By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
Many utility companies have been lenient about late payments — or no payments at all — due to the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. But now, a growing number of Americans who have not paid their bills for an extended period of time are receiving notices to pay up or face possible shutoffs.
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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that US diplomats will return to Ukraine this week, a move officials are characterizing as a strong message of solidarity from the United States. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv over the weekend, where they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, making them the highest-level US officials to have traveled to the country since the Russian invasion began in late February. Zelensky’s office issued a readout of the meeting today, stressing the importance of the visit and thanking President Joe Biden for the US’ “unprecedented assistance.” Meanwhile, Ukrainians attempted to celebrate one of their most important holidays of the year yesterday, Orthodox Easter, but the ongoing war and latest attacks in Mariupol cast a dark shadow over the holiday.
2. French elections
Emmanuel Macron has won France’s presidential election, making him the first French leader to be reelected in 20 years. Macron fended off a historic challenge from far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, after securing 58.5% of yesterday’s runoff vote. The victory is seen as a relief for France’s most prominent allies because a Le Pen presidency would have fundamentally changed France’s relationship with the European Union and the West, at a time when the bloc and its allies rely on Paris to take a leading role in confronting some of the world’s biggest challenges — most notably, the war in Ukraine. Many in France were not happy with either candidate, however. The voter abstention rate for the runoff was 28%, according to the French Interior Ministry, the highest in more than 50 years.
The Biden administration will renew its push with lawmakers to secure Covid-19 funding when Congress returns from recess this week, a White House official told CNN. A $10 billion funding package is currently on the table, which the Biden administration says is urgently needed to continue the federal Covid-19 response. The White House initially requested $22.5 billion in relief funding last month in a larger government funding package, but it failed to move forward. That request included funding for testing, treatments and preventing future outbreaks. Negotiators were able to reach an agreement on a scaled-back $10 billion package, but Congress left for a two-week Easter break without passing the deal.
Twitter’s board of directors met yesterday to discuss Elon Musk’s offer to take over the company — a potential prelude to negotiations with the Tesla CEO about next steps. A person familiar with the matter confirmed a board meeting took place and told CNN that discussions about Musk’s bid have turned serious. According to an SEC filing, Musk offered to acquire all the shares in Twitter he does not own for $54.20 per share, valuing the company at $41.4 billion. Twitter is due to report first quarter earnings on Thursday afternoon. The company will have to address Musk’s offer by then, if not before. Separately, Musk is on track for another massive payday where he will soon receive stock options worth billions of dollars.
Scores of people were killed in an explosion at illegal oil refinery in southern Nigeria yesterday. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps said in a statement that the fire had led “to the death of men, women and children in the hundreds,” adding that the remains of some victims “were burnt beyond recognition.” Emergency response teams have counted 109 bodies, while others remain missing, according to local media reports. Oil theft and artisanal refining of crude oil is a common practice in the Nigeria’s delta region. Government figures released last year found that more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil are being lost to theft each day.
This food company will pay you $10K to be its Chief Taco Officer
Lettuce pray for whoever’s stomach will endure tacos for two months straight.
Memorabilia from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is up for sale
Somewhere over the rainbow, someone wealthy is preparing to spend up to $1.2 million for this rare piece of Hollywood history!
The White House is in desperate need of new glassware
And it’s not just a crystal crisis… silverware tends to go missing after special events at the White House — slipped into coat pockets or dropped discreetly into purses. What a bold move, you sly guests!
Black woman named valedictorian decades after high school graduation
Better late than never. 38 years later, this woman was named valedictorian after her high school denied her the honor in 1984.
Fire crews rescue Washington woman after she falls headfirst into toilet
Sounds like a very stinky situation…
That’s how many pounds of meth was seized from a big rig hauling a shipment of strawberry puree, customs and border officials said. The concealed drugs — worth an estimated $35.2 million — were discovered after a border patrol officer in Laredo, Texas, saw the tractor trailer arriving from Mexico and referred it for another examination.
“I think we’re going to be in real trouble if we don’t get up and deliver, then I believe that Democrats are going to lose.”
— Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, offering a warning to fellow Democrats yesterday, saying that if they “don’t get up and deliver” while their party has the majority in Congress, they will lose the 2022 midterm elections. Warren’s remarks come as the Democratic party aims to maintain its narrow control of the House and Senate, amid intraparty divisions on issues such as immigration and Covid-19 relief. President Biden is also facing low approval ratings as the nation grapples with inflation and the war in Ukraine strains the global economy.
Fluffy red pandas
If you’ve never seen red pandas, you’re missing out on a ton of cuteness! (Click here to view)
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