10 things you need to know today: February 26, 2023

California Highway Patrol blocks the road following a storm.
(Image credit: Katie McTiernan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

1. Thousands of Californians remain without power following winter storm

Thousands of Californians remained without power on Sunday following a rare winter storm in the southern part of the state. The electric grid tracking website poweroutage.us showed nearly 70,000 people without power across the state at 5:30 a.m. PT, though this number was down significantly from Saturday. The rare winter storm has brought nearly unseen levels of snow to portions of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Dustings of snow were even seen on the Hollywood sign and the San Fernando Valley. The most pressing threat, though, is now torrential rain and flooding, with road closures across Los Angeles as flash flood warnings gripped the city. The storm is expected to begin dissipating heading into the week.

NBC News Los Angeles Times

2. Shipwreck off Italian coast kills at least 50 migrants

More than 50 migrants died on Sunday after their wooden boat crashed and sank off the coast of southern Italy, officials said. The boat had reportedly set sail from Turkey with more than 100 people aboard, and was attempting to land in a seaside resort near Calabria when it crashed into rocks during choppy seas. Among the 40 people dead included children and at least one baby, officials said, with those aboard including migrants from Afghanistan, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed "deep sorrow" for their deaths while blaming human traffickers. Rescue workers continued to search for survivors, and at least 80 people have been pulled out of the water alive.

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BBC News Reuters

3. EPA orders pause of waste removal in East Palestine, Ohio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Saturday ordered a temporary pause on the removal of contaminated waste from the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Administrator Debra Shore of the EPA's fifth region confirmed that the agency had halted the removal of waste, but promised it would resume again "very soon." Shore added that everyone in East Palestine "wants this contamination gone from the community. They don't want the worry, and they don't want the smell, and we owe it to the people of East Palestine to move it out of the community as quickly as possible." Going forward, rail company Norfolk Southern will have to get approval from the EPA for all disposal routes and dump sites for contaminated waste.

The Associated Press

4. Putin claims war in Ukraine is battle for Russian survival

As the war in Ukraine passed its one-year mark, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Sunday that the conflict was fundamentally a battle for the survival not of Ukraine, but of Russia. During an interview with state television network Rossiya 1, Putin claimed that the West's goal was "to disband the former Soviet Union and its fundamental part — the Russian Federation." The Russian president further claimed that the goal of the United States was to divide Russia, adding, "I do not even know if such an ethnic group as the Russian people will be able to survive in the form in which it exists today." The United States has continually asserted that it is not seeking to destroy or split up Russia.

Reuters

5. Israeli, Palestinian delegations meet amidst rising levels of violence

A group of high-ranking Israeli and Palestinian delegations met on Sunday to try to create a solution regarding the increasing levels of violence being seen in Israel. The meeting, which occurred in Jordan, is part of an ongoing effort by the United States and Middle Eastern allies to try and help curb the tensions in the region. Concerns have been raised that the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins at the end of March, could cause even more friction between Israelis and Palestinians. The goal of the meeting was "to reach an agreement on stopping all unilateral measures with a view to achieving a period of calm that would allow for confidence-building measures," a Jordanian official said.

Reuters

6. Survivors mark 30-year anniversary of 1993 World Trade Center bombing

Sunday marked the 30-year anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, when terrorists detonated a bomb beneath the iconic twin towers. The explosion left a massive crater several stories deep, and the blast killed six people while injuring over 1,000 more. Survivors of the attack reminisced about the three decades that have passed, with many of the scars from that day remaining. "In the days leading up to it, I don't sleep," Tim Lang told The New York Times. "And that's already begun. February's here. So I have trouble." Eight years after the bombing, Lang also became a witness to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which would destroy the World Trade Center completely.

The New York Times The Associated Press

7. Newspapers drop 'Dilbert' comic strip over creator’s racist remark

Newspapers across the United States decided over the weekend to drop the Dilbert comic strip from their pages after the cartoon's creator made a series of racist comments. The move came after Scott Adams, who created the satirical office comic strip in 1989, called African-Americans a "hate group," adding, "the best advice I would give to White people is to get the hell away from Black people, just get the f**k away … because there is no fixing this." Despite Adams' insistence that his comments were not racist, numerous news outlets said they would no longer run Dilbert. This included USA Today, The Washington Post, and Cleveland, Ohio's The Plain Dealer, among others.

CNN The Washington Post

8. Rights to famous ‘Crying Indian’ PSA to go to Native American group

The rights to an infamous anti-pollution advertisement were transferred over the weekend to a Native American group that plans to retire its usage. The advertisement, often called the "Crying Indian," debuted in 1971 and depicted Native American actor Iron Eyes Cody crying while overseeing the industrialization of the U.S. The advertisement has become an iconic part of advertising culture. However, Native American advocacy groups have long been pushing for its retirement, saying it represents negative stereotypes of their culture. The nonprofit that originally created the ad has finally transferred its rights to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). In a statement, the NCAI said it would be ending the ad and would watch for any unauthorized usage.

The Associated Press

9. In-laws of model face murder charges in gruesome killing

Police in Hong Kong have arrested the in-laws of a model that was the victim of a gruesome murder that made international headlines. The dismembered body parts of 28-year-old Abby Choi were found on Friday being stored in a refrigerator in suburban Hong Kong. According to police, tools suspected of being used to kill and dissect Choi's body were found in the apartment along with her remains. Choi's father-in-law, along with his eldest son, were arrested by police on Sunday and charged with her murder, while her mother-in-law was charged with obstruction of justice. Choi's ex-husband was also arrested by police, though he has not yet been charged and his alleged connection to the crime is unknown.

South China Morning Post The Associated Press

10. Spring training MLB game controversially ended by pitch clock violation

A Major League Baseball spring training game on Saturday controversially ended in a tie after the batter was called out for a pitch clock violation. The game between the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves was tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and the bases loaded. Braves batter Cal Conley had worked to a 3-2 count when he was called out on a third strike after exceeding the eight-second pitch clock. Under new rules implemented for the upcoming season, batters are given a strike if they are not set in the batter's box by the time the clock hits eight seconds. The rule has caused tension with baseball fans and players alike.

The Athletic

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