Russian fighter jets intercepted a U.S. drone over the Black Sea Tuesday, leading the operators of the MQ-9 Reaper drone to bring it down in international waters. The U.S. military says it downed the drone after its propeller was struck by a Russian jet. Russia denies making contact with the drone, which it said was gathering intelligence to help Ukraine attack Russia, and said it had entered a prohibited area near Crimea. If a collision is confirmed, it would be the first known contact between the U.S. and Russian militaries since the start of the war in Ukraine. We’ll have more on the implications of this, as well as the latest reports on the Nord Stream pipeline, after headlines with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill.
Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill to repeal the Trump-era rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. The bill brings the threshold for banks that must undergo extra federal regulations back down to at least $50 billion in assets. The limit was raised to $250 billion in 2018 after lobbying by the banking industry, including SVB, which held around $209 billion in assets. This is Senator Warren speaking Tuesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “The federal government once again was called on to take extraordinary measures, the kind of measures that Dodd-Frank was originally supposed to protect us against. These threats should never have been allowed to materialize. And now we must prevent them from occurring again.”
Congressmember Katie Porter unveiled a similar bill in the House. This comes as reports emerged that the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened investigations into the collapse of SVB.
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new rules to force water companies to remove what’s known as “forever chemicals” or PFAS from drinking water. The man-made chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, infertility and thyroid problems, have also been detected in many common household products, including cosmetics and food packaging. Environmental groups welcomed the move but pushed for stronger regulations against the all-around use of PFAS and to force chemical companies to pay for their pollution.
President Biden issued an executive order offering modest improvements on gun control, including increasing background checks. Biden announced the new measures Tuesday while visiting California’s Monterey Park, where a gunman killed 11 people in January at a dance studio during Lunar New Year celebrations.
President Joe Biden: “My executive order directs my attorney general to take every lawful action possible — possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation. I just — it’s just common sense to check whether someone is a felon, a domestic abuser, before they buy a gun. The executive order also expands public awareness campaigns about the red flag orders.”
Biden also called again on Congress to pass more robust gun control legislation, including an assault weapons ban.
A Pakistan court has ordered police to halt its arrest operation against former Prime Minister Imran Khan until Thursday morning. It was the second attempt to arrest him this month. On Tuesday, hundreds of Khan’s supporters gathered outside his residence in Lahore, blocking security forces. Riot police fired a water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters in an hours-long standoff that ended earlier today after authorities finally withdrew from outside Khan’s home. Khan is accused of corruption and terrorism, charges he has denied and denounced as politically motivated.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with Ethiopian leaders today in Addis Ababa, including Tigrayan officials, four months after a peace deal was reached last November following two years of brutal war. Blinken will travel to Niger on Thursday in the first visit to the West African nation by a sitting U.S. secretary of state.
In southeastern Africa, the death toll from Cyclone Freddy more than doubled in one day, jumping to 220 Tuesday across Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar, with hundreds more injured and scores missing. Cyclone Freddy is the longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record. Survivors in Malawi, which suffered the highest death toll, described harrowing scenes and heroic rescues.
Aaron Ntambo: “The child was stuck up to her head in mud. She was crying for help. Even though the water was very strong, we managed to cross and rescue her. It was very difficult, but we managed to pull her out.”
Novo Nordisk announced it is lowering the cost of insulin by up to 70%. This follows a similar move by drug competitor Eli Lilly earlier this month and comes after years of pressure from activists, lawmakers and people with diabetes. It also puts pressure on Sanofi, the other major insulin manufacturer in the U.S., to follow suit. Last week, Congressmember Cori Bush and Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the Insulin for All Act to cap insulin prices at $20 per vial.
In Massachusetts, students at Wellesley College have approved a nonbinding referendum calling for the school to accept admissions applications from all nonbinary and transgender students. Currently the college only admits students who identify as women. The referendum also asks that the college’s communications use gender-neutral language and pronouns. The proposals still have to be approved by the college’s Board of Trustees.
Ohio is suing Norfolk Southern over last month’s train derailment, which spewed toxic chemicals over the town of East Palestine. The 58-count lawsuit refers to multiple violations of state and federal law. Ohio is seeking damages, civil penalties and a “declaratory judgment that Norfolk Southern is responsible.” This is Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Attorney General Dave Yost: “Among the things we note in the complaint are Norfolk and Southern’s escalating accident rate. It’s up 80% over 10 years. And that’s a concerning number. At least 20 Norfolk and Southern derailments since 2015 have included chemical spills.”
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is laying off 10,000 employees and imposing a hiring freeze on another 5,000 open positions. This comes less than six months after the social media giant cut 11,000 jobs last November. Another wave of layoffs and restructuring at Meta is also expected in April.
In a victory for Uber and Lyft, a California court has upheld Proposition 22, allowing the companies to keep classifying ride-hail and delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than as employees, depriving them of basic wage and labor protections. David Huerta, president of SEIU California, said in a statement, “When gig companies can spend over $200 million to pass a law that violates our state’s constitution instead of investing in workers, it’s clear that California needs better safeguards for our democracy.” The ruling is expected to be appealed at the California Supreme Court.
Pioneering former congressmember and feminist Patricia Schroeder has died at the age of 82. Schroeder was elected as the first woman to represent Colorado in the U.S. House in 1973 and served for nearly a quarter of a century. She championed women and workers’ rights, access to healthcare and environmental protections. She led the fight to pass the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which guarantees workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
As the first woman on the Armed Services Committee, Schroeder called for arms control and reduced military spending. She faced unrelenting misogyny throughout her career but used her public platform to call it out and encourage other women to run for office. This is Pat Schroeder speaking on the House floor in 1992 in favor of the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have codified Roe v. Wade.
Rep. Patricia Schroeder: “Especially as we are looking more and more towards national healthcare, we cannot have a national healthcare that does not recognize women equally; otherwise, we’ll be forcing all women into secondary-class citizens. And I certainly hope that the right-to-choose bill gets a majority of this body, we pass it out of here, and we say to America’s women, indeed, they are going to be treated equally.”
That was former Colorado Congressmember Patricia Schroeder, who died Monday at the age of 82.