Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 14, 2023

Bank stocks plunge, Biden unveils AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, and more


Bank stocks dive as government insists banking system is safe

Bank stocks plunged on Monday after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. President Biden tried to reassure Americans that the banking system was safe despite the second- and third-largest bank failures in the U.S. history, all within 48 hours. Shares of First Republic fell 62 percent despite funding from the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase to shore up its finances. The Federal Reserve announced it would make money available to "to eligible depository institutions to help assure banks have the ability to meet the needs of all their depositors." "Your deposits will be there when you need them," Biden said.


Biden unveils AUKUS nuclear submarine deal

President Biden on Monday unveiled plans for the United States to spend billions of dollars expanding its ability to produce nuclear-powered attack submarines under a landmark security agreement with Australia and the United Kingdom. The announcement by Biden and his U.K. and Australia counterparts at a naval base in San Diego came 18 months after the three nations created their AUKUS partnership to counter China's rising influence in the Pacific. If Congress approves the deal, the U.S. will sell Australia three to five nuclear-powered attack submarines, which can stay down longer and are harder to detect than conventional subs. It will be the first time in 65 years the U.S. has shared the technology. 


China's Xi to meet with Zelensky

Chinese leader Xi Jinping plans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Xi reportedly will meet with Zelensky after a trip to Moscow next week to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Beijing is making a diplomatic push to show it can offer an alternative to leadership on the world stage by the United States, the Journal said. A breakthrough on peace in Ukraine would boost China's record as a power broker following its surprise diplomatic deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran last week. 


Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testifies to grand jury

Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified Monday to a Manhattan grand jury investigating the former president. Cohen said Trump "needs to be held accountable for his dirty deeds." Cohen is the key witness in the investigation into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels during Trump's 2016 campaign to get her to stop publicly claiming she had an affair with Trump years earlier. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 shortly before election day, and Trump's company later reimbursed him. Cohen later pleaded guilty to several crimes, including one connected to the hush money. Cohen, now an outspoken Trump critic, said his goal was to "tell the truth," not seek "revenge" against his former boss.


Trump says Pence could have prevented Jan. 6 Capitol attack

Former President Donald Trump on Monday pushed back against his former vice president, Mike Pence, for saying over the weekend that Trump endangered his family and should be held accountable for the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Trump told reporters that Pence was the one who should be blamed for the attack by a mob of Trump supporters trying to get Congress to reverse Trump's 2020 election loss to President Biden. Pence resisted Trump's demand to block certification of Biden's victory. "Had he sent the votes back to the legislatures, they wouldn't have had a problem with Jan. 6, so in many ways you can blame him for Jan. 6," Trump said.


Biden administration approves controversial Alaska drilling project

The Biden administration on Monday announced it was approving the ConocoPhillips' massive Willow drilling project on Alaska's North Slope. Climate activists were outraged, saying the decision conflicted with President Biden's promise to fight climate change. The move came a day after the Biden administration said it would limit drilling in other parts of Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. The Willow project approval by the Bureau of Land Management will let ConocoPhillips drill up to 199 wells at three sites. The administration is denying the company permission to drill at two other proposed sites. ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance called the approval "the right decision for Alaska and our nation."


China's new premier promises ongoing support for businesses in 1st remarks 

China's new premier, Li Qiang, said Monday in his first public remarks since taking office that China would continue to support private businesses and focus on people's needs, rather than prioritizing the national economic growth rate. "Most people do not keep their eyes on GDP growth all the time," he told reporters in Beijing. "What they care more about are the things that happen in their everyday life, like housing, employment, income, education, medical services, and environment." Li, a longtime associate of President Xi Jinping and former Shanghai Communist Party boss of Shanghai, was appointed premier on Saturday at the annual National People's Congress.


Jury deadlocks on death penalty over N.Y. bike path terror attack

A Manhattan jury on Monday deadlocked on whether to impose the death penalty on Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbekistan native convicted for killing eight people by driving a truck down a Hudson River bike path in a terrorist attack. A unanimous verdict was necessary to sentence Saipov to death. Since the jury told Judge Vernon Broderick it couldn't agree on the penalty, Saipov, 35, will get life in prison. Saipov was convicted in January of all 28 charges filed against him, including nine that carried the possibility of the death penalty. The trial was the first federal death penalty case tried under President Biden, who opposed capital punishment during his campaign.


McConnell discharged from hospital after treatment for concussion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was released from the hospital on Monday, after receiving treatment for a concussion. McConnell was hurt when he tripped and fell last week during a private dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel. David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, said in a statement the 81-year-old senator's "concussion recovery is proceeding well" and "at the advice of his physician, the next step will be a period of physical therapy at an inpatient rehabilitation facility before he returns home." McConnell also "suffered a minor rib fracture" when he fell, Popp said. In August 2019, McConnell fractured his shoulder and had to have surgery after tripping outside his Louisville home, and underwent surgery.


High-jump innovator Dick Fosbury dies at 76

Dick Fosbury, who introduced a new high-jumping style known as the "Fosbury Flop," has died of a recurrence of lymphoma, according to his publicist, Ray Schulte. He was 76. When Fosbury got started in the sport, high jumpers ran parallel to the bar and straddle-kicked over it. Fosbury took off jumping backward, arching his back to clear the bar. Using his new technique, the 6-foot-4 Fosbury cleared 7 feet, 4 1/4 inches to win the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, setting an Olympic record. No jumper has won the gold medal using any other technique since 1976. Sprinter Michael Johnson said Fosbury was a "legend" who changed the event "forever with a technique that looked crazy at the time."


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