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5 things to know for August 22: Floods, Immigration, Ukraine, Student loans, Tesla

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Of all the pandemic-inspired business changes, there’s one that will likely stick around for the long haul: QR codes. Many restaurants utilized the technology when they ditched physical menus to help slow the spread of Covid-19. But now, QR codes are more than just a way for businesses to offer a contact-free menu. The tech is helping solve problems like printing costs and staffing shortages.

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. Floods

After a weekend of heavy rain in the southern US, more than 13 million people remain under flood warnings today. Many parts of north and central Texas are under flood watches, as well as some areas of northwest Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters say increased rain is causing excessive runoff that floods rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying areas. Up to 6 inches of rain has already fallen across the Texas-Oklahoma border and forecasts show an additional 4 to 8 inches could hit the region today. Meanwhile, heavy downpours in New Mexico this weekend forced about 160 people to evacuate from Carlsbad Caverns National Park, authorities said. Rangers also received a report of hikers being “swept off their feet” due to powerful flood waters at Utah’s Zion National Park a few days ago.

2. Immigration

At least 140 asylum seekers arrived in New York on Sunday in what officials are calling the largest single-day arrival of migrants from Texas. They’re among the thousands of migrants sent by bus to Washington, DC, and New York this year at the direction of Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to highlight his criticism of the Biden administration’s immigration policies. Abbott said Friday the state had sent more than 7,000 migrants by bus to Washington since April and more than 900 migrants to New York City since August 5. “The busing mission is providing much-needed relief to our overwhelmed border communities,” Abbott’s office said. New York’s mayor and other city officials have accused Abbott’s administration of allegedly forcing asylum seekers onto buses bound for their cities. But Abbott’s office has repeatedly said the migrants are traveling willingly and are happy to go.

3. Ukraine

Western leaders, including President Joe Biden, are calling for the UN nuclear watchdog to visit the Zaporizhzhia power plant in Ukraine, where shelling has sparked fears of a disaster. Over the past month, a number of rockets and shells have landed inside the territory of the plant — the largest nuclear complex in Europe — according to satellite imagery analyzed by CNN. Separately, Russia has opened a murder investigation after the daughter of influential, ultra-nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin was killed by a car bomb outside Moscow. Darya Dugina’s father is a Russian author and ideologue, credited as being the architect or “spiritual guide” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He is purported to have significant influence over Russian President Vladimir Putin and was described as “Putin’s Brain” by Foreign Affairs magazine. Ukraine has denied having any responsibility for the killing.

4. Student loans

Americans may receive a major announcement on student loans from the Biden administration in the “next week or so,” US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Sunday. A pause on federal student loan payments is set to expire on August 31, and with about nine days to go, Americans have been left guessing whether President Biden will extend the current moratorium or, perhaps, forgive some of their debt. Payments have not been required on most federal student loans since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US, greatly affecting the economy. Biden has extended the pause four times, most recently in April. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are urging Biden to broadly cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower, but the President has consistently pushed back on canceling that much.

5. Tesla

Some Tesla owners are going to extreme lengths to defend the company’s “full self-driving” software. In a widely circulated video, one North Carolina resident enlisted his 11-year-old son for a test to prove the car would stop for a child in the road. In the video, the man accelerated the Tesla and turned on “full self-driving,” after reaching 35 mph. The Tesla appears to have braked steadily and came to a full stop — well ahead of his son. Enough people seem to be pursuing their own experiments that one government agency is warning people not to use children to test a car’s technology. “Consumers should never attempt to create their own test scenarios or use real people, and especially children to test the performance of vehicle technology,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, calling this approach “highly dangerous.”


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That’s how many Indiana State University students were involved in a deadly car crash on Sunday, including several of the school’s football players. Three of the students died and two were seriously injured after their vehicle ran into a tree in western Indiana, according to the school and local officials. The accident happened before 2 a.m. in the small town of Riley, about 10 miles from the university’s campus.


“I believe (repeal) is the right thing to do, and something that most Singaporeans will now accept.”

— Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, saying on Sunday the country will repeal a 1938 colonial-era law, thereby decriminalizing gay sex in Singapore. “There is no justification to prosecute people for it, nor to make it a crime,” the country’s leader said. However, the government will not change Singapore’s legal definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, Lee said, implying that laws will be strengthened to protect that definition.


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