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5 things to know for March 15: Ukraine, Covid-19, Rideshare apps, Abortion, Australia


By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just “make more rain” to combat the drought? Well, some parts of the US are doing exactly that. Scientists are flying planes into clouds and injecting them with silver iodide to make more rain and snow. Some call the process necessary, but others say modifying the weather is getting in the way of nature. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Ukraine

Pressure is mounting on President Biden and NATO members to provide further assistance to Ukrainians. Russian troops continue to strike residential buildings and populated areas, and recently left smoldering homes in the besieged city of Mariupol. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Biden to ratchet up efforts to cut off Russia from international trade and to continue targeting the Russian elite. The US and its allies have issued a wide range of actions in recent weeks intended to punish Moscow, including harsh new sanctions aimed at imposing severe costs on the Russian economy. However, while Biden is working to isolate and punish Russia, American officials are expressing concern about the budding partnership between Moscow and Beijing. The US now has information suggesting China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with assistance as part of its war on Ukraine, a Western official and a US diplomat told CNN. President Zelensky is also planning to virtually address Congress tomorrow.

Want to help? Learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine here. CNN’s audience has contributed more than $5.2 million to the humanitarian relief work according to Public Good, the online donation platform partnering with CNN.

2. Coronavirus

The US has crossed into year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, and while the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are heading in the right direction, health experts say the world is certainly not out of the woods yet. There are an average of about 1,200 Americans still dying from Covid-19 each day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. However, over the next few weeks, the CDC forecasts a decrease in hospitalizations and deaths, particularly as the weather improves and people head outside, where it’s less likely that they’ll catch Covid. In China, though, 37 million people are currently in Covid lockdown as the country battles its worst coronavirus outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.

3. Rideshare apps

Rideshare companies Uber and Lyft have announced plans to add a small fee on rides to help drivers deal with rising gas prices across the country. Starting tomorrow, Uber users will pay an extra $0.45 or $0.55 per trip and an additional $0.35 or $0.45 for Uber Eats for at least the next two months, depending on the location. Uber said all of the money from the surcharges will go to drivers to help “soften the burden” of higher gas prices. Lyft did not specify how much extra passengers will pay or when the surcharge will go into effect. As of today, the national average price for gas is $4.31 a gallon, with California holding the highest price at $5.75 a gallon.

4. Abortion

The Colorado House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill supporting abortion rights. The legislation states that “every individual has a fundamental right to use or refuse contraception [and] every pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue the pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion.” The Democratic sponsor of the bill hailed its passage as a “big win for protecting access to abortion and reproductive health care.” Some Republicans, on the other hand, strongly disagree. This comes after restrictive abortion laws have been recently advanced by Republican state legislatures across the country. Florida, West Virginia and Arizona have all moved on 15-week abortion bans this session. And in Idaho, the state legislature gave final approval yesterday to a bill that would ban abortion after six weeks and allow the father, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle of the fetus to bring legal action against the medical professional who performed the abortion.

5. Australia

An Australian court has overturned a landmark climate ruling — spearheaded by a group of teenagers — that ordered the federal environment minister to consider the impact of carbon emissions on children when approving new coal mining projects. The case was brought by eight Australians under 18 years old. Outside the Federal Court in Sydney today, the lead litigant in the case said she was “devastated by the decision and so, so angry.” The Australian government is considered a laggard on climate action. In October, days before the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Prime Minister Scott Morrison finally announced the country would join other developed nations by aiming to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.


Ford will ship Explorers without all the parts — and add them later

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The country superstar took herself out of the competition, saying she didn’t feel like she’d “earned that right.” Dolly is, and will forever be, a class act.

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The Rolling Stones announce new ‘Sixty’ tour

The legendary band isn’t done rocking yet! They’ve scheduled 14 shows this summer in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

Holes the size of city blocks are forming in the Arctic seafloor

Sounds like a deep issue… Scientists say this is the result of a frozen layer of Earth’s surface thawing underneath the seabed.



That’s how many migrants arrived in the Florida Keys yesterday in a “smuggling event,” a Border Patrol official said. The migrants are believed to be Haitian and many were in need of medical attention. The arrival comes little more than a week after another boat carrying about 300 migrants, also believed to be Haitian, ran aground near Key Largo.


“Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.”

— Director Jane Campion, apologizing to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams for a comment she made during her acceptance speech at Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards. “The Power of the Dog” director received backlash after she acknowledged other best director nominees and then said, “Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels. However, you don’t play against the guys, like I have to.” In addition to being inaccurate (the tennis champions have faced off against men), some viewed Campion’s statement as dismissive of two successful Black women’s accomplishments.


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Hungry hungry hamster

Watch this hamster enjoy a feast — with a funny ending! (Click here to view)

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