By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
It’s extremely busy at the White House this week. Officials are facing a host of challenges surrounding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, President Joe Biden is moving closer to picking a Supreme Court nominee. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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Russian forces have begun an attack on Ukraine, with reports of troops crossing the border from multiple directions and explosions in several cities — including the capital Kyiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of bloodshed unless Ukrainian forces lay down their arms. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is appealing for peace and Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations is calling on the UN Security Council to help stop the invasion, saying it’s too late to speak about de-escalation. Later today, Biden is expected to spell out a set of sanctions, vowing the world will “hold Russia accountable” for the attack. Follow CNN’s full coverage of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The CDC is expected to make an announcement as early as tomorrow about new metrics that will guide Covid-19 restrictions such as mask-wearing. Current guidance says people who live in counties with substantial or high levels of Covid-19 transmission should wear masks indoors. While this will not change, the CDC says it will adjust the way it assesses “community levels of disease.” In other words, the agency will shift away from looking at cases alone to looking at “meaningful consequences” of the virus, such as hospitalizations, emergency room visits and deaths. Guidance about different mitigation measures, such as masking and social distancing, will be based on the levels of disease in an individual county. This comes on the heels of new experiments suggesting that the subvariant BA.2 may be capable of causing more severe disease than the original Omicron strain.
3. Police violence
The shooting death of Breonna Taylor and the killing of George Floyd are in the spotlight as trials move forward to determine the fate of the former officers involved. Brett Hankison is the only officer of three involved in the raid that led to the 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor who was charged with a crime — though his charges are not related to Taylor’s death. Six witnesses were called to testify yesterday and the jurors will all take a trip to view the apartment complex themselves tomorrow. Separately, a jury concluded its first day of deliberations yesterday in the civil rights case of 3 ex-officers connected to George Floyd’s killing. The trial comes about 21 months after Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was handcuffed and pressed to the pavement as Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck and back for more than 9 minutes, resulting in Floyd’s death. The jury is expected to resume deliberations today.
Two top prosecutors working on the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into the Trump Organization resigned yesterday, leaving the years-old probe without two key players as it appeared to have entered a crucial phase. The reasons for their departures remain unclear, but officials say the investigation will carry on. CNN reported in December that the investigation appears to be coming to a head, with prosecutors focusing on the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial statements when seeking financing, according to people familiar with the matter. Separately, former President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who also served as senior White House adviser, is now in discussions with the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection to voluntarily appear for an interview, according to her spokesperson and two sources familiar with the probe.
The Canadian government announced it will lift the Emergencies Act that allowed the use of the military to address trucker protests across the country over Covid-19 mitigation measures. “After careful consideration, we’re ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference in Ottawa yesterday, lifting the act that was imposed 10 days ago. Trudeau said police have the tools they need to continue to deal with unlawful protesters, which are now reduced to small pockets of demonstrations across the country. As the situation calms down, a heavy police presence will remain in Ottawa’s downtown core, officials said.
Pets can boost your brain power, study says
The best type of therapist has fur and four legs! Not only do pets provide stress reduction, our furry (and scaly) friends also improve cognitive health.
Viola Davis plays Michelle Obama in new series “The First Lady”
The pressure! Davis said it keeps her up at night knowing the Obamas might see her work.
Yeezy Gap unveils Balenciaga collection that includes a $440 jacket
Any fashion collaboration involving Kanye West = waiting list. Most of the limited-edition styles sold out within minutes after they were posted online.
Bath & Body Works CEO to step down
Despite the change in ranks, the company remains one of the biggest pandemic winners thanks to increased demand for its sanitizers, scented candles and air fresheners from people spending more time at home.
A doghouse struck by a meteorite has sold at auction for $44,000
Fun fact: Objects hit by meteorites are actually more valuable than the meteorite itself!
That’s the price per barrel of oil that was surpassed earlier today as Russia began its attack on Ukraine. Brent crude, the global benchmark, last traded above $100 a barrel in 2014. Oil supplies are already tight and analysts have warned that any disruptions to exports from Russia, the world’s No. 2 oil producer, would drive prices even higher.
“The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me.”
— Matthew Hutchins, the widower of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, on how he believes actor Alec Baldwin should be held responsible for the shooting death of his late wife. Halyna Hutchins died in October after Baldwin discharged a prop gun during a rehearsal on the set of the film “Rust.” In an interview airing today on NBC, Hutchins said “multiple responsible parties” did not follow industry standards.
A robot spy otter quietly captured adorable real otters in their natural element. (Click here to view)
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