A trailblazing secretary of state

·5 min read

Madeleine Albright died at 84. A tornado swept through New Orleans. And a black box from the Chinese plane that crashed is in bad shape, but it's been recovered.

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Trailblazing secretary of state dies at 84

Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, who arrived in the U.S. as a young girl from war-torn Czechoslovakia before becoming a political and feminist icon, died Wednesday at 84. Albright's death from cancer was confirmed by her family in a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday. Albright, who served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton, pushed for NATO expansion eastward into the former Soviet bloc and helped lead the NATO bombing campaign in 1999 to halt ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. She previously served as Clinton's U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997. News of Albright's death came as President Joe Biden was aboard Air Force One en route to a NATO summit in Brussels. Ned Price, the State Department's chief spokesman, called Albright a "trailblazer," adding Biden and his chief diplomat Antony Blinken had been notified.

Madeleine Albright in an interview with USA TODAY
Madeleine Albright in an interview with USA TODAY

SCOTUS nominee would recuse herself in Harvard admissions case

In a second day of questioning from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson said she would recuse herself in a case before the court about the use of race in the admissions process at Harvard University. Jackson, a Harvard Law graduate and member of the college’s board of overseers, had faced calls for recusal even before her confirmation hearings began this week. She has sat on the board since 2016. During questioning, Jackson explained her sentencing practices as a District Court judge in Washington and her views on expanding the Supreme Court, among other topics.

  • Opinion: Republicans tripped over themselves to take shots at Ketanji Brown Jackson. She knew what to do.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee as she attends the third day of her confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday,
Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee as she attends the third day of her confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday,

What everyone's talking about

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US accuses Russia of war crimes

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the United States had that determined Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion had unleashed “unrelenting violence that has caused death and destruction across Ukraine.” Blinken cited reports of indiscriminate attacks, including those deliberately targeting civilians, among other atrocities.

Also Wednesday:

  • President Joe Biden embarked on a multiday trip to Europe, where he'll talk with allies about the ongoing response to Russia's invasion, including military assistance for Ukraine and new sanctions on Russia.

  • As many as 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began four weeks ago, according to NATO's first estimate. Russia has suffered 30,000 to 40,000 battlefield casualties, including 7,000 to 15,000 killed, a senior NATO military officer said Wednesday.

👉 More news: WNBA star Brittney Griner is in "good condition" in Russian custody. And Biden warns of "real threat" of chemical warfare. Wednesday's latest updates.

A Ukrainian firefighter stands in the ruins of a house destroyed by bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. The Kyiv city administration says Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian capital overnight and early Wednesday morning, in the districts of Sviatoshynskyi and Shevchenkivskyi, damaging buildings.
A Ukrainian firefighter stands in the ruins of a house destroyed by bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. The Kyiv city administration says Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian capital overnight and early Wednesday morning, in the districts of Sviatoshynskyi and Shevchenkivskyi, damaging buildings.

Tornado rocks New Orleans area

Search and rescue crews worked Wednesday in the New Orleans area after a tornado hit parts of the city and surrounding suburbs late Tuesday evening, killing at least one person and ravaging homes. With winds of at least 136 mph, the tornado spawned as part of a larger storm system that struck the South this week. New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish bore the worst of the destruction, where rescue teams worked from Tuesday night into the morning. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted that 8,000 people had lost power due to the twister, but most customers saw service restored by Wednesday morning.

Jane Borrello and her son Colin Labourde salvage belongings after Tornado destroyed house in Arabie, La., Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Jane Borrello and her son Colin Labourde salvage belongings after Tornado destroyed house in Arabie, La., Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Real quick

'Damaged' black box recovered from China Eastern plane crash site

Authorities hope a black box recorder from the China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed this week could help answer why the plane nose-dived into the mountainous countryside. The box was discovered Wednesday and is one of two on the plane, said Mao Yanfeng, director of the accident investigation division of the Civil Aviation Authority of China. It’s not yet clear whether the black box was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder, Mao said. More than 600 firefighters and other officials searched through heavy rain Wednesday morning for the second box, but state media reported search efforts were suspended due to the weather. The plane crash is China’s worst air disaster in a decade. None of the 132 people on board has been found.

