Monday, December 11

5 things to know Thursday

Harris to visit Poland and Romania; Congress reaches $13.6 billion bipartisan deal to help Ukraine

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Poland and Romania on Wednesday as the United States and its NATO allies seek to boost Ukrainian fighters while avoiding getting caught up in a wider war with Russia. In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, back-to-back air alerts Wednesday morning urged residents to get to bomb shelters over fears of incoming Russian missiles. Soon after an all-clear was given for the first alert, a second alert followed. Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan deal early Wednesday by providing $13.6 billion to help Ukraine and European allies. On Tuesday, the first corridor intended to allow civilians to escape safely from Ukraine’s battered cities opened, a significant move met with skepticism after similar efforts failed. Ukrainian officials said the corridors were still impossible for civilian use due to continued Russian shelling. The Russian military has countered the claim, alleging that Ukraine has only allowed civilians to use one corridor from the city of Sumy and blocked other routes from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol. More than 2 million people have now fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations.

Gas prices jump 8 cents, one day after breaking record

One day after the record for the average cost of gas nationwide was broken, prices at the pump continued to climb on Wednesday, jumping an average of 8 cents. The national average for a regular gallon of gas is now $4.25, according to AAA. On Tuesday, the cost was $4.17, breaking the July 2008 record of $4.11, which would be around $5.25 today when adjusted for inflation. Aside from inflation and loosened COVID-19 restrictions leading people to venture out more, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remains a large factor behind rising prices. Sanctions put on Russia include the country’s selling of crude oil, which is one of the biggest factors in determining gas prices. Russian crude oil only accounts for 3% of US imports, but it has a big role because it produces “heavier, sour crude” oil, according to Ramanan Krishnamoorti, a professor at the University of Houston. He added Russia’s oil is also needed because US refineries are not designed to use only light, sweet crude oil.

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Emmett Till Antilynching Act ready to be signed into law

the Emmett Till Antilynching Act is expected to be on President Joe Biden’s desk Wednesday, and ready to be signed into law. On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed the legislation to allow crimes to be prosecuted as a lynching if a victim is killed or injured as a result of a hate crime. The bipartisan legislation was approved by a 422-3 vote in the House on March 1. Before Monday, the House failed over 200 times to criminalize lynching on the federal level. From 1877 to 1950, about 4,400 Black people were lynched in the US, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. The NAACP counted about 4,700 lynchings from 1882 to 1968, and more than 70% of those killed were Black. Both organizations noted that the numbers were probably underreported.

US officials put Americans on alert for Russian cyberattacks amid war in Ukraine

US officials are highly concerned the war in Ukraine could impact American cyber networks as the conflict enters its third week and Russian President Vladimir Putin grows more isolated. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency told USA TODAY Tuesday it has been encouraging US organizations to up their security. The Biden administration sought $10 billion last week in emergency funding from Congress in defense aid, including to support Ukraine’s cyber defenses, as well as $28 million to bolster the FBI’s “investigative and operational response to cyber threats stemming from the Russia threat and war on Ukraine ,” according to the supplemental funding request. And US intelligence officials told Congress in its annual threat assessment Tuesday that Russia is using cyber operations to attack those it sees working to undermine its interests or threaten the Russian government’s stability.

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Tiger Woods to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame

Tiger Woods will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame Wednesday, where his daughter will introduce him. Over the course of his legendary career, Woods won a record-tying 82 PGA Tour titles and 15 major championships. Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame is former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who will be introduced by Hall of Fame member Davis Love III, and three-time US Women’s Open champion Susie Maxwell Berning, who will be introduced by Hall of Fame member Judy Rankin. Trailblazer Marion Hollins will also be inducted posthumously. The ceremony will begin at 7 pm ET at the PGA Tour’s headquarters within the shadows of TPC Sawgrass in Florida, home to this week’s Players Championship.

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