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5 things to know for Sept. 21: Strikes, Govt. shutdown, Covid-19, Student loans, Ukraine

<i>Paul Sancya/AP</i><br/>United Auto Workers members walk the picket line at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne
Paul Sancya/AP
United Auto Workers members walk the picket line at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

(CNN) — Several famous fiction writers are suing Open AI — the company behind viral chatbot ChatGPT — alleging the technology is illegally using their copyrighted work. The suit claims that the artificial intelligence company is using the books of prominent authors to help train its systems on how to create more human-like responses, and the tool is generating copycat texts as a result.

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

1. Strikes

Stellantis and GM furloughed dozens of autoworkers this week and warned hundreds more could come as the strike continues. This is the first layoff announcement by Stellantis, the automaker that makes vehicles under the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler brands. Ford and GM already laid off or warned of idling employees at two of their plants because of the targeted strikes. Unionized autoworkers are on strike for better pay and benefits but the companies argue they can’t afford the union’s demands. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s entertainment strikes are pushing toward $6 billion in losses. Writers and the heads of the four major studios are set to meet for a second consecutive day today as they try to hammer out a deal that puts to an end the historic strike that has frozen most TV and movie productions.

2. Government shutdown

The US national debt has passed $33 trillion as a looming government shutdown threatens to upend crucial federal programs. Government funding is set to expire on September 30 as lawmakers struggle to reach a consensus on a funding plan. House Republicans are trying to push through a bill to temporarily fund the government and beef up border security, but the caucus appears deeply divided on the path forward. If lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement, the White House said, active-duty military and federal law enforcement personnel would be forced to work without pay until funds are appropriated, while FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund could be depleted, complicating relief efforts. Additionally, thousands of children would lose access to health programs, and air traffic controllers and TSA officers would have to work without pay, threatening travel delays across the country.

3. Covid-19

The US government will relaunch a program to provide free Covid-19 home tests to Americans as new variants continue to alarm health officials. US households can order four free tests from starting Monday. The relaunch of the program comes as Covid-19 hospitalizations have been on the rise in the US since July, with weekly admissions now more than triple what they were two months ago. Recent CDC data shows more than 20,000 people in the US were admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 during the week ending September 9 — about 8% higher than the week before.

4. Student loans

Roughly 28 million borrowers will soon be required to pay their monthly student loan bill for the first time since a pandemic-related pause went into effect in 2020. Interest on federal student loans restarted on September 1 and monthly payments will begin in October. Millions of borrowers have a different loan servicer than they did the last time they made a payment and millions of others who finished school during the pause will be making their first payment ever. The Biden administration is encouraging eligible borrowers to apply to the government’s new income-driven repayment plan launched in August, known as SAVE, which is said to reduce monthly payments and the amount paid back over time.

Use this calculator to see how much your monthly payment would be this year if you’re enrolled in SAVE. You can also share how you’re preparing for payments to resume and CNN may follow up for a story.

5. Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to meet with President Biden today and visit the US Capitol as he appeals for more support for Kyiv. In the last few hours, Ukraine’s army shot down 36 of 43 missiles launched by Russia in attacks across the country, and threats of more missiles remain. Ukrainian officials said at least seven people were wounded in the aerial assaults on Kyiv, while two people were injured in Kharkiv. Meanwhile, Russian shelling killed at least two people in the southern city of Kherson. The White House is planning to provide a new aid package when Zelensky visits in the coming hours, a US official told CNN.


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“I am not the president’s lawyer. I will also add that I am not Congress’ prosecutor.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland, pushing back against House Republicans who have accused the Justice Department of political bias. During a Wednesday hearing, Republicans grilled Garland over the Hunter Biden probe, charging that Garland and the special counsel investigating the case, David Weiss, were doing the bidding of the Bidens by offering Hunter Biden a plea deal that fell apart amid scrutiny from a judge.


Check your local forecast here>>>


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