UKRAINE | Summary of news from the past 24 hours on the Russian invasion of Ukraine [more]:
• U.S. President Joe Biden announced yesterday that the U.S. has closed its airspace to Russian airlines and flights, joining the E.U. and many other countries that have taken similar actions.
• Reports say an estimated 80% of the Russian forces staged on Ukrainian borders in the lead-up to the invasion have been committed to operations within Ukraine.
•Chinese financial regulators said yesterday that China will not join international moves to impose financial sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
•Payment card firms Visa and Mastercard have both blocked Russian financial institutions from their networks in compliance with government sanctions imposed on Russia.
•Russian state media cites military sources as saying that Russian forces have taken control of the area surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant — the largest nuclear facility in Ukraine.
•The European Union announced today that it will grant temporary residence permits to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine and will allow them rights to education and work within the E.U. block of nations.
•The British Defense Ministry says there has been a significant increase in levels of Russian air and artillery strikes in populated urban areas of Ukraine in recent days and that Russian forces have surrounded the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol.
STATE OF THE UNION | President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress last night. In his speech, Biden emphasized continuing support for Ukraine in their fight against Russia, announced plans to release his administration’s blueprint for the next phase in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledged ongoing domestic economic concerns amidst high rates of inflation, and touted his infrastructure and voting-rights initiatives. In the Republican response, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was largely critical of Biden’s first year in office, saying she felt as if Biden was leading the U.S. to a reversion to the time of the late 1970s and early 1980s. [more]
OIL RESERVES | U.S. President Joe Biden announced yesterday that the U.S. and 30 other countries will release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves in a move aimed at countering increased gasoline prices. 30 million barrels of the release will come from the United States. The move comes as oil prices topped $110 per barrel on continuing concerns of oil supply scarcity due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. [more]
EUROPEAN ECONOMY | European Union statistics agency Eurostat said yesterday that consumer prices in the 19 nations that use the euro currency increased by an annual rate of 5.8% in February — the highest level since 1997. [more]
HOLOCAUST REPARATIONS | The New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced today that Germany has agreed to provide an additional $720 million to provide medical care and other services to impoverished Holocaust survivors. [more]
COVID-19 | Officials in Hong Kong say that a record 55,353 cases of COVID-19 infection were reported in the region yesterday and that residents’ movements may be restricted during upcoming mandatory COVID testing of the region’s entire population. [more]
TEXAS | Republicans in Texas nominated Governor Greg Abbott and Democrats selected Beto O’Rourke in yesterday’s gubernatorial primary voting in Texas. [more]
AUSTRALIA | At least 10 people have died in the continuing flooding of large regions in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said yesterday that the city of Brisbane has received about 80% of its average annual rainfall over the past three days. [more]
BASEBALL | Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced yesterday that each MLB team’s first two series of the 2022 season have been cancelled after negotiations failed to result in a labor agreement with players. The cancellations mean that a total of 91 games will not be played. [more]
TODAY IN HISTORY | On this date in 1498, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama and his fleet reached the Island of Mozambique on their first voyage to India. [more history]