Russia attacks Ukraine, airline mask rules, Biden heads north: 5 things to know Tuesday

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Russia launches offensive in eastern Ukraine

The Ukrainian military’s General Staff said Tuesday that Russian forces were focusing their efforts on taking full control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east. It noted a “new phase of war” began Monday when “the occupiers made an attempt to break through our defenses along nearly the entire frontline …” The group also said in a statement that “the Russian military has continued to blockade and shell Mariupol and to deal missile strikes on other cities.” Russian forces started dropping bunker-buster bombs on a Mariupol steel plant where Ukrainians were refusing to surrender, a Ukrainian military official said Monday. In a video message Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that his people will continue to fight and “defend ourselves,” adding, “We will do it every day.” In recent days, Russia has reinforced its invading force in Ukraine, adding about 11 battalion tactical groups and as many as 11,000 troops, a senior U.S. Defense Department official said Monday. 

Judge’s ruling creates inconsistent, confusing transportation mask rules

The federal government said Monday passengers traveling on airplanes and other forms of public transportation won’t be required to wear a face mask for now after a federal judge in Florida ruled the federal mask mandate exceeded the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which failed to justify the order and didn’t follow proper rulemaking procedures. A Biden administration official said the ruling means that, for now, the mask mandate is not in effect. The Transportation Security Administration said it won’t enforce it. The official noted the CDC recommends people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings to fight the spread of COVID. A consequence of the decision is it has created a confusing patchwork of rules for passengers as they navigate airports and transit systems on Tuesday and going forward. Major airlines have dropped the mask requirement. But, as of Monday night, U.S. airports have been slower to adopt, with several taking a wait-and-see approach.  

Biden pushes infrastructure plan to lower prices, strengthen supply chains

President Joe Biden is traveling to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Tuesday to discuss how investments in infrastructure will improve the country’s ports and waterways. The president is expected to highlight how these investments will strengthen supply chains and keep goods moving to help lower prices. Biden’s visit comes as Americans continue to face record-high gas prices and rising inflation rates. The soaring gas prices, climbing before the war in Ukraine but skyrocketing since, have underscored the challenge of transitioning the nation toward clean and renewable energy — a key part of Biden’s economic agenda. Biden has responded to the recent spike in gas prices by tapping into the nation’s oil reserves, pushing the U.S. petroleum industry to boost production and courting despotic nations abroad for more oil to compensate for a ban on Russian energy imports he imposed.

Results of independent autopsy to be released in Patrick Lyoya’s death

Lawyers for the family of Patrick Lyoya, an unarmed Black man killed by police in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said they will release results from an independent autopsy Tuesday. Details emerged last week about Lyoya after police released video of the fatal traffic stop, which occurred April 4. It shows Lyoya was shot by a white police officer after a struggle. Despite the Lyoya family asking for police to release the name of the officer, the department has not done so and no charges have been issued. The official autopsy report is being shared with state police and won’t immediately be released to the public. But a separate autopsy was performed by Dr. Werner Spitz, a 95-year-old forensic pathologist who worked on investigations following the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., among other high-profile cases. One of the lawyers representing Lyoya’s family is Ben Crump, who represented the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others.

What happened to spring? Winter storm to blast Northeast

A winter storm is expected to make weather in the Northeast feel more like February than April on Tuesday. Heavy, accumulating snow is forecast to spread across portions of the region through Tuesday, Accuweather said. The snow is likely to cause travel disruptions, particularly in the mountains from West Virginia to northwestern New England, the forecaster added. Many areas are projected to see 6-12 inches of snow, and some spots could see as much as 2 feet, AccuWeather said. Snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour are possible. Closer to the coast, heavy rain and howling winds will dominate the weather headlines. Cities from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine, are at risk of a period of urban flooding, AccuWeather said. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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