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5 things to know for Feb. 21: Presidential race, Super Bowl rally, Russian spies, Middle East, Frozen embryos


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — Traffic is one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution in the US, as big cities often earn failing grades for air quality. However, a new report from the American Lung Association says millions of children’s lives would be made a lot healthier if all new car shoppers picked electric options by 2035.

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

1. Presidential race

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Tuesday reiterated her plans to stay in the 2024 race against former President Donald Trump, just five days ahead of the South Carolina primary. Although analysts say she has no mathematical path to the GOP nomination, Haley has vowed to carry on beyond the South Carolina primary and through Super Tuesday on March 5. According to one of the latest polls, Trump leads Haley among likely voters in South Carolina’s upcoming Republican primary, 65% to 30%. Meanwhile, a new filing Tuesday showed Trump’s leadership PAC paid out nearly $3 million to law firms last month as his legal troubles mounted. The former president also racked up an additional $1.9 million in unpaid legal bills at the end of January, according to the documents.

2. Super Bowl rally

Authorities have unveiled new charges in the Kansas City Super Bowl rally shooting last week that left one woman dead and more than 20 others injured. Two men are each facing second-degree murder charges as well as two counts of armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon, prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a news conference Tuesday. The two adults charged are different than the two juveniles who were chased and detained after the shooting, officials said. Kansas City radio DJ Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a mother of two, was identified as the person killed at the rally. Some of the victims, including several children, are still being treated for gunshot wounds.

3. Russian spies

The former FBI informant charged with lying about the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine told investigators that he got dirt on Hunter Biden from Russian intelligence officials. Prosecutors said in a new court filing Tuesday that Alexander Smirnov has been “actively peddling new lies that could impact US elections” after meeting with Russian spies last year and that the fallout from his previous false bribery accusations about the Bidens “continue[s] to be felt to this day.” The revelation comes amid backlash over how Smirnov’s now-debunked allegations played into House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Separately, the US is expected to announce a major sanctions package against Russia on Friday that is intended to hold President Vladimir Putin accountable for his war in Ukraine — and the death of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

4. Middle East

The US vetoed an Algerian resolution at the UN on Tuesday calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. For months, the Biden administration has advocated for a temporary halt in fighting but avoided using the term “ceasefire” as it remains supportive of Israel. It was only on Monday that the Biden administration for the first time called for a “temporary ceasefire” in the conflict amid signs of American frustration with the war. Tuesday’s vote on Algeria’s proposed measure came ahead of an anticipated Israeli offensive in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza where more than a million and a half Palestinians with few resources are crammed with no clear evacuation route.

5. Frozen embryos

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, Alabama’s Supreme Court said frozen embryos are children and those who destroy them can be held liable for wrongful death. The state’s decision puts back into national focus the question of when life begins and is one that reproductive rights advocates say could have a chilling effect on infertility treatments and the hundreds of Alabama residents who seek them each year. Though the court’s decision does not prohibit in vitro fertilization procedures, or IVF, it is the first known case in which a US court says frozen embryos are human beings. Critics warn it could soon have consequences nationally as other states could use the ruling as a roadmap to define embryos as people and dissuade people from seeking IVF treatments.


President Biden announces another round of student debt relief
The White House has announced the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for more than 150,000 borrowers currently enrolled in a new repayment plan known as SAVE. The administration launched the program in August as the pandemic-related pause on student loan payments was ending. Nearly $138 billion of federal student loan debt has been canceled for almost 3.9 million borrowers since Biden took office.


America is on the cusp of a new biggest credit card company
Capital One is acquiring Discover Financial Services in a $35 billion deal that could disrupt the credit card industry. Here’s what that could mean for you.

Elon Musk provides an update on brain chip implants
Neuralink’s first human trial participant can control a computer mouse with their brain, Elon Musk said, nearly one month after the company completed the daring chip implant procedure.

Beyoncé makes history with new song ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’
Legendary R&B artist Beyoncé is currently holding the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. This makes her the only other solo woman artist to achieve the feat next to Taylor Swift.

Olympic rower shares how she balances training and motherhood
For Helen Glover, motherhood means that “every inch of happiness” doesn’t rest on Olympic success. Read her inspiring story here.

Constantly bloated? These tips will help improve your gut health
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects up to 1 in 10 people worldwide. The cause of the disorder is not fully understood, but a healthy lifestyle could prevent it.


That’s around how many stores Macy’s has closed since 2015 — almost one third of its locations. While many shoppers are moving away from department stores, Macy’s recently rejected an unsolicited $6 billion bid from an activist investor to take the famed chain private. A real estate investment group is now trying to seize control of the company’s board to radically shift its long-term strategy.


“Please keep Audrii’s family, teachers, friends, and community in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve this tragic loss.”

— Livingston Independent School District, issuing a statement after the body of an 11-year-old Texas girl who disappeared on her way to school was found Tuesday in the Trinity River. Audrii Cunningham’s disappearance captured national attention this month as several Texas communities joined in the search efforts. A 42-year-old family friend has been identified as a “person of interest” and remains in custody.


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Japan’s newest species is a tiny, panda-like sea creature
This remarkable sea creature in Japan resembles the face of a panda. See the new species here.

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