The Wider World

“America is back,” says Biden

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN addressing the Munich Security Conference virtually on Thursday (White House image).

Making another break with the prior Administration, President Joe Biden told an international audience on Thursday that “America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back” and that the policy of “America First” is defunct.

According to the Associated Press, Biden was addressing the annual Munich Security Conference virtually, and spoke of trying to make a nuclear deal with Iran, meet the challenges of China and Russia and rebuild close ties between the U.S. and its allies in Europe and elsewhere.

“The United States is determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership.,” said Biden. In another virtual meeting with the Group of Seven major industrialized nations, European Council President President Charles Michel said, “Welcome back, America.”

News: Now, the storm moves northeast

SNOW in the east

The “deep freeze” storm which lashed Texas and the rest of the South is now moving into the Northeast part of the nation.

According to United Press International, the frigid weather, with heavy snow and winds, is aiming at a stretch of the east from Kentucky to Massachusetts.

Back in Texas, close to 200,000 people remained without power, and frozen water mains have placed 13 million Texas under an advisory to boil water, as some water processing plants have been knocked out by the severe weather.

Business: Store closings roll on

Several major retailers are announcing or planning to announce store closures, victims of a “coronavirus recession” or changing shopping habits, or both.

USA Today reported Thursday that JC Penney would close 150 stores nationwide, including seven in California. None are in Orange County; the closest is in Chino.

Other chain stores in danger are not just the long-ailing Sears and Kmart operations, but also Rite-Aid, Party City and Jo-Ann fabrics store. Macy’s revealed last year a plan to close one-fifth of its 125 stores, but open smaller operations not located in malls.

Sunnier Wall Street outlook: Worries about inflation and unemployment are still depressing the stock markets. On Friday, the Dow Jones Average didn’t move much, rising a mere 0.98 points to settle at 31,484,32. The S&P 500 dropped 7.26 points to 3,906.71 and Nasdaq posted a modest gain of 9.11 points to 13,874.46.

Sports: An unpopular All-Star game?

The National Basketball Association announced on Thursday it would go ahead and hold its annual All-Star Game in Atlanta on March 7 despite considerable pushback from players and others.

Criticism has centered on the idea of holding such an event during a coronavirus pandemic. The league and the players’ union have agreed to spend $2.5 million in support of COVID-19 relief and historically Black colleges, but some feel those don’t counter the risk.

“I’ll go if I’m selected,” Lakers star LeBron James told the Los Angeles Times. “I’ll be there physically, but not mentally.”

Thursday’s late results

  • Brooklyn Nets 109, Los Angeles Lakers 98. LeBron James scored 32 points to push his career total to past 35,000, but the team lost at Staples Center to see its record drop to 22-8. James is only the third player to reach that milestone, and he’s the youngest to do it. The team record is still good for first place in the NBA Pacific Division. The Lakers will next host the Miami Heat on Saturday and the Washington Wizards on Monday.
  • Minnesota Wild 3, Anaheim Ducks 1. Sam Steel scored for the Ducks and John Gibson had 24 saves as the Orange County team suffered its third loss in four games. Anaheim is now 6-8-3, tied for fifth place in the NHL West Division with the rival Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks will host the Wild again on Saturday, and then visit Arizona on Monday.

Weather: Sunny and warmer in the OC


It may be officially still winter, but outside it’s feeling more like spring or even summer. Saturday in the West Orange County area should have a daytime high of 70 (overnight low of 49) with sunny skies. The thermometer will heat up over the weekend – high of 77 on Sunday, the 80 on Monday.

Temperatures in the coastal areas of Huntington Beach should be four to five degrees lower. It’ll be breezy, with winds up to 16 miles an hour.

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