Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 12, 2023

U.S. fighter shoots down object over Canada, Turkey arrests building contractors following earthquake as death toll tops 28,000, and more


U.S. fighter shoots down object over Canada, Trudeau says

A U.S. fighter shot down an unidentified cylindrical object over Canada's Yukon Territory on Saturday, officials from both countries said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the operation in a series of tweets, saying that he "ordered the takedown of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace." Following this order, Trudeau said, "Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a U.S. F-22 successfully fired at the object." The prime minister added that he had spoken to President Biden and would be coordinating efforts to recover the object. Details about what was shot down were not immediately available, and it is unclear if this object was connected to previous aerial material shot down in the U.S. in recent days. 


Turkey arrests building contractors following earthquake as death toll tops 28,000

Turkish officials on Saturday issued 113 arrest warrants for contractors in connection with buildings that collapsed during the nation's devastating earthquake last week. Turkish state media said that a number of these individuals have already been taken into custody, and more arrests are likely to follow. However, the actions were seen by some dissidents as a way for the Turkish government to shift blame away from itself. The arrests come as the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake topped 28,000, and rescue efforts are becoming more futile as harsh weather and a lack of resources continue to cause difficulties. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has faced criticism for the alleged slow pace at which rescue efforts are being conducted.   


Super Bowl LVII prepares for kickoff in Arizona

The biggest day in American sports is here, as Super Bowl LVII gets ready to kick off in Phoenix. The game pits the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles against the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs. In what is likely to be a close contest between two powerhouse teams, much of the spotlight has been put on the two quarterbacks, the Eagles' Jalen Hurts and the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes. The pair are set to highlight the first Black quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history, with Mahomes looking to win his second title and Hurts his first. The festivities off the field also promise to be electric, with a halftime show led by pop superstar Rihanna. 


Airspace over Montana briefly closed after 'radar anomaly'

U.S. military officials said Saturday that a "radar anomaly" had briefly prompted the closure of civilian airspace in Montana. In a statement, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said that it sent fighter planes to investigate the anomaly, but "did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits." NORAD said that it will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates, and the Federal Aviation Administration soon after reopened airspace in the state, which had been closed around a 50 by 50 nautical mile zone near the Canadian border. It is unclear if the issue in Montana was related to the shooting down of an object in Canada's Yukon Territory later that day. 


California gas pipeline resumes service after fuel leak

A California gas pipeline that serves most of the Las Vegas Valley resumed service on Saturday following a leak that forced it to be temporarily shut down. Energy company Kinder Morgan said that its gas pipeline had been turned back on after a disruption was detected last week that necessitated the gas to be stopped. The pipeline supplies a reported 90 percent of diesel, jet fuel, and general petroleum products to the Las Vegas Valley, and is a key resource for the state of Nevada. The leak had prompted Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) to declare a temporary state of emergency, allowing Nevada to receive federal assistance while Kinder Morgan technicians worked to get the pipeline back on. 


Russia continues shelling of Ukraine as forces push toward Donbas

Russian forces over the weekend continued shelling numerous Ukrainian cities in an effort to disrupt the country's already weakened power grid. The attacks come as Russian soldiers look to continue pushing further east in an effort to capture and hold Ukraine's Donbas region, a territory that has seen significant fighting in recent months. In Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, a series of shells fell on key infrastructure points, injuring at least one person after Russia said it attacked the city's armored car assembly plants. Russian forces have overall launched 12 missiles and 32 airstrikes in the past day, though Ukraine has fought back by taking out at least five Russian drones. 


Biden urges 'consensus building' in 1st comments on Israel

President Biden on Saturday issued his first public comments regarding the ongoing judicial reform controversy in Israel. In a statement to The New York Timesthe president compared Israeli and American democracy, saying they are both "built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary." Biden added, "Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained." This marks the first time that the president has weighed in on an issue that has seemed to harshly divide Israel. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continually pledged to upheave the country's judiciary, numerous protests have been seen against the action in cities across Israel.  


Bolsonaro intends to return to Brazil in the coming weeks

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Saturday that he would likely return to Brazil in the coming weeks. Bolsonaro made the announcement during an event at an evangelical church service in Florida, where he was been living since leaving Brazil prior to the inauguration of his successor, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, at the beginning of the year. Brazil continues its own battle for democracy after a mob of pro-Bolsonarists broke into the halls of government in the nation's capital in January, in a scene that echoed the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Many lawmakers in the U.S. have pushed for Bolsonaro to be extradited back to Brazil to face charges. 


Russian spacecraft has pressure glitch on International Space Station

A Russian spacecraft lost pressure following its docking to the International Space Station on Saturday. Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos said that a depressurization had been identified inside the Progress MS-21, an unmanned cargo ship that had previously attached to the station. It is unclear what caused the pressure leak, but officials said there was no danger to any crew aboard the International Space Station. The hatches between the ship and the ISS were closed to prevent any further pressure leak, but were reopened by Saturday afternoon after the situation was deemed normal. MS-21 is scheduled to undock from the station and burn up over the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 17. 


Disney says it won't fight Ron DeSantis' new takeover law

The Walt Disney Company said it will not fight a new law that gives a wide swath of powers to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). In a statement released Saturday, the entertainment conglomerate said it was "ready to work within this new framework" following the passage of the bill. The new law revokes Disney World's special status as a theme park, which has allowed it to self-govern since the park opened. The new law, though, will be operated by a five-member board appointed by DeSantis and confirmed by the Florida state Senate. DeSantis first moved to strip power from Disney after the company came out against his Parental Rights in Education law, which critics have dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill. 


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