Thursday morning news: March 16, 2023
NATO scrambles jets after Russian plane approaches Estonia, allies pledge fresh support for Ukraine, European banks are pinched by the two recent bank failures in the US, the Fed is meeting next week to examine conflicting inflation reports, US Border Patrol Chief contradicts his boss by saying the border is not secure, and storms in California force thousands to evacuate.
Jets scrambled to intercept Russian jets » British and German fighter jets scrambled to intercept a Russian aircraft flying very close to NATO airspace near Estonia on Wednesday.
That incident came just one day after two Russian fighter jets took down a US surveillance drone over the Black Sea.
US Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin:
LLOYD AUSTIN: It’s part of a pattern of aggressive, risky, and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international airspace.
In response, British and German jets are now patrolling the skies along NATO’s eastern flank.
Ukraine » Austin spoke after meeting with leaders from dozens of other nations supporting Ukraine against Russia. He spoke alongside Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Mark Milley. He said heavy fighting continues in eastern Ukraine.
MARK MILLEY: Russia continues to pay severely in terms of lives and military equipment of its continued war of choice. Right now, there is intensive fighting in and around Bakhmut, and the Russians are making small tactical advances but at great cost.
Outside of that, he said the war is relatively static, and that Russia is not making headway elsewhere.
Milley again said the United States and its allies will continue to back Ukraine for as long as it takes to repeal Russia and win the war.
Banking latest » Many banks across Europe are opening with lower stock prices today after shares in the Swiss bank Credit Suisse lost roughly a quarter of their value on Wednesday.
Finance expert Zachary Feinstein says Credit Suisse’s struggles are directly linked to the recent collapse of two U.S. banks.
FEINSTEIN - These are in some sense contagious in that they really are people looking at these balance sheets in new ways.
Credit Suisse had said Wednesday that it had some issues with its internal finance reporting.
Spending, Inflation numbers » Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to meet this time next week to analyze conflicting inflation reports. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER: The government reported Wednesday that the U.S. Producer Price Index decreased slightly from January to February, after rising the month before.
Compared with a year ago, the Producer Price Index was only up 4.6 percent in February—compared with January’s 5.7 percent.
On Tuesday, another government report said consumer prices are still going up, but at a slower rate.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Border chief contradicts » U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz Wednesday contradicted his boss when asked about the state of the U.S. southern border.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green posed this question:
GREEN: Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?
ORTIZ: No sir.
In earlier testimony, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers that border officials do have control of the border.
Ortiz’s testimony was part of a field hearing in McAllen, Texas. Green declared:
GREEN: In just the two years of Secretary Mayorkas’ reign at DHS, more people have come into this country that all of the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency and all four years of the Trump presidency combined.
Some Republicans are pushing to impeach Mayorkas.
Democrats boycotted Wednesday’s field hearing, calling it a political stunt.
The hearing took place two days after more than 1000 migrants rushed the US border in El Paso over the weekend.
Another atmospheric river pounds California, 27K to evacuate » An atmospheric river that washed over California is expected to push into other states affecting millions of people.
The storm put thousands of Californians under evacuation orders and left more without power.
Meanwhile, another storm is brewing. It is expected to hammer California this time next week.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom:
NEWSOM - This was the 11th atmospheric river of the year of the season. We're only in March. None of us is naive about what we're looking forward to next week, potentially. On Sunday. Monday, Tuesday. 12th Atmospheric River.
Meanwhile, a winter storm has been sweeping the northeastern U.S., knocking out power for thousands more and causing whiteout conditions on roads.
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