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5 things to know for December 16: Ukraine, Covid, Twitter, Immigration, Climate

Much of the East Coast will be hunkering down this weekend as begin to smother parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The region is gearing up for the same powerful storm system that’s already brought several cities across the South to a halt, with at least reported this week in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma.

Russian missile attacks have been reported today  including Kyiv, knocking out power and water supplies. The latest wave of strikes  in central Ukraine and injured several others, military officials said. Amid Ukraine’s continued pleas for international assistance, the US Congress Thursday that includes $800 million in support.

The legislation, which now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature, provides funding for the federal government to pay for the production of weapons to send to the country, rather than drawing directly from current US stockpiles. It would also expedite delivery of munitions to Ukraine and neighboring US allies.

The new defense spending bill also includes a provision that rescinds the US military’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate. Republicans have been lobbying to for service members, and some leading Democrats have also agreed it’s time for a change in the policy. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said last week that, “the end of President Biden’s military Covid vaccine mandate is a victory for our military and for common sense.” McCarthy also said that Biden himself ,though White House officials say that’s an overstatement.

Twitter on Thursday evening abruptly suspended the accounts of several high-profile journalists from top news organizations. Neither Elon Musk nor Twitter representatives responded to a request for comment from CNN, and the platform did not explain precio.

But in a series of tweets, Musk falsely claimed the journalists had violated Twitter’s new “doxxing” policy by sharing his live location, amounting to what he described as “assassination coordinates.” (The popular @ElonJet account – which frequently posts the location of Musk’s private jet – had earlier in the week been banned on the same grounds.) Among the suspended accounts was that of who did not share the billionaire’s live location. The suspensions raise a number of questions about the future of the platform and call into serious question Musk’s.

The Biden administration has released a six-pillar plan to address a  that is anticipated after the scheduled end of next week. It includes additional resources at the US-Mexico border, highlights consequences for unlawful entry and lists steps to improve processing efficiency, bolster nonprofit capacity, target people smugglers and collaborate with international partners. According to the plan, the increase in resources to the southern border includes the hiring of nearly 1,000 Border Patrol processing coordinators and 2,500 contractors and personnel from government agencies. Expecting , US Customs and Border Protection will impose legal consequences on those who cross unlawfully and don’t have a legal basis to stay in the US, the plan states.

California regulators approved an aggressive plan Thursday . The plan, approved by the California Air Resources Board, looks to move one of the world’s largest economies to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. The board said the plan will cut air pollution by 71% and gas emissions by 85%. Beginning in 2026, all new residential buildings will be required to install electric appliances and in 2029, the requirements will begin extending to commercial buildings, the plan states. The board also previously approved a rule requiring all passenger vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035. Separately, Virgin Atlantic today announced plans to fly a Boeing 787 from London to New York,  a move hailed as a step toward reducing aviation’s significant environmental impact.

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