News and Brief For March 1st

From battered California to New England, snow bookends US

AP – Beleaguered Californians got hit again Tuesday as a new winter storm moved into the already drenched and snow-plastered state, with blizzard warnings blanketing the Sierra Nevada and forecasters warning residents that any travel was dangerous.

Bookending the country, a winter storm in the Northeast closed or delayed the opening for hundreds of schools as the most significant snowfall of what has been a mild winter hit overnight.

And Michigan again fought a battle with ice after a new storm that hit Monday left thousands of customers without power in the central part of the state. To the southeast, around Detroit, some customers still lacked power for a sixth day after a previous ice storm.

 Credit to Amy Taxin and Mark Pratt 

Conservative justices question student loan forgiveness plan 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative justices holding the Supreme Court’s majority are skeptically questioning President Joe Biden’s plan to wipe away or reduce student loans held by millions of Americans.

In arguments on Tuesday stretching well beyond the allotted two hours, Chief Justice John Roberts led his conservative colleagues in questioning the administration’s authority to broadly cancel federal student loans because of the COVID-19 emergency.

The plan has so far been blocked by Republican-appointed judges on lower courts.

It was not clear that any of the six justices appointed by Republican presidents would approve of the debt relief program, although Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett appeared most open to the administration’s arguments.

Credit to Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko 

Putin signs bill to suspend last nuclear arms pact with US

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a bill formally suspending the last remaining nuclear arms treaty with the United States, amid soaring tensions with Washington over Moscow’s action in Ukraine.

Putin had declared a week ago in his state-of-the-nation address that Moscow was suspending its participation in the 2010 New START treaty. He had charged that Russia can’t accept U.S. inspections of its nuclear sites under the pact at a time when Washington and its NATO allies have openly declared Russia’s defeat in Ukraine as their goal.

Both houses of parliament quickly ratified Putin’s bill on the pact’s suspension last week. On Tuesday, Putin signed it into law, effective immediately. The document says that it’s up to the president to decide whether Moscow could return to the pact.

Credit to Vladimir Isachenkov

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