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5 things to know for Sept. 20: Ukraine, Royal visit, Economy, Climate crisis, Hunter Biden

<i>Mike Segar/Reuters</i><br/>Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City
Mike Segar/Reuters
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the 78th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

(CNN) — A Danish artist received $76,000 from a museum to create two works of art, but instead submitted blank canvases entitled “Take the Money and Run.” The bold move has reignited debate about the value of conceptual art after a court ruled this week that the artist must return nearly all the cash.

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

1. Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a dramatic speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, urging a united global front against Russian aggression. It was his first in-person address to the assembly since Russia’s 2022 invasion. Greeted with vigorous applause when he took the stage, Zelensky used his 15 minutes to accuse Russian leaders of terrorism and genocide, citing in particular the removal of Ukrainian children from the country. Following his UN speech, Zelensky appeared on CNN and urged former president Donald Trump to share his supposed peace plans. Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has claimed that he would be able to cut a deal with Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours.

2. Royal visit

Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla will arrive in France today for a state visit, six months later than initially planned. President Emmanuel Macron was forced to awkwardly postpone the original trip amid nationwide violent clashes over his pension reforms. The French leader halted the March visit with just days to go, saying at the time that his government would have lacked “common sense” if it had gone ahead. The royals have a packed itinerary for the three-day visit to Paris and Bordeaux, beginning with a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe and one-on-one talks between Charles and Macron.

3. Economy

The Federal Reserve is expected to hold its benchmark lending rate steady this week as it waits for more data to understand how previous rate hikes are affecting the US economy. The central bank raised rates to a 22-year high in July. At the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting today, the Fed is also set to release a fresh set of projections that will likely reflect stronger economic growth and slightly lower unemployment this year, compared with previous estimates. Fed officials and financial analysts say holding rates steady this month is the right move, but some have said the Fed could raise rates again after September. Projections could shift, however, as the central bank faces a number of uncertainties on the horizon — including a possible government shutdown, increasing energy prices and an ongoing autoworkers strike.

4. Climate crisis

Millions of American homeowners could see insurance rates surge in the coming years in part due to worsening climate disasters. About 27% of properties in the Lower 48 are at risk of their premiums spiking as insurers struggle to cover the increasing cost of rebuilding, according to a new report. In the last few years, major insurers have pulled out of or stopped writing new policies in California, Florida and Louisiana — in part citing increased risks like more destructive wildfires and stronger hurricanes. This month, a slew of extreme weather events hit ten countries and territories in just 12 days — the most catastrophic being the floods in Libya, which have killed close to 4,000 people in the eastern city of Derna.

5. Hunter Biden

President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, plans to plead not guilty to federal gun charges, he said in a court filing Tuesday. He is also asking for his initial court appearance to be held remotely. The charges stem from his purchase of a gun in 2018 and include possession of a firearm as a prohibited person. Prosecutors say Hunter Biden was a drug user at the time of the purchase and was therefore not legally permitted to own the weapon and lied on a federal form by not disclosing his drug use. Meanwhile, House Republicans are furthering their impeachment inquiry of President Biden and are poised to issue subpoenas to the president’s son and brother, Hunter and James Biden, as early as this week for their personal and business records.


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That’s the percentage of Americans who say they’re seriously concerned that President Biden’s age might negatively affect his ability to serve out another full term if reelected, according to an August CNN poll. At 80, Biden would be 86 at the end of a potential second term. The president this week sought to confront the issue head-on by touting his long experience as grounds for his reelection. “A lot of people seem focused on my age. Believe me, I know better than anyone,” the president said.


“We leveraged our union’s most powerful weapon:
the right to strike.”

— Unifor, the union representing Canadian autoworkers, issuing a statement Tuesday after reaching a tentative labor deal with Ford. While many autoworkers in the US remain on strike, this deal for Canadian workers will keep more than 5,000 people on their jobs. A strike at Ford’s engine assembly plants in Canada would have halted production of some of the company’s best-selling vehicles at US factories — including the F Series pickups and the Mustang sports car.


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