Start your week smart: Ukraine, Tornado, Gas prices, Sydney flooding, North Korea

Updated 9:01 AM ET, Sun March 6, 2022

Travelers are scrambling to get flights in and out of Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. More than 30 countries have so far closed their airspace to Russia -- with Moscow reacting in kind -- and multiple companies are suspending major operations. Russia's largest airline, Aeroflot, was also yanked from global reservation systems and travel websites, crippling the carrier's ability to sell seats. Here's what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

The weekend that was

• More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries in 10 days, UN refugee agency commissioner Filippo Grandi said earlier today, calling the situation "the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II."
• A tornado that touched down near Des Moines, Iowa, yesterday killed seven people -- including two children -- officials said. The National Weather Service office in Des Moines said an initial estimate shows it was an EF3 tornado, with wind speeds of at least 136 miles per hour.
• The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the US hit $4 today, the highest level since 2008. And with prices surging amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, the record high of $4.11 per gallon set that year is likely to fall any day.
• Sydney is bracing for more rain as the death toll from flooding in Australia rose to 17. Thousands of people have been displaced as heavy downpours swept away property, livestock and roads.
• North Korea fired a single ballistic missile into waters off the east of the Korean Peninsula yesterday, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was the country's ninth such test of the year.

The week ahead

Happy International Women's Day! The day not only recognizes the achievements made by women, but also aims to raise awareness against bias and promote women's equality worldwide. 
Apple is set to hold its first big product event of the year. The company is rumored to be unveiling a series of new MacBooks and iMacs featuring the second iteration of its powerful in-house processor, as well as a 5G version of its more-affordable iPhone SE and an updated iPad Air.
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the US and international response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. State Department undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland is set to testify.
Voters in South Korea will choose a successor to Moon Jae-in, who is only eligible for a single term. Moon replaced Park Geun-hye in May 2017 after her impeachment in an abuse of power scandal. The ruling Democratic Party's candidate is Lee Jae-Myung. Last week, Moon expressed his condolences for the lives lost and "respect" for the "courage and sacrifice" of the Ukrainian people during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He also said South Korea would provide $10 million in humanitarian aid.
Jussie Smollett, the former "Empire" actor who was convicted of staging a fake hate crime, is scheduled to be sentenced. Smollett was found guilty in December of five counts of felony disorderly conduct over false assertions that he had been the target of a racist and homophobic attack in 2019. A disorderly conduct charge for a false crime report is a Class 4 felony and punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Cook County Judge James Linn will determine whether to impose a concurrent or consecutive sentence for each of the five counts.
Wall Street will get the latest snapshot of inflation when the Consumer Price Index for February is released before the start of trading. The CPI rose 7.5% in the 12 months ending January, not adjusted for seasonal swings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the steepest annual price increase since February 1982 and worse than economists had forecast.
Friday marks two years since the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 has