Russia-Ukraine, protests against COVID-19, cargo fire, student loan forgiveness. This is Wednesday’s news.
Russia appears to have mustered nearly all the forces it would need for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
👋 It’s Laura. It’s Wednesday. You know what that means: Wednesday’s news!
But first, how many M&Ms can you stack? A 22-year-old was looking to break his own Guinness World Record. So he stacked six M&Ms.
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Fire extinguished, ship still adrift
Officials say the fire burning on a freighter carrying thousands of luxury cars bound for the United States has died down after a week of burning, but they don’t know when a crew will be able to reach the load. On Tuesday, a legend from the Portuguese Navy confirmed that the smoke and flames visible aboard the Felicity Ace had disappeared. Officials said while the ship’s interior is still hot, firefighters plan to stabilize the vessel and assess the condition of the cars. On February 16, the 650-foot, 60,000-ton freighter which contains thousands of luxury cars, including 1,000 Porsches, Bentleys and Audis, was left floating across the Atlantic Ocean after catching fire near the island from Terceira to the Azores, a Portuguese island territory. All 22 crew on board were safely extracted from the burning ship by helicopter.
Enough forces mustered to launch Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russia has mustered almost all the forces – infantry, artillery, cruise and ballistic missiles – it would need to mount a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a senior US defense official said on Wednesday. The forces include two dozen warships in the Black Sea and represent almost 100% of the combat power needed for a full-scale attack, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Russia has deployed more than 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders with “every indication” they are ready for an imminent attack, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said at a press conference Wednesday. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday prepared to implement a 30-day state of emergency in Ukraine, calling up military reservists as Russia recognized two breakaway regions as independent and appeared mobilized for major military action. The Kremlin’s actions have drawn widespread condemnation and major sanctions from the United States and the European Union.
What is everyone talking about
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Deliberations begin in federal trial of 3 officers in the murder of George Floyd
Jurors began deliberating Wednesday in the federal trial of three fired Minneapolis police officers charged with violating the civil rights of George Floyd. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are accused of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when fellow employee Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the black man in 46 year old pleaded for air before shutting up. Kueng and Thao are charged with failing to intervene to arrest Chauvin in the May 25, 2020 murder. Prosecutors said the three officers “chose to do nothing” as Chauvin took Floyd’s life. Defense attorneys countered that the officers were too inexperienced, not trained properly, and did not deliberately violate Floyd’s rights. The latest in the fired officers’ trial over Floyd’s civil rights.
Student Loan Forgiveness Program Includes Millions of Jobs
Much of the country’s workforce is employed in eligible jobs under the Civil Service Loan Cancellation Scheme. Many workers, including those who do not use their degree or who have been rejected for forgiveness, may not realize that they are eligible. In October, the US Department of Education relaxed some of the tougher rules in the federal program that barred most borrowers who worked in millions of eligible jobs from accessing debt relief. The ministry said in January that 70,000 people had received full debt forgiveness, a figure more than triple the government’s original estimate. Hundreds of thousands — and possibly more — of people are likely eligible for the program, which offers relief to many borrowers who work for government or nonprofits. Read more and find out who qualifies.
A convoy of trucks heads for the DC area
As many as 700 members of the National Guard are ready to take up posts in the nation’s capital amid planned trucker protest convoys that organizers say could cripple the city without entering it. Bob Bolus, who says he leads the Freedom Convoy of trucks from Pennsylvania to Washington on Wednesday, said he had backed off plans to close the Capital Beltway that circles Washington. His complaints include vaccination mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions. “We’re not stopping traffic today,” Bolus said. “If we don’t have a government resolution on the rights they take away from us, I predict that in the future it will be closed.” The convoys were inspired by truckers and others protesting coronavirus restrictions and other issues in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, which brought downtown car traffic to a standstill for three weeks. Similar protests closed border crossings for days. The Pentagon has approved the use of 400 District of Columbia troops and 300 state personnel, along with 50 “large tactical vehicles” to help maintain traffic, the DC National Guard said in a statement. Another group of truckers, calling themselves the People’s Convoy, will leave California on Wednesday, planning to arrive March 5 in Washington.
A break in the news
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