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5 things to know for Feb. 23: Moon landing, Phone outage, Presidential race, Ukraine, Toyota recall


CNN

By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — Millions of visitors flock to America’s national parks each year, but a select number of sites consistently prove to be the most popular. Known for its renowned hikes and majestic meadows, the Great Smoky Mountains just landed its usual No. 1 spot as the most visited park in the country, followed by the world-famous Grand Canyon in second place.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Moon mission

The Odysseus lunar lander, nicknamed “Odie,” has become the first US-made spacecraft to touch down on the moon in 50 years. The uncrewed lander is upright and starting to send data, according to Odie’s developer, Intuitive Machines. “I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting,” the company’s CEO Steve Altemus announced on a live webcast shortly after the touchdown. “Welcome to the moon.” Engineers had to overcome a series of navigation and communication challenges in order to pull off the difficult landing. The commercial spacecraft is designed to assess the lunar environment of the moon’s south pole ahead of NASA’s current plan to return a crewed mission there in late 2026.

2. Phone outage

AT&T has resolved Thursday’s massive service outage that left tens of thousands of people across the US unable to place calls, text or access the internet for nearly 12 hours. Customers also had trouble reaching emergency services and at least one police department reported that its 911 line was briefly flooded with people dialing to see if their calls would go through from their cell phones. At one point, the outage affected more than 70,000 customers as many raised questions over whether malicious activity could have caused the issue. AT&T said in a statement Thursday evening that the outage was caused “by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack.”

3. Presidential race

South Carolina voters will head to the polls on Saturday for the state’s Republican primary election. Former President Donald Trump holds a wide lead among likely GOP voters, but his sole challenger, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, said she would “absolutely” remain in the race through Saturday’s contest in her home state. Performing well in primaries and caucuses equals delegates, and the larger goal is amassing the magic number of 1,215 delegates to win the party’s nomination. As of now, Trump has 63 delegates to Haley’s 17, with 50 at stake in South Carolina this weekend. On the Democratic side, South Carolina already delivered President Joe Biden his first official primary victory of the 2024 campaign on February 3.

4. Ukraine

On the eve of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, residents in the first major Ukrainian city to fall have described the shelling from Russian forces as the worst yet. Tensions are heightened across swaths of Ukraine, but drones and artillery are still pounding the now-liberated city of Kherson at a remarkable frequency, suggesting that Russian forces are not burdened with the same ammunition shortages that Ukrainian troops say they face. Separately, President Biden met Thursday with the wife and daughter of the late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and said sanctions will be imposed on President Vladimir Putin “who is responsible for his death.” A US Treasury official also said the administration will impose new sanctions today on more than 500 targets to levy consequences against Russia.

5. Toyota recall

Toyota is recalling about 280,000 vehicles because they may “creep forward” when in neutral. “Certain parts of the transmission may not immediately disengage when the vehicle is shifted to the neutral position,” the carmaker said in a statement, adding the issue could lead to “an increased risk of a crash.” The recall includes certain Toyota Tundra, Sequoia and Lexus LX 600 vehicles manufactured between 2022 and 2024. Toyota also issued recalls for an additional 23,000 vehicles over software problems and safety issues with the head restraints on some seats. The company said it will inform the owners of recalled vehicles by late April and update the malfunctioning software.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

MLB players concerned about uniform’s ‘see-through’ pants
Major League Baseball players have been faced with an unusual problem ahead of the new season: a malfunctioning wardrobe.

Is it time to revolutionize the toilet?
The design world widely believes that toilets are in need of an upgrade. These innovative solutions could be key to a more sustainable future.

Scientists uncover mystery behind whale song
Eerie and fascinating, whale songs are one of the most mysterious sounds reverberating through the ocean. Now, researchers say they know how the sea creatures vocalize.

A small change by Microsoft was a big jolt for some users
Read why the Microsoft default font change from Calibri to Aptos has upset some users.

Wendy Williams diagnosed with aphasia and dementia
A care team for the former talk show host shared updates Thursday on Williams’ health challenges.

QUIZ TIME

Which state issued flood alerts this week to nearly its entire population?
A. Rhode Island
B. Alaska
C. California
D. Florida

Take me to the quiz

Last week, 47% of readers who took the quiz got eight or more questions right. How will you fare?

TODAY’S NUMBER

3
That’s at least how many fertility clinics in Alabama have paused in vitro fertilization programs in the wake of the state Supreme Court’s ruling last week that says frozen embryos are children. A growing number of Alabama medical personnel say they are halting IVF treatments amid concerns that discarding unwanted embryos could make them liable for wrongful death.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I haven’t ruled anything out.”

— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying he has no intention of serving as Trump’s vice president should he win in November, but is open to the possibility of another White House run in 2028. DeSantis dropped out of the Republican presidential primary last month shortly after losing the Iowa caucuses. His comments came after Trump teased the media during a Fox News town hall on Tuesday by acknowledging that there are at least six people on his shortlist of potential running mates.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY …

NASA is looking for people to live in its Mars simulator
For anyone who has ever dreamed of living on Mars, NASA is seeking potential “Martians” for a yearlong simulated mission to the red planet. See what it takes to get the job.

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