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5 things to know for April 12: Coronavirus, Congress, police violence, Iran, United Arab Emirates

Cruise lines are already betting big on a rebound, even though the CDC has yet to give the go-ahead for ships to sail to and from US ports.

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

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1. Coronavirus

The United States is still seeing an increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, especially among younger people who haven’t gotten a vaccine. However, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky did point out death rates are going down. That’s cold comfort considering more than 562,000 people in the US have now died of the virus. China is in a tight spot after the country’s top health official admitted efficacy rates for Chinese Covid-19 vaccines are “not high.” He suggested either increasing doses or mixing with other vaccines to improve performance. India just crossed the threshold of 100 million vaccinations, but the country is still contending with record case numbers. Canadians in Montreal are protesting a new curfew put into effect to curb Covid-19 numbers, while in the UK, officials are lauding the slow rollback of restrictions as vaccinations increase.

2. Congress

Congress will return to Washington this week with a jam-packed agenda, facing big questions about infrastructure, immigration and gun control. President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and tax plan will be front and center, but it could take months to advance as Democrats remain divided over details of the policy and how, exactly, to pass it. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says Biden hopes for real progress on the plan by Memorial Day. Meanwhile, there are discussions about a possible bipartisan approach to expand background checks and other gun legislation following a spate of mass shootings, but it’s not clear whether a deal can be made that will pass through both chambers.

3. Police violence

The Minnesota National Guard was deployed to Brooklyn Center last night after hundreds of people gathered to protest the death of a man in an officer-involved shooting and car crash. Police said they were trying to take a man into custody after they determined he had outstanding warrants during a traffic stop. He got back into his vehicle and an officer shot him, police said. He then drove several blocks before striking another vehicle, police said. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz identified the man as Daunte Wright. Wright’s mother said her 20-year-old son called her as he was being pulled over, saying it was because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror.

4. Iran 

The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency has labeled an incident at the country’s Natanz nuclear site as a “terrorist action,” and now Israel’s army chief has appeared to hint at possible Israeli involvement. Natanz is an underground facility where uranium enrichment takes place. Iranian officials were especially suspicious because the incident, characterized by a member of Iran’s parliament as a “blackout,” happened on the weekend of Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day. Israel’s Prime Minister’s office offered no comment on the reports.

5. United Arab Emirates

The United Nations is “very concerned” about the welfare of Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, the missing daughter of Dubai’s ruler in the United Arab Emirates. In secret recordings obtained by the BBC and shared with CNN in February, Princess Latifa claimed she was being held hostage in a “villa converted into a jail,” with no access to medical help. She also sent a letter to UK police that month, asking them to investigate the alleged kidnapping of her sister in Britain in 2000. At the time of the recordings, Dubai’s royal family said Latifa was being cared for at home. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights asked the family for “proof of life” late last week, but has not received it.


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*It’s a mask!


The Chauvin trial resumes

The third week of the murder trail of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin begins today. Minnesota prosecutors are nearing the end of their case, so the defense may begin to call witnesses week. Here’s a preview of what their three main arguments will be in an effort to gain an acquittal.



That’s how much Myanmar’s military is charging families to retrieve the bodies of relatives killed by security forces in a bloody crackdown on Friday. At least 82 people were killed in the city of Bago after it was “raided” by the military’s security forces, according to an advocacy group.


“The Queen as you would expect is an incredibly stoic person. And she described his passing as a miracle. And she’s contemplating … She described it as having left a huge void in her life.”

Britian’s Prince Andrew, describing how his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, is faring following the death of her husband Prince Philip last week.


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It all comes together

These fascinating sculptures look like nothing in particular until you look from a certain angle and BOOM — magic. (Click here to view)

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