A woman walks by the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in New York. What’s normally a chaotic, crowded tourist hotspot during the holiday season is instead a mask-mandated, time-limited, socially distanced locale due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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New York has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks due to the new Omicron variants, according to The New York Times.

The reason Omicron spreads so rapidly is unclear, but it is likely due to either how contagious it is or how effectively it thwarts the body’s immune system. This variant is said to not cause more serious infections.

A study done in March showed that 70% of cases were the sub-variants BA 2.12 and BA 2.12.1. These sub-variants evolved from BA.2, which comprises 81% of cases in New York. 

“We’re essentially back at levels of case rates back to the Delta wave,” said Eli Rosenberg, deputy director for science at the New York State Department of Health. “This would have been a very significant wave already by last year’s standards.”

Kirsten St. George, a virologist for the state, said that this is a reminder to keep taking safety precautions against the virus, and that “we’re not out of the woods.”

Suspect arrested in Brooklyn shooting

New York City Police, left, and law enforcement officials lead subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, 62, center, away from a police station, in New York, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. The man accused of shooting multiple people on a Brooklyn subway train was arrested Wednesday and charged with a federal terrorism offense after a daylong manhunt and a tipster’s call brought police to him on a Manhattan street. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

On April 12, Frank R. James released smoke bombs and opened fire on Brooklyn subway passengers. James was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon and had an arraignment federal court date, according to ABC 7 News

“I think you’re looking for me,” said James on a phone call to the police. James told police he would be at a McDonald’s on East Sixth Street and First Avenue, waiting and charging his phone. When police arrived, he had left the location. Police were driving around looking for the suspect when bystanders saw and reported James’s location. 

If convicted, James will face life in prison. He will face charges under a federal statute prohibiting terrorism and other violent attacks in a mass transit system; he will also be charged with crossing state lines.

Russian warship damaged by missile strike

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is seen anchored in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, on Sept. 11, 2008. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the ship was damaged Wednesday, April 13, 2022, but not that it was hit by Ukraine. The Ministry says ammunition on board detonated as a result of a fire whose causes “were being established,” and the Moskva’s entire crew was evacuated.(AP Photo, File)

A Russian warship was damaged due to a missile strike explosion, according to the Guardian. The ship is a Russian Black Sea Fleet that will be towed back to port. 

“As a result of a fire, ammunition detonated on the Moskva missile cruiser. The ship was seriously damaged,” the Russian defense ministry was quoted as saying by state-run news agency TASS. Crew members on the ship evacuated.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia is building up its forces in the south and eastern parts of Ukraine. “Rocket bombings and artillery strikes continue,” Zelensky said. “New columns of equipment are being brought in.”

At the beginning of the war, the same ship surrounded Ukrainian troops on Snake Island and ordered them to surrender, but they refused.

Ukraine said it destroyed a large Russian landing support ship, the Orsk, last month on the Sea of Azov which is northeast of the Black Sea.

Finland, Sweden to consider joining NATO 

The President of Finland Sauli Niinisto speaks at the start of his meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson inside 10 Downing Street, in London, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Johnson on Tuesday hosted a meeting of the leaders of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a coalition of 10 states focused on security in northern Europe. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

Russia said that if Finland and Sweden join NATO there will no longer be a nuclear-free Baltic region; this statement comes weeks before the two countries have said they will announce their choice, according to CNBC

The two countries said their security assessments regarding their decision have changed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė of Lithuania, which borders Kaliningrad, said that this attitude from Russia is “nothing new.” The country’s defense minister, Arvydas Anušauskas, told Lithuania’s BNS wire that Russia has long kept nuclear weapons 100 km from the border.

Finland, in order to stay neutral, has refrained from joining since World War II. In the past, Moscow has threatened retaliation and violence in the Nordic region if Finland were to join.

If Finland joins, Sweden will likely follow. They and Ukraine are already “Enhanced Opportunity Partners” with NATO which allows them to partake in military exercises together.

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