The Wider World

Will Russia scale back attacks?

RUINS of a building stuck by Russian artillery fire on the road leading to the capital city of Kyiv (Wikipedia).

Russia has announced it would “drastically” scale back its military operations around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, as peace talks between the two warring nations appeared to be showing some signs of progress.

According to The New York Times, the Russian claim came after the Ukrainian government stated it was willing to declare itself neutral and not pursue plans to join NATO.

President Joe Biden expressed skepticism, saying, “We’ll see if they follow through,” according to Voice of America news.

British sources and the Pentagon indicated that only a “small number” of Russian forces have moved away from Kyiv and speculated that instead of withdrawing as a peace gesture, those troops would be redeployed to combat in eastern Ukraine, an area where they’ve had more success.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the Russian offer “positive” but added, “these signals do not silence the explosion of Russian shells.”

Gap found in White House phone records

THE STORMING of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (Wikipedia).

A gap of nearly eight hours has been found in official White House records of phone calls made by former president Donald Trump during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the Associated Press.

The phone records were obtained by the House subcommittee investigating the assault on the seat of Congress by supporters of Trump who were seeking the stop of certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president.

The committee is also seeking cell phone records and has “thousands” of relevant text messages between and among White House officials and aides, reports the AP.

Also in the news ….

If you’re 50 or older you are now eligible to get a second

COVID-19 booster shot. The Food and Drug Administration made the announcement on Tuesday authorizing a extra dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine for that age group as well as for certain younger people with “severely weakened immune systems.” The additional “jab” would be for people who have gone over four months since their last vaccination.

Sports: Overtime rules change for playoffs

The National Football League has adopted new playoff overtime rules. Both teams will have a possession. If the score is tied after each team has a possession, the next score wins.

If the team kicking off to start the overtime period scored a safety on the receiving team’s possession, the team that kicked off is the winner.

The rules change was requested by the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles.

Weather: Nice and cool

The forecast for West Orange County continues with mild weather right through the weekend. Wednesday should see a daytime high of 68 (overnight low of 57) with morning clouds and afternoon sun. Thursday should be almost identical with a high of 68 and an overnight low of 55. Friday will be slightly warmer at 70 (55) with partly cloudy conditions.

Business: Peace is good for business

Reports of progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday spurred a decline in oil prices and gains on Wall Street.

According to The New York Times, the international standard for oil fell by 2 percent to $110.23 a barrel and the American “benchmark” fell by 1.6 percent to $104.24 a barrel.

The closely-watched S&P 500 jumped to 4,620, an increase from 4,520 a day ago.

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