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Biden clarifies school reopening goal; Trump slams McConnell; the latest on the winter storm

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Today is Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Let's get caught up.

These headlines are in the news this morning: President Biden restated his school reopening goal during a town hall in Wisconsin; Trump rips McConnell; and millions remain without power from winter storm.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


Top stories

When asked about children receiving a coronavirus vaccine, President Joe Biden reassured an 8-year-old about her low risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 during CNN's presidential town hall.

Biden reframes his goal on reopening of elementary schools

MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Joe Biden is promising a majority of elementary schools will be open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office, restating his goal after his administration came under fire when aides said schools would be considered open if they held in-person learning just one day a week.

Biden's comments, during a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, marked his clearest statement yet on school reopenings. Biden had pledged in December to reopen “the majority of our schools” in his first 100 days but has since faced increasing questions about how he would define and achieve that goal, with school districts operating under a patchwork of different virtual and in-person learning arrangements nationwide. Read more:

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Trump Impeachment

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to the chamber as the Senate voted to consider hearing from witnesses in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. 

Trump rips McConnell as GOP divide deepens post-Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the most caustic sign yet of deepening GOP divisions, former President Donald Trump blistered Mitch McConnell as a “political hack” on Tuesday, days after the Senate’s top Republican denounced him as the inciter of U.S. Capitol attack.

“The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a statement released by his political action committee.

The deeply personal attack follows McConnell's speech over the weekend saying that Trump was responsible for the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Read more:

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Winter Weather Texas

Howard Mamu shovels snow at the Glennwood in Hutto, Texas, Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021. The worst U.S. power outages were in Texas, affecting more than 2 million homes and businesses. 

Millions endure record cold without power; at least 20 dead

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) — A winter storm that left millions without power in record-breaking cold weather claimed more lives, including three people found dead after a tornado hit a seaside town in North Carolina and four family members who perished in a Houston-area house fire while using a fireplace to stay warm.

The storm that overwhelmed power grids and immobilized the Southern Plains on Tuesday carried heavy snow and freezing rain into New England and the Deep South and left behind painfully low temperatures. Wind-chill warnings extended from Canada into Mexico.

In all, at least 20 deaths were reported. Read more:

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Today's weather

Texas is taking another punch from old man winter after already being debilitated by ice, snow and cold. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the details.

Texas is taking another punch from old man winter after already being debilitated by ice, snow and cold. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the details.

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In other news today ...

  • The former Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City is to be imploded this morning after falling into such disrepair that chunks of the building began peeling off and crashing to the ground.
  • The Black owner of 14 McDonald's franchises says the company has shown more favorable treatment to white owners and denied him the opportunity to buy restaurants in more affluent communities, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Youngstown.
  • At least 11 people were rescued Tuesday evening after a large water main break in Philadelphia left cars submerged and the area completely flooded, authorities said.
  • “Game of Thrones” stars Rose Leslie and Kit Harington have welcomed a baby boy, their first child together.

Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.

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Image of the day

APTOPIX Winter Weather West Virginia

Two men climb over downed trees as they head out to retrieve gas for generators, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Huntington, W.Va., following a winter weather system. 

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On this date

During World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops, and more events…

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