The Wider World


WHAT COULD TURN out to be a major European war is underway as Russian forces are attacking Ukraine from several directions. Hundreds have been reported killed and wounded (Shutterstock).

A full-scale invasion of Ukraine is underway, as Russian forces are attacking their western neighbor on three fronts.

The Associated Press is reporting that air strikes and missile attacks are proceeding not only against military targets but also on major cities. Contradicting promises that Russia had no intention of attacking its former partner in the defunct Soviet Union, President Vladimir Putin has threatened retaliation against any opposition from the West and reminded the world that his nation was a “major nuclear power.”

This invasion goes beyond the original fear that Russia would merely occupy and seize eastern areas of Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting the government for several years.

The Ukrainian government has counted 137 deaths and 316 people wounded in the opening phases of the war.

In response, U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the “brutal assault” on Ukraine. “Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences,” reported The New York Times.

RUSSIAN and Ukrainian forces are now in combat (Shutterstock).

New economic sanctions against Russia and Russian economic interests were rolled out on Thursday, with many nations – including Japan – imposing embargos of technology, access to loans and currency exchange and other measures.

The U.S. is also moving additional forces into Poland, which borders Ukraine as well as Russia

Citizens are fleeing the capital city of Kyiv (also known as Kiev) and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said he was the target of attacks by Russian saboteurs trying to “decapitate” his nation’s government by killing or capturing its leaders.

Ukrainian forces are fighting back. A number of Russian helicopters have been shot down, perhaps by American-supplied surface-to-air missiles, according to CNN.

Russian forces claimed the dubious prize of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, which had a meltdown in 1986 and is still considered to be radioactive.

Sports: LeBron on the trading block?


LeBron James is certainly headed for the basketball Hall of Fame. He may also be headed back to Cleveland. James remarked last week he wants to finish out his final season playing alongside his son, Bronny, a star high school player who could soon make the leap to the pros.

Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke on Thursday recommended that the Lakers trade “King James” – still their best player and biggest box office draw – in order to get young talent and stock up on some of the draft choices they don’t have.

James started with the Cleveland Cavaliers, went to the Miami Heat in search of a title, and now is four years into his career in L.A. His contract expires in 2023. Speculation grows that it won’t be his last stop.

Weather: We’re getting warmer

After a couple of chilly days, the West Orange County area can look forward to a warming trend for a while. The forecast calls for a high of 66 on Friday under sunny skies. The overnight low is expected to be 44. Saturday will see a high of 76 (45 overnight) with more sun. This “heat wave” should peak at 81 on Tuesday before declining back into the 60s by next Thursday.

Business: Sanctions already hitting Russia

As Russian troops advance into Ukraine, aspects of the Russian economy are already taking a beating.

According to Business Insider, the ruble tumbled to a record low against the U.S. dollar, as investors shed Moscow’s currency in the face of economic sanctions being imposed by the United States and Western allies.

The largest Russian stock index dropped by 50 percent, prompting a halt in trading.

However, the impact is hitting the West, too. The price of oil is rising as is the value of gold.

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