By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
A friendly reminder: Don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes. The deadline is April 18, but get going now because it’ll be a pain if you need to reach the IRS. The agency is dealing with a backlog of matters related to 23 million returns — and is understaffed. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is repeating his call for NATO to establish a no-fly zone over the country following a series of Russian bomb attacks. Recent shelling hit a maternity and children’s hospital in southern Ukraine, killing at least three people — including one child, the Mariupol city council said today. The UN said it would follow up “urgently” and that health care facilities, hospitals and health care workers should not “ever, ever be a target.” All this comes as calls increase for an international effort to investigate potential war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine. Zelensky said the bombing was “proof of a genocide” and a spokesperson for France’s government called the Russian strike “inhumane and cowardly.” Meanwhile, Ukraine is opening up additional corridors in several parts of the country today to increase safe evacuation routes. Want to help? Learn how to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine here.
The House of Representatives passed a massive government funding bill that includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine. The tight time frame to reach an agreement on funding before Friday’s deadline had already frustrated some lawmakers — and then House Democrats became embroiled in an intra-party fight about whether additional Covid relief money should be included in the package. Ultimately, facing pushback from both sides, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the Covid-19 relief would be stripped from the government funding package. House Democrats later introduced a $15.6 billion stand-alone coronavirus relief bill, but it is expected to face GOP opposition in the Senate and will have a difficult time getting the 60 votes needed in that chamber to overcome a filibuster.
3. South Korea
Voters in South Korea have elected a new president. Conservative Yoon Suk Yeol of the People Power Party secured victory by a razor-thin margin, pulling ahead of rival Lee Jae-myung by less than one percentage point. Yoon is a newcomer to politics, having spent the last 27 years of his career as a prosecutor — but he gained support after focusing his campaign on taking a tough stance on North Korea. Inter-Korean relations have been a key electoral issue, with tensions running high amid a recent surge in North Korean missile tests. The country has launched nine missile tests this year alone, including a new type of “hypersonic missile” able to maneuver at high speed — prompting condemnation from the South. Separately, US officials said yesterday that they are intensifying “intelligence, readiness and surveillance collection activities” related to North Korea.
4. Capitol riot
A federal judge said yesterday he will review emails about the 2020 presidential election between right-wing lawyer John Eastman, former President Donald Trump and others before determining if the documents should be turned over to the House select committee investigating January 6 attack at on the US Capitol. The decision is a small step forward in the fast-moving lawsuit in which the House panel is seeking access to Eastman’s emails from Chapman University, his former employer, and Eastman is trying to protect his discussions about or with Trump and his presidential campaign. Separately, the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit yesterday against the House select committee to stop a subpoena for donor and supporter data from the software company Salesforce. The Trump campaign and Trump’s PAC in 2020 also used the software, according to the subpoena.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday calling on the government to study the risks of cryptocurrencies. Biden specifically called for the exploration of a government-backed digital currency that would be operated by the US central bank. He also encouraged regulators to identify and mitigate the risks digital assets pose to the financial system and the broader economy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the new executive order will help the government make markets fairer and more transparent. Sixteen percent of Americans have invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrencies, the White House said in a fact sheet.
Kelly Clarkson reaches divorce settlement with her ex-husband
Love costs… but seriously. The singer is on the hook to pay her ex-husband $1.3 million AND has to dish out $115,000 in monthly spousal support.
MLB cancels more games with labor talks not able to reach a deal
C’mon, life is already throwing us too many curveballs. Some good baseball and ballpark nachos would really help us out.
Ukrainian photographer turns war into art
Instead of wallowing in the destruction around her, this woman is making clever TikTok videos to document her daily life during the Russian invasion.
Amazon’s stock is about to get much, much cheaper
Want a piece of the pie? A 20-for-1 stock split will go into effect June 6.
Affection from a dog really is medicinal, according to a new study
So, dogs are actually dog-tors?! Experts say canine affection may help reduce physical pain for some hospital patients.
That’s approximately how many people are waiting on the national organ transplant list. Earlier this week, a 57-year-old Maryland man died of terminal heart disease after receiving a genetically modified pig heart in a first-of-its-kind transplant surgery in January. He was given the pig heart after doctors deemed him ineligible for a conventional heart transplant or an artificial heart pump after reviews of his medical records — and because the pig heart was the only available option, the patient’s medical center said.
“No settlement will ever come close to addressing the magnitude of suffering and harm caused by Purdue and the Sackler family.”
— Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, after approving a massive $6 billion settlement that will require the Sackler families to pay out states and individuals for its role in creating OxyContin, the drug that became a part of an opioid crisis.
Yes, a diving dog! This adorable golden retriever is probably a better swimmer than most of us. (Click here to view)
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