News Briefs

Theresa Balick

Staff Writer

National

President Biden declares major disaster in Texas, provides relief

President Joseph Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Texas Friday after nearly a week of record low temperatures across the state brought widespread destruction. With several cold fronts and snowstorms hitting Texas and the surrounding states, there have been power outages and water shortages due to burst and frozen water pipes. Biden’s declaration allows for more federal aid to assist the state. A White House statement confirmed that federal aid would go towards temporary housing, house repair and similar programs. A boil-water notice still remains in effect across most of the counties of the state.

United Airlines removes Boeing 777 planes from service following engine failure over Denver

United Airlines said Sunday that it is removing all of its Boeing 777 planes with Pratt & Whitney 4000 series engines following an engine failure in one of its planes over the Denver area, dropping debris over neighborhoods and forcing the plane to emergency land. Flight 328 experienced engine failure Saturday on its flight from Denver to Honolulu, possibly due to damaged fan blades. The plane was able to land safely back in the Denver International Airport. In response to the failure, the Federal Aviation Administration called for closer inspections on the engines to prevent another incident of engine failure. No injuries were reported.

Electricity bills spike in price following Texas power outages due to winter storm

The people of Texas now face paying expensive electrical bills for the heat they used during the winter storm that devastated the south last week. After outages due to a power failure in the electric grid across the state, the price of electricity has gone up as power has come back on and residents are reported to keep the heater on at all times. The raised prices are worse for those who have variable-rate power plans, a plan in which the price of electricity changes depending on how much electricity is used. Areas of Texas remain without power or water as cold temperatures persist.

International

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle step down from royal life

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially stepped down from their royal titles and roles Friday. The couple first announced the decision to step back from royal life and achieve financial independence in January 2020 and gave themselves 12 months to review the arrangements. The couple has finally succeeded in separating themselves from royal life, to which the rest of the royal family expressed sadness. However, they told the public that the couple remains a loved part of the family. Prince Harry will retain the title of prince, as he was born with it, but the couple has given up the use of the titles his/her royal highness.

Pope Francis joins Italy’s president in honoring health care workers on COVID-19 anniversary

Pope Francis and Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, established a new holiday to honor health care workers Saturday on the first anniversary of the first reported COVID-19 case in Italy. The National Day of Health Care Personnel recognizes the heroics of health care workers across the country, especially those who contracted COVID-19 and died. The pope praised nurses and doctors for the selflessness and humility in serving those who suffered from the virus, calling their work a mission that speaks to the heart of man by giving themselves selflessly to those in need. Italy has the second-highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, with Britain being the highest.

UK plans to offer COVID-19 vaccine to all of its adults by end of July

The U.K. announced Sunday that it plans to offer all adults a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, which is one month earlier than planned. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that this move will help to lift COVID-19 lockdowns across the country. The news comes as the U.K. is in severe lockdown, with its citizens pressuring Johnson to open schools and businesses. The country currently uses both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, and it requires two doses taken 12 weeks apart.