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5 things to know for April 29: Ukraine, Covid-19, Recession, USPS, Abortion

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

In a move to reduce smoking across the US, the FDA has proposed a sweeping ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Some advocates are calling it a “historic” moment for public health, but tobacco companies may not go down without a fight. Experts are predicting the companies will now try to stop the ban by suing the agency, as most have done with past tobacco-control legislation.

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

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1. Ukraine

Ukrainian officials have condemned Russia’s missile attack on Kyiv last night, which occurred as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was finishing a visit to the Ukrainian capital. During his visit, Guterres called for evacuation corridors to be opened in Mariupol, saying that the besieged city is a “crisis within a crisis.” Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday and said Putin agreed “in principle” for the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant — where Ukrainian fighters entrenched at the facility have been surrounded by Russian forces for weeks. At least 150 employees have been killed at the plant and thousands remain unaccounted for, according to Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest Holding which owns the plant.

2. Coronavirus

Moderna said yesterday it is seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for its Covid-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years of age. To date, no Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized for children younger than 5 in the US — about 18 million people — and a timeline to potential authorization is not yet clear. However, Moderna officials have said the FDA is expected to move fast, and a Pfizer official suggested its vaccine for younger children could also be available in June, if authorized. This comes days after Pfizer asked the FDA to green-light a booster dose of its vaccine for children ages 5 through 11. Experts say vaccines for children are high priority following studies that have shown that vaccine efficacy has waned significantly in children amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

3. Recession

America’s economy unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter of 2022. Gross domestic product declined at an annual rate of 1.4% during the first three months of the year — the worst quarter for the American economy since the pandemic turned the world upside down in the spring of 2020. However, economists say don’t panic, because this is not an indicator of an immediate recession. “The negative GDP number is a surprise, but not a material one,” Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told CNN. “The economy continues to grow strongly and at a pace that continues to bring down unemployment.” Also on the positive side, consumer spending — the main driver of the US economy — accelerated during the first three months of the year. Business investment also surged at an annual rate of 9.2% in the first quarter, up from 2.9% during the fourth quarter.


The US Postal Service is facing lawsuits from 16 states, the District of Columbia, and a coalition of environmental groups seeking to stop the purchase of thousands of gasoline-powered trucks — after the USPS committed to lessen its environmental impact. According to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the USPS lacks the funding needed to increase the number of electric vehicles in its fleet. Postal Service spokesperson Kim Frum told CNN in a statement yesterday that the agency had conducted “a robust and thorough review” before moving forward with its vehicle plan, and that more electric vehicles could be commissioned if funding becomes available. There is $6 billion set aside in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act to help the USPS transition to all-electric vehicles, but the bill has stalled in the Senate.

5. Abortion

Oklahoma lawmakers passed a 6-week abortion ban yesterday modeled after the controversial Texas abortion law, which allows private citizens to take civil action against abortion providers to enforce the law. The bill would prohibit abortions at the time when a physician can detect early cardiac activity in an embryo or fetus, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before many women even know that they are pregnant. Exceptions will be provided for medical emergencies. This comes amid a movement by Republican-led states to severely curtail the procedure and as Oklahoma’s legislature ramps up its push to restrict abortion rights. The bill now heads to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, for final approval. Stitt has pledged to sign every piece of legislation limiting abortion that reaches his desk.


Airbnb says staffers can work remotely forever, if they want

I mean, who wouldn’t want to live on an island and work from the beach every day? Learn about the company’s new permanent flexibility policy here.

Jacksonville Jaguars choose Travon Walker as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft

Emotions are running high for players who are receiving life-changing calls from NFL teams this weekend. Cheers to fulfilling childhood dreams!

James Corden leaving ‘The Late Late Show’ in 2023

*Sigh* At least there’s one more season of Carpool Karaoke to sing along to.

One ticket wins the $473.1 million Powerball jackpot

A very lucky person in Arizona has a lot to celebrate! What would be your first purchase if you held this massive winning ticket?

Camera captures ‘jaw-dropping’ view inside of a shark’s mouth

After the terrifying rows of sharp teeth, this is what it looks like inside a place you never want to be…


Twitter agreed to be bought by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk this week. How much is the deal worth?

A. $4.4 million

B. $440 million

C. $4.4 billion

D. $44 billion

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



That’s how many miles a 61-year-old man is set to row solo from the US to France. Peter Harley hopes to begin his journey across the Atlantic Ocean next week. He told CNN yesterday he estimates the feat will take anywhere from three to four months.


“We weren’t elected by the people of this state to shy away from doing what some may call controversial.”

— Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, on signing several education bills into law yesterday, including one banning the instruction of “divisive concepts” pertaining to race in classrooms. The law, known as the “Protect Students First Act,” is part of a broader movement by conservative lawmakers across the country to limit how race is taught and discussed in schools. Kemp also signed into law HB 1178, known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” which provides greater transparency to parents and legal guardians regarding what their students are being taught, and SB 226, which bans literature or books deemed to be offensive in nature from school libraries.


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If cute babies competed in the Olympic Games

Honestly, this may be one of the cutest, most hilarious 2-minute videos ever. Enjoy a good laugh this morning! (Click here to view)

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