5 things to know for March 1: Ukraine, State of the Union, SCOTUS, Covid-19, Abortion

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Originally Published: 01 MAR 22 06:40 ET
Updated: 01 MAR 22 06:46 ET

(CNN) — Disney is pausing the release of its films in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Although Russia is not a major movie market like China and the US, Disney’s move to stop releasing films there is notable, and may prompt other studios to pull their films from the country as well. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Ukraine

A 40-mile-long Russian military convoy made up of armored vehicles and tanks is closing in on the capital of Ukraine, with US officials warning the sheer number of Russian troops could overcome the Ukrainian resistance. Satellite images show the massive convoy passing through the outskirts of Kyiv, as smoke rises from what appear to be burning homes left behind in the convoy’s path. Ukraine is appealing to the international community to come to its aid as US officials warn that Russian President Vladimir Putin could imminently increase the intensity of the attack. Negotiations for a potential ceasefire ended yesterday with a Ukrainian official saying only that both sides would return to their capitals for consultations over whether to implement a number of “decisions.” More than 400 civilians have already been killed or injured since Russia’s unprovoked assault on its neighbor began last week, according to the United Nations. Follow CNN’s full coverage of Russia’s attack on Ukraine here.

2. State of the Union

Law enforcement personnel in Washington, DC, are bracing for potential protests ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address later today. A fence has been erected to prevent disruptions from protests as well as a possible trucker convoy. In addition to physical threats, officials say they’re paying close attention to the possibility of Russian cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. As Biden prepares to deliver his yearly address to Congress and the nation, the White House and Democratic allies are acknowledging that the President’s domestic agenda and any accomplishments he will outline during the address have effectively “been eclipsed by Ukraine.” You can watch the State of the Union address on CNN at 9 p.m. ET tonight or stream it live here.

3. SCOTUS

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will hold meetings with top Democratic and Republican senators tomorrow, a White House official tells CNN, as the confirmation process for Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court gets underway. Democrats are hoping for a swift, bipartisan confirmation process for the US District Court judge, who would make history as the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation. Biden officially nominated Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday, praising her as a “nominee of extraordinary qualifications” whose opinions are “carefully reasoned, tethered to precedent and demonstrate respect for how the law impacts everyday people.” The White House is also getting a major endorsement of Jackson from a prominent conservative judge who advised former Vice President Mike Pence in the fight over the 2020 election.

4. Coronavirus

The effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for young children waned quickly during the Omicron surge, according to new data from the New York State Department of Health. Within one month of being fully vaccinated, the effectiveness of the Pfizer shots against infection caused by the Omicron variant fell from 68% to just 12% in children ages 5 to 11 years old. While the vaccine was still protective against severe disease, the shot’s effectiveness against hospitalization in that age group also dropped substantially, falling from 100% in early December to just 48% by the end of January. Meanwhile, more governors across the US are ditching mask mandates — including in states that have long held on to school mask mandates.

5. Abortion

Senate Republicans yesterday blocked a House-passed bill aimed at preserving access to abortion nationwide. The House had passed the legislation, dubbed the Women’s Health Protection Act, in late September — even though the bill was not expected to have the necessary votes to pass the 50-50 Senate. As anticipated, the Senate blocked the measure on a nearly party-line vote, with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voting with Republicans in opposition. The vote was 46-48. The bill’s failure to advance in the Senate comes as Republican-led states have introduced and advanced bills across the nation that make it harder for women to access abortions and threaten health-care providers who perform the procedure.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Airbnb is offering free temporary housing for 100,000 Ukrainian refugees

Generous hosts on the platform are opening their doors to those in need.

Netflix says it won’t air state TV channels in Russia

Companies are cutting ties with Russia left and right… and Netflix says it has “no plans” to add Russian state TV channels to its service.

Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter auditions on ‘American Idol’

R-E-S-P-E-C-T to 15-year-old Grace Franklin who went for it — knowing she had very big shoes to fill.

Yellowstone National Park celebrates 150 years

Never stop exploring! This stunning photo gallery celebrating the park’s special anniversary may inspire you to visit.

Tyrannosaurus rex may have been misunderstood

Cue the ‘Jurassic Park’ theme song… Apparently, the T. rex may have had two equally terrifying sibling species.

TODAY’S NUMBER

5

That’s how many dangerous bacterial infections in infants have recently been linked to a recalled lot of Similac powder baby formula. The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration are investigating reports and complaints of infant illness related to the formula from a production facility in Sturgis, Michigan. Each of the five infants was hospitalized and bacterial infections may have contributed to death of two, the agency added. The reports come amid a shortage of baby formula across the US as manufacturers struggle to meet the current demand despite producing at full capacity.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I am a journalist at heart. While I have enjoyed every minute at ‘The Late Show,’ I am joining CNN because I feel a genuine pull to return to news at such a critical moment in history.”

— Chris Licht, on being named the new head of CNN when Discovery and WarnerMedia merge this spring. Licht is currently the showrunner of “The Late Show” and executive vice president of special programming at ViacomCBS. Yesterday’s announcement comes nearly a month after the top job at CNN suddenly opened up when Jeff Zucker was forced out by WarnerMedia for failing to disclose a consensual romantic relationship with his longtime No. 2 Allison Gollust.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Happy Mardi Gras!

Today is Fat Tuesday and parties are happening from Louisiana to Brazil with music, beads and king cake! Keep an eye out though… you may find a plastic baby in the traditional dessert! Enjoy this short video that explains why. (Click here to view)

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