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10 issues to know at the moment: February 18, 2021

1.

Utility crews rushed to revive energy to almost 3.4 million clients in america, most of them in Texas, after an excessive winter storm hit states from southwest to northeast. is. At the least 30 folks have died from the climate, which has introduced report chilly climate to many areas. Time additionally water service disrupted for millions of Texans. One other storm entrance units in, bringing what needs to be one other blast of ice and snow that might trigger different issues. “There actually isn’t any respite from the distress that individuals really feel on this area,” stated Bob Oravec, senior forecaster for the Nationwide Climate Service, in reference to the continued struggling in Texas. The only-digit temperatures that hit the state prompted a rise in demand for warmth that overwhelmed the electrical energy grid, reducing off energy to thousands and thousands of properties and companies. [The Associated Press, USA Today]

2.

Conservative discuss radio icon Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer on Wednesday, his spouse, Kathryn, introduced on his syndicated present. “For over 32 years, Rush has cherished you, her loyal viewers, and all the time seems to be ahead to each present,” she stated. Limbaugh introduced his sickness final February, additionally on his present. A day later, then-President Donald Trump introduced him with the nation’s highest civilian honor through the annual State of the Union Handle, “in recognition of all you’ve got executed for our nation, thousands and thousands of individuals you discuss to on daily basis and encourage you. ” This honor appealed to right-wing however outraged left-wing critics who stated he promoted racism and homophobia. Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) known as Limbaugh a “violent racist”, and President Biden, then working to topple Trump, stated Limbaugh had “executed as a lot as Trump himself to divide our nation” . [The Hollywood Reporter]

3.

The Justice Division on Wednesday unveiled the costs in opposition to three North Korean hackers for allegedly orchestrating harmful cyber assaults and stealing greater than $ 1.3 billion from banks and firms. Prosecutors stated the defendants – Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il, and Park Jin Hyok – had been a part of North Korea’s Normal Reconnaissance Bureau, a navy intelligence company. The lads face fees of Conspiracy to Commit Laptop Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Financial institution and Financial institution Fraud. “North Korean brokers, utilizing keyboards relatively than weapons, stealing digital cryptocurrency wallets as a substitute of luggage of money, are the world’s main twenty first century nation state financial institution robbers.” stated John Demers, assistant legal professional common for nationwide safety. [The Washington Post, NPR]

4.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the federal authorities’s senior infectious illness specialist, stated Wednesday it was “impractical” to “say each instructor needs to be vaccinated earlier than returning to highschool.” The feedback that Fauci made CBS this morning, comes because the Biden administration ramps up efforts to reopen public faculties throughout the nation, beginning with elementary faculties, Winter spike in coronavirus cases and deaths decreases. Fauci stated Individuals should not count on to see the virus worn out, as it would seemingly proceed to be current even after it stops inflicting widespread disruption. “We now have to anticipate that that is one thing that we’d have to chronically preserve management of,” he stated. “Possibly that is one thing that’s turning into rampant, that we simply must be cautious about.” [Politico, USA Today]

5.

South Carolina Home handed a invoice banning almost all abortions on Wednesday, becoming a member of a number of different Republican-dominated states in search of to tighten restrictions on abortion and provides the newly strengthened Conservative majority on the Supreme Courtroom alternatives to cancel Roe vs. Wade. The invoice, which was handed overwhelmingly, is because of undergo one other procedural vote Thursday earlier than going to Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, for his signature, which he has vowed to ship rapidly. The state Senate authorised the laws in late January. The invoice requires medical doctors to verify the fetal heartbeat utilizing ultrasound and prohibits abortions when one is discovered, besides in circumstances the place the being pregnant is the results of rape or incest, or if the lifetime of the pregnant lady is at risk. [The Associated Press]

6.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines confirmed lowered efficacy in opposition to the brand new, extra infectious pressure first detected in South Africa, in keeping with a Wednesday report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The vaccines appeared to mobilize the antibodies wanted to neutralize the coronavirus, however researchers are not sure what stage of neutralization is required to guard folks from the variant. Pfizer stated the shot appeared to generate sufficient antibodies to neutralize the brand new pressure, however was engaged on a booster to fight it higher. The information got here forward of a US authorities report launched Thursday exhibiting life expectancy in america dropped by a yr within the first half of 2020 when the pandemic struck. The life expectancy of the black inhabitants has declined by 2.7 years. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

7.

White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated on Wednesday that President Biden was supporting a research on whether or not descendants of slaves ought to obtain reparations. Psaki stated Biden stays dedicated to taking “complete motion to sort out the systemic racism that persists at the moment.” Reparations had been used to pay Japanese Individuals interned throughout World Conflict II and the households of Holocaust survivors. Democratic Consultant Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduced a invoice in January in search of to fund the research of “slavery and discrimination within the colonies and america from 1619 to at the moment and to suggest acceptable treatments.” The invoice was mentioned at a gathering of the Home Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Herschel Walker, a Republican within the School Soccer Corridor of Fame, spoke out in opposition to the proposal. “My faith teaches unity. Reparations train separation, ”he stated. [Reuters, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

8.

In latest weeks, federal brokers have seized over 10 million counterfeit 3M N95 brand masks. The masks haven’t been examined to see in the event that they meet N95 requirements, Homeland Safety officers stated on Wednesday and will hurt first responders treating sufferers with COVID-19. “Not solely do they offer a false sense of safety, however how harmful is the uncovered particular person with out protecting gear?” Homeland Safety Secretary Ali Mayorkas stated. “They haven’t any use.” 3M is without doubt one of the largest producers of the N95 masks, and a few hospitals and medical amenities which might be determined for private protecting gear are making their means by the conventional provide chain and find yourself coping with scammers. Investigators have contacted round 6,000 potential victims in additional than a dozen states to ask them to cease utilizing the masks they’ve. [The Associated Press]

9.

Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams Thursday within the Australian Open semifinals, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to Saturday’s last. The third-seeded Japanese tennis star will play for her fourth Grand Slam championship in opposition to Twenty second-seeded American Jennifer Brady. Williams, 39, was aiming for a report twenty fourth Grand Slam title, so the loss nonetheless left her behind Margaret Courtroom. Osaka, 23, has all the time been open about her admiration for Williams, whom she additionally beat within the 2018 US Open last. “I used to be just a little woman watching her play,” Osaka stated of about de Williams after Thursday’s recreation, “and being on the pitch to play in opposition to her, for me, is a dream.” [ESPN]

ten.

British Prince Philip was hospitalized in London after “malaise”, Buckingham Palace introduced on Wednesday. The Duke of Edinburgh, 99 years previous and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London on Tuesday night as a “precautionary measure, on the recommendation of His Royal Highness physician,” a indicated the palace in a press launch. His situation was unrelated to COVID-19. He and the queen had been vaccinated final month. Prince Philip had already been hospitalized in December 2019. This time Buckingham Palace stated he wanted therapy for a pre-existing situation. He was admitted to hospital with a blocked coronary artery in 2011 and for a hip substitute in 2018. He was additionally hospitalized with an an infection in 2017. [CNN]

Extra tales from theweek.com
Trump comes out of hiding
Texas Governor Returns Fox News comments on Green New Deal, says gas and coal failed in Texas freeze
The Texas power grid has failed mainly because of natural gas. Republicans blame wind turbines.

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