The Wider World

Cooler heads over Ukraine?

TENSIONS between the U.S. and Russia may have eased a bit (Shutterstock).

Temperatures may have cooled in the stare-down between the United States and Russia over the fate of Ukraine.

According to The New York Times, the “confrontational rhetoric” between the two nations has subsided. Conversations between U.S. Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov in Geneva continued on Friday and the possibility of a high-level summit between President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been raised.

At issue is whether the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are willing to promise that Ukraine – once a part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union – would not be allowed to join NATO, which was created in 1949 to curb Russian expansionism.

To put pressure on the Western allies, Putin has moved nearly 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine. Biden has replied that any invasion there would bring severe economic sanctions and penalties.

Depression tied to COVID misinformation

DEPRESSED PEOPLE are are less likely to get vaccinated, a study has shown(Shutterstock).

A study published Friday claimed that people suffering from depression were twice as likely to believe in false statements or theories about vaccination against COVID-19.

United Press International is reporting that the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Network Open website showed that in a survey of 15,000 adults with “major depressive disorder” such people were more than twice as likely to accept as truth misinformation about the pandemic.

They were also 60 percent less likely to be vaccinated than the general population.

Also in the news …

  • Meat Loaf, a plus-size rocker famous for his operatic songs and role in the cult film “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” has died at the age of 74.

Sports: Rams take on Brady and Bucs

TOM BRADY (Wikipedia photo).

In their quest to make it to a “home game” in the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams (12-5) will take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in the NFC Divisional Round.  The game will be telecast on NBC at noon Pacific time.

Oddmakers have the Bucs as a 2.5-point favorite. Back in September, the Rams defeated Tampa Bay 34-24 at SoFi. More recently, the blue-and-gold have won four straight games, after dropping two straight.

Other NFL playoff games this weekend:

  • San Francisco 49ers (10-7) at Green Bay Packers (13-4), Saturday at 5:15 p.m. on Fox.
  • Cincinnati Bengals (10-7) at Tennessee Titans (12-5), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on CBS.
  • Buffalo Bills (11-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-5), Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.

Weather: Sunny, sunny, sunny …

The forecast for the West Orange County area remains positively boring: sunny skies through the weekend and on through Wednesday, with some breezes. Saturday’s daytime high should be 74, with an overnight low of 51. Sunday looks like 75/47 and Monday a bit cooler at 71. Temperatures are expected to start rising by Wednesday to 75.

Some clouds will begin moving in on Thursday, Jan. 27 along with a high of 78.

Business/Finance: Stocks take a tumble

Worried about possible interest rate increases and unimpressive earnings reports, the stock markets took a dive on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 449.89 points to 34,265.50. The S&P 500 fell 1.9 percent to 4,397.73 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.72 percent to 13,768.92.

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