5 things for February 21: Syria's civil war, a White House feud and a dementia study

Morning news briefing from CNN
Morning news briefing from CNN

    JUST WATCHED

    Morning news briefing from CNN

MUST WATCH

Morning news briefing from CNN 01:13

(CNN)When a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alum needed to get back to Florida after the school shooting, a couple of New York state troopers stepped up big time to help her. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Gun reform

Florida lawmakers rejected a measure that would ban assault rifles, as stunned student survivors of last week's school shooting watched in the gallery at the state capitol. Busloads of students made the trip to Tallahassee to talk to lawmakers about gun control and to hold a rally.
Survivor: Next mass shooting is on legislators
Survivor: Next mass shooting is on legislators

    JUST WATCHED

    Survivor: Next mass shooting is on legislators

MUST WATCH

Survivor: Next mass shooting is on legislators 02:37
Meanwhile, the pressure grows in Washington to do something on guns. President Trump indicated he's open to strengthening background checks and directed the attorney general to look into banning bump stocks, which help semiautomatic weapons fire like automatics.
    WH responds to the Florida school shooting
    WH responds to the Florida school shooting

      JUST WATCHED

      WH responds to the Florida school shooting

    MUST WATCH

    WH responds to the Florida school shooting 01:44

    2. Syria

    The Syrian government has stepped up the airstrikes on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, with deadly results. At least 250 civilians have been killed by the shelling in the past 48 hours, according to a human rights group. Many of the dead are women and children. The suburb, Eastern Ghouta, is one of the last rebel-controlled areas in the country and has been under siege for years. "These are the worst days of our lives," said one doctor who's trying to treat the hundreds of people wounded in the attacks. CNN's Ben Wedeman says he's run out of words to describe the Syrian civil war's horrors.
    Syrian government attacks kill more than 100
    ghouta shelling no words ben wedeman_00014601

      JUST WATCHED

      Syrian government attacks kill more than 100

    MUST WATCH

    Syrian government attacks kill more than 100 02:17

    3. North Korea

    Turns out Vice President Mike Pence was supposed to meet with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader, during his visit to South Korea at the start of the Winter Olympics. But the North pulled out of the meeting at the last moment. Observers say that's a sign US efforts to put pressure on the regime are working. President Trump had signed off on the decision to meet, with the caveat that the US wouldn't back off its stated demand that Pyongyang abandon its nukes.
    VP office: NK proposed meeting with Pence
    VP office: NK proposed meeting with Pence

      JUST WATCHED

      VP office: NK proposed meeting with Pence

    MUST WATCH

    VP office: NK proposed meeting with Pence 01:35

    4. White House

    The President's son-in-law and his chief of staff are feuding. Chief of Staff John Kelly ordered an overhaul of the security clearance process for top White House officials. Jared Kushner, who still only has an interim security clearance, is worried Kelly's directive was targeting him, according to a report in The New York Times. So Kushner is reportedly pushing back on giving up access to classified information, despite his current security clearance status.
    NYT: Kushner resisting restricted access
    NYT: Kushner resisting restricted access

      JUST WATCHED

      NYT: Kushner resisting restricted access

    MUST WATCH

    NYT: Kushner resisting restricted access 01:55

    5. Alcohol and dementia

    A new study suggests drinking a lot can increase your risk for dementia. The study, published in the journal Lancet Public Health, looked at more than 1 million adult patients released from hospitals in France who were diagnosed with dementia. Researchers determined that out of that group, about 16.5% of the men and 4% of the women had also abused alcohol. The link was really strong for those with early-onset dementia, diagnosed when the patient is younger than 65. Past research has shown that heavy alcohol use can have a toxic effect on the brain and lead to long-term structural damage.
    What is dementia?
    What is dementia?

      JUST WATCHED

      What is dementia?

    MUST WATCH

    What is dementia? 01:16

    This just in:

    Agreement reached
    Myanmar and Bangladesh agree to resettle as many as 6,000 Rohingyas trapped in a "no man's land" between the two nations.
    Rohingya face appalling conditions in Rakhine State
    Rohingya face appalling conditions in Rakhine State

      JUST WATCHED

      Rohingya face appalling conditions in Rakhine State

    MUST WATCH

    Rohingya face appalling conditions in Rakhine State 03:47

    WINTER OLYMPICS

    ONE LAST RIDE
    Lindsey Vonn settled for the bronze in downhill skiing in what's probably her final Olympics. Vonn, 33, was one of the favorites to win the event, but she couldn't keep pace with 25-year-old Italian Sofia Goggia, who won the gold.
    Gold medalist Sofia Goggia, center, of Italy celebrates with silver medalist Ragnhild Mowinckel, left, of Norway and bronze medalist Lindsey Vonn, right, of the United States during the victory ceremony for the Ladies' Downhill.
    HISTORIC WIN
    Team USA did get good news in the women's cross-country skiing team sprint, where Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall gave the US its first gold medal in the event.
    Jessie Diggins of the United States, left, and Kikkan Randall of the United States celebrate winning the  gold in the Cross Country Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final.
    COOL RUNNINGS 2
    Canada's team will be the hot favorite for the gold in the women's bobsled competition, but all eyes will be on the Jamaican women making their debut in the event. The final day of competition in bobsled begins later this morning.
    Jamaica's Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, right, and Carrie Russell walk off the track after a bobsled run in the Winter Olympic Games on February 20.
    HEADED HOME
    The US men's hockey team's drive to grab a medal is over after it lost to the Czech Republic in a quarterfinal shootout. The Czechs will face either Norway or the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the semis.
    Team Czech Republic celebrates its win after an overtime shootout against Team USA.

    BREAKFAST BROWSE

    People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
    Big star theory
    Those lovable geeks on "Big Bang Theory" will have even more to geek out about when Bill Gates guest stars on the show later this season.
    Bill Gates speaks during a panel discussion at Hunter College on February 13 in New York City.
    Unreal flight
    Can't afford a flight to Paris? Don't worry, you can still go -- thanks to a Japanese company and virtual reality.
    "I can't believe I'm here!" You're not. It's virtual reality.
    Panther power
    "Black Panther" is not just challenging traditions and norms in Hollywood. The movie's soundtrack just might change the music biz too.
    Kids see themselves in 'Black Panther' heroes
    Kids see themselves in 'Black Panther' heroes

      JUST WATCHED

      Kids see themselves in 'Black Panther' heroes

    MUST WATCH

    Kids see themselves in 'Black Panther' heroes 01:50
    All hail the Queen
    You know your fashion week is on point when Queen Elizabeth II grabs a front-row seat to take in a show.
    Britain's Queen Elizabeth sits between fashion editor Anna Wintour, right, and Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council (BFC) as they view Richard Quinn's runway show   Tuesday.

    NUMBER OF THE DAY

    $850 million
    That's how much 3M is paying to settle a lawsuit claiming it contaminated water in Minnesota, where the company is headquartered.

    AND FINALLY ...

    Drop it on me
    Water balloons and bouncy balls dropped from a 40-ton crane in slow motion? Just what you need to get through hump day. If you want to get to the slow part, fast-forward to 1:50. See what I did there? (Click to view)