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5 things to know for August 12: Covid-19, Trump, Ukraine, Student loans, Anne Heche

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

The United States Postal Service is gearing up for another busy holiday season. For the third year in a row, the USPS said it will temporarily increase prices on a variety of mail services from October to January to offset rising delivery costs during the peak mailing period.

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. Covid-19

The CDC is no longer recommending restrictive measures such as quarantines and social distancing to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In new guidelines released Thursday, the agency announced it is no longer necessary to stay at least 6 feet away from others to reduce the risk of exposure — a shift from the guidance that had been in place since the early days of the pandemic. Now, more than two years later, nearly the entire US population has at least some immunity through vaccination, previous infection, or, in some cases, both. However, the latest guidance does keep some measures the same. It says people who test positive should stay home for at least five days and wear a mask around others for 10 days. It also continues to recommend that people wear masks indoors in about half of the country.

2. Trump

Following the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the Justice Department has requested that the warrant and property receipt from the search be unsealed. Trump said in an online post on Thursday that he would “not oppose the release of documents,” adding, “I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.” The FBI executed a search warrant at the Palm Beach, Florida, resort as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents, that may have been brought there. The Washington Post, citing people familiar with the investigation, also reported on Thursday that classified documents related to nuclear weapons were among the items that FBI agents sought when searching the former President’s residence.

3. Ukraine

An “alarming” situation is unfolding at a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, according to the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog. Parts of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant — the largest nuclear plant in Europe — have been knocked out due to recent attacks, risking an “unacceptable” potential radiation leak, according to Mariano Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “IAEA experts believe that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety,” but “that could change at any moment,” Grossi said. Russia and Ukraine have so far been unwilling to agree to an IAEA inspection of the plant and have accused each other of shelling the facility. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling for the complete withdrawal of Russians from the territory, which he said is putting all of Europe in danger.

4. Student loans

With less than three weeks to go until the federal student loan repayment pause expires, millions of borrowers are waiting to hear whether President Joe Biden will extend the current payment moratorium or possibly forgive any of their debts. Borrower balances have effectively been frozen since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with no payments required on most federal student loans since March 2020. Democratic lawmakers and advocates have been calling on Biden to broadly cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower, but the President has said he would not consider that number. Along with potentially extending the pause, the White House has suggested Biden is considering canceling $10,000 per borrower, excluding those who earn more than $125,000 a year. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden will have something to announce “before August 31.”

5. Anne Heche

Actress Anne Heche, who remains hospitalized after crashing her vehicle into a Los Angeles residence last week, is “not expected to survive,” according to a statement from her family and friends shared with CNN by a representative. “Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive,” the statement read. Anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Last Friday, Heche was in a car that was traveling at a high speed when it ran off the road and collided with a residence that became engulfed in flames, officials said. Heche rose to fame on the soap opera “Another World,” where she played the dual role of twins Vicky Hudson and Marley Love from 1987 to 1991. She earned a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance on the show.


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Hollywood icons joined fans worldwide this week to mourn the loss of actress Olivia Newton-John. Which blockbuster movie catapulted her to superstardom?

A. “Dirty Dancing”

B. “Footloose”

C. “Grease”

D. “Flashdance”

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



That’s how many people were injured in a roller coaster crash Thursday at a Legoland theme park in southern Germany. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash, which occurred in the Bavarian town of Günzburg. One person suffered severe but not life-threatening injuries, according to a police spokesman. Fifteen others were taken to a hospital with light injuries after the incident.


“Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans.”

— FBI Director Christopher Wray, condemning attacks on law enforcement after an armed man tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday. The man was killed after a standoff, authorities say. While the suspect’s motive has not been announced, the FBI is investigating his social media presence and whether he had ties to right-wing extremism. An account bearing the name of the standoff suspect made a post on the social media platform founded by Donald Trump calling for violence against the FBI..


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