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The Morning Rundown™

Morning rundown: Biden addresses China; Turkey death toll hits 11,000

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President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union Address to the nation Tuesday night; the earthquake in Turkey is now the deadliest in more than a decade; three tons of cocaine was confiscated in the middle of the ocean; and a new NBA scoring champion is crowned. These stories and more highlight the daily rundown for Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. 

President Biden addresses nation

“I am committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world. But make no mistake about it, as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did,” President Biden said Tuesday night. 

The president addressed China in his State of the Union Address following a week of Chinese spy balloon headlines. On the foreign policy front, he once again assured Ukraine of America’s support. 

Biden also touted legislation passed during his term like the infrastructure bill and called for a now-divided Congress to come together to pass bipartisan legislation. But the divide between the parties was obvious on the House floor during the speech, particularly when President Biden asked Republicans to raise the debt ceiling. He was booed when he told the American people that some Republicans want to end Medicare and Social Security.

“Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” Biden said, adding, “Anyone who doubts it, contact my office. I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.”

Things calmed down when the president said Medicare and Social Security would be off the table.

Turkey earthquake claims 11,000 victims

The death toll from Monday’s catastrophic earthquake in Syria and Turkey has climbed to more than 11,000 victims as of Wednesday morning, making it the deadliest earthquake in more than a decade.

Rescue crews are growing tired from recovering bodies in strenuous conditions, but as time passes, more help has been able to arrive into the region. More than 79,000 aid personnel from around the world are assisting Turkey.

Help from the U.S. is set to arrive today. Two teams made up of 80 personnel each, 12 dogs, and 170,000 pounds of specialized tools will be used on the ground helping in recovery efforts.

Battery fire breaks out on United flight

Seven people on board a United flight were taken to the hospital after a lithium-ion battery fire broke out in the main cabin of the plane. Several crew members put themselves in harm’s way to put the fire out.

The airplane had to circle back and land in San Diego to tend to the emergency. The battery pack belonged to a customer on board.

Three tons of cocaine floating in ocean

More than three tons of cocaine was found floating in a remote part of the pacific ocean. Officials said it seemed to be dropped there by an international drug-smuggling ring.

New Zealand police called it the nation’s largest-ever drug seizure and said the discovery has dealt a “significant financial blow” to the drug smugglers. Officials also say the cocaine was likely headed for Australia. It was valued at more than $300 million.

New Zealand police also said the three tons of cocaine would be enough to service the Australian market for an entire year and would be more than New Zealand would use in 30 years.

Tech companies continue layoffs

One after the other, companies in the tech-sector continue to announce job layoffs. The latest being the company Zoom. It is cutting their workforce by as much as 15% ahead of what they call “economic uncertainty.”

Zoom had boomed during the pandemic with so many jobs going remote and people turning to their video-chat software. About 1,300 Zoom employees are expected to be impacted by the latest tech job cut.

LeBron James breaks NBA scoring record

The man known as “King James” was officially crowned NBA’s all time scoring champion. He surpassed legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was in attendance to officially pass the torch and the title to James by handing him the game ball.

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KARAH RUCKER: THE EARTHQUAKE IN TURKEY IS NOW THE DEADLIEST IN MORE THAN A DECADE. 3 TONS OF COCAINE WAS CONFISCATED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. AND A NEW NBA SCORING CHAMPION IS CROWNED.

BUT WE BEGIN WITH PRESIDENT BIDEN’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION LAST NIGHT.

THE TIMING OF HIS SPEECH COMES AS AMERICA WATCHED A CHINESE SPY BALLOON HOVER OVER THE COUNTRY – THE U-S ULTIMATELY SHOOTING IT DOWN.

THIS IS STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS. UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS.

PRESIDENT BIDEN ADDRESSES NATION

PRESIDENT BIDEN: “I am committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world. But make no mistake about it: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ADDRESSING CHINA IN HIS STATE OF THE UNION FOLLOWING A WEEK OF CHINESE SPY BALLOON HEADLINES. ON THE FOREIGN POLICY FRONT — 

ALSO REASSURING UKRAINE OF AMERICA’S SUPPORT – WHICH WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF HIS **LAST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS WHEN THE WAR IN UKRAINE FIRST BEGAN.

BIDEN ALSO TOUTING LEGISLATION PASSED DURING HIS TERM LIKE THE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL – AND CALLING FOR A NOW DIVIDED CONGRESS TO COME TOGETHER TO PASS BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION.

BUT A DIVIDE BETWEEN PARTIES WAS OBVIOUS ON THE HOUSE FLOOR LAST NIGHT.

SPECIFICALLY WHEN PRESIDENT BIDEN ASKED REPUBLICANS TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING. TELLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE…SOME REPUBLICANS WANT TO END MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY.

BIDEN: “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset (boos) Let me give you, anyone who doubts it, contact my office. I’ll give you a copy of the proposal.”

THE UNTIDY-NESS ON THE FLOOR CLEANED BACK UP WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAID OKAY, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY IS OFF THE TABLE THEN, AND HE RECEIVED A STANDING OVATION.

