The Wider World

Russia says “nyet” to NATO

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN and Russian President Vladimir Putin (White House photo).

The written response to Russia from the United States and NATO about the crisis over Ukraine didn’t move the nations toward a diplomatic solution.

According to United Press International, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there “is no positive reaction on the main issue.”

Russia has massed troops on the border of its neighbor in an effort to extract a promise from the Western allies to never include Ukraine in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance first formed to deter Soviet Russian expansionism.

U.S Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that’s not a negotiable issue. “There is no change. There will be no change.”

Who’s Biden’s Supreme Court pick?

UNITED STATES Supreme Court building (Flickr/Geoff Livingston).

After Thursday’s formal announcement that Associate Justice Stephen Breyer would be stepping down from the U.S Supreme Court, speculation has arisen whom President Joe Biden would nominate to serve in his place.

Biden has already vowed to appoint a Black woman, reflecting the influence of that group in the Democratic Party.  The court is currently split with six conservative justices (appointed by Republican presidents) and three liberals – including Breyer – (appointed by Democratic presidents). Biden’s pick, if confirmed by the Senate, would maintain the current balance of power. The Associated Press is listing some possible contenders:

  • Ketanji Brown Jackson, a member of the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia;
  • Leondra Kruger, a member of the California Supreme Court.
  • J. Michelle Childs, a federal trial court judge in South Carolina.

Sports: “Big Ben” will retire from NFL


He was nicknamed “Big Ben” Roethlisberger for his stature but also for the physical style of his quarterback play. The two-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement on Thursday at the age of 39.

He played his whole professional career (2004 to 2021) with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where the team posted a 165-81-1 record.  He was named to the Pro Bowl six times and twice led the NFL in passing yards.

Under his leadership, the Steelers made it to the 2021 NFL playoffs before losing to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Weather: Mostly some clouds

For the next five days, the West Orange County area will see a lot of the clouds, interspersed with some sun. The forecast for Friday is a daytime high of 76, with an overnight low of 49. The skies should be partly cloudy. Saturday should be mostly cloudy with a high of 71 and a low of 45. Sunday is expected to be sunny (72/46), but on Monday and Tuesday the clouds are expected to return.

Business/Finance: Economy heats up

The American economy bounced back strong in 2021, according to a report from the Department of Commerce. The gross domestic product of the nation expanded by 5.7 percent, the biggest since 1984, when it grew by 8.4 percent. In the last quarter of 2021 (October to December) the rate of growth was at 6.9 percent.

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