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5 things to know for March 24: Ukraine, SCOTUS, Covid-19, Capital riot, Royal tour

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Home should always be your happy place, but with rents surging in several popular cities, some say it’s getting uncomfortable — and downright frustrating — to live comfortably. In February, the national median rent was up 17% from a year ago, according to a new report, marking the seventh-straight month of rents soaring by double-digit percentages.

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

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1. Ukraine

President Joe Biden is set to gather with world leaders in Brussels for emergency summits to respond to the war in Ukraine. Announcements on new sanctions, NATO force posture and military assistance are all expected at the sessions today, according to US and European officials. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but US and NATO officials have said that option is not on the table because it would risk provoking Russian President Vladimir Putin and spark a wider war with Russia. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told CNN that Putin has still not achieved his goal in Ukraine, which is to eliminate the country’s military potential. Separately, Russia partially reopened its stock market today after a monthlong closure and investors took part in a highly restricted trading session. The White House, however, called the market reopening a “charade.”

2. Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson concluded her two days of questioning late yesterday, having spent about 22 hours this week being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Throughout the hearings, Jackson has defended her experience and credentials as she faced criticism from Republican senators on her judicial philosophy and legal record. No Democratic senators have signaled they will oppose Jackson, but many Republican senators are expected to oppose the nomination. The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to vote on Judge Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination on Monday, April 4. In a 50-50 Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris would be the tiebreaker to put Jackson on the high court.

3. Coronavirus

The CEOs of 10 airlines and cargo carriers are urging Biden to end mask mandates and Covid-19 testing requirements for international travelers. In a letter to the president, the CEOs argue that federal travel restrictions — including international predeparture testing and the federal mask mandate — “are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.” Earlier this month, the White House moved the end of the transportation mask mandate to April 18 and said government agencies would consult with the CDC to determine if the mandate could expire sooner. The CEOs of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air Worldwide, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and UPS Airlines all signed the letter.

4. Capitol riot

More than 80 officials from law enforcement and federal agencies have testified before the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Investigators believe this will be the most extensive review yet of security failures that led to the massive breach. While much of what the Democrat-led committee has made public so far has centered around the plotting by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election, aides and lawmakers say this behind-the-scenes review might lead to the bulk of their legislative recommendations and have the most lasting impact. At the same time, Republicans have launched their own investigation into security lapses on January 6, 2021, and plan to release their own recommendations.

5. Royal tour

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.


Madeleine Albright, the first female US secretary of state and who helped steer Western foreign policy in the aftermath of the Cold War, has died. She was 84 years old. The cause was cancer, her family confirmed in a statement. Albright was a central figure in President Bill Clinton’s administration, first serving as US ambassador to the United Nations before becoming the nation’s top diplomat in his second term. Biden paid tribute to Albright in a lengthy statement yesterday, calling her a “force.” He also ordered flags at the White House and all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff in Albright’s honor.


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

Interesting play call, Adidas. Instead of scrambling to nab deals with the highest-profile players, why not sign them all?

A dinosaur bigger than T. rex swam and hunted its prey underwater

Oh, how lovely. That’s not terrifying at all

Arizona is the first state to accept digital driver’s licenses on iPhones

It’s a complicated process, but Apple is working to make the feature available in several other states as soon as possible.

DNA tests reveal Dug the giant potato is not, in fact, a potato

So, what is it then?

Mackenzie Scott has given $3.8 billion to 465 organizations since June

The billionaire philanthropist, and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, now has an estimated net worth of $55 billion even after the sizable donations.



That’s how much a gallon of gas currently costs in Los Angeles County, according to AAA. California gas prices continue to spike even as the national average has been falling — slowly but steadily — for the last two weeks. Prices have also crossed the $6 mark in a few mostly rural California counties, while other areas such as San Diego, San Francisco, Orange and Ventura counties, are within pennies of $6 a gallon.


“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I finally started talking to a therapist after Indian Wells.”

— Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka, referencing when she was heckled by a fan at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on March 12. Last year, Osaka also withdrew from The French Open after opting not to speak to the media at the grand slam event, citing her mental health. When asked by a reporter why this was the moment she decided to talk to someone, Osaka said it was because her sister was concerned for her.


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Toilet paper challenge

How will dogs react when faced with a wall of toilet paper? Trust me, their reactions are absolutely adorable. (Click here to view)

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