Tuesday, February 20, 2018

5 things you need to know Wednesday

Editors, USA TODAY
Published 4:34 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2018

‘New American moment’?: Fallout from Trump’s State of the Union address

Washington will still be reverberating Wednesday following President Trump’s first official State of the Union address. Trump’s speech, which attempted to turn what he sees as successes of his first year in office into a second-year agenda, didn’t mention the most perilous challenge his administration faces: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election. USA TODAY took on 15 of Trump’s claims he made during his speech — some rang true while others were mostly false or exaggerated. And this group of swing voters rated the speech overall as not terribly convincing. If you didn’t catch the State of the Union, here’s a recap of the buzzworthy moments that you missed inside and outside the Capitol, including a Democratic response that drew comparisons to former president Barack Obama. 

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Look up this morning and behold a lunar trifecta

Skywatchers got a rare triple treat Wednesday morning: a supermoon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse. How rare is that? It’s the first blue moon total lunar eclipse in the U.S. since 1866. A blue moon it refers to a second full moon in a single calendar month, not the color. A supermoon occurs when the full moon is at the closest point of its orbit to the Earth. That makes the moon look extra close and extra bright. As for the total lunar eclipse, you may still be able to catch a glimpse: it will be visible from western North America to eastern Asia and will last about 3½ hours beginning at 3:48 a.m. PT. The best view will be on the West Coast.

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The full moon on January 31st will combine three rare lunar events for the first time in 150 years.
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Convicted gymnastics coach to face more sentencing

Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar is set to begin sentencing Wednesday for three more charges of sexual assault. Nassar was sentenced last week to between 40 and 175 years on seven charges in Ingham County, Mich., and will face a judge in Eaton County on the additional charges. As part of his plea deals, Nassar had to listen to 156 victim-impact statements over seven days of sentencing, including powerful statements from Olympic medalists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber. At least 57 people are expected to read victim-impact statements during this week’s hearings.

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USA Gymnasts Aly Raisman and Jordyn Weiber addressed their abuser, Larry Nassar, at his sentence hearing.
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FEMA ending Puerto Rico storm relief aid

With 20% of Puerto Rico residents still without running water after Hurricane Maria, the federal government will cut off food and water shipments Wednesday. Alejandro De La Campa, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Puerto Rico, told NPR the decision to “officially shut off” relief aid comes amid progress in restoring power and basic services on the Caribbean island. Florida’s two senators have criticized the decision, and several members of Congress brought guests to President Trump’s State of the Union Address to highlight the island’s slow recovery. The devastating and costly storm made landfall on Sept. 20 as a Category 4 hurricane. 

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The U.S. Marines Corp, Toys for Tots, Hasbro, and Hillwood Airways joined forces to deliver 30,000 toys and games, to families in need in Puerto Rico, just in time for the holidays.
USA TODAY

As opioid crisis grows, judge aims for solutions, settlement

Lawyers, drugmakers and distributors will come together Wednesday to hammer out a legal deal that starts guiding the nation out of an epidemic of opioid addiction. More than 250 federal lawsuits against companies that make and distribute prescription opioids have been consolidated under Judge Dan Polster, who is based in Cleveland. Polster is pushing for a resolution before the case goes to trial. He has invited many parties to his federal courthouse to broker a settlement in a closed-door setting. Addiction experts are scheduled to address the lawyers on Wednesday.  

Contributing: The Associated Press

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