Fear of an imminent outbreak of war in Ukraine rose on Thursday as artillery shells fell in a disputed area of that nation.
According to The New York Times, separatists supported by Moscow claimed they had been attacked, while Ukrainian forces replied they were firing in self-defense after being hit by cannon fire that struck a kindergarten and hurt three people.
The exchange of fire heightened fear that Russia – which has an estimated 130,000 troops on its border with Ukraine – would use the incident as pretext to invade.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that Russian forces “are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days.”
The U.S. does not have a defense treaty with Ukraine, once part of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union. But President Joe Biden has warned that an invasion would lead to “severe” economic sanctions against the government of Vladimir Putin.
Here’s the good COVID-19 news
Although the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has hospitalized and killed thousands of Americans, it also has helped build up immunity to the disease.
The Associated Press is reporting that between vaccinations, booster shots and infections – estimated at over 80 million – as many as 73 percent of all Americans are immune to Omicron, and that future outbreaks of another variant won’t be as serious or fatal.
Despite declining rates of infection across the U.S, about 130,000 more cases and 2,000 deaths are being recorded each day.
Sports: Canada bests USA in women’s hockey
The Canadian women’s ice hockey team took the gold Thursday with a 3-2 win over the American team in the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Canadians jumped out to a 3-0 lead and staved off a late U.S rally to take first place.
It’s the fifth time in seven Olympics that Team Canada won the gold; the U.S. has the other two.
- Russians claimed the top spots in women’s skating, but favorite Kamila Valieva– who failed a drug test but was still allowed to compete – was not one of the medal winners, having fallen several times in her closing routine.
- The United States team remains in third place in the overall medal count and in gold medals. The Americans have 21 medals (behind Norway with 29 and Germany with 22) and eight golds (behind Norway with 14 and Germany with 10).
- Eric Kay, a former communications director for the Los Angeles Angels, was found guilty of distributing opioids to players in the Angel organization and fentanyl pills to pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who died from an overdose. Kay could be sent to prison for 20 years.
Weather: Here comes the sun …
For a while, anyway. The forecast for the West Orange County area for Friday is for a daytime high of 76 (47 overnight) under sunny skies.
“Mostly sunny” conditions will move in on Saturday with a high of 73 (46) and Sunday, when the thermometer will dip to 67 (53).
Monday and Tuesday will be chilly with highs of 61. Breezy conditions will continue with winds from eight to 11 miles an hour over the weekend.
Business: Ukraine worries Wall Street
Concerns about the ripple effect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine sent stocks tumbling down on Thursday.
According to United Press International, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 622.24 points, which is 1.78 percent of its total value.
The S&P 500 fell by 1.12 percent and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.88 percent at the closing bell.
Crude oil prices were down as well.
Categories: The Wider World