Let's get down to business

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY
·5 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

For the oldest president in the history of the United States, President Joe Biden sure moves fast. Since taking office, Biden has gotten right to business, signing a medley of executive orders.

It's Ashley, and I'm just trying to keep up. Let's talk news.

But first, Katy Perry brought the fireworks: Go to bed early last night (like me) and miss the inaugural concert? Here are the can't-miss celebrity moments from "Celebrating America." 🎆

The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe here!

President Biden: *Hold my beer*

After signing 15 orders on his first day in office, Biden's burst of executive action continued Thursday, as he signed 10 orders and other directives aimed at jump-starting the administration's national strategy on COVID-19. In addition to mandating masks on federal property, Biden signed an order mandating masks on planes. The new travel-specific order will require people to wear masks in airports and on public transportation. The president also invoked the Defense Production Act to boost the supply of coronavirus testing and vaccination supplies, among a range of other orders and directives.

President Joe Biden signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington.

It appears we aren't in agreement on the Paris Agreement

Another move Biden's made? He kept a campaign promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change, a treaty the United States formally exited in November after Trump withdrew in 2017. The move sparked some confusion about the name of the agreement — and some backlash.

  • Why are some upset about it? Many Republicans believe the Paris accord unfairly limits American job and economic growth with little concrete return. Following the move to rejoin, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Biden is more interested in "the citizens of Paris" than Pittsburgh.

  • What does it have to do with Paris? It actually has nothing to do with "citizens of Paris." The Paris Agreement bears the name of the city where world leaders in 2015 negotiated the historic pact to combat global warming.

  • Scientists and world leaders say the agreement's plans for reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases will prevent a dangerous increase in global temperatures that's projected to raise sea levels, worsen droughts and more.

What everyone’s talking about

This vaccine could be a 'game changer'

A COVID-19 vaccine being developed by New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson could dramatically speed up the fight against the pandemic. Unlike the two vaccines already in use, this one would require only one dose and would not need to be stored at super-cold temperatures. Results from clinical trials of the new vaccine are expected by the end of this month. The vaccine could become the third authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.

Right now, however, the vaccine situation is a hot mess: A number of states are reporting they are running out of approved vaccines, and tens of thousands who managed to get appointments for a first dose are seeing them canceled.

This September 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the company.
This September 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the company.

Someone had a great night, and it wasn’t just Biden

The history-making run of the Powerball jackpot came to an end Wednesday night, with a winning ticket sold in Maryland. The $730 million prize (!!!) was the fourth-largest in the game's history and the fifth-largest in U.S. lottery history. Who’s the lucky winner? Maryland allows winners to remain anonymous, so we may never find out. Still feeling lucky? Another chance at a massive payout awaits Friday night: The Mega Millions jackpot has ballooned to a projected $970 million, the third-largest in U.S. history. Here's how bad your odds are.

Real quick

The vast legal fallout of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

On the day more than 20,000 mourners said goodbye to Kobe Bryant in February, the first lawsuit hit the docket in a Los Angeles court. In the complaint, Vanessa Bryant alleged that the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California – which left her husband, daughter and seven others dead – could have been avoided. Nearly one year after the helicopter crash that killed Bryant; his daughter, Gianna; and seven other people, that wrongful death lawsuit is one of nine that have been filed. Tom Schad took an in-depth look at the complex legal fallout of the crash.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa Bryant attend an NHL game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Mar 9, 2016.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and wife Vanessa Bryant attend an NHL game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Mar 9, 2016.

A break from the news

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden executive order, Paris Agreement, COVID-19: Thursday's news