Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert
As Russia’s assault on Ukraine reached into its second-largest city, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was putting nuclear forces on high alert, the EU announced unprecedented new actions against Moscow. Putin’s order to make his nuclear weapons more ready for launch – made Sunday in response to “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers and economic sanctions by the West – represent an unnecessary and dangerous move, according to the Pentagon. Meanwhile, the European Union plans to close its airspace to Russian airlines, fund a weapons purchase to assist Ukraine and ban some pro-Kremlin media outlets in its latest response to Russia’s invasion, European Commission officials said Sunday. It marks the first time the block would finance military equipment for a country under attack. After Russia unleashed a wave of attacks targeting Ukranian airfields and fuel facilities, Russian troops entered Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city on Sunday, and fighting is underway in the streets, according to the Associated Press. Go here for the latest updates on the invasion.
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Biden officially nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson as Supreme Court pick
President Joe Biden formally announced US Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his choice for a seat on the Supreme Court at the White House on Friday, marking the first time in history a Black woman has been named to the nation’s highest court. Jackson, 51, serves on the federal appeals court in Washington, DC The nomination, Biden’s first, set off a frenzy of activity in the Senate, where Democrats have said they hope to use their thin majority to move to a final vote by early April . If confirmed, Jackson would replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, who announced he intends to retire in June.
CDC relaxes mask recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed mask recommendations for most Americans, releasing a color coded map to help residents determine if they should wear masks indoors in their area. The CDC announced new COVID-19 metrics Friday, which now place about 70% of the US population — or 63% of US counties — in areas of low or medium risk of COVID. In those areas, the CDC has dropped its recommendation for universal indoor masking. For people in areas where the risk of COVID is higher, the CDC still advises everyone wear masks in indoor public places. About 37% of US counties, or 28% of Americans, fall under this category. Experts say the new guidance may be a first step in shifting the US to an “endemic phase” of the pandemic. The nation has now reported a week of COVID-19 cases under 100,000 a day for the first time in seven months, according to USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
MLB players, teams talk for 7th day in row
Locked-out players and management officials were bargaining for the seventh straight day Sunday, just one day before Major League Baseball’s deadline to salvage March 31 openers and a 162-game schedule. Negotiators narrowed some differences Friday and Saturday. But entering the 88th day of the work stoppage they were still far apart on big issues that include luxury tax thresholds and rates, the size of the new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players and minimum salaries. Baseball’s ninth work stoppage started Dec. 2. Spring training games were to have begun Saturday and have been canceled through March 7. MLB says that if there is not a deal by the end of Monday, there will not be enough training time to start the season as scheduled.
SAG Awards set for Sunday night
Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards offers the cinematic matchups that have movie fans and Oscar pundits alike salivating, from Will Smith vs. Denzel Washington to Lady Gaga battling Nicole Kidman. The 28th SAG Awards ceremony is the first major award show of 2022 and will reveal the top acting contenders heading into the Academy Awards March 27. Smith (“King Richard”) and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) lead the best male actor race, while Gaga (“House of Gucci”) and Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) are up for top female actor alongside Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”) and Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”). The ceremony will be televised on TNT and TBS at 8 PT/5 ET.
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This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: Associated Press.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism