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Biden to mark America's 500,000 virus deaths; Texans' sky-high energy bills; Garland gets a hearing
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Biden to mark America's 500,000 virus deaths; Texans' sky-high energy bills; Garland gets a hearing

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Today is Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Let's get caught up.

These headlines are in the news this morning: President Biden will mark a grim milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths; Texans are getting sky-high energy bills; and Merrick Garland will finally get a confirmation hearing.

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


Top stories

Biden

President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Washington. 

Biden to mark nation crossing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will mark the U.S. crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House.

The nation is expected to pass the grim milestone on Monday, just over a year after the first confirmed U.S. fatality due to the novel coronavirus.

The White House said Biden will deliver remarks at sunset to honor those who lost their lives. He will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will participate in the moment of silence and lighting ceremony. Read more:

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Winter Weather Texas

DeAndré Upshaw shows a $5,000 bill from Griddy on his cell phone for his 900-square-foot apartment during very cold weather in Dallas, on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. 

Why some Texans are getting sky-high energy bills

After unusual icy weather left millions of Texans without power, some are facing another crisis: Sky-high electricity bills.

The surge in pricing is hitting people who have chosen to pay wholesale prices for their power, which is typically cheaper than paying fixed rates during good weather, but can spike when there’s high demand for electricity. Many of those who have reported receiving large bills are customers of electricity provider Griddy, which only operates in Texas. Read more:

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Biden Attorney General

In this Jan. 7, 2021, file photo Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. 

Garland to focus on civil rights, political independence

WASHINGTON (AP) — Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general, will appear for his confirmation hearing vowing to prioritize civil rights, combat extremist attacks and ensure the Justice Department remains politically independent.

Garland, a federal appeals court judge who was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2016, will appear Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and is widely expected to sail through his confirmation process with bipartisan support. Read more:

In other news today ...

  • Former President Donald Trump will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, next Sunday, according to a source familiar with the matter, while former Vice President Mike Pence declined an invitation to speak at the conference.
  • Federal aviation regulators are ordering United Airlines to step up inspections of all Boeing 777s equipped with the type of engine that suffered a catastrophic failure over Denver on Saturday.
  • New Zealand lowered its flags on Monday and made special note of those who couldn't travel as it marked the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake that killed 185 people.
  • After beating bone cancer, Hayley Arceneaux figures rocketing into orbit on SpaceX’s first private flight should be a piece of cosmic cake.
  • Christopher Bell defied the odds Sunday and earned his first career Cup series victory — in just his second race since Joe Gibbs Racing pulled him back into its inner circle.

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 Australian Open Tennis

Russia's Daniil Medvedev reaches to hit a forehand to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. 

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On this date

More than 25,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops launched Operation Junction City, aimed at smashing a Vietcong stronghold near the Cambodian…

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