Hubble's Last EVA - Scenes from the STOCC

World Today: A Summary of Today’s News

Today’s news covers a wide range of global events. Russian troops launched an offensive in several regions of Ukraine, including Kiev, resulting in power outages in many areas. Instagram users also faced issues as more than 27,000 were unable to access the social media platform.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden introduced a plan to increase payroll taxes for Americans earning more than $400,000 per year and provide the government with new powers to negotiate drug prices. The White House intends to increase the solvency of the major U.S. health insurance program, Medicare, for the next 25 years.

French senators voted to approve a bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, marking the first victory for President Emmanuel Macron in his efforts to reform the pension system. The move sparked protests and strikes across the country.

In Japan, the House of Representatives approved Kazuo Ueda as the new governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), succeeding Haruhiko Kuroda. The Japanese Senate is set to vote to endorse Ueda on Friday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) terminated the contract of WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Takeshi Kasai, after an internal investigation found that he acted improperly. Kasai was accused of racist behavior and abusing staff at the WHO office in Manila.

The Chinese government is planning to lock down Xi’an, including the closure of various educational institutions and businesses, to control the spread of influenza. This move has raised concerns that China may revert to the stringent measures used to contain COVID-19, which could affect the country’s economy.

In South Korea, President Yun Seok Yeol and his wife will visit Japan on March 16-17 at the invitation of Japan, marking the first visit to Japan in 12 years after South Korea announced plans to end a protracted dispute over wartime forced labor.

Lastly, Rosa Otunbayeva, the UN envoy to Afghanistan, warned that the Taliban’s deprivation of women’s rights is “unfair” and is likely to result in the UN reducing aid and funding for national development. Women in the country are as afraid of being cut off from public life as they are of dying from violence.

Additionally, Silvergate Capital, a key lender for the cryptocurrency industry, announced that it will cease operations and sell Silvergate Bank assets to pay debts, causing Silvergate Capital shares to drop more than 43% after the New York Stock Exchange closed.

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