In this image taken from video footage run by China's CCTV, an emergency worker puts an orange-colored "black box" recorder into a plastic bag at the China Eastern flight crash site Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
In this image taken from video footage run by China's CCTV, an emergency worker puts an orange-colored "black box" recorder into a plastic bag at the China Eastern flight crash site Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

A break from the news

🐾 Happy National Puppy Day!

Stressed? Drop what you're doing and take a couple minutes to celebrate National Puppy Day with us! Click here to see all the pictures.

It's National Puppy Day, and we're celebrating!
It's National Puppy Day, and we're celebrating!

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🐾❤️ We couldn't include everyone, so here's a special shout-out to everyone who sent in a photo! Celebrating with: Kujo, Ginger and Gina Mescall, Merlin, Ruth, Charlotte and Gloria Caldas, Laura and Sadie, Erin Richards and Zora in Milwaukee, Sookie and Rose Aksterowicz, Teddybear and Kathy Stachkunas, Bodhi and Dave Mollner, Hazel, Milo and Chris Dundon, Diane Albin and Charlie, Maru Santos, Lucy, Chompers, Rocky and Robert in St. Louis, Meeko Suave and Bernadette Jay, Mr. Preston and David Rodriguez, Georgia and Mike Bise, Taylor and Sarah Newman, Hunter, Mark and Jill Hinrichsen, Thanos and Marcia Alcaine, Oliver and Holly Moore, Baxter, Winnie, Hannah and Bradley Cameron, Jeff Serra, Sully and Doni Hamblen, Henri and Peter Anderson, Lukka and Nate, Domino and Robyn, Rylee, Tucker and Becky Nortz, Coco and Steve M., Lily and Carol Pitman, Hawkeye, Remi, Layla, and Jaeger from Atlanta, Daily and Lisa Bond, Pickles and Kimberly in Oklahoma City, Scout and Monica, Lucky and Grace in Maryland, Hailey and Cassie in North Carolina, Eilah Bella and mom Tina Savas, Loki and Maria, Remi, Rocky and Jim Olson, Bond and Serena Naylor, Ruby and Nadine McAfee, Marvin and Todd, Juli, Shylo, their human Trish Spindler, Winston and Kim Barrett, Elsa in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Trooper and Carol Bogedain, Zoey, Luna, Elvis and their human Daniel Mitchell, Lexi and Elizabeth Quintana, Bubba and Tina Ley, Leo and Lara Dodd from Hanover, V.A., Gia and Oriana, Frodo Pupkins and Ron Portash, Cash, Cooper and the Koers family, Sammy and Pete in Pawleys Island, S.C., Ginger, Marsha and Ginger's hedgehog, Hector and India, Teddy and Mark Mecca from Buffalo, Trevor, Winston and their humans Matt and Felicia Carby, Ombré and Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Bruin and Lauren from Jacksonville, Florida, Denali and Amanda from Pittsburgh, Daisy and Elizabeth Hall, Stella and Tami from Ohio, Theodosia and Lourdes Alfonso in Miami, Kobe, Ginger, Zoey and Darrell Colon, Blue and Christy from Washington, Winston and Wallace, their human Paula in New Mexico, Sadie, Cammi and Lori Church, Gabby, Frida and Rango, Douglas Tarta, Amy Erario, Susan Hahn, Sheila Monk, Laura Medvene, Priscilla Zynda-Otsuki, Georgetta Fowler, Elaine Kennedy and Catherine Hernandez.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Madeleine Albright, Chinese plane crash black box, Ketanji Brown Jackson. It's Wednesday's news.