The Wider World

Civilian deaths mount in Ukraine

UKRAINIAN civilians and soldiers take shelter under a damaged bridge in Kyiv (VOA/Wikipedia).

Missile and artillery attacks continue to hammer cities in Ukraine, claiming a rising toll of civilian lives. The New York Times reports that the Russian attacks on non-military targets come as a result of a stalled ground advance by the invaders.

Early Thursday, rescuers were pulling survivors from the rubble of a theater in the port city of Mariupol that had been bombed on Wednesday. Those inside were seeking shelter from Russian aerial assaults.

In other related developments:

  • The U.S. has called Russian President Vladimir a “war criminal” for allegedly targeting civilian areas. As many as 726 civilian deaths are counted since the invasion began.
  • At least 21 people have been killed by a rocket attack Thursday on Merefa, a town in the west of Ukraine, according to United Press International.
  • Russia is expected on Friday to accuse the U.S. of maintaining biological weapons in Ukraine, using that as an pretext for that nation’s invasion, according to USA Today.

Smokers are flaming out … mostly

Fewer than one in five adult Americans now use tobacco products, the lowest level since a peak 60 years ago, UPI is reporting.

The data comes from the Centers for Disease and Control.

However that means that over 47 million people still smoke or otherwise consume such items, the use of which is tied to lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and other respiratory and pulmonary diseases.

Also in the News …

  • A 13-year-old boy was the driver of a pickup truck that struck a van in Texas, killing nine people. According to the AP, that included six members of the golf team from the University of the Southwest of New Mexico, and their coach. Among the dead were the driver and a man in the truck.

Sports: Baker Mayfield asking for trade?


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has reportedly asked for a trade is response to rumors that his team was trying to trade for Houston Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson.

Multiple news outlets reported the story, including the NFL Network.  But other reports indicated that the Browns didn’t plan on making a change.

Mayfield starred for Oklahoma and was the number one pick for the Browns in 2018. He led the Browns to a playoff spot in 2020, passing for 26 scores and just eight interceptions, but production fell off in 2021 with 17 TDs and 13 picks as the Browns slumped to 8-9 and third place in the AFC North.

Weather: A mixed weekend outlook

Sunny. Clouds. Sunny. Clouds. That’s the forecast for the West Orange County area for the next few days. Friday should see lots of sunshine and a daytime high of 78 and an overnight low of 53. Saturday should cool to a high of 69 (52) with morning clouds and afternoon sun. Sunday will see a warming trend to 73 (50) and more sun.

Business: Stocks fall; oil prices, interest rates rise

As hopes for a cease-fire in the Ukraine-Russia war fade, Wall Street suffered some setbacks on Thursday. As a side effect, oil prices rose to the $100 a barrel level, up from $97. In more positive news, weekly unemployment claims fell to $214,000 signaling a rebounding labor market.

The U.S. Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday it would raise its prime interest rate by a quarter-point.

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