to Buenos Aires for the swearing-in. Several House conservatives have discussed the possibility of inviting the erratic libertarian political leader to address the chamber, said two other people familiar with those internal discussions, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private deliberations.”
Have a safe weekend.