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5 things to know for March 4: Ukraine, Capitol riot, Breonna Taylor, Covid, Opioids

<i>Zaporizhzhya NPP/YouTube/Reuters</i><br/>
Zaporizhzhya NPP via REUTERS
Zaporizhzhya NPP/YouTube/Reuters

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

The Opening Ceremony of the Winter Paralympics kicks off in Beijing today and a record number of Para athletes — around 700 — are ready to showcase their skills in events such as alpine skiing and wheelchair curling. Notably absent, though, are about 80 Russian and Belarusian athletes who were banned from competing in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Ukraine

Russian troops have occupied Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, where a fire that had threatened potential disaster was extinguished in the early hours of this morning, according to Ukraine’s nuclear regulator. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged European leaders to “wake up now” and stop Russian forces “before this becomes a nuclear disaster.” The fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant raised concern from world leaders and the International Atomic Energy Agency — which called for a halt to fighting around the facility due to potentially catastrophic safety concerns. In a Facebook post earlier today, Zelensky accused Russian troops of committing a “terror attack” by intentionally firing at the power plant, potentially risking the lives of millions. “There are 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine. If one of them blows, that’s the end for everyone, that’s the end of Europe. All of Europe will have to evacuate,” Zelensky said, while referencing the Chernobyl tragedy and its victims. Follow CNN’s full coverage of Russia’s attack on Ukraine here.

2. Capitol riot

Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée who worked on former President Trump’s campaign, has been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. This comes after Guilfoyle refused to cooperate voluntarily with the committee’s investigation. The committee is interested in the role Guilfoyle played in the events leading up to and on the day of the insurrection. Guilfoyle allegedly played a key role in raising money for the rallies that drew Trump supporters to Washington. She was also regularly around the former President and his family members, and the committee believes she could provide key insight about how Trump conducted himself the day of the riot.

3. Breonna Taylor

A jury yesterday found Brett Hankison not guilty of endangering Breonna Taylor’s neighbors in a botched raid that left Taylor dead. The former Louisville Metro Police Department detective was the only officer charged in connection with the March 2020 shooting, but the charges were not for her death. Hankison, 45, was tried for firing bullets through Taylor’s window and sliding glass door that went into a neighboring apartment where three people were present. Hankison said he did not realize at the time that there was another apartment positioned directly behind Taylor’s. Combined with the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor’s death set off widespread protests about how the legal system treats Black citizens, as well as particular criticism regarding the dangers of no-knock warrants.

4. Coronavirus

Most people in the US live in areas where healthy individuals no longer need to wear masks, but more than 472 counties across the country still have high Covid-19 levels where mask wearing is recommended, according to latest CDC data. Yesterday, the agency said “more than 90%” of US residents are now in a location with low or medium Covid-19 community levels. Experts say this is a promising sign that we may be nearing the tail end of the pandemic as more counties continue to roll back mask mandates. Only one state and one US territory — Hawaii and Puerto Rico — still have indoor mask mandates and have not announced plans to lift those requirements. Meanwhile, the US Surgeon General yesterday launched an effort to get to the bottom of Covid-19 misinformation, and has requested input and data from tech companies, health care providers and community organizations.

5. Opioid crisis

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and the Sackler families reached a settlement with a group of states this week that would require the Sacklers to pay out as much as $6 billion to states and victims of the opioid crisis, if approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge. The new agreement, reached after eight states and the District of Columbia ultimately appealed a previous deal, is civil and does not provide protection to the Sackler families from any future liability relating to the opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy in 2019, putting on hold thousands of lawsuits filed against it. From 1999 to 2019, nearly 500,000 people died from overdoses involving opioids, including prescription drugs and illicit opioids.


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Rivian rolls back price hikes on preorders after backlash from customers

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The words “Brad Pitt” and “action movie” go together like peanut butter and jelly — a perfect pair.


Several dangerous bacterial infections in infants have recently been linked to which baby product?

A. Teething toys

B. Powdered formula

C. Scented diapers

D. Baby food puree

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



That’s how much Civica Rx, a non-profit generic drug maker, will charge for a vial of insulin in 2024. Insulin, which more than 8 million Americans with diabetes depend on, has been a poster child for the soaring cost of prescription drugs. Though insulin costs little to make, the list price of brand name products is roughly $300 per vial, according to the foundation which co-founded Civica Rx.


“Russia’s destabilizing actions have made the world a more dangerous place. We cannot, and will not, allow Iran to make it worse by acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

–A State Department spokesperson, on the US inching closer to reviving Iran’s nuclear deal. The Biden administration had hoped to reach a deal with Iran by the end of February, but there are still a number of unresolved issues that could cause the efforts to fail.


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Seal catches a ride on a kayak

This friendly seal surprised kayakers when it hopped aboard after following them for a mile. (Click here to view)

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