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HeadlinesFebruary 24, 2022

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Russian President Vladimir Putin Launches “Full-Scale Invasion” of Ukraine

Feb 24, 2022

Russia’s military has launched an invasion of Ukraine. Overnight, explosions rocked the capital Kyiv, with reports of shelling, missile strikes and gunfire across Ukraine, which has also come under an intense cyberattack. Ukraine’s government says some 40 Ukrainian soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed so far — including 18 reportedly killed in a missile attack on Ukraine’s southern Odessa region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared martial law, saying his government would hand out weapons to everyone who was willing and able to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The invasion came just moments after Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a nationally televised address he would intervene to help pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

President Vladimir Putin: “I decided to conduct a special military operation. It aims to protect people who have been bullied and subjected to genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years. For that, we will strive for demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine and will bring to justice those who committed multiple bloody crimes against civilians, including Russian citizens.”

World Leaders Strongly Condemn Russia over Ukraine Invasion

Feb 24, 2022

Russia’s invasion began as the United Nations Security Council met in an emergency session to discuss tensions in Ukraine. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres condemned Russia’s aggression as “the saddest moment in my tenure.”

Secretary-General António Guterres: “President Putin, in the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia. In the name of humanity, do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century.”

President Biden is meeting with his G7 counterparts today to map out more severe measures against Russia, including new sanctions. In Paris, officials lit up city hall overnight in the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine’s flag. In Berlin, German officials lit the Brandenburg Gate in similar fashion. After headlines, we’ll have the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the world’s response.

Sanofi and GSK Ask for Approval of Vaccine That Showed 100% Efficacy Against Severe COVID-19

Feb 24, 2022

The drugmakers Sanofi and GSK said Wednesday they will request emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine from European and U.S. regulators. The companies say the Sanofi-GSK vaccine showed 100% efficacy at preventing severe disease and hospitalization in a late-state clinical trial and 58% efficacy against symptomatic disease. Sanofi and GSK received billions of dollars from Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to fast-track vaccine development. 

WHO Expands Vaccine Program, Repeats Calls on Drugmakers to Share Technology

Feb 24, 2022

The World Health Organization says it’s opening a global biomanufacturing hub in South Korea to train people in low- and middle-income countries to produce vaccines and therapeutics used to fight COVID-19. The WHO also said Wednesday it will transfer technology from its South African mRNA vaccine hub to five more countries: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Serbia and Vietnam. The WHO has produced a prototype COVID vaccine based on technology reverse-engineered from Moderna’s mRNA shot, but the vaccine could still take more than a year to test and develop. Top WHO scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said Wednesday that Moderna and Pfizer could help rapidly speed up the process by sharing their patented technologies with the world.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan: “We would very much welcome a partnership with them, because, as we were describing, you know, the development from scratch of a vaccine does take time, … which means that it’s not going to be really available as a vaccine that — before the end of 2023, or more likely 2024. This can be — this timeline can obviously be shortened considerably if a known technology, a known vaccine, with proven efficacy and safety, were to transfer their know-how.”

Manhattan Prosecutors Leading Trump Criminal Fraud Probe Resign

Feb 24, 2022

Two prosecutors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who were leading the criminal probe into Donald Trump’s business dealings have resigned. The investigation started under former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, but sources say new DA Alvin Bragg has expressed doubt over an indictment of Trump, which may have led to the prosecutors’ resignation. The term of the grand jury empaneled in the case expires in April.

Trucker Caravan Opposing COVID-19 Mandates Departs California for Washington, D.C.

Feb 24, 2022

A caravan of truckers demanding an end to coronavirus public health measures has left California on a cross-country drive to Washington, D.C. The convoy of about two dozen trucks set out from the Mojave Desert Wednesday after several hundred people attended a rally that resembled a Trump campaign event. Organizers of the convoy have ties to the violent January 6 Capitol insurrection. They’re modeling the U.S. convoy on protests in Canada that closed border crossings and disrupted activity in the capital Ottawa for weeks. On Wednesday, the Pentagon authorized the deployment of about 700 unarmed National Guard members to Washington, D.C., during upcoming protests.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Calls Gender-Affirming Surgery for Trans Teens “Child Abuse”

Feb 24, 2022

At least two district attorneys from Texas’s largest counties say they will refuse to comply with an order by Republican Governor Greg Abbott to investigate gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth as “child abuse.” Abbott’s directive to state agencies says parents of trans children receiving the often lifesaving care should be investigated and that anyone — including doctors, nurses and teachers — who fails to report the treatment to authorities could face criminal liability. Medical groups, rights groups and families slammed Texas’s latest attack on LGBTQ+ youth. Last year Texas joined other Republican-led states in banning transgender youth from participating in school sports. 

