5 things to know for February 1: National debt, Tyre Nichols, Travel, Ukraine, DACA
The CDC is urging people to stop using a certain brand of eyedrops while it investigates at least 50 infections across 11 states. A formal recall hasn’t been issued, but officials are looking into how the artificial tears led to instances of permanent vision loss, hospitalizations and one death. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. National debt
A critical White House meeting is set for today between President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over increasing the nation’s debt ceiling. McCarthy and his House GOP allies want steep cuts to domestic programs and a trim to defense spending — all while steering clear of making cuts to two programs to avoid voter blowback: Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, White House officials insist that they will not negotiate with House Republicans on the need for Congress to raise the $31.4 trillion borrowing limit and avoid the first-ever debt default, potentially by this summer. Many Republicans who are eager to use their leverage have privately floated a range of ideas in exchange for an increase in the debt limit. Democrats view such cuts as draconian, while some Republicans say they hardly go far enough.
2. Tyre Nichols
A funeral service will be held today to celebrate the life of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, whose death at the hands of police in Memphis, Tennessee, sparked nationwide protests over the weekend. Nichols was continuously beaten after a traffic stop by Memphis police on January 7. He died three days later. Representing other Black people killed by police, Tamika Palmer — whose daughter Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her Kentucky home by police during a botched raid in March 2020 — is expected to attend the service. Also expected is Philonise Floyd, the younger brother of George Floyd, whose name reverberated across the nation following his May 2020 death after an ex-cop in Minneapolis knelt on his neck and back for more than 9 minutes. Vice President Kamala Harris will also attend the funeral, joining other senior level Biden administration officials. The service begins 10:30 a.m. local time.
3. Flight disruptions
A winter weather system impacting a large swath of the western and southern US is causing flight disruptions across the country. More than 1,400 flights have been canceled today, after ice storms already caused thousands of delayed or canceled flights from Colorado to Kentucky this week. Three airports in Texas — Dallas-Fort Worth International, Dallas Love Field and Austin Bergstrom International — are facing the most significant challenges. The hardest-hit airlines, American and Southwest, are also based in Texas. Separately, treacherous road conditions in the region have contributed to the deaths of at least two people. The dangerous combination of ice and sleet is likely in parts of Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee through at least today and will possibly persist throughout the rest of the week, forecasts show.
The US will not provide fighter jets to Ukraine amid renewed calls from Kyiv, Biden reiterated on Tuesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sought fighter jets to help sustain his war effort, arguing that they are urgently needed to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks. Biden, however, has consistently said the planes aren’t on the table. Germany has also declined to send the jets. US and NATO allies are instead prioritizing aid in other areas. Last week, US officials announced they are finalizing plans to send 30 American tanks to Ukraine. The German government similarly said it will send tanks to Ukraine, following weeks of diplomatic pressure to make the move. Pentagon and White House officials have expressed confidence that sending tanks to Ukraine will not risk greater escalation with Russia.
Nine states asked a federal judge in Texas on Tuesday to block the DACA program, which provides protections to nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, a group often described as “Dreamers.” The Republican-led states specifically called on a judge to block a rule released last year by the Biden administration to “preserve and fortify” the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) program. In the Tuesday filing, the states called the program “unlawful and unconstitutional” and urged the court to “vacate it in its entirety.” The case now sits before Judge Andrew Hanen, of the Southern District of Texas, who ruled in 2021 that DACA was unlawful and blocked the government from approving new applications for the program.
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That’s the approximate weight of a humpback whale that washed ashore in New York on Monday. After the whale was unfortunately deemed perished, the carcass was removed higher in the shoreline. Authorities are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of death.
“No one is above the law and justice will be served.”
— New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, after formally charging actor Alec Baldwin Tuesday in connection with the 2021 fatal shooting on the “Rust” movie set that resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The film’s armorer, Hannah Guiterrez Reed, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter. In either case, a conviction is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine, prosecutors said. But one count would involve a firearm enhancement, or an added penalty, because a firearm was involved. In that case, the crime could be punishable by up to five years in jail.
How do cats use their whiskers?
Most cats are unable to see up close and will let their whiskers take over when they’re catching prey. Watch this slow-motion video to see their senses in action. (Click here to view)
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