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Start your week smart: Sinema, Kohl’s, Pandemic, Wildfire, NFL playoffs

By AJ Willingham, CNN

Did you know about 40% of American households buy a car every year? That’s quite a statistic, especially with car prices being so high. They’re supposed to ease soon, but don’t expect them to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Here’s what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

The weekend that was

• The Arizona Democratic Party’s executive board said yesterday it formally censured Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for voting to maintain the Senate’s filibuster rules, effectively blocking Democrats’ voting rights legislation, a key priority for the party.

• Retailer Kohl’s received an unsolicited $9 billion bid yesterday to go private from a consortium backed by an activist investor, according to published sources.

• Federal regulators are considering limiting the authorization of certain monoclonal antibody treatments that have not proved effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, a source familiar with the decision-making told CNN.

• Crews fighting a wildfire along the central coast of California near the iconic Highway 1 made progress over the weekend in containing the blaze, but dozens of homes remain under evacuation orders.

• The Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers both claimed shocking wins thanks to field goals as time expired despite both coming into their NFL divisional round clashes in the playoffs as underdogs.

The week ahead


Monday is the United Nations’ International Day of Education. Education keeps people out of poverty, protects societies against corruption and inequity and empowers underserved populations. So go thank an educator for all they do to keep this world afloat.


The Federal Open Market Committee meets for the first time in 2022, and two items will be top of mind: inflation and interest rates. The Fed is already planning to raise interest rates later this year and end other emergency measures they put in place to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic. At the end of this two-day meeting, we may get more information on how this will all play out.

Happy Republic Day to our friends in India. Republic Day marks the anniversary of the Constitution of India which came into effect in 1950.

And Happy Australia Day to all of our friends down under, who take this day to reflect on the diverse history of their beautiful country.


Thursday is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as designated by the United Nations General Assembly. It marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and is an opportunity to remember the 6 million Jews and millions of other victims who were killed under Nazi rule.

Want more 5 Things?

This week on the Sunday edition of the 5 Things podcast, CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean gives us an explainer on 5G and why airlines are so concerned about its rollout around major airports. Listen here!

Photos of the week

Check out more moving, fascinating and thought-provoking images from the week that was, curated by CNN Photos..

What’s happening in entertainment

The Britney controversy is far from over

Britney Spears may be free of her 13-year conservatorship, but other battles are brewing between the pop star and her family. Spears sent a legal cease-and-desist letter to her younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, this week, demanding she stop talking about her elder sister on her book tour for her new memoir, “Things I Should Have Said.” Spears’ attorney called the book “ill-timed” and said it makes “misleading or outrageous claims about her.” Also, a judge recently sided with Spears in an ongoing court battle with her father, Jamie Spears, who requested his daughter set aside some money from her $60 million estate to cover legal fees — including his own.

Calling all “Bridgerton” and “Downton Abbey” fans!

Looking for your next period drama fix? Set your cap for “The Gilded Age” on HBO Max, set in 1880s New York. Its creator Julian Fellowes was also the force behind “Downton Abbey,” and CNN’s Brian Lowry says “Fellowes and his sprawling cast have delivered another sharp look at wealth and class in earlier times, when even those with the gold chafed against the intricate rules.”

What’s happening in sports

The NFL divisional round rolls on this week

The Los Angeles Rams take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3:00 p.m. ET today for the chance to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship next Sunday.

The Buffalo Bills will play the Kansas City Chiefs at 6:30 p.m. ET today. The winner will face the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship next Sunday.

(For the non-NFL-literate, this weekend’s games are the quarterfinals, and the AFC and NFC are the two league conferences. You’re welcome.)

The Australian Open is underway

There have already been some surprises through the middle of the fourth round of play. Emma Raducanu of Britain had high hopes after returning to play following her US Open win last year, but was felled by the unseeded Danka Kovinić. Meanwhile, Japanese player Taro Daniel completed a stunning second-round upset, besting American favorite Andy Murray.

Keep an eye out for the Women’s Final, which takes place this Friday, and the Men’s Final, which takes place this Saturday.

Quiz time!

Take CNN’s weekly news quiz to see how much you remember from the week that was! So far, 44% of fellow quiz fans have gotten an 8 out of 10 or better this week. How well can you do?

Play me off

Music to make you feel like nobility

Of course I mentioned “Bridgerton” which made me think of all the great string covers in the show, including the Vitamin String Quartet’s version of Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” (Click here to listen)

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