WORLD LEADERS CALL FOR INVESTIGATION OF REPEATED ATTACKS ON UKRAINIAN CIVILIAN TARGETS: World leaders are calling for an investigation of Russia’s repeated attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine, including schools, hospitals and residential areas. The U.N. political chief, Undersecretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, is among them, saying many of the daily attacks against Ukrainian cities are, quote, “reportedly indiscriminate.” She also reminded the U.N. Security Council yesterday (March 17th) that international humanitarian law bans direct attacks on civilians. One day after President Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” in a remark to a reporter, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said U.S. officials were evaluating potential war crimes by Russia, and if the intentional targeting of civilians is confirmed, there will be, quote, “massive consequences.”
In one of the many places that civilians had sought shelter that was targeted with an attack, rescue workers were looking for survivors yesterday in the rubble of what had been a theater in the besieged city of Mariupol where hundreds of people had been sheltering. There were conflicting reports of of whether anyone had been rescued after the Wednesday airstrike, with some reports that the bomb shelter under the theater had held. In the city of Merefa, at least 21 people were killed when a school and community center were destroyed by Russian artillery. Both locations were hit in what AP described as a “furious bombardment of civilian sites in multiple cities over the past few days.” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO had verfied 43 attacks on hospitals and health facilities in Ukraine.
U.S. Man Killed: An American man, Jim Hill of Diggs, Idaho, was killed Wednesday in a Russian attack in the city of Chernihiv, his sister reported yesterday. Cheryl Hill Gordon wrote on Facebook, “My brother Jimmy Hill was killed yesterday in Chernihiv, Ukraine. He was waiting in a bread line with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snippers. His body was found in the street by the local police.” Hill had posted on Facebook in the weeks since the attack began about the bombings in Chernihiv, which he called “indiscriminate.” He identified himself as a lecturer at universities in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv and Warsaw in Poland, and said he was in Chernihiv with his partner for her to receive medical treatment.
BIDEN SPEAKING TO CHINESE LEADER XI TODAY, FOCUS ON WAR IN UKRAINE: President Biden and China’s leader Xi Jinping are scheduled to speak to each today (March 17th), with the focus of the call to be Russia’s war in Ukraine. The U.S. has warned China that giving military or economic aid to Russia to help in its invasion would lead to severe consequences. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would ask Xi about China’s, quote, “rhetorical support” of Russian President Vladimir Putin and its, quote, “absence of denunciation” of the invasion,” stating, “This is an opportunity to assess where President Xi stands.” The U.S. told allies earlier this week that intelligence had determined China had signaled to Russia that it would be willing to provide both military support for the campaign in Ukraine and financial assistance to help deal with the crippling sanctions imposed by the West.
NTSB SAYS 13-YEAR-OLD WAS DRIVING PICKUP THAT CAUSED CRASH THAT KILLED NINE: The National Transportation Safety Board revealed Thursday (May 17th) that a 13-year-old boy was driving the pickup truck that crossed into the opposite lane and hit a van in a head-on collision in west Texas earlier this week, killing nine people, including six members of a college golf team and their coach. The still-unidentified teenager and a man in the truck with him also died. The minimum age in Texas for a learner’s permit to drive with an instructor or licensed adult in the car is 15. The golf teams were from the University of the Southwest in New Mexico, and were returning from a tournament. Two students were hospitalized in critical condition.
MODERNA ASKS FDA TO AUTHORIZE FOURTH COVID VACCINE SHOT FOR ALL ADULTS: Moderna yesterday (March 17th) asked the Food and Drug Adminstration to authorize a fourth shot of its Covid-19 vaccine for all adults. Their request came after Pfizer earlier this week also asked regulators for approval for a fourth shot of its vaccine, but only for seniors over age 65. Moderna said it asked for approval for all adults to, quote, “provide flexibility” to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical providers to determine the appropriate use of a second booster.
FBI SAYS HAS SIX SUSPECTS IN BOMB THREATS TO HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES: The FBI says it has identified six suspects who they believe are responsible for dozens of bomb threats that have been made against historically Black colleges and universities in recent weeks, most of them during Black History Month in February. All six suspects in the threats, which are being investigated as racially-motivated hate crimes, are juveniles. No bombs or explosives have been found in connection with any of the threats.