Friday morning news: March 1, 2024 | WORLD – WORLD News Group

WORLD Radio – Friday morning news: March 1, 2024
News of the day, including the Smokehouse Creek fire continues to burn in Texas and former President Trump and President Biden visit the U.S. southern border
Fire officials help put out smoldering debris of a home destroyed by the Smokehouse Creek Fire in Stinnett, Texas, Thursday Associated Press/Photo by Julio Cortez
Texas wildfire » A catastrophic wildfire tearing across the Texas Panhandle is now the second-largest in U.S. history.
President Biden told reporters:
BIDEN: We’ve already had more than 500 federal personnel here working on fire suppression. That includes the deployment of more than 100 federal firefighters, and more are on the way.
The so-called Smokehouse Creek fire started on Monday, and it has already burned well over a million acres.
For perspective, that’s an area significantly bigger than the state of Rhode Island, and it’s large enough to stretch from New York City to Philadelphia.
One Texas resident said strong winds have been picking up the ashes and blanketing other nearby areas.
RESIDENT: It was absolutely unreal. We went through, I bet, 30 miles of what I can only describe as a lunar landscape — just absolute barren desert.
The flames are ravaging homes and cattle ranches and are now to blame for at least two deaths.
Trump and Biden border visits » Meantime, in South Texas the U.S.-Mexico border was the backdrop for dueling campaign appearances by President Biden and former President Trump.
In Eagle Pass, Trump took aim at the incumbent pointing to a series of recent headlines about crimes tied to migrant suspects.
TRUMP: Migrant crime, we call it Biden migrant crime, but that’s a little bit long, so we’ll just leave it. But every time you hear the term ‘migrant crime’ you know where that comes from.
He said the president’s policies — and record levels of illegal immigration since Biden took office are the reason.
But speaking in Brownsville Texas, President Biden shifted the blame back on Republicans for rejecting a recent Senate bill.
BIDEN: Here’s what I would say to Mr. Trump: Instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me, or I’ll join you, in telling Congress to pass this bipartisan border security bill.
Many Republicans say the Senate bill would not fix the border crisis and might even make it worse. A small number of House lawmakers have been working on their own plan.
Recent polls indicate border security is now a top election year issue.
Government funding bill » On Capitol Hill …
AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 320. The nays are 99. The bill is passed.
Members of the House passed a short-term funding bill Thursday, very short term. It will fund the government for one week, averting a partial government shutdown that would have occurred tonight.
The Senate passed the bill a short time later.
AUDIO: The yeas are 77. The nays are 13, and the bill is passed.
That buys Congress a little more time to come together on a one-year funding package.
Leaders in both chambers appear to have little appetite for an election year shutdown.
Defense Secretary Austin Testifies » Hours earlier, inside a House hearing room:
AUDIO: [Gavel strike] Committee will come to order.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee grilled Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The secretary checked into a hospital in January, and transferred his command without telling the president for several days.
Committee Chairman Mike Rogers:
ROGERS: The chain of command doesn’t work when the commander in chief doesn’t know who to call. That’s why we want to know who made the decision to withhold that information from the president.
Austin said no one intentionally kept the White House in the dark adding that he takes responsibility for the lapse. But he added:
AUSTIN: At no time during my treatment or recovery were there any gaps in authorities and there was no risk to the department’s command and control.
Republicans say they’re not satisfied with the findings of an internal Pentagon review, which they say holds no one accountable for the incident.
Gaza aid convoy deaths » Dozens of Palestinians are dead in Gaza City after an incident around an aid convoy on Thursday when Israeli troops opened fire, saying they were under threat.
Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder:
RYDER: The situation highlights the tragic nature of this conflict. We’re of course very sad to hear about this loss of innocent lives.
There have been conflicting reports about what happened.
Israeli Defense Forces — or IDF — says 30 humanitarian aid trucks rolled into the city with a military escort.
The trucks came under fire and stopped. IDF officials say the crowd also approached soldiers in a tank nearby, and that troops fired warning shots, but when they were threatened, they fired at the approaching Palestinians.
Samantha Power is administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development:
POWER: Desperate civilians trying to feed their starving families should not be shot at.
The Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry claims IDF troops killed more than a hundred people.
Israel says only 10 people were shot by IDF soldiers and that most of the deaths were the result of pushing, trampling, and being run over by trucks.
PUTIN: [Speaking Russian]
Putin nuclear war threat » Vladimir Putin is once again threatening nuclear war. In a national address Thursday, he said if NATO moves Western troops into Ukraine, it could trigger a nuclear holocaust.
That comes after French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he has not — and NATO should not — rule out sending military personnel to Kyiv to help with non-combat roles.
U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told reporters:
KIRBY: President Biden has been crystal clear since the beginning of this conflict: There’ll be no U.S. troops on the ground in a combat role there in Ukraine.
Numerous other NATO leaders and member nations have said much the same.
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. Plus, Dune: Part Two.
This is The World and Everything in It.
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