Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 14, 2022

Biden authorizes more military aid for Ukraine, New York police arrest subway-attack suspect, and more


Biden authorizes more aid to Ukraine

President Biden said after a Wednesday phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that he had authorized another $800 million in security aid to Ukraine, which the Pentagon said would include "howitzers, helicopters, Humvees." "The Ukrainian military has used the weapons we are providing to devastating effect," Biden said. He said additional aid would help Ukraine respond to Russia's anticipated new offensive in the Donbas region. Zelensky praised the U.S. for sending more aid, and his government said Ukrainian forces had "seriously damaged" Russia's Black Sea flagship with a missile, forcing its crew to evacuate. Russia said 1,000 Ukrainian marines who had held out in Mariupol surrendered, and that Russian forces had taken control of the devastated city.


N.Y. police arrest subway-attack suspect

New York City police on Wednesday arrested the man accused of shooting 10 people on a Brooklyn subway train during Tuesday morning rush hour. The suspect, Frank R. James, 62, was taken into custody 30 hours after the attack on federal terrorism charges. "My fellow New Yorkers, we got him," Mayor Eric Adams said. James had posted videos online in which he ranted about racism and violence in the United States, as well as his experience with mental health services in New York. James has no known ties to terrorist organizations. Investigators have not been able to determine a motive for the attack. If convicted, James could face life in prison.


Michigan police release video of fatal shooting

Grand Rapids, Michigan, police on Wednesday released videos of a white officer fatally shooting a Black man, Patrick Lyoya, during a traffic stop. The footage shows the unidentified officer pulling over Lyoya on April 4. The two struggle, Lyoya runs away, and the officer tackles him. The officer then can be heard shouting "let go of the Taser" before fatally shooting Lyoya in the head. Several hundred people protested outside police headquarters on Wednesday. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has been retained by Lyoya's family, called for the officer to be fired and charged, saying the video showed "this was an unnecessary, excessive, and fatal use of force against an unarmed Black man."


CDC extends transportation mask mandate

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday announced a two-week extension of the federal rule requiring people to wear masks on planes and trains, some buses, and in airports. The mask mandate had been scheduled to expire in five days. Republican lawmakers and hospitality industry executives have been calling for the Biden administration to scrap the requirement because COVID-19 cases have fallen sharply since the end of the Omicron wave. But the CDC said the spread of the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, which now accounts for 85 percent of new U.S. coronavirus infections, warranted caution. The mandate now is scheduled to expire May 3.


Biden approval rating hits all-time low

President Biden's approval rating is at an all-time low, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they approved of "the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president," while 54 percent disapproved, and 13 percent said they didn't know or had no opinion. Biden's approval rating previously hit 33 percent on Jan. 12, 2022, though his disapproval rating at the time was only 53 percent. At the same point in his presidency, former President Donald Trump's approval/disapproval spread was 39-55, according to Gallup. In April 2010, former President Barack Obama stood at 48-45. George W. Bush, still riding the wave of post-9/11 unity, had an approval rating of 75 percent at a similar point.


Texas border inspections back up Mexico trucks

The Biden administration, the Mexican government, and trucking groups said Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was causing a miles-long backup of commercial vehicles by forcing trucks carrying perishable fruits, vegetables, and other products to undergo a state inspection after crossing the border from Mexico. The Mexican government sharply criticized Abbott and appealed to the State Department and the White House for help clearing the bottleneck. Abbott said last week the "enhanced safety inspections" were needed because the federal government was failing to keep drugs and criminals out of the country, singling out a White House plan to lift Title 42 border controls imposed under the Trump administration to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


N.C. removes ex-Trump official Mark Meadows from voter roll

North Carolina has dropped Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump's chief of staff, from its voter rolls amid an investigation into whether Meadows fraudulently registered and voted in the state in the 2020 presidential election, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing a local election official. Meadows and his wife, Debra, registered to vote in the state in September 2020 using an address where they never lived. They now vote in Virginia. Meadows, who represented a Western North Carolina district before joining Trump's White House, helped spread Trump's false claims that the election was stolen from him through voter fraud.


Death toll rises to more than 300 in South Africa floods

The death toll from heavy rains and flooding in South Africa reached at least 306 people on Thursday. The regional government said via Twitter that the disaster, which has destroyed roads and homes, was "one of the darkest moments" in KwaZulu-Natal province's history. The flooding from rains that started Monday swept away a bridge near the coastal city of Durban after what the provincial government called "one of the worst weather storms in the history of our country." The storm also knocked out power lines and forced people to evacuate areas hit with "mudslides, flooding, and structural collapses of buildings and roads," tweeted Sipho Hlomuka, a member of the Executive Council for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal.


Republican state lawmakers override veto of broad abortion bill

Kentucky's Republican-led General Assembly voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Andy Beshear's (D) veto of House Bill 3, a restrictive measure that opponents say essentially ends abortion access by making it illegal to mail abortion pills; raising standards for minors seeking abortions; and requiring a public database of the names and addresses of physicians who perform abortions, among other restrictions. Several Democratic lawmakers tried to appeal to their colleagues not to overturn the veto, including state Rep. Rachel Roberts (D), who shared earlier that she was raped at 14: "I urge you to allow this veto," she said. "Think of me as a 14-year-old rape victim." State Sen. Stephen Meredith (R) was unmoved, and called the legalization of abortion in the United States "a stain on our country" and "our greatest sin." The state Senate ultimately voted 31-6 to override Beshear's veto, and because of an emergency clause, it takes effect immediately.


Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads guilty to forcible touching

Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges of forcible touching. The case involved allegations of unwanted touching of three women in Manhattan nightspots in 2018 and 2019. One woman said the Jerry Maguire star squeezed her breast without her consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near New York City's Times Square. He also has been accused of groping or forcibly kissing more than 20 other women. "I apologize for ever making anybody feel inappropriately touched," Gooding Jr. said. He will avoid jail time under a plea deal that calls for him to continue undergoing alcohol and behavior counseling. He previously pleaded not guilty. His lawyer said in 2019 he "did absolutely nothing wrong."


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