TURKEY EARTHQUAKE CLAIMS 11,000 VICTIMS

THE DEATH TOLL FROM MONDAY’S CATASTROPHIC EARTHQUAKE IN SYRIA AND TURKEY HAS CLIMBED TO MORE THAN 11 THOUSAND VICTIMS AS OF WEDNESDAY MORNING MAKING IT THE DEADLIEST EARTHQUAKE IN MORE THAN A DECADE.

RESCUE CREWS ARE GROWING TIRED OF DAY-IN-DAY-OUT RECOVERING BODIES IN STRENUOUS CONDITIONS. BUT AS TIME PASSES — MORE HELP IS ABLE TO ARRIVE INTO THE REGION. MORE THAN 79 THOUSAND AID PERSONNEL FROM AROUND THE WORLD ARE ASSISTING TURKEY.

HELP FROM THE U.S. IS SET TO ARRIVE TODAY. TWO TEAMS MADE UP OF 80 PERSONNEL EACH, 12 DOGS, AND 170 THOUSAND POUNDS OF SPECIALIZED TOOLS WILL BE USED ON THE GROUND HELPING IN RECOVERY EFFORTS.

BATTERY FIRE BREAKS OUT ON UNITED FLIGHT

ANNE-MARIE BUCKLAND | UNITED PASSENGER: “Probably about 10 minutes into the flight, I started to smell something really bad and it just got worse and worse.”

STEPHEN JONES, UNITED PASSENGER: “The guy next to me two seats over started to scream. The guy in first class said ‘oh God’ put his shirt up over his face and then I saw a flash of fire.”

SEVEN PEOPLE ON BOARD A UNITED FLIGHT WERE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL AFTER A LITHIUM-ION BATTERY FIRE BROKE OUT IN THE MAIN CABIN OF THE PLANE.

THIS INCLUDES SEVERAL CREW MEMBERS — WHO PUT THEMSELVES IN HARMS WAY TO PUT THE FIRE OUT.

THE AIRPLANE HAD TO CIRCLE BACK AND LAND TO TEND TO THE EMERGENCY. THE BATTERY PACK HAD BELONGED TO A CUSTOMER ON BOARD.

3 TONS OF COCAINE FLOATING IN OCEAN

MORE THAN THREE TONS OF COCAINE HAS BEEN FOUND FLOATING IN A REMOTE PART OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN. SAID TO BE DROPPED THERE BY AN INTERNATIONAL DRUG-SMUGGLING RING.

NEW ZEALAND POLICE PROVIDING THIS ONE-PHOTO OF THE DRUGS FLOATING IN THE WATER – CALLING IT THE NATION’S LARGEST-EVER DRUG SEIZURE AND SAYING THE DISCOVERY HAS DEALT A “SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL BLOW” TO THE DRUG SMUGGLERS.

OFFICIALS ALSO SAY THE COCAINE WAS LIKELY HEADED FOR AUSTRALIA AND VALUED AT MORE THAN 300 MILLION DOLLARS.

BILL PERRY | NEW ZEALAND CUSTOMS SERVICE ACTING COMPTROLLER: “We see perhaps this is just an indication that the transnational organized crime groups are testing the market in different ways, so as agencies, we need to collaborate. I think that it’s evident here today that when we do collaborate in the right space, we do get some phenomenal results.” 

NEW ZEALAND POLICE ALSO SAID THE 3 TONS OF COCAINE CONFISCATED — WOULD BE ENOUGH TO SERVICE THE AUSTRALIAN MARKET FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR. AND WOULD BE MORE THAN NEW ZEALAND WOULD USE IN 30 YEARS.

A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT STASHED IN 81 BALES BUT INTERCEPTED AT SEA AND DESTROYED ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES.

TECH COMPANIES CONTINUE LAYOFFS

THE DOMINOES KEEP FALLING. ONE AFTER THE OTHER — COMPANIES IN THE TECH-SECTOR CONTINUE TO ANNOUNCE JOB LAYOFFS.

THE LATEST BEING THE COMPANY “ZOOM.”CUTTING THEIR WORKFORCE BY AS MUCH AS 15 PERCENT AHEAD OF WHAT THEY — AND THE OTHERS — CALL “ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY.”

ZOOM HAD BOOMED DURING THE PANDEMIC WITH SO MANY JOBS GOING REMOTE — TURNING TO THEIR VIDEO-CHAT SOFTWARE. 13 HUNDRED ZOOM EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO BE IMPACTED BY THE LATEST TECH JOB CUT.

LEBRON JAMES BREAKS NBA SCORING RECORD

THE MAN KNOWN AS “KING JAMES” OFFICIALLY CROWNED AS THE NBA’S ALL TIME SCORING CHAMPION. SURPASSING THE LEGENDARY KAREEM-ABDUL-JABBAR WHO 

YOU SAW THERE IN THE CROWD…AND THEN OFFICIALLY PASSING THE TORCH — AND THE TITLE — BY HANDING THE GAME BALL TO JAMES.

L-B-J…SURPASSING ANOTHER CAREER MILESTONE.