5 things to know for April 7: Ukraine, Immigration, Covid-19, USPS, Climate change

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Originally Published: 07 APR 22 06:35 ET
Updated: 07 APR 22 06:38 ET

(CNN) — Big changes are coming to your 401(k). A new bill, expected to hit President Joe Biden’s desk this year, could require employers to automatically enroll all eligible workers into their retirement plans, making it easier for student-loan borrowers to save, and for older workers to make catch-up contributions.

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

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1. Ukraine

Global leaders gathered at NATO headquarters in Brussels today to discuss additional sanctions against Russia and ways to support Ukraine. Despite Moscow now shifting its military focus to the east, NATO’s chief said the war could last years as Russia still wants “the whole of Ukraine.” On the ground, major fighting is underway in eastern Ukraine, with the regional military governor of the Luhansk region urging civilians to evacuate some towns. Hundreds of children have died in Russian air strikes since the start of the invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday, while also referencing the mass graves found in Bucha. Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda said it’s “hard to deny” that Russian forces are committing genocide in Ukraine following the horrific images that have emerged from cities like Bucha showing civilians brutally killed.

2. Immigration

Texas will send busloads of undocumented immigrants to the steps of the US Capitol, Gov. Greg Abbott announced yesterday, in response to the Biden administration ending a pandemic-era health order that effectively blocked migrants from entering the US. Abbott signed the policy directive yesterday and said 900 charter buses have been assembled for the operation. The Republican governor, who is up for reelection this year, has been a vocal critic of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies and the move to lift the order known as Title 42, which is set to end on May 23. That order, which was implemented at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic by former President Donald Trump, blocked undocumented immigrants from entering the US as a means to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, many immigrant advocates and public health experts believed the restrictions were driven by political motivations.

3. Coronavirus

FDA vaccine advisers say they’re working on a new plan and timeline for Covid-19 shots since it currently remains unclear how often booster doses might be needed in the future. Some companies, including Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, are developing variant-specific vaccines. But some future vaccines will be completely different formulations than what are administered now — which are a composition based on the original version of the virus that emerged in late 2019. This comes as most Americans say the way they conduct their lives is still being affected to some extent by the pandemic, according to a new poll. Significant parts of the country also continue to favor some level of masking as a Covid mitigation measure. The poll shows a 59% majority say that “people should continue to wear masks in some public places” to avoid another surge in cases.

4. USPS

A sweeping US Postal Service reform bill that will overhaul the agency’s finances and allow it to modernize its service was signed into law yesterday by Biden. The new law will require retired postal employees to enroll in Medicare when eligible and repeals a previous mandate that forced it to cover health care costs up front and years in advance. Those two measures would save the USPS nearly $50 billion over the next decade, according to the House Oversight Committee. The legislation, which received overwhelming bipartisan support, also requires the Postal Service to create an online public dashboard with local and national delivery and performance data. The changes are designed to help make the agency more financially sustainable because unlike other government institutions, the US Postal Service relies on revenue it collects from deliveries, not taxpayer funding, to support itself.

5. Climate change

Americans are far more likely to say the climate crisis is a threat after facing recent extreme weather, according to a new Gallup poll. The data found 1 in 3 people say they have been affected by some kind of extreme weather in the past two years. Gallup also found 78% of respondents who have faced recent extreme weather believe the effects of climate change are already unfolding. Earlier this week, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned the world must make immediate transitions away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, like solar and wind, to limit the impact of the climate crisis — otherwise, the West is destined for more drought and heat, the oceans will continue to inundate coastal communities and extreme weather will become more deadly than it already is. The good news is the US recently hit a major renewable energy milestone: wind power was the second-highest source of electricity for the first time since the Energy Information Administration began gathering the data.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Tiger Woods intends to play in the Masters today

Woods said he’s confident he can win despite being away from competitive golf for more than a year after suffering serious injuries in a car crash.

Produce with the most and least pesticides

We’ve all eaten a strawberry or grape straight from the container at least once without rinsing it… Don’t be ashamed, just take a minute to learn why you should wash all your produce and consider buying organic.

Asteroid the size of a house flies by Earth

Have no fear, NASA is here. The agency said it’s standing by and is ready to deflect all objects that pose a threat to our planet.

The world’s skinniest skyscraper is ready for its first residents

The building is skinny, but the prices are not. A studio apartment goes for $7.75 million and the penthouse is $66 million.

Chelsea suffers Champions League defeat against Real Madrid

On the pitch, Chelsea had a solid start! But after a chaotic game, Real Madrid fans were the ones left dancing and cheering in celebration.

TODAY’S NUMBER

6

That’s how many people have died in violent protests in Peru that began last week. Rising fuel costs triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine originally sparked the protests, but they quickly intensified into large anti-government demonstrations with marches and road blockades. On Monday, President Pedro Castillo declared a state of emergency and placed the country’s capital under a curfew, but backtracked and withdrew the curfew Tuesday after hundreds of protesters ignored the measure and took to the streets to demand his resignation.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“You are ripping off the American people.”

— California Democrat Rep. Raul Ruiz, criticizing the CEOs of several major oil companies for declining to reduce dividends and stock buybacks to lower oil prices. During a hearing yesterday, some Democratic lawmakers also criticized a number of companies for their investments in Russia, arguing those projects have “helped to fund Putin’s war chest.”

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Adorable kid sings Bob Marley

“Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be all right!” Start your Thursday on a happy note with this precious video. (Click here to view)

The-CNN-Wire
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