Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!
All sources are at the end of the post.
Biden, McCarthy to discuss debt limit in talks on Wednesday:
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses during a break in the taping of an interview for the Hannity show with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, on Capitol Hill, Jan. 10, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
On Sunday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he looks forward to discussing lifting the debt with President Joe Biden when the two meet Wednesday for their first sit-down at the White House since McCarthy’s election to the post. McCarthy wants to address spending cuts along with raising the debt limit despite the White House having ruled out linking those two issues together as the government tries to avoid a financial default. When asked whether he would make a guarantee, McCarthy said, "There will not be a default,” though he clarified that this depended on the willingness of Biden and Democrats to negotiate. McCarthy has been eager to push Biden to the negotiating table, hoping to make good on the promises the GOP leader made to holdouts during his campaign to become speaker to cut back on federal spending back to 2022 budget levels, which would require a sizable 8% reduction on spending. Meanwhile, the White House maintains that it is unwilling to make policy concessions in exchange for lifting the debt limit.
US finalizing plans to send approximately 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, two US officials say:
Nicolas Armer/dpa/Getty Images
The US is finalizing plans to send approximately 30 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The Biden administration's announcement to send the US-made tanks could come as early as this week, according to CNN on Tuesday. The timing around the actual delivery of the tanks is still unclear and it normally takes several months to train troops to use the tanks effectively, officials said. The US will also send a small number of recovery vehicles, which are tracked vehicles used to assist in the repair of tanks on the battlefield or the removal from the battlefield for service and maintenance in a different location. The pending announcement appears to break a diplomatic impasse with Germany. German officials had openly stated that they would only send their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if the US sent the M-1 Abrams tank, a system US officials had repeatedly stated was overly complex and difficult to maintain. The German government announced on Wednesday it will send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, following weeks of diplomatic pressure to make the move.
6 ‘Memory Bears’ Sewn With Love and Grandpa’s Flannels For Widow’s Grandchildren:
A hospice care volunteer who sews together teddy bears for patients who’ve lost loved ones recently completed a monumental task of teddy bear sextuplets bearing a loving grandfather’s flannels. Patrice Travis works as a volunteer seamstress at AccentCare Hospice care in Texas, sewing a “memory bear” anytime one of their wards passes away. Thomas Lennon worked at the very same hospice for years before he died in August 2022 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease. Thomas’ widow, Mary was asked by AccentCare’s community outreach manager Christina if she wanted a memory bear in Thomas’ honor, but she requested six—one for each of his grandchildren, to be made out of his flannel shirts and in time for Christmas. Travis started right away and researched Thomas for details about him. She decided to make the bears look like “Pom-Pom,” grandpa’s nickname. The grandkids received their bears, each having been added to with one of Pom Pom’s hats, on Christmas morning. The grandkids call the bears “Grandpy.” They take “him” everywhere. Mary glows as she talks of how the bears do activities with the grandkids daily. Now, Grandpy continues to watch over them as their “Bear Angel.”
Critical Discovery Highlights Weaknesses of Asteroids, Should Earth Ever Need to Destroy One:
Artistic rendering of the asteroid Itokawa
Recent surveys of the composition of an asteroid as old as our solar system has revealed key strengths and weaknesses of asteroids that will help humanity defend itself from asteroids. The core study was based on samplings of Itokawa, an asteroid that was found 1.2 million miles from Earth, and showed that composition rather than hardness is the main factor in destroying asteroids. The sample was found to be a “rubble pile” asteroid, meaning that it is made of loose rock and boulders, and most of it is empty space. This “Rubble pile” asteroid was found to be immune to impact weaponry and instead, planetary defense programs must focus on shockwaves that move them off course. Due to this, the researchers believe that nuclear detonations near this type of asteroid would be enough to send it off course, saving our planet from a collision. While it may seem farfetched, current geological data suggests the planet has been hit several times in the past with some planet-ending consequences, so it is best for us to be prepared.
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