01:38 - Source: CNN
Workers in a race against time to save Ukraine's cultural treasures
CNN  — 

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    If you’re planning to enjoy the outdoors this weekend, meteorologists say proceed with caution. An unrelenting, early season heat wave will reach the eastern and southern tiers of the US over the next few days – and nearly 60% of Americans are expected see temperatures at or above 90 degrees.

    Upset about gas prices? Trust me, you’re not alone. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline soared to a new record high of $4.14 yesterday, breaking the previous record of $4.11 set in 2008. Experts say the rapid spike in prices is squeezing many household budgets – and won’t be slowing up any time soon. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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    1. Ukraine

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday said Donbas is “completely destroyed” as a result of Russia’s constant strikes. Donbas is a heartland region that blankets much of eastern Ukraine and has been at the front of the country’s conflict with Russia since 2014. “The bombing and shelling of other cities, the air and missile strikes of the Russian army – all this is not just fighting during the war,” Zelensky said. “This is a deliberate and criminal attempt to kill as many Ukrainians as possible,” he added. In the eastern Luhansk region, Ukrainian military officials said 12 civilians were killed and 60 properties were destroyed yesterday by Russian bombardments. Separately, the US Senate approved a $40 billion emergency aid package for Ukraine. The bill will be flown to South Korea, where President Joe Biden will sign it during his first trip to Asia.

    2. Abortion

    Oklahoma’s legislature has passed one of nation’s strictest abortion bills that would ban the procedure from the stage of “fertilization.” The legislation also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers who “knowingly” perform or induce an abortion “on a pregnant woman.” Exceptions will be made for medical emergencies or if the pregnancy was a result of rape, sexual assault or incest and reported to law enforcement, the bill states. The measure now heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has previously pledged to sign every piece of legislation limiting abortion that comes his way. However, abortion rights advocates are vowing to mount a legal challenge should it be signed into law. The bill’s passage comes as Republican-led states have been pushing strict abortion measures in anticipation of the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade next month.

    3. Coronavirus

    The CDC has signed off on Covid-19 booster shots for 5- to 11-year-olds. The decision came yesterday after the CDC’s vaccine advisers voted to support recommending a single Pfizer/BioNTech booster dose, which the FDA authorized earlier this week. Studies show the Omicron variant has been particularly tough on kids – and the effectiveness of two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5 to 12 fell from 68% to about 12% against infection during the Omicron surge. While not at the same levels as during the Omicron wave, Covid-19 cases among children have been increasing. According to the latest report from the CDC, 1,547 children have died of Covid-19 in the US and 364 of them were were between 5 and 11.

    4. January 6

    Former Attorney General William Barr has “tentatively agreed to give sworn testimony behind closed doors” to the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations. Barr has talked informally with the committee, but this formal request would add to several sworn testimonies the committee has sought from other Republican lawmakers as part of its probe into circumstances leading up to the storming of the US Capitol. Separately, the committee yesterday announced it has evidence that Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk led a tour of the US Capitol complex the day before pro-Trump rioters stormed the building. The committee is now looking for more information from Loudermilk about the purpose of the tour and its participants.

    5. Saudi Arabia

    Florida’s state Senate is set to consider the “Don’t Say Gay” bill this week amid a wave of student protests and walkouts. The bill would effectively ban teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms for young students. LGBTQ advocates say the measure would lead to further stigmatization of gay, lesbian and transgender children. More than 500 students participated in a massive walkout yesterday at a high school in Orange County, Florida, following similar protests at other schools last week. Separately, Disney’s CEO said the company, which employs over 75,000 in Florida, is committed to inclusivity – but would not publicly condemn the controversial bill. The bill passed the Florida House of Representatives in February and now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate, which could set the stage for a final vote as soon as today.

    01:09 - Source: CNN
    'Absolutely': Pete Buttigieg on whether 'Don't Say Gay' bill is dangerous

    The White House is working towards a first presidential meeting with Saudi Arabia. President Biden and Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, could meet for the first time as soon as next month, multiple sources told CNN. A meeting between American and Saudi leaders would have once been considered routine, but now marks a significant shift due to the recent strain in the relationship. It would also likely spark some controversy at home for Biden, who has been highly critical of the Saudis’ record on human rights, its war in Yemen, and the role its government played in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Biden administration’s effort to return to better relations with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, comes as gasoline prices hit record highs in the US. 

    BREAKFAST BROWSE

    NCAA women’s basketball championship

    The world’s best country superstars were radiating Southern charm in Las Vegas last night! Did y’all enjoy the show? 

    Pixar’s new adorable, animated movie is a must-see

    “Turning Red” is the feel-good movie we all needed right now. Thanks Pixar.

    Rock art may depict extinct giants of the ice age

    Check out these works of art created by humans more than 12,000 years ago.

    Welcome to adult life

    Young adults, we’ve got your back. This 401(k) advice is quite helpful.

    Supermodel Gigi Hadid donates Fashion Week earnings to Ukraine relief

    Hadid, who is one of the most sought-after models in the fashion industry, says she’s keen to help those in need.

    TODAY’S NUMBER

    That’s how much was recently lost in a massive cryptocurrency heist affecting the Ronin network. The platform powered Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn crypto game which allows paying players to collect digital pets known as “Axies.” It is unclear on whether the hacked holdings were insured. Now, because of the hack, trading off the Ronin platform is currently frozen.

    That’s how much tuition will be for college students in New Mexico attending any in-state public school or tribal college, including community colleges. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill on Friday that will make state colleges tuition-free. The measure allocates $75 million to support up to 35,000 students this fall alone, the governor’s office said.

    TODAY’S QUOTE

    “It will be a game-time decision on whether I compete.”

    – WNBA champion Brittney Griner’s high school coach, on waiting to hear the fate of the star basketball player who remains detained in Russia on drug charges. For days, family and friends of Griner have been clamoring for the release of the two-time Olympic champion after she was held by the Russian Federal Customs Service for allegedly bringing cannabis oil into the country. Griner, 31, plays with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and spends her offseasons playing for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg. Her whereabouts since her arrest remain uncertain.

    TODAY’S WEATHER

    02:33 - Source: CNN
    Damaging wind gusts reported across 16 states

    Check your local forecast here>>>

    AND FINALLY

    Skateboarding dog

    Today is a global holiday celebrating the achievements of women worldwide! If you want to be instantly inspired, check out this short video of Google’s most popular searches for “the first woman.” (Click here to view)