Morning Headlines - Friday, Dec. 15, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin headlines, and today's meme.

Morning Headlines - Friday, Dec. 15, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Congress Approves Bill Barring Any President From Unilaterally Withdrawing From NATO

Congress has approved legislation that would prevent any president from withdrawing the United States from NATO without approval from the Senate or an Act of Congress.

The measure, spearheaded by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which passed out of the House on Thursday and is expected to be signed by President Biden.

The provision underscores Congress’s commitment to the NATO alliance that was a target of former President Trump’s ire during his term in office. The alliance has taken on revitalized importance under Biden, especially since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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Israel Tells U.S. Its Current Phase Of Heavy Fighting Likely To Finish In 2-3 Weeks, Two Officials Say

The Israelis have told the U.S. that the current phase of their offensive against Hamas, with heavy air strikes and a large ground operation, should be complete in the next 2-3 weeks, according to two U.S. officials.

One official cautioned that this would not mean an end to combat operations, but it would bring about a reduced intensity and a lower level of bombing with more targeted strikes while the Israelis pursue the remaining leadership of Hamas.

In a meeting with national security adviser Jake Sullivan Thursday, the Israeli defense minister said the war "will last more than several months," predicting the next phase of targeted raids is likely to be a long one.

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Supreme Court Allows Illinois Semiautomatic Weapons Ban To Stay In Place

The Supreme Court has allowed an Illinois law banning high-powered semiautomatic weapons to remain in place.

In a Thursday order with no noted dissents or explanation of its decision, the Supreme Court denied a request from the National Association for Gun rights, which asked for a preliminary injunction.

The ban, signed by Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in January, includes penalties for individuals who, "carries or possesses… manufactures, sells, delivers, imports, or purchases any assault weapon or .50 caliber rifle."

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Michigan Court Of Appeals Rules Trump Can Remain On 2024 GOP Primary Ballot

Michigan's Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that former President Donald Trump could remain on the state's 2024 GOP primary ballot and wouldn't be disqualified from running in the state under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The Michigan court upheld two lower courts' rulings by rejecting an appeal filed by the watchdog group Free Speech For People on behalf of a group of Michigan voters.

The court said in a 3-0 opinion that the plaintiff's challenge was not "ripe" on procedural grounds and did not specifically rule on whether Trump fell under the disqualification clause.

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Sun's Strongest Solar Flare In Years Knocks Out Radio Frequencies

The Sun sent out a monster solar flare of high-energy radiation that NASA captured on Thursday in what NOAA Space Weather said was "likely one of the largest" such events ever recorded.

These powerful bursts of energy "can impact radio communications, electric power grids, navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts," per a NASA statement. Radio frequency blackouts were reported across the U.S. after this one.

The Sun's activity is measured in 11-year cycles and flares are classified by their range and strength, from the weakest, B class, to C, M and the strongest, X.

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Wisconsin Headlines

The Race To Replace Lead Pipes Across Wisconsin Gets A Boost

Every day, communities across Wisconsin get their drinking water from lead pipes.

“So, lead exposure is dangerous to people of all ages, but pregnant women and young children are particularly at risk,” said Ann Hirekatur, the lead and copper section manager at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

She works with local communities to identify and map lead pipes in Wisconsin — and there are plenty.

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Legislation To Require Department Of Corrections To Notify Public On Status Of Lockdowns And Solitary Confinement

A group of lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate are introducing new legislation that would increase the level of transparency on the status of modified movements, lockdowns and cases of solitary confinement across Wisconsin state prisons and county jails.

The legislation comes in addition to a series of bills introduced in November aiming to improve the current conditions of correctional facilities by increasing access to sanitation and hygiene resources, opportunities for recreation, and developmental programming to help rehabilitate those incarcerated.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court Makes Interim State Court Director Permanent

The Wisconsin Supreme Court announced Dec. 14 that the director of state courts job will be filled by the person who has been doing it since August, despite complaints that the hiring was illegal because she had been elected to serve as a Milwaukee County judge.

Audrey Skwierawski took a leave from her job as a Milwaukee County circuit judge to work as the state court administrator since the court flipped to majority liberal control in August. She will resign as a judge and assume the state court director job on a permanent basis starting Dec. 31, the court announced.

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WisDOT’s New Website Delivers Improved Accessibility, Mobile Optimization

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) launched its new website this week, wisconsindot.gov​, as the agency’s go-to source for information. In addition to a fresh new look, the website features enhanced ADA accessibility and a mobile-responsive design for streamlined access to business needs.

“WisDOT strives to serve all who use our transportation system and much of that begins online,” Secretary Craig Thompson said. “We understand the importance of easily accessing our project, road condition, safety and licensing information. We are excited about the improved customer experience and we’re confident the new website will better serve its more than eight million annual visitors.”

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Texas Defeats Wisconsin 3-1 In The NCAA National Semifinals

Texas defeated Wisconsin 3-1 in the NCAA national semifinals at Amalie Arena to put an end to Wisconsin's season.

Texas jumped out to a 25-22 win in the first set hitting .300 and holding Wisconsin to .206.

However, Wisconsin turned things around in the second set winning 25-20 to even the match. The Badgers hit .243 in the second set, holding Texas to .075. Wisconsin had five blocks in the second set alone.

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Last Update: Dec 15, 2023 6:51 am CST

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