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5 things to know for April 14: Covid, police violence, Afghanistan, Russia, abortion


It’s 100 days until the Tokyo Olympics, and Japan is running into another problem: Only about 1% of its population is vaccinated from Covid-19.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

CDC advisers are due to meet today to review cases of blood clots among people who received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. Six people out of an estimated 6.8 million who got the shot have developed a rare and severe type of blood clot, leading the CDC and the FDA to recommend a pause of the single-shot vaccine. All six cases were among women between the ages of 18 and 48. The pause shouldn’t affect planned vaccination rates too much in the US, but it could increase vaccine hesitancy, even though Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts said their confidence in Covid-19 vaccines is still high. Meanwhile, global cases of coronavirus have climbed for seven straight weeks now, according to the World Health Organization, a sure sign the pandemic is far from over.

2. Police violence

Protesters gathered for a third night on the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, to show their anger over the police shooting death of Daunte Wright. A county prosecutor says he hopes to have a charging decision today regarding former Officer Kim Potter, who shot Wright after allegedly mistaking her gun for a Taser. Potter and Brooklyn Center’s police chief have both resigned following Sunday’s encounter. Meanwhile, Virginia’s attorney general is looking into an incident in which two officers pointed guns at a US Army officer, pepper-sprayed him and pushed him to the ground during a traffic stop. And in Minneapolis, not far from the unrest in Brooklyn Center, the prosecution has rested its case in the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin, and the defense has begun to put its arguments into motion.

3. Afghanistan

President Biden is expected to announce the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Today’s announcement will extend US troop presence past the May 1 deadline set by the Trump administration in a deal with the Taliban. The decision to remove troops, effectively ending America’s longest war, has been a divisive one. Some leaders and lawmakers think removing troops right now could risk a collapse of the Afghan government and erase some hard-fought US gains there. Others welcome the return of US forces and the wind-down of a long and exhausting conflict. The US isn’t planning to withdraw all 2,500 troops, however. Some will remain in the country to provide diplomatic security. There are also several hundred US special operations forces in Afghanistan whose next moves are unclear.

4. Russia 

Russia continues to build up troops along its western border with Ukraine, and Biden has proposed a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss solutions. The two leaders spoke by phone yesterday. They discussed arms control and emerging security issues, and Biden urged Putin to deescalate rising tensions in the region. The Kremlin today said it’s too early to talk about the specifics of a possible summit between the countries. The US has been increasingly concerned with Russia’s military buildup in western Russia and Crimea, which includes more than 50,000 troops — about 18% of the country’s total ground forces. And there’s one big sticking point: The US and other nations aren’t entirely clear about Russia’s objectives.

5. Abortion

A US appeals court has upheld an Ohio law that prohibits abortions because of fetal Down syndrome. The ruling challenges precedents set by the Supreme Court and potentially sets up new battles in similar cases nationwide. Unlike other recent court decisions on abortion that mainly focused on regulation of or access to the procedure, this decision involves a woman’s reason for seeking the procedure and what she might tell her physician. Since the current Supreme Court has a conservative majority, it may be more likely to uphold the decision if called upon to resolve the issue.


Americans are buying less toilet paper and wipes

It’s not because our hygiene is getting worse (hopefully?!), it’s a sign of a passing pandemic anxiety.

‘Bridgerton’ renewed for 2 more seasons at Netflix

Now, this news calls for a lovely glass of ratafia!

White Claw’s latest hard seltzer is even boozier

We certainly are innovating on the hard seltzer front at a rapid pace.

Which human screams affect us most? The answer might surprise you

They’re all pretty alarming, to be honest.

Facebook removes page for French town named Bitche

Sometimes, profanity filters can be a … well, you know.



That’s how many victims’ remains are thought to be resting in Spain’s Valley of the Fallen, a mass grave for victims of the country’s 1936-39 civil war. Spain is planning to open the grave and begin exhuming remains in order to identify them.


“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport.”

The NCAA’s Board of Governors, which said in a statement it “firmly and unequivocally supports” transgender athletes amid recent state bills that would limit transgender participation in school sports


Check your local forecast here>>>


The silver swan, who living had no note

This gorgeous 18th-century swan automaton (moving device) is made of pure silver, and even the glass water and silver fish are remarkably realistic. (Click here to view.)

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