Earlier this month, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed a similar law for South Dakotan trans athletes. She came under fire this week when she refused to acknowledge how anti-trans legislation was impacting her own constituents.

Kyle Ireland: “There is a statistic circulating around right now that 90% of South Dakota’s LGBTQ community is diagnosed with either anxiety or depression. Why do you think that is?”

Gov. Kristi Noem: “I don’t know. That makes me sad, and we should figure it out.”

Meanwhile, Florida’s new anti-LGBTQ education bill, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has advanced in the state House and is scheduled for a final vote in the House today. The bill would ban discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

Wanton Endangerment Trial Begins for Ex-Cop in No-Knock Raid That Killed Breonna Taylor

Feb 24, 2022

In Kentucky, opening arguments kicked off Wednesday in the trial of former Louisville police officer Brett Hankison, who fired 10 shots during a botched no-knock police raid that killed Breonna Taylor in her own home. Hankison is charged with wanton endangerment for hitting Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment during the raid. Prosecutors will have to convince a jury that Hankison acted with “extreme indifference” to life. This is Assistant Attorney General Barbara Whaley.

Assistant Attorney General Barbara Whaley: “And you will hear that his bullets went through apartment four into apartment three and nearly hit Cody Etherton as he was walking down the hallway into the dining room of his apartment to see what was going on with the banging.”

Haitian Police Kill Journalist Amid Ongoing Protests by Exploited Garment Workers

Feb 24, 2022

In Haiti, one journalist was killed and others injured after police opened fire on a demonstration of factory workers in Port-au-Prince demanding living wages. On Monday, Haiti’s government announced a minimum wage increase of up to 54% following weeks of demonstrations and amid soaring inflation. But striking garment workers say that even with the pay raise, their salary is still just half, or less, of the roughly $15 per day they are demanding. 

Similien Miguelson: “Once again, we’ve taken to the streets to protest the wage adjustment of $1.70, because we do not accept it. In the letters we’ve sent to Prime Minister Ariel Henry, we have demanded $14 and social benefits. We’ve been to four meetings without reaching a solution.”

Garment workers in Haiti make clothes in sweatshop conditions for major U.S. brands, including Gap, Walmart and Target, and for Canada’s Gildan Activewear.

Cyclone Emnati Batters Madagascar as the Island Reels from Back-to-Back Deadly Storms

Feb 24, 2022

Madagascar has been hit by a major tropical storm for the fourth time in just the last month. Cyclone Emnati crashed ashore on Madagascar’s southeastern coast Wednesday, bringing sustained 85-mile-an-hour winds that ripped the roofs off houses and caused flooding. About 200 people have been killed by cyclones in Madagascar so far this year.

USPS Sparks Outrage over Plan to Replace Fleet with 90% Gas-Powered Delivery Trucks

Feb 24, 2022

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has finalized plans to purchase a fleet of gasoline-powered postal delivery trucks, in a move that defies the Biden administration’s pledge to acquire zero-emissions vehicles. A 10-year deal worth up to $10 billion would see the Oshkosh Defense corporation provide as many as 165,000 gas-powered postal vehicles, produced with non-union labor in South Carolina. The group Earthjustice responded in a statement, “DeJoy’s plans for the postal fleet will drag us back decades with a truck model that gets laughable fuel economy. We may as well deliver the mail with hummers.” Louis DeJoy was appointed as postmaster general under former President Trump. He’s a longtime Republican megadonor who infamously caused widespread delays at USPS in the run-up to the 2020 election, when mail-in ballots played a major role.

U.S. Offshore Wind Auction Sets Bidding Record of $1.5B 

Feb 24, 2022

The Biden administration has opened bidding on new offshore wind development rights, attracting a record-setting $1.5 billion of sales on Wednesday alone. That’s more than triple the previous U.S. record for a wind auction, set in 2018. The new leases cover areas off the coasts of New York and New Jersey and could one day provide power to nearly 2 million homes. Some coastal communities have objected to offshore wind, citing falling property values and concerns over local ecosystems. Other environmentalists, like the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, welcome wind power as a path toward cleaner energy.

Ed Potosnak: “The greatest threat to our oceans is not windmills. The greatest threat to our oceans is climate change. The temperatures of our oceans are rising. The ocean is acidifying. Our coral reefs are dying and bleaching. We’re losing species by the day. We can stop that. Wind will help us to reduce our carbon pollution.”

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