Russia appears to have massed nearly all the forces it would need for a large-scale invasion of Ukraine And millions of jobs qualify for an updated student loan forgiveness program – is yours one of them?
👋 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 sought to break his own Guinness World record. SW I stacked six M&Ms.
Fire extinguished, ship still adrift
Officials say the fire burning on a cargo ship carrying thousands of luxury cars headed to the United States has subsided after a week ablaze, but they are unsure when a crew will be able to reach the load. On Tuesday, a Portuguese navy caption confirmed the smoke and visible flames aboard the Felicity Ace were gone. Officials said that although the inside of the ship was still hot, firefighters plan to stabilize the vessel and assess the cars’ condition. On Feb. 16, the 650-foot, 60,000-ton cargo ship that holds thousands of luxury cars, including 1,000 Porsches, Bentleys and Audis, was left floating across the Atlantic Ocean after it caught fire near Terceira Island in the Azores, a Portuguese island Territory. The 22 crew members on board were safely lifted out of the burning ship via helicopter.
Enough force gathered to launch Russian invasion of Ukraine
Russia has massed nearly 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 Wednesday. The forces include two dozen warships in the Black Sea and represent nearly 100% of the combat power needed for a large-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” that they are poised for an imminent attack, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said during a news conference Wednesday. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy prepared Wednesday to implement a 30-day state of emergency in Ukraine, calling up military reservists as Russia recognized two separatist regions as independent and appeared mobilized for major military action. The Kremlin’s actions drew wide condemnation and major sanctions from the United States and European Union.
What everyone’s talking about
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Deliberations begin in federal trial of 3 officers over George Floyd killing
Jurors started deliberating Wednesday in the federal trial of three fired Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao are charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when fellow officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man pleaded for air before going silent. Kueng and Thao are charged with failing to intervene to stop Chauvin in the killing May 25, 2020. Prosecutors said the three officers “chose to do nothing” as Chauvin squeezed the life out of Floyd. Defense attorneys countered that the officers were too inexperienced, weren’t trained properly and did not willfully violate Floyd’s rights. The latest in the fired officers’ trial over Floyd’s civil rights.
Student loan forgiveness program includes millions of jobs
A huge swath of the nation’s workforce is employed in a job that qualifies for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Many workers, including those who aren’t using their degree or were rejected for forgiveness, may not realize they are eligible. In October, the US Department of Education loosened some of the federal program’s most stringent rules that kept most of the borrowers who worked in millions of qualifying jobs from accessing debt relief. The department said in January that 70,000 had benefited from total debt forgiveness, a figure more than triple the government’s initial estimate. Hundreds of thousands – and possibly more – people probably qualify for the program, which offers relief to many borrowers who work for the government or nonprofits. Read more and find out who qualifies.
Truck convoy heads for DC area
As many as 700 National Guard members are prepared to take posts across the nation’s capital amid planned trucker protest convoys that organizers say could paralyze the city without entering it. Bob Bolus, who says he’s leading the Freedom Convoy of trucks from Pennsylvania to Washington on Wednesday, said he backed off plans for a shutdown of the Capital Beltway that circles Washington. His complaints from him include vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions. “We’re not shutting the traffic down today,” Bolus said. “If we don’t have a resolution from the government, to the rights that they’re taking from us, I will predict in the future it will get shut down.” The convoys were inspired by truckers and others protesting coronavirus restrictions and other issues in the Canadian capital of Ottawa that brought downtown vehicular traffic to a standstill for three weeks. Similar protests shut down border crossings for days. The Pentagon approved the use of 400 troops from the District of Columbia and 300 members from states, along with 50 “large tactical vehicles” to help keep traffic flowing, the DC National Guard said in a statement. Another group of truckers, calling themselves the People’s Convoy, will leave from California on Wednesday, planning to arrive March 5 in Washington.
A break from the news
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