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Construction on southern border wall. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nearly three years after President Trump took office, the first section of his promised southern border wall has been installed about a mile north of the Rio Grande, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The government is scrambling to complete 500 miles of wall by the end of next year, per the Times. However, several roadblocks have cropped up along the way, with House Democrats trying to block funding and private landowners fighting the government in court.

The state of play: Construction started in Donna, Tex. in late October — months behind schedule — in part to ease pressure on border agents near the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest border zone, writes the Times.

  • The two steel squares in place where nothing previously stood are only a small portion of Trump's wall, and remain incomplete. The southwestern border stretches some 1,900 miles.
  • To date, the Trump administration has largely focused on improving and replacing existing barriers in California, Arizona and New Mexico, per the Times.
  • Construction at sites in Hidalgo County, Tex. will cost $167 million, and the contract has been awarded to a Texas company, notes the Times.

The bottom line: In total, about 76 miles of replacement wall have been completed along the border, per federal officials, leaving more than 400 miles to be built in roughly 60 weeks to meet the 2020 deadline.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.