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

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    More than 20 million people across the Southeast US are bracing for extreme weather this week – including tornadoes, damaging winds and very large hail. The severe storms will be felt across the Gulf Coast region, but portions of Louisiana and Mississippi are expected to be hit the hardest.

    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.

    (You can get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

    1. Ukraine

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is appealing for ceasefire talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but US and NATO officials say Putin has not backed off his original demands. Last week, Putin laid out several issues to achieve a ceasefire with Ukraine, including a demand for Ukraine’s neutrality – or an assurance that Ukraine would not become a NATO member. Zelensky has indicated that he is willing to consider a neutrality policy under certain conditions to help bring an end to the violence. However, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators have met four times since the start of Russia’s invasion with no major resolution on Putin’s other demands. Russia had set a deadline for authorities in Mariupol to surrender the city, but that deadline has passed, with Ukrainians rejected that ultimatum. Russia is now likely to prioritize attempting to encircle Kyiv over the coming weeks, the UK defense ministry said. Separately, four journalists have so far been killed reporting on the war and many more are injured or missing.

    2. Supreme Court

    Confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson are set to begin later today. Jackson, who is poised to be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, will be formally introduced during televised hearings at 11 a.m. ET today, followed by two days of questioning and one day of testimony from additional witnesses. President Joe Biden chose Jackson to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. She is a former federal public defender who has sat on lower US courts for nearly a decade. The Harvard Law graduate also served early in her career as a law clerk to Breyer. Democratic leaders have set a goal of reaching a final Senate vote by early April. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was admitted to a hospital late Friday “after experiencing flu-like symptoms,” the court’s public information office said, adding that he does not have Covid-19.

    3. Coronavirus

    A new study found that the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine remains durable and effective, even through the surge of cases caused by the Delta variant. The research, outlined in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, found that the J&J shot was 76% effective in preventing Covid-19 infections and 81% effective in preventing Covid-related hospitalizations. The study also showed that it provided lasting immunity at least six months after the shots. A CNN analysis of information collected by the CDC showed the J&J vaccine also had the lowest breakthrough infection rate of all the vaccines since the week ending December 25, 2021. On the other hand, breakthrough infections during the Omicron surge were highest among those who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, followed by those who got the Moderna vaccine, the same study shows. 

    4. Gas Tax

    As many Americans struggle to deal with the swift and sudden rise in gas prices, some states are temporarily suspending their gas tax to help drivers save several dollars at the pump. Lawmakers in California, which has the highest gas tax in the country at 51-cents-per-gallon, are proposing a $400 gas tax rebate, after state Democrats previously shot down a gas tax pause. Lawmakers say the rebate will cover the cost of the current gas tax for a full year for most drivers. Two states have already enacted laws suspending the gas tax and more states are expected to follow. Georgia announced a suspension of its $0.29 cent tax per gallon on regular fuel. In Maryland, lawmakers passed a gas tax holiday for 30 days starting Friday, ending April 16. The national average gas price currently stands at $4.25 per gallon.

    5. Myanmar

    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

    Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a weeklong royal tour of the Caribbean, having arrived Tuesday hours after protests were held calling on the monarchy to apologize and pay reparations for its historical role in the slave trade. Prince William and Kate are visiting Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas for a series of engagements to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee year, marking 70 years on the throne. However, protests have overshadowed the trip and a royal engagement was canceled amid reported opposition from local residents. Britain and Jamaica’s relationship stretches back centuries. The island was seized by the British in 1655 and remained under its rule until it gained independence in 1962 but has stayed under the Queen as head of state. The majority of Jamaicans are of African ancestry and are the descendants of slaves trafficked to the country by European colonists.

    BREAKFAST BROWSE

    Adidas plans to take over college sports, sign endorsement deals with up to 50,000 student athletes

    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

    95,000

    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

    “The live performance in our park did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place.”

    – 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

    Toilet paper challenge

    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)