Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 19, 2022

Russia uses hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, new trial provides 'no indication' ivermectin is 'clinically useful' in treating COVID-19, and more


Russia uses hypersonic missiles in Ukraine

Russian forces used hypersonic missiles, which travel at 10 times the speed of sound, in western Ukraine on Friday. "The Kinzhal aviation missile system with hypersonic aeroballistic missiles destroyed a large underground warehouse containing missiles and aviation ammunition in the village of Deliatyn in the Ivano-Frankivsk region," the Russian Defense Ministry announced Saturday. Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled the Kinzhal ("Dagger") missiles in 2018, but this is the first time Russian forces have admitted to using them in combat.


New trial provides 'no indication' ivermectin is 'clinically useful' in treating COVID-19

A large, new trial has reportedly found no indication ivermectin is useful in treating COVID-19 patients. The trial of almost 1,400 COVID-19 patients at risk of severe disease found the drug failed to reduce hospital admissions. In the trial, half the patients were prescribed ivermectin pills for three days, while the others received a placebo. The report noted this was the largest trial testing the effectiveness of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 so far. "There was no indication that ivermectin is clinically useful," said Edward Mills, a lead researcher on the study.


Chinese president calls for peace in Ukraine during 2-hour call with Biden

President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke for nearly two hours on Friday to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The White House has not yet issued a formal readout of the call, but did note the conversation began after 9 a.m. and lasted just under two hours. According to a summary of the conversation from China, however, Xi reportedly told Biden both the U.S. and China have an obligation to promote peace between Russia and Ukraine. Beijing has thus far refused to explicitly condemn Russia's actions against Ukraine but is still calling for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The Biden administration previously warned China not to aid Russia in the war.


Rep. Don Young, longest-serving GOP congressman in U.S. history, dead at 88

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) died Friday at the age of 88, his office announced in a statement. Young, who as the longest-serving member of the current Congress held the title "dean of the House," was serving his 25th term in the House of Representatives. He is also the longest-serving Republican lawmaker in U.S. history, with a tenure of 49 years and 13 days. The statement said that Young died at Los Angeles International Airport "while traveling home to Alaska to be with the state and people that he loved" and that "his beloved wife Anne was by his side."


Russian strikes destroy Ukrainian aircraft repair plant in Lviv

Russian heavy bombers early Friday fired six cruise missiles from the Black Sea toward Lviv, a city less than 50 miles from Ukraine's border with Poland and, so far, a relatively safe harbor for civilians fleeing Russian shelling further east, Ukrainian officials said. Two of the missiles were shot down and four landed at an aircraft repair plant near Lviv's airport, destroying the buildings. Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy said work had already stopped at the plant and no casualties had been reported. The plant was reportedly the only facility in Ukraine engaged in fixing and modifying MiG-29 fighter jets for use by the Ukrainian Air Force.


Trump campaign ordered to pay $350,000 over 'unenforceable' NDA

The campaign organization for former President Donald Trump was recently ordered to hand over more than $350,000 in legal fees and expenses after attempting to enforce an "unenforceable" nondisclosure agreement against an ex-staffer. The ex-staffer, Alva Johnson, had alleged the former president once tried to forcibly kiss her and also made claims of pay discrimination. An arbitrator found that though Johnson's attempt to sue Trump failed, his campaign was unable to "invoke a legally unsound nondisclosure agreement." The former president has often used arbitration to try to keep unseemly claims out of the limelight. This is the third time one of the Trump campaign's NDAs has been declared unenforceable.


Poland to formally propose peacekeeping mission in Ukraine

Poland will formally propose a peacekeeping mission in Russia-invaded Ukraine at the next NATO summit, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed Friday. The idea for an international mission was initially shared Tuesday, after leaders from Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. "I think that it is necessary to have a peace mission — NATO, possibly some wider international structure — but a mission that will be able to defend itself, which will operate on Ukrainian territory," Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said at a news conference.


Retiring House Democrat criticizes leadership for beating 'moderates into submission'

Retiring House Democrat and "rising-star" moderate Stephanie Murphy (Fla.) had a few notes for her party on her way out the door. Murphy worries the Democrats are imperiling their own majority by seeking to "beat moderates into submission" following failures to pass key parts of the party's legislative agenda. "I can't tell you the number of times I said, 'You can't keep promising rainbows and unicorns when your political reality is such narrow margins in the House and a dead-even Senate,'" Murphy said. "They took the difference between rainbows and unicorns and political reality — which is anger and disappointment — and turned that anger and disappointment against their own members."


European politicians push for extending Nobel Peace Prize deadline to nominate Zelensky

European politicians are pushing for the Nobel Peace Prize deadline to be extended so Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — and the Ukrainian people — can be nominated. The three dozen politicians in a letter to the Nobel Committee noted the deadline for 2022 Nobel Peace Prize nominations has already passed but called for making an exception this year and opening up the process again amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "We believe that now is the time to show the people of Ukraine that the world is on their side," the letter says. The letter calls for the nomination deadline, originally Jan. 31, to be extended to March 31.


Melania Trump has reportedly 'let the president know' she likes Senate candidate Dr. Oz

It looks like daytime-host-turned-Senate-candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz has a friend in Melania Trump, sources familiar with the former first lady's thinking told NBC News. "The first lady has let the president know that she likes Dr. Oz. And that matters," said a top Republican familiar with the conversation. "But this isn't just about what Melania wants," the source added. "There are a lot of Melanias out there. There are a lot of women, in whose living room and bedroom TVs Dr. Oz has been for a decade. They have a very personal relationship with Dr. Oz." Former President Donald Trump has said he plans to endorse a candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate race.


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