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5 things to know for April 7: Gun reform, Title IX, Trump, Tax audits, Israel

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Shortly after you board a plane, flight attendants almost always remind you to set your cell phone to airplane mode — but a few extra minutes on your wireless network wouldn’t cause an emergency for the aircraft, right? Well, it depends on whom you ask.

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

(You can get “CNN’s 5 Things” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Gun reform

Tennessee’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to expel two of three Democratic lawmakers Thursday after they led a gun reform protest last week on the House floor. Reps. Justin Jones, Gloria Johnson and Justin Pearson organized the protest in the wake of a shooting last month at a Nashville school that left six dead. While all three lawmakers protested together, Johnson, who is White — unlike the other two men who are Black — was not expelled from House. “It might have to do with the color of our skin,” Johnson told reporters when asked about the different outcomes of the vote. President Joe Biden also weighed in on the matter Thursday: “Three kids and three officials gunned down in yet another mass shooting. And what are GOP officials focused on? Punishing lawmakers who joined thousands of peaceful protesters calling for action,” the president said via Twitter. “It’s shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent,” he added.

2. Title IX

The Biden administration on Thursday proposed a rule change for transgender student athletes that allows for schools to enforce some restrictions, but opposes categorical bans. “The proposed rule would establish that policies violate Title IX when they categorically ban transgender students from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity just because of who they are,” according to a public notice from the US Department of Education. The proposed rule change comes as GOP-led states across the country continue to push a variety of anti-trans measures, including bills intended to keep transgender students from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. Biden has consistently spoken out against such efforts, but Thursday’s announcement represents the most significant action yet that his administration has taken to combat them.

3. Trump

Questions are being raised about the impartiality of the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s criminal case after records showed he donated $35 in political contributions to Democrats in 2020 — including a $15 contribution to the campaign of Trump’s opponent, President Joe Biden. “While the amounts here are minimal, it’s surprising that a sitting judge would make political donations of any size to a partisan candidate or cause,” said Elie Honig, a senior CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor. The contribution has sparked criticism that Judge Juan Merchan may be biased and not lead a fair trial. Some experts, however, told CNN it is not grounds for a legal challenge or recusal. Meanwhile, Trump has been attacking Merchan and his family, including his daughter, whose political consulting firm did work for the Biden campaign and now-Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign.

4. Tax audits

Average taxpayers “should not be worried” about more audits, the IRS said Thursday, after some GOP lawmakers expressed concerns about how it will utilize a new $80 billion investment. The funding comes from Democrats’ sweeping Inflation Reduction Act, which passed along party lines last year and is meant to support the agency in cracking down on tax cheats and providing better service to taxpayers. As a result of the improvements, the IRS is expected to collect more than $100 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period. But Republicans have been critical of sending so much money to the IRS and have said that the investment could lead to increased audits of hard-working Americans. Separately, for those who may still need to complete their taxes, the deadline this year falls on April 18.

5. Israel

Amid rising tension in the region, Israel said it struck targets belonging to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in southern Lebanon and Gaza early today. This comes days after Israeli police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites, as worshippers offer prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Jews celebrate Passover. The strikes today came hours after dozens of rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory, a barrage the Israeli military blamed on Palestinian militants. According to a Lebanese news agency, the area hit was mostly agricultural but homes, cars, a livestock pen and other infrastructure were damaged. Lebanon said it would submit an official complaint to the UN Security Council, calling Israel’s strikes a “flagrant violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty.”


Christians observe Good Friday today

For Christians, today is a day of mourning and penance. Good Friday marks the day Jesus died on the cross. Many will observe the day by fasting and attending church services leading up to Easter Sunday this weekend.

Chloe Bailey stars in the new film ‘Praise This’

Bailey’s new faith-based film about a choir praise team debuts today.

Ben Affleck speaking fluent Spanish is tripping people out

A recent clip of Affleck talking about his new film “Air” in fluent Spanish is amazing those who did not know the actor is bilingual. Watch the video here.

Here are six of the most beautiful sections of the Great Wall of China

Here are some of the most stunning spots travelers can experience at China’s most famous icon.

Can AI create a professional headshot for you?

A CNN producer uploaded photos of himself to an artificial intelligence tool and asked it to create a professional headshot. See the interesting results.


Which car company is recalling 143,000 of its SUVs due to an airbag issue?

A. Volkswagen

B. Toyota

C. Kia

D. Honda

Take CNN’s weekly news quiz here to see if you’re correct!



That’s approximately the percentage of counties in the US that have a Covid-19 community level of “high” as cases and hospitalizations continue to decline, according to the CDC. While it has become easier for most people to put the pandemic behind them, health officials are still actively monitoring several subvariants — including the Omicron spinoff XBB.1.16 — which has been identified in about two dozen countries other than the US.


“The highest court in the land shouldn’t have the lowest ethical standards.”

— Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, issuing a statement Thursday after a bombshell ProPublica report found Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted several undisclosed luxury gifts from a Republican megadonor. The report describes Thomas accepting travel hospitality from conservative businessman Harlan Crow that included international trips on a private jet and a super yacht. Durbin said the report was “a call to action” and that “the Senate Judiciary Committee will act.”


Check your local forecast here>>>


How pianos are made

The anatomy of a grand piano is remarkably impressive. Did you know that handcrafted ones can take a year or more to complete? (Click here to view)

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