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The Texas Winter Crisis


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According to The Guardian , Frustration is mounting in Texas, where ferocious winter weather has left millions of people without electricity and heat. Between 2 and 3 million people in Texas still had no power last night after nearly two full days, leaving them with little support against the biting temperatures. Water pipes are bursting, cutting off water supplies, and hours-long queues are snaking around grocery stores as people try to find food. Authorities in Kyle, south of Austin, asked residents to use water only to “sustain life”, with the water supply close to running out.

The outage came after historic levels of snow and bitterly cold temperatures created a surge in demand for electricity to heat homes, causing the state’s power grid to collapse. But as with so many crises, the collapse didn’t hit evenly. Critical infrastructure was exempt from the blackouts, meaning residents in more affluent areas around these services still had power, and some skyscrapers stayed lit up as people in other areas struggled to stay warm. So who controls the power supply and how did this happen? Lauren Arantani answers key questions.

Snow and ice on US 75 heading into downtown Dallas
With sparse traffic on the road, snow and ice covered US 75 heading into downtown Dallas on Monday. Photograph: Juan Figueroa/AP

Across the US, the winter storms have also delayed the coronavirus vaccine rollout by forcing the cancellation of thousands of shots. The icy weather led to the closing of vaccination sites and delays to shipments, and the holdups are expected to last for days.

  • A Texas mayor resigned after telling residents to “get off your ass and take care of your own family” amid the devastation caused by the weather. Tom Boyd, the mayor of Colorado City, posted in the local community Facebook group: “No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice!”
  • Thousands of cold-stunned sea turtles have been rescued in a south Texas resort town, as bitter winter weather threatens their survival. Despite many people lacking basic amenities themselves, some have been pulling up in SUVs with up to 100 of the animals at a time.

Lawmakers are to question executives from the trading app Robinhood, Reddit and other key characters in the GameStop stock trading drama, in what is expected to be a fiery hearing in Congress today.

GameStop’s share price increased by 1,600% in January when small investors, organising on Reddit, deliberately hiked up its value. They did so because they rightly suspected that Wall Street hedge funds had bet the stock price would collapse, leading Wall Street to incur huge losses. However, the app the small investors had been using, Robinhood, briefly suspended trading in GameStop, sparking allegations that Wall Street had intervened to stop itself from losing more money. Still confused? Revisit this brief explainer.

People walk to try to cross the border near the Rio Bravo in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

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